I have a love/hate relationship with online shopping. I love the convenience and the fact that I can have almost anything I need delivered to my home, even if I am not well enough to get out myself. But that ease has a nasty side. It’s incredibly easy to simply buy the first thing that pops into my head, the moment it pops into my head. Without the pain barrier of having to get dressed, get in the car, and drive to town, impulse shopping is too easy. 

Years ago I ran across a piece of advice to help solve this problem. Add all the items you want to your cart and then walk away for a period of time. The idea is to allow the “shopping fever” a chance to subside. By the time you come back to the cart, chances are that the impulse will have passed and you’ll realize that you don’t want/need the items after all. 

And it works, most of the time. But then came the wishlists to sneakily undo this work. Whether you choose to call it a wishlist, “save for later,” or favorites, almost every site has some way of allowing you to mark items for future consideration. I’ve been guilty of sometimes moving a cart item to a wishlist, or dodging the cart altogether and just putting stuff directly into the wishlist. 

There’s not anything wrong with this, of course, except that, for me, I’ve found that it creates an itch in the back of my brain. Even though those items are out of sight, my brain knows they’re there. It still wants to think about them, or to check on the price. The longer the list gets, the itchier my brain gets. Eventually, I’ll end up buying something off that list because I’ve thought about it for so long. Some of my most regretted purchases are things that came off a wishlist. I know that I bought the item mostly so I would stop thinking about it. 

Maybe I’m the only one this happens to. I don’t know. But I do know this: There is joy in cleaning out your wishlists. 

I’ve gone through every site I use and cleared out all of the “save for later” areas. Ruthless cleaning was actually pretty easy once I realized that most of the stuff in there was unnecessary and not even that desirable. Certainly not worth the space it would take up in my house, or the care it would require. 

My brain is now much less itchy and I know I’ll save money. I’m no longer tempted to buy something just so I can stop thinking about it. I’m not worried about FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) on popular items. Out of sight, out of mind. Without thoughts of things not bought running through my head, I have more attention to give the items I already own. I can be more appreciative and enjoy them without thinking of replacements and additions. It’s a more peaceful way of existing in the online shopping world. 

I now only use the wishlist for only necessary items. Things like laundry detergent, pet food, or frequently bought pantry staples are all that I allow into my “save for later” areas. This is simply because it makes it easier to reorder these needed items. It’s like keeping a shopping list on the fridge. For everything else, I apply the “put it in the cart and wait” trick. And I use that only when I know something deserves strong consideration and isn’t simply a fleeting thought.  

Cleaning out your wishlists is a good way to save money. It’s also a way to reduce the psychic load most of us carry every day. Don’t we all have more important things to think about than what’s waiting to be purchased?

Am I the only one for whom wishlists trigger itchy brain syndrome? Talk about it below in the comments. 

Jennifer Derrick

Jennifer Derrick is a freelance writer, novelist and children’s book author.  When she’s not writing Jennifer enjoys running marathons, playing tennis, boardgames and reading pretty much everything she can get her hands on.  You can learn more about Jennifer at: https://jenniferderrick.com/.

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