Dear Abby: Selfish sister refuses to get her stuff out of my garage

The belongings are starting to smell and interfering with plans to sell the house.

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DEAR ABBY: While my sister was incarcerated, she was evicted from her residence. She asked me if I would pack her belongings and store them for her in my garage for a couple of weeks until she got out, which I did. Well, a couple of weeks turned into a couple of months.

She’s out now, living here and there, and looking for a job or a permanent place to stay. In the meantime, her belongings are still in my garage. It’s taking up considerable space and starting to smell. I need to prep my house as I plan on selling it in the near future.

I constantly ask her about removing her belongings and what her plans are, but she doesn’t seem concerned about them and no longer communicates with me. During our last conversation, I gave her two weeks to get a place to move them or I would dispose of them. She said she’d get back to me, but hasn’t.

She doesn’t seem to want to get a job or take responsibility for herself or her stuff. I feel she’s being inconsiderate and selfish. I know she has some keepsake items in the boxes. I hate to dispose of them, but I cannot store her stuff much longer. What should I do? — FRUSTRATED IN WISCONSIN

DEAR FRUSTRATED: Inform your sister that if her things are not out of your garage by a certain date that you will have them removed by a junk-removal service. It isn’t free, but it will solve your problem about readying your property for sale.

DEAR ABBY: My daughter is married to a textbook narcissist. He’s controlling and easily offended, and he creates drama out of the most innocent scenarios. There is never enough you can do for him, and he never gets enough praise. We have put up with him for the sake of a relationship with my daughter and three grandchildren.

My daughter adores him and goes along with everything he dishes out. She has no friends except online. He alienated all her friends and has tried to distance her from her family as well. Before her marriage she had many friends and enjoyed an active social life.

They live in the same small town as we do. I know calling his bluff will mean I’ll be cut off from my daughter and grandchildren. It goes without saying he is manipulative and emotionally abusive. I’m at the end of my rope. Please advise. — WATCHING A DISASTER

DEAR WATCHING: If you are the only family your daughter has left, it’s important you maintain her tie to you. From this vantage point, as odious as it may be, you can monitor what goes on with her and your grandchildren. You stated that she adores her husband and has accepted the conditions upon which her marriage is based. If that should ever change, you will want to be present in her life so you can help her. Hold your nose and stay the course.

TO MY READERS: The eight days of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah begin at sundown. Happy Hanukkah, everyone! A joyous Festival of Lights to all of us. — “LATKES” OF LOVE, ABBY

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order “How to Be Popular.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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