What I Learned about Decluttering from SpongeBob SquarePants and Plankton

SpongeBob clockYears ago, I bought a fun clock.  Literally.  It featured Spongebob Squarepants and his nemesis Plankton coming together as friends, and it played “FUN,” a song about friendship that I think is just fantastic:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KqhfLTsEeZg

I was very excited to bring this clock home and show my children who were 5 and 2 at the time.  It was big, battery operated, bright and boisterous.

We set the alarm to go off so we could hear the song.  We got all excited about it and played the song again and again.  I noticed that the song did play rather loud and couldn’t be stopped once it started, but, ok.

The next night, I put my 2-year-old to bed.  She finally fell asleep and all was quiet in the house.  Until the Spongebob clock started singing, that is.  One way or another the alarm had been set.  On this night, the song wasn’t so fun since it woke the baby up.

As the days went on, the clock got moved all over the house.  It ended up in the garage and basement, even.   The one thing that became clear is that the song would go off at any given time, at any place.  We couldn’t make it stop.  Kids and grownups could be woken up at any time.  The song seemed to mock me when I was trying to work and be serious.

One day when the decluttering bug hit, as well as exhaustion, I put the the clock into a box for donation with our other unwanted items.  But, as happens with occasion, I had declutterer’s regret later.  Of all the items I have given away over the years, that MAY be the only one I miss (well that, and the maybe the Williams and Sonoma Mandoline, but I really don’t want to have a reason to start julienning my carrots anyway.)

So I can identify when I work with people and they get stuck on letting go of an item.  Will I miss it?  What if I want it one day?

Now, when the FUN episode comes on tv, I stop what I’m doing and watch it like its brand new.  If I still had the clock I probably wouldn’t even care about it any more.  I probably wouldn’t even know where it was right now.  Chances are I would have snapped and yelled at my family if the clock woke my kids or me up one more time.

Remember the reasons you want to get rid of the item instead of what could be that won’t be.  Keep the big picture in mind of the clutter free space you crave.  This will be your best motivator to let go.

As for the Spongebob clock that I just spent a good deal of time speculating on, that I no longer own? I can buy it on eBay for $6.77  if I really, really want it back.  Instead, I think it will remain a symbol of how life has gone on just fine without it.

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