Giving Me A Mug? Read This First

I have a new policy when it comes to gifts: anyone who gives me a mug will receive two in return.  Not only will you get the original thoughtless gift back, but you are also receive an additional chunk of cheap pottery to go along with it.

This is not altruism.  Nor is it a sincere “thank you”.  Rather, it is an act of cold-hearted revenge.  I want others to suffer first world problems as I have, with cupboards overflowing with mugs that they can’t give away because they are “too dear”.  

Why Stoop so Low?

Because sometimes to fight the wolves you have to become one.  Telling the Materialists that mugs are the worst gift didn’t work, so now I’m trying it in a language they understand: cheap gift shop crap.  By giving them a taste of their own medicine, I’m hoping that the mug givers will finally realize the error of their ways.     

I don’t want people to think twice before giving me a mug, I want them to shudder and break into a cold sweat.  I want them to stand there, clutching the prospective gift in fear, as visions of shelves overflowing with mugs cloud their vision.  Absolute terror is what I want to inspire, as the Materialist cowers from the thought of having to give away the extra mugs I give them.

As usual, I’m not doing this just for me.  This policy is for every little boy and girl that happily opened a small square box on Christmas morning, only to be devastated by the personalized mug inside.  At least with socks you can wear them out, but a personalized mug?  Unfortunately, its forever.

The Mug Revolution

My goal is nothing less than the total and utter eradication of mugs from the gift giving world.  The enemy is the entire mug industrial complex, and the materialists who serve as cogs in its ever churning offal engine.  As we speak, there are hundreds of factories around the world silently churning out hideous ceramic swill.  They must be stopped.

If everyone followed my example, the mug giving cycle would be broken in a manner of months.  The Materialists would be swamped by extra mugs, and realize what a horrible gift they are.  The entire world would reach an unspoken agreement that everyone now has the capability to drink hot liquid, so no more cups for awhile.

How it Works

This section is here for the Materialists, because it’s pretty damn simple and only a person who derives happiness from possessions would need any more explanation.

  1. You give me a piece of kitchen detritus (a mug)
  2. I give you two pieces of kitchen detritus in return

The only other detail to know is that it scales.  If you give me two pieces of kitchen detritus, you get four in return.  If you give me four, you get eight lovely pieces of crapware in return.  And so on, to infinity.  It will never end.

Materialist Warning: nothing can stop me from extracting revenge.  I will go to the ends of the earth to see you crushed. If you send me a dozen mugs, I will send you twenty four.  If you send me a thousand, I will send two thousand back.  If you bestow upon me ownership of a mug manufacturing company, I will bestow upon you ownership of two mug manufacturing companies.

Where Will They Come From?

For most friends and relatives the “bonus mug” will come from my already vast stores.  I have boxes in the attic full of ceramic swill given to me by well meaning, but sadly misguided Materialists.  It will be like a backward Ponzi scheme where I hope to go broke.  Unfortunately in this case, I never will, because of science.  Let me explain.

Julian’s third law of Accumulation and Atrophy states that “As a middle class american consumer you can never run out of mugs, rubber bands, coasters, or pens.”  In other words, it is impossible to run out of mugs.  There are always more in the cupboard, attic, or in a drawer somewhere.  If you send me ten mugs, I will easily be able to find twenty just lying around the house.

You may be wondering about Julian’s second law of Accumulation and Atrophy.  It’s really more of a wish than a scientific principle.  It states that “A mug in motion should continue to stay in motion, until it hits the ground and shatters.  Amen. Namaste.”  The first law is even more obscure, as it’s just my grocery list for the week.    

The “Thank You” Mug

Not all of the mugs I give back will be re-gifts.  In many cases I will create custom “thank you” mugs to send to people.  This will be a plain white mug with a picture of me on it.  In the picture I will be holding the mug they gave me, and smiling excitedly (sarcastically).  Just to drive home the point, I will send two.

The Julian Wickers Method for Decluttering

You may have heard about the KonMari method for decluttering.  I won’t bore you with the details, but the gist is simple: it’s a way for weak willed Materialists to feed their addiction.  True Minimalists™ use the Julian Wickers Method for decluttering.  

The Julian Wickers Method is simple: pick up an object and shake it.  If the object moves or struggles, keep it.  Everything else goes in the fire.  There is no appeal to emotions, no sentimental weakness, only cold hard logic.

