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Woman with cardboard boxes | Source: Getty Images
Woman with cardboard boxes | Source: Getty Images

In-Law Billed Me $695 for Moth Damage after Using My House like a Storage Unit – I Gave Her a Reality Check

Prenesa Naidoo
Jun 27, 2024
11:15 A.M.

For five years, Andy and Sarah had given up their guest bedroom, turning it into a storage room for her parents' belongings. But once the couple discovered that they were pregnant, they asked the older couple to remove their things, causing unnecessary friction and a surprise reward.

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Five years ago, my in-laws just wanted to downsize their house. So, they set out to look for the perfect little house just for the two of them.

"We have too much space and too many things," my father-in-law, Greg, said.

A cozy living room | Source: Midjourney

A cozy living room | Source: Midjourney

So, naturally, they asked if they could store some of their stuff in our house for a while.

"It's just the things that we want to keep, darling," Greg told my wife, Sarah.

We both didn't mind it, and we had a guest room that we didn't use.

A stack of cardboard boxes | Source: Midjourney

A stack of cardboard boxes | Source: Midjourney

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"Sure, Dad," my wife said. "The guest room is all yours temporarily."

The key word here is temporarily.

But guess what? They never took their stuff back. Instead, they just kept bringing more.

A growing stack of boxes | Source: Midjourney

A growing stack of boxes | Source: Midjourney

For a while, Sarah and I used to joke about the guest room and how it had turned into a storage unit in our own home. The bed had been moved to stand in the corner, and the room was filled to the brim with boxes and old furniture.

"Where should we store the vacuum?" Sarah asked me one day as we bought a new vacuum cleaner.

"Toss it into the storage unit," I replied, causing my wife to collapse into a fit of giggles.

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A person using a vacuum cleaner | Source: Midjourney

A person using a vacuum cleaner | Source: Midjourney

But then, we discovered something a little unexpected.

"I'm pregnant, Andy!" Sarah said, running into our bedroom with a pregnancy test.

We had both thought about having kids for a long time, but we still wanted to do so much and travel more. So, this was an unexpected little blessing.

A woman holding a pregnancy test | Source: Unsplash

A woman holding a pregnancy test | Source: Unsplash

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Together, Sarah and I sat and spoke about everything from baby names to nursery colors when it dawned on us.

"The storage unit has to go," my wife said, sitting upright in bed. "We need that room for the baby. We have to tell them, Andy. I won't have us trying to rearrange our lives just because my parents are hoarders."

A woman sitting in bed | Source: Midjourney

A woman sitting in bed | Source: Midjourney

"Okay, I agree," I said calmly.

Sarah was already working herself into a frustrated mess.

"We're meeting them on Sunday for brunch. We can tell them about the baby and their things then," I said.

My wife nodded, smiled, and settled back into her comfort zone.

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A smiling woman | Source: Midjourney

A smiling woman | Source: Midjourney

"I just need us to make sure that we're the priority here," she said.

The next morning, Sarah sat with her laptop and planned the nursery in its entirety.

"I know it's too early, Andy," she said sheepishly as she sipped on her tea. "But I'm excited, and I need to do something with my excitement."

A woman using a laptop | Source: Midjourney

A woman using a laptop | Source: Midjourney

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Then came the Sunday brunch. I wasn't exactly sure how Sarah's parents would receive the news because they seemed content with leaving their things at our home.

"We're having a baby!" Sarah announced when we sat down at the coffee shop.

My in-laws scrambled to their feet and began hugging and kissing us in congratulations. Eventually, when their excitement died down a bit, I decided that it was time to broach the subject.

A smiling older couple | Source: Midjourney

A smiling older couple | Source: Midjourney

"Mom, Dad," I began, addressing them as they had always wanted me to. "We need you to move your stuff out of the guest room as soon as possible because we plan on turning it into a nursery for the baby."

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"Oh, sure," my mother-in-law, Janet, replied with a dismissive wave of her hand. "We'll get to it soon."

After that, she began to look through the menu, the conversation about their belongings forgotten.

The interior of a coffee shop | Source: Midjourney

The interior of a coffee shop | Source: Midjourney

Weeks passed, and "soon" seemed to be an undefined concept in their minds.

Sarah and I began to grow more anxious because other than just waiting for our baby, the only tangible thing that we could do was sort out the nursery.

But her parents were just getting in the way of that.

A frowning man | Source: Midjourney

A frowning man | Source: Midjourney

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Eventually, I had to put my foot down.

"Do it," my wife encouraged. "Just get them to sort things out."

The following day, I went to my in-laws' house to pick up some soup for Sarah and to tell them that I had had enough.

A bowl of soup on a table | Source: Midjourney

A bowl of soup on a table | Source: Midjourney

"We need it cleared out by the end of this month," I told them firmly. "We have a lot to do before the baby arrives. And I don't want Sarah to be stressed out by this. No exceptions."

My mother-in-law nodded slowly.

"Fine, Andy," she said. "We'll sort it out."

A close-up of a woman | Source: Midjourney

A close-up of a woman | Source: Midjourney

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Finally, Janet came over and started going through her old things. As she dug through the piles, she suddenly let out a shriek.

"Oh my God! Look at this!" she yelled, pulling out a moth-damaged fur coat from one of the boxes.

"Really? Andy! Sarah! I can't trust you with anything! You and your dirty house ruined my favorite vintage piece!"

