Need advice about my sister & her stuff

If you want the whole rant it’s over here in the Pit, but the pertinent part is that my sister and I lived together. At this point she is basically living with her boyfriend and his wife*, but her stuff is still mostly at my place. She was paying the phone bill ($55) a month, but now expects me to pay it.

( *I have no problem with this, although I do find her boyfriend creepy. I have a problem with the fact that my sister is completely self-centered)

And thus the problem - I refuse to be free storage for her. Absolutely refuse.

I’m going to send her a letter, but before I do, I’d like a bunch of strangers on the internet to look it over. :wink:

I suppose I need to explain a few things. At the end of the last RenFaire she took all of the camping stuff because she was supposedly making new bags for them. She’s also supposedly making me a new cloak from an old one I had that was too thin. Her car is here because it’s a piece of junk with no AC and her boyfriend has her using his car.

I don’t think her paying me is going to work. I except her to offer to clean the house for me, but I won’t take it because she’s completely unreliable.

So… is my letter reasonable? At what point am I legally* allowed to do stuff like getting rid of her things?

(* I am not your client, you are not my lawyer, etc. My location is accurate, if that’s any help)

My parents support me. The rest of the family will probably support me, especially my grandparents since my aunt did similar crap. Ask anyone in my family - we have a type with my sister, my aunt, one of her daughters, and it looks like the youngest cousin. None of them see it.

I’ve gotten past pissed-to-tears back to annoyed and capable of being silly about it.

Why don’t you just move into a one bedroom apartment and leave her stuff to fend for itself?

We’re both on the lease and I’m pretty sure the landlords could hold me responsible.

I also posted the Pit thread on my livejournal (friends-locked, because I’m not stupid) and someone suggesting setting a deadline and then having Goodwill come pick her stuff up. I’m severely tempted by this. It fulfills my lack of desire to do her packing for her and takes care of my inability to move some of her furniture.

You need to separate your life from your sister’s life except for socializing. No living together, no her stuff at your house, no her paying part of your living expenses, no her cleaning for you - the price of your sanity is to only see your sister on a social basis. You need to do what it takes to get there.

You need a place without her on the lease. If you can make that this place, all the better. If not, you might need to move, because since she’s on the lease, she has legal rights in your apartment, and she can keep her stuff there.

Is it a problem that her stuff is at your place? You’re not using any of it?

See, it doesn’t sound like your relationship is all that bad. You’ve helped each other out and that’s good. She makes bad decisions but so far, those decisions haven’t left you in a bad place. It sounds like you’re upset and frustrated with her and the only thing you have any control over is her stuff, so you’re using her stuff to show her how you feel.

If her stuff is a nuisance to you, why not just ask her to come and get it? My guess is that she’s leaving it at your place because she’s not sure how long this arrangement with her boyfriend and his wife will work out.

The note I’d send her is simple: “Dear Sis, please come and get your stuff. I need the space. Thanks.”

Yeah, she’s afraid this thing with the guy won’t last, which is understandable, but the problem is she’s expecting me to be free storage space.

Technically I’m using some of her stuff - the microwave, fridge, dining table, couch, and possibly some of the bookshelves, depending on your point of view (we bought them for the place. I don’t remember who paid.)

She decorated the place. I let her because, well, she was home all day and I was at work. And it was easier than arguing with her. But then anytime I tried to decorate she shot me down. I finally got a few of my toys out in the main room, but only with my stuff. Most of the living room is hers. I have space for my office, and some space on the bookshelves, but not as much as hers. I do have a bigger bedroom, but part of my closet is taken up with storing her decorative stuff and the cleaning supplies. Everything on the landing is hers (I don’t really do gardening. Neither does she, technically, since they’re just empty pots.)

I’d like to move my kimono stuff into the living room so I’d have room for my normal clothes, but I can’t because her office is in the way and I have no way of moving her desk or credenza.

She keeps saying she’s going to come and pack, but in the past month the only thing she’s taken is some containers out of the closet (in the middle of the night, making a lot of noise while I was trying to sleep). She’s been saying she’ll be over to take down the Christmas stuff, but she hasn’t done it. I haven’t yet touched it because she’s severely OCD and I didn’t want to deal with her ranting that I did it wrong.

I could have an extra $100 or so a month if I moved to a smaller place. Or if she took Durga and Star, I could move into the dorms when the semester starts and save a buttload of money, even after paying for a storage unit for my stuff.

She’s already said she’s leaving some stuff for me because she won’t have room/need for it. Like her couch. The couch she’s let the cats use as a scratching post for the last six years, until it looks like crap. That’s the thing she’s always done to me - she gives me her scraps and acts like she’s doing me a favor.

