Clean Your Room | 33

If you’re on the younger side, there’s no time like the present to turn this to-do list item into a lifelong habit (heck, this is good for us adults, too). Tsh’s teen daughter, Tate, dispenses some solid advice.

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Episode Transcript

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

Hey guys! I’m Tatum Oxenreider, the coolest, smartest, and favorite daughter of Tsh Oxenreider. My mom decided that she’s sick and tired of podcasting so she’s forcing me to take over for her. I’m kidding, I’m kidding. No she just has a super busy week with school orientation for next year, as well as grading our essays, so I volunteered to take over this week’s podcast! This won’t exactly be a normal episode this week, I will still be talking about a habit, but this one is targeted towards teenagers my age. My mom had the idea that I could start a [quote, unquote] column specifically for teens! Now you big, tax-paying adults are more than welcome to continue listening as well, in fact, you may just learn or relearn a few tricks!

I’m Tatum Oxenreider — This is a habit.

If you don’t have a memory of a time when you were younger and you thought that you were a victim and your parents were cruel and unfair, then, wow. I feel kinda bad for you. I have a memory from when I was in 2nd grade and I needed to clean my room.

I was a very creative kid, making fairy houses decorated with tiny furniture made out of cardboard and creating an entire village out of wooden blocks. I had a lot of talent, but cleaning up after myself wasn’t one of them. This particular day my room was a wreck. I’m talking rainbow duct tape stuck in my cheap, pink rug, my animal toys scattered aimlessly all around, and even my pillows somehow managed to shimmy their way under my bed. I was given the task to clean my room right after I had breakfast. So I trudged upstairs and into my war-stricken room. I decided that I would start with my animals first. I began to pick them up one by one and plunking them into their pink Ikea bucket from whence they came, admiring them and pretending that they had to find their families before they returned to their ark. I don’t remember how long it took, but I’m pretty sure it was a while before they were all put away. My mom and dad frequently came in and checked on me, giving me tips and small goals to complete my basic task, but I found yet another and another trinket to be distracted by until eventually, the Sun was setting. My dad came in to check on me once more. I asked him what was for dinner, he said, lasagna, but you have to finish your room first. How could he? On lasagna night? Dude, low blow. As my door closed I hurriedly proceeded to shoving everything under my bed. I went downstairs and announced that I had cleaned my room. Now, like any good parent whose child spent literally all day attempting to clean their room and just claimed that they finished in under five minutes, they were suspicious. They checked my room, and pulled everything out from under my bed, and said “try again.” At that point, I was losing it. I began to cry and whine. “I just want lasangaaaaaa!” Eventually, I got it done properly, but only after everyone else had finished. They had saved my spot for me at the table when I was finished. As I scarfed down my lasagna, I remember saying to my mom, “heh, I guess I was just hungry.”

Around 3rd or 4th grade, I hit an organizing spurt. My room was nearly always clean, organized beautifully, and just the way I liked it. Now, I will begin to get stressed whenever my room isn’t clean.

So, long story short, my habit this week is keeping your room clean and organized. I have accumulated some tips I’ve learned over my 15 years of existence about keeping your room organized. This may sound cheesy, but I find that the quote really resonates with me. “The objective of cleaning is not just to clean, but to feel happiness living within that environment.” – Marie Kondo.

I believe that even just stopping for 5-10 minutes to straighten your room can make your day.

For me, cleaning helps reduce my stress, it helps me think properly, and it makes my week go by calmly. I’ll share a few tips about how I declutter, clean, and organize in just a minute, after a quick break. I’ll be right back.

Okay, we’re back. This is how I like to clean my room:

  1. Put on peppy music that you enjoy and gets you motivated. This one is totally optional. Some days I just like to clean in silence, but I normally like some background noise.
  2. Start with trash and recycling. If you have a trash bin in your room, awesome! Use that. If you don’t make a trash pile and take it to your family trash can. Gather all the trash on your desk, floor, nightstand, under your bed, anywhere there’s trash and throw it away. Next, pick up all the recycling. That’s paper, cardboard, and plastic bottles. I don’t know maybe you have cans too.
  3. I find all the things that don’t belong in my room. Family craft supplies, dishes, and any other trinkets that you borrowed. Return them to their proper homes. If there’s one thing I know, it’s that I get really frustrated when I can’t find something that isn’t in its proper place. Don’t be that person.
  4. I clear off my surfaces one by one, by putting things where they belong. Books on my shelf, art supplies in my art drawer, clothes either in the hamper or in my wardrobe. Once they’re cleared, wipe them down with a cleaner.
  5. Sweep or vacuum. If you don’t have carpet, then you can do the bonus step of mopping!
  6. I make my bed. You can choose to do this one first or last. I like to do it last because it gives me a sense of accomplishment and I like to put stuff on my bed when I’m cleaning. It really doesn’t matter when you do it as long as you do it.
  7. Reorganize things that got out of place or are disheveled. This one is my favorite. Some tips for organizing things I have are getting dividers/containers to separate objects, donate or toss out things you don’t want any more or have grown out of like clothes or toys, and if you don’t have enough room for everything you want to keep or don’t necessarily want to see, but you don’t want to get rid of them, you can find compartments that fit perfectly under your bed, or you could put things in a box and put it in your attic.
  8. If you feel like your room needs a glow-up, you can find some art you like and hang it up, buy a new comforter that works well with your room coloring, or whatever you think your room needs. I put up some Christmas lights around the edge of my room on my wall and I really like them. You do you.
  9. Take a nap, make art, read, or listen to an audiobook, and enjoy your refreshed room!

Remember that this is just what works for me, you can practice finding your own methods, gathering advice from family, friends, the internet, and trying it out.

Cleaning my room always helps clear my mind, reconnect with myself and God, and just makes me feel better. This is a habit that everyone, young and old should practice.


Hi Tsh, this is Stephanie Welch from Eatonton, Georgia. I’ve been a long time listener of your podcast when it used to be Simple, and now The Good List. I absolutely love it. One thing on my good list right now during this quarantine is I call it the knitting hour. Every day at 3:00, take my quote-unquote lunch break from working remotely, and I go outside and sit on my back porch and knit for an hour. There’s something about the repetitive motion of knitting that calms my mind and it also scratches the itch that I have to be productive during this quarantine time without putting too much pressure on myself. I’m nowhere near getting the sweater done that I was trying to get done, but it’s been so beneficial for my mind and my heart. Thanks.


A big thanks to my daughter, Tate, for sharing with us what habit is currently on her Good List (and as her mom, I can attest — she’s very, very good at this one!). If you’ve got teens, have them listen in, and if you’d like her to show up occasionally on the Good List with another thought for the younger people in your life, do let me know!

A little reminder that I’ve got a new four-part audio workshop out called Create Your Rule of Life workshop — it comes with a downloadable guidebook, and the price is pay-what-you-can. Yep, I want you to name your price. You can find it at, or in the show notes of this episode. And one more reminder 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

Leave me a voicemail or send me a voice recording to tell me one thing that’s currently on your Good List. Either leave a voicemail at (401) 684-GOOD or record your voice and email the voice file to, and we may feature it here on the show.

Thanks again to Tate for sharing with us what’s on her Good List this week. And thanks also to Stephanie for sharing with us what’s currently on her GL, too. 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 soon — thanks for listening to The Good List.