When I married I had no idea that I had married into a family of hoarders because they called themselves “collectors”. The problem is that they collect everything! I am lucky because my spouse and one sister see this and know it is a problem. They both struggle against the compulsion to hoard some things but being aware and having each other to talk to about it has been a life and marriage saving activity. The other sister and brother as well as mother and step-father are another story.
When my mother-in-law came to our home and realized we had given away a chair, I thought she was going to cry. She asked my wife why she wasn’t called first because she would have taken the chair even though we know she has no where to put it. We just don’t tell her about anything that we throw away because she would be aghast to know the cards and letters have been recycled as well as baby clothes, etc. We simply tell her that they are stored in the shed out back as it tends to make her physically ill if we tell her we have thrown them out. I hope she never figures out that our little shed has no way of holding everything we have told her is out there.