You’re right Featherlou, I just don’t know how to get out of this so I can get to that point.

I could ask the landlord for advice, but I don’t want to do or say something stupid that’ll get me kicked out all together (my lack of experience is coming through again)

I used to have a metal desk that could be taken apart for moving. Have you checked to see if this can be done to hers?

Are you ready to give up this stuff? Do you want her to take ALL her stuff or just the stuff you don’t want/can’t use?

I doubt that she sees the situation the same way you do. You think you’re providing free storage – she probably thinks you’re getting good use from those things.

Do you think that making her pick up her stuff will cause her to reconsider her living situation? Is that what’s going on? Because seriously, I don’t see that this is worth making an issue of, and wrecking your relationship.

Heavy furniture aside, can most of her stuff be packed into her room, since she’s not using it? Can you tell her that you need to get another roommate if she can’t contribute? Would you want to?

It sounds like you’d really like to go live in the dorms. How long do you have left on your lease? What would you have to do to get into the dorms and could you swing the cost, including the cost of breaking the lease?

If you did move out, moving her stuff would be her problem, unless she wanted to pick up the lease herself. Although it may cost you your deposits. That would need to be factored into the decision. You don’t have to give any reason for moving beyond it being cheaper and easier to live in the dorms.

One big question is what you’re willing to risk as far as your relationship with her. Obviously you’re pissed (and rightfully so) but some suggestions might burn a bridge you’re not ready to burn.

Do you have any family around who could store it?

Do you only do minor favors for family when you get something out of it? If I were your sister and you sent me that letter, I’d come and get my fridge, microwave, table, and the rest of it and leave you to enjoy your room-temperature water and cold canned spaghetti.

If your sister is on the lease, she is your roommate and is liable for her share (half?) of the rent. If she is paying that, she has the right to leave her stuff in her apartment if she likes. So I would not be taking issue with her stuff so much as I would be taking issue with her not paying the rent. If you are responsible for all the cost of the apartment, then IMO it is your apartment and you can tell her to move her crap out. But what is missing from your post is why having her stuff in the apartment is any skin off your nose, other than that you’re not interested in doing something for free, even if it’s for your own sister.

Unfortunately, not as far as we can tell. My parents have already moved it four times, at least three of them into second story places. They’ve already said they’re not moving it again, and I really can’t blame them. I can’t even budge it from where it is (admittedly, I’m a weakling).

As far as I’m concerned, we don’t have a relationship. It’s really hard to state how she’s treated me over the years, but basically I, and the rest of the family, are there to help her when she wants something. Every time she does something for me, it puts obligations on me. She’s a pest and a self-centered brat and I want her out of my life.

I want her to take all her stuff. The apartment complex provides a fridge (which is currently in my bedroom acting as a media center) and I can buy a microwave.

I’ve put pretty much everything in her room that will fit, without making it impossible to get to her bed and closet. Her decorations are now out of my closet, the Christmas stuff is down and in her room. She’s still got her office, stuff on two bookshelves, and her kitchen stuff.

I don’t know that I want to live in the dorms, except that it would get me away from her. I’m not a terribly social person and the dorms are tiny. On the other hand, it would be much cheaper. However, as long as I have Durga and Star, I can’t live in the dorms. I don’t mind keeping them and I’m not expecting her to take them (which probably means she will sigh :rolleyes: )

I talked with the maintenance guy for the apartments and he said there’s about eight open one bedrooms right now and that the difference is actually closer to $150 than the $100 I was thinking (my mom was thinking $300. I have no idea where she got that number.)

Unfortunately the lease is until December. I still need to talk to the office and figure out exactly what I need to do.

I do major favors for my family, because they treat me well. My sister treats me like a servant - I’m supposed to drop whatever I’m doing to do what she wants. I’m supposed to listen to her rants about politics (which I have no interest in), her relationships (which she won’t listen to advice on), and her sex life (EW - I don’t need to hear about anyone else’s). But if I want to talk about something, she doesn’t want to listen. If I want to do something, I have to wait until it’s convenient for her. I can never rely on her to help me, to be on time, or to keep me informed about anything. I don’t love my sister and I certainly don’t like her.

She’s never paid rent - I’ve always paid it. The only bill she’s ever paid for is the phone bill. Unfortunately both our names are on the lease, which I believe gives her legal rights to live there.

Let me put it this way: if, instead of my sister, this was my friend Fae and she suddenly couldn’t pay the phone bill, I’d let it slide, because she treats me well. If it was my mom or dad, my two sane cousins, or lots of other people, I’d let it slide because they treat me well. My sister has only treated me well when she felt like it.