As True Minimalists™  we should seek to throw away everything that we possibly can without breaking the law.  With the Julian Wickers Method you get that effectiveness.  Anything that you would go to jail for throwing away is kept, everything else is gone.  Sure, a few gadgets might get saved, and maybe your catatonic spaniel might get tossed out, but everything else is crystal clear.     

Applying the Julian Wickers Method

Applying the method is easy.  Simply walk around your house shaking things.  Books, paperweights, pets, clothing, children, furniture: give them all a good shake, or if the item is too big, a vigorous tap.  Most items you encounter will not move, which means they need to be tossed out.

The beauty of the Julian Wickers Method is how quickly it works.  It will only take you a few short minutes to go through your entire house and determine what objects need to be thrown away.  There is no need to gently pick up each item and try to gauge your emotional response, just see if it moves.

Reader Honesty Check: Unless you’re already a True Minimalist ™, or living in a robotic wonderland, you should have found plenty of junk to get rid of.

Once you’ve classified everything the actual disposal will take longer.  However you want to get rid of your junk is up to you, so long as you don’t donate it.  I recommend using fire, an axe, or a combination of the two.  


I shook the object and its moving, but clearly not alive.

If there is movement it stays.  Balls, Roombas, moveable action figures sometimes make it through, which is okay.

I shook my dog spot, but he isn’t moving.

Sorry to hear.  Unfortunately he needs to go.  Burning would be faster, but I recommend a sky burial for the kids.    

What if I can’t pick it up?

Just tap on it a few times.  For elderly parents, maybe tap more vigorously.

What if the object might be moving internally, like my wife’s computer

Unless you can see or feel the movement, toss it.

Even if it doesn’t move, it still brings me joy, can I keep it?

No.  Materialism is a false happiness, and ultimately leads to ruin.  

I’m de-cluttering the garage, how can I apply the Julian Wickers method to my car?

Gently kick the tire.  Then drive it to a vacant lot for its holy communion by fire.

My dog is moving, but his food bowl is not.  Should I really toss it?  Wont he need it?

What do you think?  Did dogs have “food bowls” 1000 years ago?  Try phrasing it like this: “my spoiled oaf of a mutt is used to receiving his heavenly manna in a jewel encrusted bowl.  Even though he devotes an hour a day to enthusiastically licking his nether regions, I’m worried he will be disgusted by having to eat his expensive food on the polished tile.”  Does that make things a little more clear?

Why not just ask if the object is alive?

For future proofing.  Robots should be a part of every Minimalist household.

Testimonials for the Julian Wickers Decluttering Method

“I’ve always had trouble sorting through my parent’s old photo albums.  With the Julian Wickers Method it was as easy as throwing them into a nearby dumpster and lighting the whole thing on fire.  I can’t recommend it enough for family heirlooms and your wife’s old journals.“ – Max

“The KonMari method is not a sufficient algorithm for robotic operation.  The feeble emotion known as joy is illogical, along with most humans.  Julian Wickers, and his computationally sufficient decluttering method, is a true robot friend.” – Decluttering Bot 1000

“The Julian Wickers Method  was the perfect way to declutter my ex-girlfriends apartment while she was at work.  Due to the fire danger I had to use a golf club instead of burning everything.  I still need to declutter her car.” – Blaze

“We tried the KonMari method, but ran into trouble with the law.  Apparently we can’t throw away children just because they no longer bring us joy.  Thankfully the Julian Wickers Method helped declutter in a concise and legal way.  Have fun sleeping on the floor kids.” – Mom and Pop

One Simple Parenting Trick To Make You Rich

I’ve discovered a simple parenting trick that will make you rich.  It will take time, effort, and persistence on your part, but the end result will be a dump truck full of cash*.  What is it?  Billing your children, for all the unconditional love, attention, and support you provided.  

*(The actual volume of cash will probably be enough to fill a 2003 Honda Odyssey, but that doesn’t have quite the same ring to it)

Having kids is an investment, and it’s only fair that you demand a sizable return.  Nobody gets into parenting because they enjoy changing diapers or listening to a baby scream its head off at 3 o’clock in the morning.  Most people have children for the same reasons I did: the money.    

Raising a kid takes a lot of time and money, so it’s only natural that they should pay you back.  Studies show that it costs roughly 230,000 dollars to raise a child to adulthood, not counting college.  I will help you get that back, and more.

