The dreaded “Go Away Bag”

The dreaded Go Away Bag is an aggressive – but effective – tool.

About two years ago, I discovered my #1 cleaning tool: the Go Away Bag. Like most parents, I was sick of nagging kids to clean up after themselves. Finally, when nothing was working, I went downstairs, got calm, and pulled out a large garbage bag.

The Go Away Bag doesn’t negotiate. It doesn’t differentiate. It just cleans up everything in its path. While the kids frantically scrambled to rescue their highest-value items, the Bag slowly accumulated socks, Legos, teddy bears, and art supplies. It’s incredible – a completely ransacked room was clean in less than 5 minutes.

Shockingly, after the drama subsided, no one seemed to miss or even remember the confiscated items. Out of sight, out of mind… the toys in the Go Away Bag were forgotten. Months later, the Bag ended up being donated to our local charity. 

“Most of the toys that escaped the Go Away Bag were things the kids bought, built, or created themselves.”

I wouldn’t recommend the Go Away Bag for everyone… it’s not a gentle method. But it did show me that we had way more stuff than we really need. Favorite items were lovingly scooped up and put away, and everything else was just… trash.

Nowadays, just the threat of the Go Away Bag is enough to get a messy bedroom cleaned up. Thanks to the efforts of previous Go Away Bags, there’s not that much junk left: broken pencils, old stickers, and other genuine garbage.

We created Ketshop as a way to teach our children the value of objects. Most of the toys that escaped the Go Away Bag were things the kids bought, built, or created themselves. Those items were more than just plastic, they were a source of pride.

In this post-Marie-Kondo world, we’re all searching for a way to reduce the chaos in our homes. So we challenge you to quit buying stuff for your kids – and instead teach them to shop for themselves. When kids are proud of the things they bought independently, you end up with less junk in your home.

(Sorry, we don’t sell Go Away Bags.)

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