Help! Inlaws Keep Sending Stuff!

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Q: I have a problem. Neither my husband nor I are collectors of stuff. We like mostly empty table tops, bookshelves with books in them, and as little clutter as possible. The problem is, my husband works as a firefighter and his parents have taken it upon themselves to fill our house with random firefighter paraphanalia. I can't keep the things from pouring into the house...

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As long as I have in-laws, our collection of firetruck M&M dispensers will increase by about a foot and a half of shelf space each year.

Some of the items that come in we can find a place for. But the vast majority of the stuff is hiding in cupboards. Not only is it hidden away because, well, it's ugly, but also because we have 3 very young children who excell in destroying things. (Come to think of it, that may be the solution right there. "I'm so sorry, the kids broke that hideous statuette of Donald Duck dressed as a firefighter. No, not the one where he's wearing yellow; the red one.") Ideally, I'd like to respect the wishes of my in-laws to live vicariously through their son. So, I am in search of a cool, modern, clean, child-proof display solution--if there is such a thing.

Plus, I'd like my cupboard space back.

Sent by Fire Wife Kate

Editor: Please share your storage solution ideas with Kate in the comments below...thanks!

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Janel Laban is the Executive Editor of Apartment Therapy and has been working here, at the dreamiest of dream jobs, since March 2006.