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She grew up during the Depression, with 12 brothers and 2 sisters. She likes to shop sales, and will go to several different stores to take advantage of sales. She does not listen to the fact that she is wasting gas $$ which obliterates her sales savings. We have 2 refrigerator/freezers and one full length freezer, all full. There are only 3 of us: my parents and me. My father used to have a big appetite, but he is on medicine that kills his appetite. Mom still shops as if we 5 are still living here. My sister has severe food allergies, so she can't eat anything Mom makes. My brother (who lives overseas) has gone the healthy route and has a different food lifestyle than Mom does. My bitch is that I always have to unpack the groceries when she shops. I take stuff downstairs and try to 'make room' for everything. I also cook on the weekends, which includes cleaning out the fridge and throwing stuff that has spoiled because she hasn't used it up. any suggestions? thanks!

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thank you everyone. I think it is too early to tough love this i.e. she still drives. I try and make a point by telling her what I have had to throw out when I cook on weekends. Every so often I will pitch a bottle of salad dressing or whatever that I know she will not miss. i don't think this would bother me so much if I weren't overweight. Mom is part of the problem (most of it is me.) Our family has problems with excess in various forms. thanks for your input!!!!
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I sure went through cupboards looking for long expired canned goods, flour, etc. Also checked the fridge to find 10 year old mayonnaise, ketchup and the like. The most disgusting thing? Did you know that canned tomatoes can explode if old enough? Sure enough.

Now, my mom too grew up during the depression in a normal household of three children and parents. Ideas to keep mom from buying so much is to clean out the freezer and cupboards. Get a big trash bag load it with all the outdated food. Keep a mental tally of the value of the food you load into the bag. Explain the food is not safe to eat after its date. Food poisoning will send you all to the hospital resulting in huge medical bills. If that doesn't curb her food purchasing habit, maybe nothing will. There are very good reasons for expiration dates on food.
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I know what you're going through. I'm luckier, though, because my mother doesn't drive. When I got here a big freezer was full of food, some of it dating back to 1990. The kitchen counters and cabinets were stacked to the ceiling with canned food. There was no kitchen table, because it was totally covered. There were about a dozen of every cleaning and deodorizing agent. We had enough Raid to wipe out the roach population of NYC. Anytime I would try to throw something out, it was met with "it's still good." Some of the cans were rusty and really old.

I tried to take her grocery shopping with me a few times, but it would end up in a battle. I would say that we already had 10 of something at home, but she would say we need it. We would come home with more of what we didn't need. Soon I quit letting her shop with me. There was no reasoning with her.

After I had been home for a while, I tough-loved the food and started throwing things out. She got angry, yes, but it had to be done. After I threw away some older things, she got calmer about the cleaning efforts. It also helped that she liked having a clear table and counters.

Shopping can be baffling for some older people. If she wants to continue to shop, maybe you and she can make a list of what groceries are needed and encourage her to stick to the list. I have a feeling that you won't need any meat. You probably have enough to last a year, not counting the old meat you have to throw out.
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Yes, I would wait for mom to go to the bathroom and then pull the bad stuff out of the fridge. Usually I would find it on a lower shelf, way in back. The pantry was the opposite, higher shelves, in the back. Most cans and boxes have an expiration date on them. If there is no date, it's really old stuff. If there are price stickers, it's old stuff because stores all use barcode now. If the price is inkstamped on the package, it has to be at least 30 years old. The worst problem was pasta and rice and other grains or beans that get lots of bugs in them. If you see tiny moths, those are Indian Meal Moths and they live in opened boxes of dry goods, like oats/rice/wheat and will fly out of the panty and invade dried flower arrangements.
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I feel your pain! Since moving in with my grandparents 4 years ago I have gotten rid of an entire freezer, leaving us with a chest freezer and 2 refrigerators. My grandmother had 10 siblings then had 5 children. You just have to do it a little at a time. If things are too expired to use, throw them away. Donate some to a food pantry, give some to your neighbors. Luckily my grandmother stopped driving when I moved in, but my mom enables her because she shops the same way.
I know it is a huge change for them, but gently remind her that their lifestyles have changed, things will go on sale again, the world wont end if the freezer is not full. If she really likes to save money figure out how much you would save a month without one of the refrigerators of freezers.
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