Kids And Finances

I Gave Away My Computer Monitor As Motivation To Declutter

computer giveaway, motivation to declutter, parenting advice

Sometimes you just need a little extra motivation to get something done. I got just such a push when my son came down from his room and asked if we could hook up our 22” wide screen high definition monitor to his computer sometime just to see what it looked like.

My son bought his own computer at the end of last summer, but didn’t have enough to purchase a monitor. We had an old one sitting around that he hooked up and declared it would be good enough for the time being. I’ve always wondered why he hadn’t decided to save up for a new monitor. We gave him an upgraded graphics card for Christmas, and the monitor he was using certainly wasn’t doing justice to the capabilities of his computer.

I knew that what he really meant was to do a permanent monitor swap, which was confirmed by the disappointment on his face when I said we could try it, but he should start to save up for his own monitor. I don’t play games on my desktop computer, but I love the brilliance of the screen as well as the size when I’m doing multiple tasks in parallel.

Sitting in my home office, I stared my unopened email list on the screen as well as a small pile of things I have been meaning to try to sell on Craigslist for quite some time. An idea came to me that would benefit both my son and I. I ran up the stairs, knocked on his door and proposed the following to him:

  1. We do the monitor swap.
  2. He starts saving his allowance towards a new monitor
  3. I put the items sitting on my desk on Craigslist and put the proceeds towards the new monitor.
  4. When we collectively have enough money saved, we buy the monitor he wants.

Here’s a list of the items that will be going up for sale:

  • Motorola Atrix smart phone : The phone works fine, but has a cracked screen. Someone will want it for the right price, right?
  • Unopened copy of Halo4 that came with my son’s new Xbox bundle that he decided he didn’t want.
  • Original power supply from my son’s computer that we had to swap out for a more powerful one to support his new graphics card
  • Original graphics card from my son’s computer that was replaced with the one we gave him for Christmas.

Three of the four items are technically his anyway, so it seems right that the money earned from selling them should go to him. I’m willing to throw in whatever I get from my old smart phone to help his cause.

Although the monitor he’s now using is really nice, it’s not quite the one he wants. He’s motivated to save his allowance to get one with specifications that are better for gaming.  I’m now using a little square monitor and I want my big screen back. I’m motivated to sell the unused items currently sitting on my desk so I can get my monitor back.  It’s also a great opportunity to teach my son the process of selling things online.

It’s a win/win situation for both of us.

Have you ever sold unused items as a way to fund buying something new that you wanted? Have you ever made a deal with your son or daughter to motivate you both to accomplish a goal?

Brought to you courtesy of Brock

About the author

Brock Kernin


  • I’d call it a win/win after you sell the old graphics card, power supply, and game. People won’t pay retail on craigslist. I hope you get a lot of money for the stuff, and it’s certainly better than just letting them sit on your desk and collect dust, but you and your son may have to come up with additional funds for a new decent-sized LED (I assume) monitor.

  • @Cathie – Haha….great play on words, Cathie – you gave me a good laugh. 🙂 Looking forward to writing the post about how it all works out.

  • @Bryce – I’m going to write another post on how the whole process plays out, but I expect you’re right. The selling of these items are my contribution to the monitor (plus any other items I can find around the house that I want to get rid of) – my son has to save up allowance for the rest. Thanks for your thoughts!

  • I love the financial lesson that you are teaching your son, too. Things don’t come for free! I love decluttering, but since we moved into our house over a year ago I haven’t done much of it. I told myself that I would de-clutter as part of the annual spring deep clean that I try to do.

  • @TheWarrior – I’m the same way, The Warrior, when I’m deciding what stays and what goes, I tend to think a lot about what really matters to me, and what deserves my attention and time. Thanks for stopping by!

Leave a Comment