A close-up of a fur coat | Source: Midjourney

A close-up of a fur coat | Source: Midjourney

I couldn't believe what was happening. Not only did she not thank us for keeping her belongings in my house, but now I was being blamed for the damage.

"Are you serious?" I snapped. "You left this here for five years, and now you're blaming me for it?"

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"Yes, I am!" she screamed. "This coat is irreplaceable!"

An angry man | Source: Midjourney

An angry man | Source: Midjourney

I tried to remain as calm as possible.

"I think you're overreacting, Janet," I said. "And anyway, if it was such a precious coat, you should have taken better care of it instead of letting it sit in a box for all these years."

The argument escalated, and she stormed out of the house, fuming. Sarah stood by, wide-eyed, clearly caught between her mother and me.

Cardboard boxes | Source: Midjourney

Cardboard boxes | Source: Midjourney

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And then things just got messier.

The next day, I received a notification for a bill of $695.

"What? What on earth could you have bought for that amount?" Sarah asked me.

"It's not me, love," I replied. "It's your mother. It's an invoice for a new fur coat."

A shocked woman | Source: Midjourney

A shocked woman | Source: Midjourney

"It's the middle of summer, Andy," she said. "She's ridiculous."

"If she wants to play it this way, then fine," I thought. "Two can play this game."

I sat at my laptop and looked up the price for a storage unit the size of our guest room in the city where we lived.

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The rate was $150 per month. So, calculating the cost for five years of storage came to $9,000.

A man sitting and using a laptop | Source: Midjourney

A man sitting and using a laptop | Source: Midjourney

Next, I created an invoice in Janet's name. She was going to learn a lesson.

Here is the bill for five years of storage at our house. Thank you for your prompt payment. The money will be used toward your grandchild's nursery.

- Your son-in-law.

A week passed, and there was no response.

Then one evening, just as Sarah and I were sitting down for dinner, the doorbell rang. It was my father-in-law, Greg.

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A smiling older man | Source: Midjourney

A smiling older man | Source: Midjourney

"I'm here for the rest of the things," he said, completely avoiding eye contact.

He and Sarah packed up the remaining boxes and furniture, and by the end of the evening, the guest room was finally empty.

"It's about time," Sarah said, sighing. "I'm glad the clutter is gone."

A smiling woman | Source: Midjourney

A smiling woman | Source: Midjourney

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My wife and I spent the next few weeks painting and decorating the nursery, transforming the once-cluttered space into a cozy haven for our soon-to-arrive baby. It felt like a weight had been lifted off our shoulders.

But just when I thought the drama was over, another twist hit us.

"Did you know that Janet is trying to sell that moth-damaged fur coat as a rare vintage item online?" Sarah said one night, scrolling through her phone.

A woman using her phone | Source: Midjourney

A woman using her phone | Source: Midjourney

My wife only called her mother by her first name when she was irritated.

"She's claiming that it is an antique with 'natural wear and tear' and asking for $1,200!"

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I couldn't help but laugh at the absurdity.

"She's unbelievable. First, she blames us for the damage, then buys a new one, and now this?" Sarah said.

"Or maybe she's just delusional," I replied. "Either way, we are done with that."

A smiling man | Source: Midjourney

A smiling man | Source: Midjourney

One afternoon, I received a call from Greg.

"I'm really sorry about everything," he began. "Janet's been a lot lately, and I know about her wanting to make you pay for her coat. I want to make it right. Can we meet?"

We met at the usual coffee shop, and Greg handed me an envelope. Inside was a check for $9,000.

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"Consider this payment for the storage," he said, looking genuinely remorseful. "I know Janet would never agree to this, but it's the least I can do."

Later that evening, Sarah and I had taco night on Greg.

A plate of tacos | Source: Midjourney

A plate of tacos | Source: Midjourney

What would you have done?

If you enjoyed this story, here's another one for you |

My FIL Demanded That I Pay $6000 for His Retirement Trip, So My Wife and I Taught Him a Good Lesson

Retired FIL's cruise invite turned $6000 shocker leads to a clever family counterplot. A budget-friendly voyage, a faux breakdown, and a cheeky postcard teach lessons in financial wisdom and family respect, steering through high seas drama to a harmonious resolution.

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So, my father-in-law, George, recently retired and decided to celebrate big time. He invited the entire family, including my wife, Sarah, our kids, and me, on a cruise. We were all thrilled, especially the kids, who packed their bags a week in advance, buzzing with excitement.

Mother, father and twin girls stacked on top of each other | Source: Getty Images

Mother, father and twin girls stacked on top of each other | Source: Getty Images

Now, let me paint you a picture: we’re a happy, middle-class family. We work hard, save up for rainy days, and occasionally splurge on family vacations. So, this cruise invitation seemed like a stroke of luck, a perfect getaway to celebrate George's retirement. The anticipation was building, and tomorrow was supposed to be the day we set sail into this fantastic adventure.

Family having dinner on Christmas eve | Source: Getty Images

Family having dinner on Christmas eve | Source: Getty Images

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Read the full story here.

This work is inspired by real events and people, but it has been fictionalized for creative purposes. Names, characters, and details have been changed to protect privacy and enhance the narrative. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental and not intended by the author.

The author and publisher make no claims to the accuracy of events or the portrayal of characters and are not liable for any misinterpretation. This story is provided “as is,” and any opinions expressed are those of the characters and do not reflect the views of the author or publisher.

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