Declutter a Space | 24

This is for those of you who could use a little boost of encouragement with a physical activity, a quick win, or something with a good before-and-after visual. Low-pressure, but feels good to get done. (Hint: smaller is better.)

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Episode Transcript

This is The Good List — I’m Tsh Oxenreider.

It’s interesting, I think, to see how different people have been reacting to the quarantine and the pandemic in general. I’m pretty sure it’s safe to say that there is no normal or “should” to how we’re reacting to this, everyone is different, and in a way, everything goes. Some people are feeling the need to be more productive — they want a to-do list, a schedule, a routine, a rhythm. And some people are totally the opposite — they need less pressure, lowered expectations, and a slower pace of life. I get both, and I’m honestly personally hovering somewhere in the middle.

A month-plus into this, and I’m finding myself craving lowered expectations to the point where I’m actually enjoying some of this quarantine, all the way to also needing to push myself a bit so that I don’t cave into my introvert tendencies and become a bump on a log. It’s helped me, for example, that my gym just finished a 21-day at-home challenge, where they gave us daily workouts and we logged our workouts into the app, cheering each other on. I need that accountability, that rhythm, and that hand-holding, because I’m not exactly the type of person to work out unless someone knows whether or not I did it. On the other hand, I absolutely do NOT need a reading challenge right now, because my default favorite activity is reading, and yet right now I’m having a hard time focusing on long-term reading. I’ve heard from others that this is common right now, and I’m not worried about it — but if I set myself up for some sort of challenge and I didn’t meet it, I’d feel frustrated because I think of myself as a reader, and that I was somehow betraying my favorite pastime by reading slower than usual. I’m just reading — at whatever pace feels comfortable; whatever books I want to read.

So, we all need different things about different areas of our life during this quarantine, which is my build-up to introduce today’s Good List topic. This might be right up your alley, or you might need to finish this episode and say, “Good for you; not for me,” and that’s just fine. But if you need a little boost of encouragement with an activity, or a quick win, or something with a good before-and-after visual, I wanna encourage you to declutter one area of your home. Just one, because you don’t need to bite off more than you can chew, and you can always tackle a second area after you’re done if you want to keep going. So, give yourself a challenge — if you need it — to declutter one space in your house. You might also want to give yourself a deadline, like this weekend, or by next Friday, or if it’s a big decluttering mountain, by the end of this month. Some date you can see on the calendar and mark as your challenge.

And then, just start. Decluttering is one of those things where action begets action, so when you’re listening to this, it may not sound like something you want to do. If that’s you, just start with the goal of getting rid of 100 things — that’s what I tell people when they want to declutter but they don’t want to start. Get a box, and add 100 things you no longer need. 100 sounds like a lot, but it adds up quickly: think old mismatched socks, expired spices, old magazines, pens that have dried up. We’ve all got stuff like this. Once you fill this box, you might find you’ve give yourself a little boost of energy to keep going.

Wherever this space is — a closet, a room, a storage space, a dresser — I like using the simple repeatable rhythm of declutter, clean, and organize: take one small area at a time, get rid of everything you don’t need or doesn’t belong, then clean it while it’s empty, then put only the stuff that belongs there, organized. And you don’t need perfect organizing tchotchkes to make it nice and tidy — sometimes we use that as an excuse, when good enough is just fine.

For me, the area in our house that needs the most love right now is my youngest son’s room. He’s naturally a pack rat and on the messy side, so we need to dedicate some focused time on just getting rid of stuff in there: random wrappers, old craft projects made from scrap cardboard he hasn’t seen in a long time, clothes that no longer fit him… it won’t be his favorite activity, but I’ll personally feel a lot better having crossed it off my list. It’s been on there for a while, and even though I don’t personally feel like decluttering — I’d rather be in my garden, or baking something — I figured now’s a good time to work on the house. I’m here anyway, and we’re getting a lot of use our of home these days. May as well make it function a little better, you know?

If you’d like a bit more accountability, encouragement, and hand-holding, you might want to consider my friend Joshua Becker’s class called Uncluttered. It’s open only a few times per year, and he actually just opened it again, if you’re listening to this episode as it goes out in April. And because of the current pandemic, he’s opening enrollment at a really, really discounted price, so you might want to check it out now if you’ve ever been on the fence about enrolling in something like this. My link for you is at, and it’s also in the show notes of this episode, #24.


Hey Tsh, this is Casey, and I’m from Grapevine Texas. I am 64, almost 65, and all of a sudden I am alone with my husband, but he goes to work during this Covid. So I’ve learned that I have to wash my hands for twenty seconds. So what I’m done to make a little bit more fun is I’m learning a poem by William Wordsworth: I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud — this is my second poem. I also did Robert Frost’s Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening as I wash my hands. I recite my poem and I’m learning poems now. I can take them out on a walk. Also by my kitchen sink I do a hymn — right now I’m learning the four stanzas of Abide With Me. And that’s how I am getting through the learning the learning of washing and scrubbing up in a happy and joyful way. Thanks so much for being here — I enjoy so much listening to you, and to all of the people who are calling in to stay strong and stay safe. Have a great day.


A little reminder that if you haven’t yet, to sign up for my free weekly email called 5 Quick Things, where I share 5 things I either created or loved from the week. Go to to sign up, and you’ll get the next weekly email that goes out on Friday mornings.

I’m on twitter @tsh and sometimes on IG @tshoxenreider, and you can also find a transcript and the show notes of this episode, and all episodes, at, as well as the link to Joshua’s Uncluttered class, which is currently open but not for long. Again, that’s at

And don’t forget to leave me a voicemail or send me a voice recording, telling me one thing you’re doing to stay sane during your quarantine and social distancing. Leave me a voicemail at (401) 684-GOOD, which goes directly to voicemail; or, simply record your voice and email the voice file to Just state your name and where you’re from, and what’s one thing helping you get through this right now. And we may feature it here on the show.

Music for the show is by Kevin MacLeod, and thanks, as always, to Caroline TeSelle and Kyle Oxenreider for their help, as well as my furry intern, Ginny. I’m Tsh Oxenreider, and I’ll be back with you in just a few days — thanks for listening to The Good List.