How to handle relatives who come bearing kitsch

By Leigh Kamping-Carder  | January 9, 2015 - 12:59PM

File this under problems that could be worse: suburban family members lavishing you with home decor gifts, despite your closet-sized apartment. Sweet? Yes. Practical? No, especially considering how individualized a person’s taste can be.

In the case of one Apartment Therapy reader, who wrote to the blog for advice on this issue, the trouble is compounded by their preference for an uncluttered, Minimalist look, both for aesthetic and pragmatic reasons. Still, it seems that no matter what they do, relatives bestow wall-hangings, paintings, faux plants and “large kitchen gadgets” upon them. “We used to have a box of ‘gifts’ that we'd take out and stage right before that person visited, but it felt like that just invited more gifts,” they write. “Now we don't display the stuff and if they ask, we make up some excuse about ‘still figuring the decor out.’”

Unfortunately, tough love is the best solution: politely confront the enthusiastic gift-givers and let them know you’re trying to cut down on the amount of stuff cramping your digs. If that doesn’t stick and you get another tacky vase or gaudy throw pillow, you’ll have to go one step further. Ask that they store the gifts at their own (sprawling) home, since yours is full up.

And if you're on the opposite end, trying to find a present for the small-space-dweller in your life, check out our gift-giving guide.


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