When my sister was thinking about us moving in together my parents said they wouldn’t let her move back home, because she isn’t considerate of their space and things. For at least the first year, they didn’t want to give her a key to their place because she’d come in, eat, camp on the couch and watch TV, and generally be intrusive and rude. When I go over, I get there close to when I say I will, I clean up after myself, I don’t spread my things around everywhere, I do chores and volunteer to help them with things, I spend time with them and play with the cats, and leave at a reasonable time. My sister doesn’t do any of those things.

At home, my sister did all the decorating and organizing. I had to fight to get the bookshelves where my DVDs are stored in the order I wanted and with some of my things as decorations. Whenever she’s there, I feel like a guest or a child. I’m expected to do things to her way and on her time schedule. I never had any idea when she’d be there and when she’d not be. And if she was there, I couldn’t know if she’d be awake or not. My only space was my room (mostly because the vacuum, her decorating stuff, and the larger cleaning stuff was in my closet) and my office space, which was smaller than hers. My dishes were regulated to a separate pantry - her dishes were the main dishes.

She’d come into my room to talk to me and not bother to try to keep the cats out (they keep me awake and my room is usually a mess and I don’t want them in there). Then she wouldn’t even try to get them out again.

I could never bring over guests because I had no way of knowing if she’d be decently dressed or not. (She’s somewhat of a nudist, which is fine)

Everyone in the family is glad when she’s not around because for her everything is a big drama bullshit and everyone gets tired of listening to her bitch. At RenFaire, I’ve had fellow guild members tell me they’re glad when she doesn’t come (admittedly for a few of them, it’s because she eats nothing but cookies for the whole weekend and then gets very high-pitched. But it’s yet another reason to dislike her).

Why the hell would I want to keep a relationship with someone who treats me badly and drives me nuts?

I’d seriously look at getting one of the one bedrooms, if I were you. Your landlord might be amenable with you changing your lease to JUST YOU in the one bedroom, or he might go for it if your apartment rented right away. I wouldn’t rule it out until I investigated it. And if you can’t do that now, maybe plan to do it in December, when your lease is up. It would be a pain in the ass to have to wait, but that’s how life goes sometimes.

For the record, I think I understand where you’re coming from with your sister. The reality is that not all family members are good friends - sometimes they aren’t even good people. You have the right to only have people in your life that contribute to it positively, family or not. Most people give family more leeway than strangers, but even with family there can come a point where they take more than they give and you just say, “Enough.”

That’s pretty sad. And you seem to have a pretty enmeshed lives considering you neither like nor love her. (She lives with you, sort of; you pay her bills sometimes; she pays yours sometimes; you keep her cats; she makes stuff for you; she ends up with some stuff that’s yours, you have stuff that’s hers.). Most people that don’t like or love their relations are a little better at keeping them at arm’s length.

If she has a legal right to live there, on what basis are you proposing to make her remove her stuff, much less remove it yourself without her permission?

Which part of this made her sound like a great roommate for YOU?

I have no idea, but the four paragraphs before this, which I did not quote, indicate that you have had quite a close relationship with her. Bizarrely close, actually. Why was she in your room? Why did you allow her to make you feel like a guest or a child? Why did SHE do all of the decorating for what was the apartment of you BOTH? Why was her shit in YOUR closet? Why did you care if she was awake or not? YOU are responsible for setting your own boundaries and ground rules for YOUR life, and insisting others respect them. I’m not defending her for not respecting them, but I really don’t see much that indicates you ever set many in the first place. And now you’re so over her you don’t even want her stuff in the apartment, even though you yourself are using much of it (like the fridge and the microwave).

All I’m saying is that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. It doesn’t have to be that either (a) you let your sister rule the roost completely, up to and including taking care of her pets for her, or (b) you have nothing to do with her because you hate her. You can start setting reasonable non-emotional boundaries for a healthy relationship on your own terms. I just don’t see why that has to include insisting that she get all her stuff out of an apartment that you admit she has every right to live in. If it’s no skin off your nose if the stuff’s there or not, then let it stay and start setting boundaries in a way that’s more important. If there is a legitimate reason to get the stuff out then put it to her in those terms: “I need you to get the couch out because it stinks. I need you to get your boxes out of the closet because I need the space.” Whatever. But to me you just sound vindictive. I’m not saying you don’t have reason for feeling as you do – I assume you do – but IME vindictiveness is not a great basis for decision-making.