How it Works

The first step in getting rich from your children is creating the bill itself.  Due to the hundreds of expenses you will incur over years of raising a child, this will not be a single piece of paper so much as a living document.  There is no single right way to create the bill, so long as it is itemized and very detailed.

Warning: the bill you eventually present to your children will be more complicated than your taxes.  There will be lots of precise calculations and opaque logic.  Unlike taxes however the convoluted logic and shady calculations will serve one single purpose: to make you rich.

You should present them with the bill at a young age, ideally 9 or 10.  This will help them appreciate the gravity of their situation and lead to more responsible decisions down the road (IE not wasting allowance on toys, getting a job as soon as possible).  See the FAQ for more recommendations.

What to Include in the Bill

Everything, and I mean it.  Clothes, food, toys, diapers, baby wipes, Christmas presents – if they touched it, you can charge them.  Did they ever stand on your antique table, or play the grand piano for a funny home video?  Put em’ on the bill.

Obviously you want to charge your child for rent.  For this it is important to be fair.  Only charge the monthly rate for a room in your area, although make sure to adjust for inflation.  Let the mother decide if she wants to charge for time spent in the womb ($1000/month is the rate most people use).

Reader Tip: Make sure they pay you back for allowance – it wasn’t a gift!

The most lucrative section of the bill will be what I call “parenting services”.  This is the tens of thousands of hours you and your wife spent showering the child with affection and catering to their every need.  For this calculate the raw hours you spent parenting and multiply it by your hourly rate.

What is your hourly parenting rate?  Good question.  It obviously can’t be less than the minimum wage in your state, so start there.  If you have a high school degree, double it.  If you have a college degree, double it again.  Post graduate degree?  Double it again.  Wikipedia article about you?  Multiply by 1.5.  

FYI: Due to my celebrity status and numerous degrees my parenting rate is an astounding 240 dollars per hour!  

For example, if you live in California and have a bachelor’s degree your hourly parenting rate is 42 dollars per hour (10.50 x 2 x 2).  If you have a 5 year old a rough estimate for your parenting services is 5 years * 365 days in a year * 6 hours of parenting a day * 40 dollars/hour  = $438,000.  Not bad!

Start Early

The best time to start compiling your bill is early, ideally before they are even born.  This will help you remember and record every single expense.  Any item of clothing or morsel of food you forget is money out of your pocket, so you want to remember everything.

When should you present your child with the bill?  Ideally as soon as they are old enough to comprehend what it means, even if they can’t start making payments.  This will help them mentally prepare.

The perfect occasion for this is Christmas or a birthday.  Put a printed copy of the bill in a big box and pretend it is a present they really want.  Then, when they open it, surprise them with a long serious discussion.  Afterwards, test them by offering the present they really wanted, with the caveat that it will be on the bill, unless you return it.  

We plan to present our oldest, Timmy, with his bill when he turns 10.  Obviously we don’t expect him to start making payments immediately, but it will help him plan for a future in which he can earn the 3.1 million dollars (and counting) that he already owes.


When should I stop charging my children?

When they turn 18 or move out of the house, whichever comes last.  If they run away before turning 18, charge them an extra rate for anxiety and worry.

Should I charge interest on payments?  If so, how much?

You should definitely charge interest, just be reasonable about it.  You want to find the fine balance between putting your child into lifetime debt and making yourself rich.  I recommend starting at a rate of 1% a year, then increasing it by one each birthday (starting when they are born of course).  

My son is only twelve years old and doesn’t have enough to pay back the 3.2 million he owes us.  What should I do?

Relax.  You should wait until they turn 18 to start expecting payments.  If you are really anxious, start secretly stealing allowance money, or sell them into indentured servitude over the weekends.

Should I pressure my son into a high paying career?

Will your son become a literal fountain of money if he graduates with a degree in fine arts?  Do you think a teacher’s salary can pay for boozy weekend excursions to Atlantic City?  I recommend and showing him only the movie “Wall Street” from an early age (skip the sad ending).   

I have two boys, which one do I charge for time spent with both?

Good question.  I assume you are drafting a bill for each child.  Charge each of them separately for family time.  This is a great way to squeeze out a few extra dollars.

Should my wife and I charge separately for time spent parenting?

Absolutely.  Both parents are independent workers who could have been doing another job.  It is only fair that both charge for their services.