DEAR ABBY: I've been trying to declutter and get rid of things, but each time I do, my mother scolds me for getting rid of sentimental items and sends them back to my room. There are clothes that haven't fit me for years, old trinkets, even gift boxes she won't let me dispose of or donate. I would just take care of it myself, but she works from home and analyzes my every move.
Additionally, I've discovered that she has several dozen boxes filled to the brim with every childhood toy and article of clothing I ever had. She intends to pass them on to me when I give birth to kids "in the next four years." I'm only 19! Even if I were older, the idea that I'll be expected to take on all these possessions is a major deterrent to my ever having children. How do I tell her that enough is enough, and it's time for things to go? -- CLUTTERED COLLEGE STUDENT IN WYOMING
DEAR CLUTTERED: That your mother would set a deadline by which she expects you to have children is not only premature but, frankly, over the top. No one should decide that for you. (What would she do with your old clothes if you gave birth only to sons?)
You appear to have an unusually controlling mother. She may be sentimental about your things, or she may be a hoarder. By the age of 19, you should be mature enough to decide whether to keep items you no longer use. Tell your mom that you want to donate the items to people who actually need them. If that doesn't sway her, suggest she store your unwanted things in her space because you need to declutter yours. If she refuses, then it may be time to consider making other living arrangements.