My sister only has some of my stuff because she’s a control freak - the cloak was supposed to be a present but she never finished it because her arm hurt. She’s supposedly making new bags for the camping stuff. She made my RenFaire garb because she sews and I don’t. She’s actually the one that got me into Faire. Mostly I let her get away with stuff because it’s too tiring to fight about it. I tend to be non-confrontational until I get pushed too far.

We didn’t have many choices. It was I move in with her, or she would live with my parents. I love my parents too much to do that to them.

I’m not sure how that’s bizarrely close. You never go into your roommate’s room to talk to them? I had no choice in how she treated me. That’s how she’s always treated me - she either treats me like I’m ten, she ignores me altogether, or she treats me like I’m her servant. And ten. She did the decorating because she’s a control freak. I never got input into it. She did it while I was asleep or at work. My closet is much bigger than hers. For that matter, my room is much bigger than hers. I cared whether she was awake or not, because it meant I’d have to deal with her if she was awake or deal with her whining that she didn’t feel good when she got up in the evening after not eating for 12 hours.

I realize I screwed up. I have no excuse except that that was how I was used to dealing with her and I was young and immature and my sister is very manipulative. It’s hard to see what’s happening when you’re in the middle of it.

Well, it wasn’t all or nothing. I was setting boundaries, but she pushes and pushes and pushes. I had to put a password on my computer to keep her from using it without my permission. I had to yell at her many times to not sleep in my bed when her room was too hot because she hadn’t opened the windows (no AC again). It’s not so much that I need her stuff out, as much as I don’t want to deal with HER. I don’t like not knowing when she’s going to be there and when she’s not. I don’t like her coming over with her boyfriend and his wife to get stuff when I’ve just gotten out of the shower. I don’t like her saying she’ll be over to get stuff and then not coming. I don’t like how she takes the most random shit without warning (the trashcans, WTF?!) but doesn’t make any real dent. There’s no real way of setting boundaries that she’ll respect, because she always does what she wants in whatever way she needs to. She’s always been this way and there’s no real way of changing her.

I don’t think I’m going to be getting any more useful advice and I don’t really need to continue to bitch any longer, so I’m going to go ahead and ask a mod to close this. Thanks everybody.

Silver Tyger Girl, you have my sympathy. I have lived with people like your sister and it is miserable. It’s hard to explain to someone who doesn’t have relatives like these just how soul-sucking they can be, and just how difficult it is to learn to disentangle yourself from them (especially close relatives that you’ve grown up with).

Ignore those folks (no disrespect intended to them). You’re young, you’re learning, and you’re trying to figure out how to get to a place that some people take for granted.

I’d say talk to your landlord first. Find out what your options are for breaking the lease, how much it will cost, etc. Also check around for a tenants-rights group, or your school’s legal aid system or something similar, to see what your rights (and hers) are. I know Cali has some pretty serious tenant rights laws; you don’t want to get fouled up in those.

Don’t present this as a family problem, as that tends to make people run away. :slight_smile: Present it as you have a roommate on the lease who has moved out and is not paying rent - what do you need to do to get her off of the lease, and what are your options for getting rid of her stuff. Don’t get into all the bitching about what she’s like and why you need to do this. As you’ve discovered here, many people will not understand. Just don’t go there. Stick with the facts - she’s not paying rent and you want out of the lease you signed with her.

Once you’ve figured out what you CAN do, then you can figure out what you WANT to do. Will it be cheaper/easier to eat the $150/month until December, or to break the lease? Do you want to move to the dorms or stay in an apt (depending on the cat situation, of course)? Are your parents/family willing to help, and are you willing to accept help from them on this?

Then figure out HOW to get there from here. If it were me, I’d first get her to give me back my stuff. Then I’d pack up all her stuff (scrupulously - I mean EVERYTHING that is or might be hers) and tell her to come get it or I was throwing it out or something similar (obviously, dependent on what you find out is legally OK from previous steps). Depending on the person and how paranoid they made me, I might move my stuff out to a new apartment first, so that she didn’t have access to any of it, then notify her that she has X time to get hers or the landlord will deal with it.

While I understand you’re trying to give her a chance to do the right thing with your letter - do you really think that’s going to happen? Why set yourself up for yet another round? You know what you need to do, stop waiting for her to change.

Essentially, my advice is to stop dealing with her as a family member - she’s lost that privilege with how she’s treated you. Deal with the existing legal situation like she’s a stranger. From what you’ve said, your family will understand and back you up, so you don’t need to worry about losing other relationships.

Oh, and for future reference? It’s not your job to keep your parents out of trouble. If they’re not capable of tossing her out to fend for herself, that’s their problem. You’re learning how to do it, they need to as well.

Closed at the request of the OP.