How to Remove the Clutter of Advertising from Your Life

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5000 Ads Per Day?

It’s actually unclear how many ads we see on a daily basis.

It might be 5000. Or it might not.

Regardless - by the time you count labels on healthcare products and clothing, logos on appliances, cars, and buildings, and ads on radio, TV, the Internet and Billboards the end result is a world that’s incredibly noisy.

Noise to your ears. Noise to your eyes.

All wanting your attention.

And your money.

Mental Filters

We’ve adapted. We’ve created great mental filters that allow us to block out the noise of advertising and still, somehow, see a stop sign or hear the horn of an approaching semi.

Or at least we think those mental filters are great.

Subliminal messaging sneaks past them. Long-term exposure to ads breaks them down. Living in a particular culture will affect them over time.

Creating Stronger Filters

Suburbia-ditchers want to live life on our terms. We want to decide what’s important for our family. Typically it’s less stuff, less of a focus on “fitting in” or “keeping up”. We’ve done that and found it exhausting and unsatisfying.

In order to figure out what your terms are you need quiet. You need focus. You need to turn down the noise of advertising, mainstream media, and pop culture.

But how?

Homer’s Solution

Homer (yes that Homer) provides the solution in The Odyssey:

First you will come to the Sirens who enchant all who come near them. If any one unwarily draws in too close and hears the singing of the Sirens, his wife and children will never welcome him home again, for they sit in a green field and warble him to death with the sweetness of their song. There is a great heap of dead men’s bones lying all around, with the flesh still rotting off them. Therefore pass these Sirens by, and stop your men’s ears with wax that none of them may hear.The Odyssey by Homer

Plug Your Ears

How do you plug your ears to the Siren call of advertising here in 2017?

Here are some ideas:


  • Wear clothing with no words or obvious brands.
  • Develop a personal uniform to minimize clothes shopping.

Print Media

  • Avoid newspapers and magazines (which are 40% - 50% advertising).
  • Hire a mail service that throws away any junk mail you recieve.


  • Don’t listen to commercial radio (which has 12-16 minutes of ads per hour).
  • Use online services like Pandora for music (the ad-free Pandora One service is $5/mo).
  • Focus on instrumental music.



  • Install AdblockPlus on all your desktop browsers.
  • Install Adblock iOS on your Apple mobile devices.
  • Install AdblockPlus on your Android devices.
  • Install SocialFixer for Facebook.
  • Unfollow social media accounts from people who constantly promote and rarely converse.
  • Turn off retweets for everyone you follow on Twitter.

House and Vehicles

  • Debadge your vehicle.
  • Desticker your RV or boat.
  • Desticker your surroundings - look for logos, tags or needless cautionary stickers you can get rid of (you really can remove those mattress tags, you know).


  • Avoid shopping malls.
  • Shop online instead.
  • Create a Capsule Kitchen so your grocery shopping takes less time.
  • Use self-checkout lanes at grocery stores (they usually have less clutter around the checkout and usually don’t have the monitors that staffed lanes have).


By taking these setups to declutter your life from the insidious effects of advertising you will learn (or re-learn) that:

  • The Christmas holiday is about something completely different than completing a shopping checklist.
  • You can’t spend your way to happiness.
  • A new car won’t make your life more adventurous. Or self-confident. Or more successful. Or more respected.
  • Watching TV or movies is not experiencing life.
  • Women are not purely sexual objects to be earned by purchasing the right product.
  • Men are not complete bumbling idiots needing guidance or correction by smarter more capable women.

But mainly?

Clearing the advertising junk out of your life is like driving from the middle of the worst smog-infested city straight into the depths of the closest forest. You’ll breath deeply of clean fresh air.

You’ll be able to clear your mind and focus on just how good you already have it. You’ll be grateful for what you already have and who you already are.

Oh, So Quiet

We’ve done all of the above - and it’s amazing how much of the noise we are able to tune out.

It only takes 15 minutes of commerical TV or Radio to remind us how quiet from ads our day to day lives have become, and how little we are influenced by hip-looking people sitting in conference rooms plotting marketing strategies on white boards.

Any Missed Tricks?

Do you have any tricks for avoiding ads that we missed above? We’d love to hear them!

7 Comments How to Remove the Clutter of Advertising from Your Life

  1. Picture of kay ~ the barefoot minimalist kay ~ the barefoot minimalist October 15, 2015

    I do most of these things.  The only ones that I don’t involve apps.  I"m still not sure what those are.  :P   Hubby used to find it so strange how I’d tune out radio and tv commercials.  He’d say something about them and I’d look at him like, “huh?”  He finally realized that I had some weird mental filter against them.  But here’s the rub on the TV thing.  We have avoided buying a washer/dryer since we’ve been here, because I don’t want to do the laundry in the garage with the lizards.  Hey, they’re cute, but not what I’d consider social pals.  Anyway, we go to the laundromat once a week, and the worker always has the TV set to news.  I’ve mentioned a few times how I don’t like or watch the news when she tries to bring something up that’s on there, but she just looks at me like I’m an alien or something and leaves the thing blaring.  Any suggestions other than just slapping her and commandeering the remote?

  2. Picture of Michael Boyink Michael Boyink October 15, 2015

    I hate that as well - restaurants too. I have been known to reach up and turn off TVs in public if the buttons are accessible…;)

    Other than asking directly to turn it off (or at least down) I don’t know what to tell you.

  3. Picture of kay ~ the barefoot minimalist kay ~ the barefoot minimalist October 16, 2015

    She’s so intense!  I think she enjoys being “in the know” about every worldly news event.  I’ll come in and she’ll say something like “Did you hear they found that girl?”  I’m like “What girl?”  Then I get that look of derision again.  The TV was tuned to an old sitcom one day and I said, “Wow, I haven’t seen that in ages.  I loved that show!”  So what was her answer to that?  She went over and picked up the remote and changed the channel to the news.  I couldn’t believe it.  Maybe she just doesn’t like my cartoon face.  Makes me want to change my mind about laundry day with the lizards!  P.S.  She keeps a tight rein on that remote and the TV is too high to reach!  Argh!  ...  Sorry, and thanks for listening.  I guess I needed to vent a tad.

  4. Picture of kay ~ the barefoot minimalist kay ~ the barefoot minimalist October 16, 2015

    I didn’t know those existed!  Wow, that sure would make laundry day fun!  Hmmm, do I dare?  Makes me giggle just thinking about it!  Thanks!  :)

  5. Picture of Curt Feldman Curt Feldman November 12, 2017

    Michael and Crissa. Apropos your post is this story from today’s NYTimes. After living for the past six years in the redwoods of northern California, I can attest to the soothing qualities of dense forests—another way to turn down the noise of the modern/consumerist world we live in. Enjoy the read and thanks for this excellent post. Best.

  6. Picture of Crissa Boyink Crissa Boyink November 13, 2017

    Thanks for the link to the NY Times article.

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