How to declutter what you don’t even have


I just did something a little weird. I decluttered my Amazon wish list.

It was a very interesting experience. Decluttering something you never bought in the first place (though came very close to) provides so much satisfaction! Many of those things I had on there were from the last few Christmas seasons. A lot of it was stuff for the boys. They were options if I wanted to grab another gift, or if I needed an idea for a birthday. But with these new eyes? Wow. I metaphorically crumpled them up and tossed ‘em over my shoulder. No looking back.

During the main declutter (and we’re not done yet BTW) the boys’ rooms were certainly not immune. Not a few of the things that got sold or tossed were science kits that my parents had bought them. A saltwater powered robot. A plant growing kit. A beginners chemist set. Have you guessed it yet? Many of the things on my wish list we’re JUST like those things. They looked cool and educational at the same time. But I now know that the cost of keeping those things in our home is not worth it.

You may be thinking, “Those are very good things for a boy to have! The more opportunity they have to learn the more they can grow and prosper! Why would you actually get rid of those things? Just find a shelf to stick it on, crazy lady, and quit getting rid of your kids’ good stuff before you are a detriment to their education!” followed by a mental image of a tumbleweed rolling through a room with a squeaky metal bunk and gray cinderblock walls.

Let me explain myself before you string me up, okay?

Not quite. The boys can still seriously trash a room in no time with the stuff they have.

Not quite empty. The boys can still seriously trash a room in no time with the stuff they have.

The saltwater robot my dad put together with the kids 10 minutes after they opened the box. The thing rolled approx. 1 ¾ inches across the table then got put back in the box. The plant growing kit had a neat maze thing that the plant would grow around. The kid put the seeds in the box and stuck it in our front window where it was never seen and it never grew because it was never watered. The chemist set. Oh dear. The chemist set lost most of its pieces before anyone gave any kind of thought of actually opening the instructions and doing one of the projects.

You see, we did keep these things and did they provide educational value? Not really. What they provided was guilt.

Every time I saw that chemist set I thought, “I should do that with them,” but I did not cherish the idea of digging through the mess to try and find enough pieces for any of the projects. And I felt that guilt every time I came across a cheap, tiny, plastic test tube (usually smashed because it got stepped on.) Every time I saw the box with the robot I thought, “That was a nice thought. I can’t throw it out though because we didn’t get enough enjoyment out of it and my parents paid good money for that.” Every time I saw the plant growing kit I made a mental note to get some more seeds sometime… then immediately stashed that mental note in the bottom of a massive pile of mental notes with only the tiniest hope that I’d come across it anytime I was anywhere near a seed store. (Yes, I realize I could have used any dried bean but I had hopes that the project would be a lot cooler than any basic bean could provide. The longer it sat dead in the window, the more I felt it needed to be bigger and better to make up for the uselessness we’d experienced so far.)

So all the good intentions ended up a useless, messy pile of guilt. Are we bad parents? Maybe. But are bad parents made into good parents if you simply add a heaping helping of guilt? No.

We CAN do better by throwing out the guilt and adding things like

  1. Additional shelf space to display their coolest Lego creations
  2. Additional funds in the budget for experiences over stuff
  3. More pleasant voices and less, “clean this mess up, why did you get all these pieces out if you’re not going to follow the instructions anyway?!”

So that is why the tossing of a magnetic themed magic/science kit on a wish list was so fulfilling. No money spent, I never had to pick it up or tell someone else to pick it up, and I never had to find a place to keep it while I felt guilty that it wasn’t being used.

Decluttering of Amazon wish list: success.

Are you ready? I’m prepping and preparing for a month long decluttering inspirational encouragmental and extravaganzal time this January. For the whole month I’ll post a short daily blurb to help you clean out and free up space, time and soul as you find yourself no longer having to store, maintain and feel guilt over those extra possessions you have lying around.

So start eyeing up now what you would enjoy not having to deal with anymore and make sure you subscribe (there’s a button under the beautiful random picture up there on the top left) so you don’t miss a single day! We’ll clean up together and I will have a giveaway for the best declutterer among us (whether it be in actual pieces tossed or in excitement or hilariousnesss of effort; I probably won’t decide until I actually see the responses and decide “this is best.” It will be fun any way!) And don’t worry I won’t give away something that will fill your home back up. Stay tuned for more info. ; )



6 thoughts on “How to declutter what you don’t even have

  1. Nice! I love an empty Amazon wish list (well, except if it belongs to my FIL and he is expecting a gift…). Ironically, mine has exactly 1 thing on it right now – a kitchen sink. Instead of everything but the kitchen sink, I guess I went the other way. =)
    I use the wish list more as a note space of items I am pondering over and want to keep track of and research some more rather than something I want as a gift. But maybe I’m weird like that.


    • I do the same thing. A think it over spot instead of an actual wish list.

      But it worked out well for me. I came home one day to a package someone got me off my wish list and I totally forgot I even had it on there! I’m sure glad she did though because it was a manual lawn mower and I LOVE it! I never have to fill the gas tank on that thing. So glad someone pushed me over the edge of my hemming and hawing. ; )

      Maybe someone will get you your sink for a gift? : P


  2. Banana

    this is what works for us, outta sight, outta mind, CHUCK IT! Or give it so someone who will appreciate it. The good thing about living here is that stuff gets so dirty, moldy, irreparable…there’s no question whether to keep it or not. I agree tho, about good shelves for stuff to ‘display’. those get cluttered too but as your boys get older (Andrew’s already getting there!) they’ll appreciate a clean space and start doing the decluttering themselves! Josiah and the kids just got rid of 20 or so stuffed animals to take up to a village in Northern Laos where most kids have never had a stuffed animal. They were feeling pretty good and I was feeling even better. Or the best are the Vietnamese recycle-rs that are so happy to have your empty plastic bottles, broken wires and anything metal…plus some good literature that we squeeze in when we can. even decluttering can be spiritual 😉 You’re lovely!


    • Yeah, you guys are set up well to streamline simplicity. I’d say you guys have a better idea than 99% of the population on a few things:

      *What it’s like to live in experiences instead of dependent on things
      *What true need really looks like
      *The volatility of stuff (if you don’t use it it either fills with dust or mold and is useless anyway)
      *How important it is to minimize waste. There’s no room over there for more waste to be floating around!

      Plus you need more room for another little one. So excited! Eeek! : )


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s