DEAR ABBY: My husband and I recently moved into our first house after five years of apartment living. We love our new home and have just unpacked the last box and settled in.

There has been just one bone of contention in our otherwise happy living situation. I have 15 to 20 small- to medium-sized stuffed animals that I enjoy having around. My husband insists they not be visible at all in our home. He says it looks like I haven’t grown up and am living in the past. He’s embarrassed to have any visitors see them.

Abby, I don’t want to display these toys in the living room. They are upstairs in my personal space. Your opinion, please. – UPSET IN SAN ANTONIO

DEAR UPSET: A compromise is in order. Corral the animals and keep them in a display cabinet in your “personal space.” That way your husband won’t be crowded with dust-catchers, and you can have your sentimental keepsakes close by.

P.S. It would be interesting to know how you came by all those stuffed animals. If they were gifts from your husband, he has no right to complain. If they were gifts from old boyfriends, however, he may have a valid point.

DEAR ABBY: I am an avid reader – a true book lover. Sometimes I like to share my favorite books with friends. Right now, I have loaned out about 20 books to various people. I am sure I placed a name and address in each one to be sure I would get it back.

It has been almost two years, Abby, and the books have not been returned.

When you loan someone a book, it’s because you really enjoyed it. You may want to read it again or pass it on to others. I don’t know how people can be so neglectful about returning things that don’t belong to them.

If you print this, it may jog the memories of the guilty people who have borrowed items and don’t think they have to return them. I’m sure others feel as I do — that if you lend something out, it does not give the person the right to keep it indefinitely. – BOOK LOVER IN PENNSYLVANIA

DEAR BOOK LOVER: I’m printing your letter, but please don’t count on the guilty repenting of their sins of omission. In the future, I strongly recommend that you keep a list of the books you loan out, the dates they were loaned, and the names of the borrowers. That way you can call and ask to have your property returned. I’m sad to say that many people simply do not respect the property of others the way they do their own.

DEAR ABBY: How does one respectfully decline being included in a will which your mother holds over you? I would like not to be included, but I would also like to come across as sincere and respectful without causing more animosity. – WANTS TO OPT OUT IN COLORADO

DEAR WANTS TO OPT OUT: Write your mother a love letter. List the good things she has done for you in your life, and your gratitude for the lessons she has taught you. At the end, state: “You have mentioned many times the fact that you have included me in your will. However, because you have already given me so much, I respectfully ask that you leave your estate to other family and friends who need it.”

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

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