In this extra credit episode, we are going to expand and modify what we talked about in Episode 52 when it comes to decluttering.

Extra Credit On How to Start Decluttering Transcript

Welcome to our extra credit episode today, where we are going to cover our warm-up, a book review, then we’ll cover the lesson that we talked about on Sunday where we will also modify and expand it. 

I have a product spotlight, a snack break, and then also an update on how the #75Simple Challenge is going, and what I hope you can also take from it.


For our warm-up today, I wanted to tell you about this really interesting fact. 

I googled “the average person has how many…”, and I was just trying to get something for our fact, for our decluttering and trying to limit and let go of objects. 

But the first thing that popped up was actually that every day your brain processes about 70,000 thoughts.

This is why I think that honestly, Google is very entertaining because that is not true. 

Having 70,000 thoughts is a lot of thoughts for your brain to process. It might take in 70,000 reflexes, reactions, or it might start 70,000 processes all throughout your body, but that’s a lot of thoughts every second.

Instead, if you actually look into it, the average person has about 6,000 thoughts a day. Which is still pretty cool. That’s pretty dramatic and it’s a lot of things that we’re thinking about and processing.

But even cooler than that is how did scientists figure this out? 

Well, they actually hooked up people’s brainwaves and showed them a movie. And why did they show them a movie? Because movies trigger what they called “thought worms” or these detectable patterns of brain activity that would just kind of come out of nowhere. 

So they were able to follow these worms and every time it started and ended, they would consider that one new thought that branched off of just the activity that your brain was taking in.

They found that it was on average about six and a half thought transitions per minute. 

So I guess technically, depending on how awake you are during the day, you can be on the lower end of 6,000 or on the higher end of 6,000. But 6,000 full thoughts a day. 

And it really got me thinking about a lot of things. Trying to spend more of my day in gratitude and not being frustrated with so many things that can happen in the classroom. 

How many of those thoughts am I willing to let be a thought worm towards the negative? 

So that was just a little fun warm up brain nugget for you.


From that I want to go into our book review. I listened to the audiobook Discipline is Destiny by Ryan Holiday which was recommended by an influencer on Instagram.  

Actually, it was a really interesting book to follow along. It followed through case studies of some of the most disciplined people in history. Some of which you’ve never heard of. 

Or some of which you don’t really know about their discipline because they are more well known for something else that occurred. From how disciplined they were. 

They took a lot of really great examples from Lou Gehrig to the Queen of England and showed you how, by just following through and keeping yourself in a disciplined mindset, being able to say, “this is who I am. This is what I stand for. I am disciplined in following through in my actions”, how that can change your day and essentially how you are perceived and how you act throughout your life. 

It was a very motivational listen. I felt like it was a tad long, but if you wanted to listen to something that is going to keep you going through a hard run, or if you are looking for something to just kick your but in gear to try something new, then I would highly suggest it. Discipline is Destiny by Ryan Holiday. The audio was super easy to listen to and pretty quick.

However, I do think a physical book would be marked up and highlighted. It could be a great example in case studies for something like a social studies class…even though based on my last survey, we don’t have a whole lot of social studies teachers here. 

If you are here, I think that could be a really great one. 


Let’s get into the bulk of today where we are going to review our Sunday episode, which was the “L” in Spring CLEANing. We talked about letting go and limiting the things that we have in our day, in our life, in objects around us, in negative thoughts we had. 

If you want to take the brain nugget into account from earlier in the episode, making sure that we are limiting the amount of stuff we allow back into our spaces so that we can contain, not only the clutter, but it manages the mess that we have to clean up later. 

The idea of decluttering is step one, but you really do have to take that extra step and limit it by giving it either a set number or container that you’re willing to have for each of those items.

Whether you want to get really intense about it and spreadsheet it, or you want to put a Post-it note in that drawer where that item is so you know how many you’re limiting to (so that not everybody in your household goes out and picks up a new one), I think that is one of the keys to maintaining the system. Making sure that once you get rid of things and you declutter and maybe downsize in a lot of instances, you are not just allowing free rein for that to come back into your day. 

Like I said in episode 51, there’s no magic number for each item. You can look up what some minimalists suggest if you are interested in seeing how far they go and kind of scaling it up to your level of life.

But I would suggest going ahead and putting some into storage if there’s a category you’re not sure how many you would need. See how you do with less. You can always bring it back out if needed. 

Now I want to give a shout out to Erin, who sent me a message on Instagram letting me know that she listened to the episode while decluttering her sock drawer and getting rid of all those fuzzy, cutesy, but not actually that cute, gifted sock sets that you get from people. 


The sock drawer is actually going to be the modification for this week. If you don’t know where to start, the sock drawer is very satisfying and especially as we’re moving into warmer weather for some of us.

I know those of you up north are still getting some snow, but for a lot of us, we’re going to be moving into wearing socks a little bit less. So it makes sense to try to clear them out now and dig through the entire drawer. 

Like a dress sock that you would wear as a professional and never with shoes you can wear comfortably as a teacher, or warm fuzzy socks that are still in the packaging. Gifted socks. 

Do you know that socks are some of the most under donated things for charities and people in need?

 So socks and underwear (not your used underwear of course), but socks are a great thing to consider, especially if they haven’t been worn, donating for those organizations. So start with the socks. 

I think it’ll surprise you how happy you feel seeing that drawer empty. 

If you want to expand, if you need a challenge because you are really good at cutting out just the unnecessary things in your day, or you think that you’re getting there pretty fast, I want to send you over to the Official Minimalist Challenge, which is this in a nutshell: 

For day one – you are going to get rid of one item in your home.

Day two – you get rid of two items.

And so on and so forth up to 30 days, or however far you feel comfortable. 

That should be after you’ve already pretty much narrowed down what you’re doing. So it’s going to really challenge you and push you to see what you don’t actually need in your day. 

The overall goal is that we all find a place that we’re comfortable with while still reducing the amount of overwhelm and anxiety we have just from stuff. 

I think I want to take the 30 day challenge in my classroom, so we’ll see how I can manage that. Follow along on Instagram if you want to see that in action. 


Speaking of classrooms, I want to give a product spotlight to my New Teacher Toolkit, which is actually a curated set of things that I created in my first year. 

I remember going literally into Teachers Pay Teachers once I discovered what that was, and typing in “new teacher stuff” into the search bar. It’s like somebody up there has to have something specifically for new teachers. And I couldn’t really find a good set of stuff anywhere.

I wasn’t sure what I needed, but I knew I needed stuff. So I actually decided to put together my New Teacher Toolkit on Teachers Pay Teachers for the people who didn’t know what they needed, but needed to get started somewhere. 

This includes my Unit Plan Kits, some getting to know you activities for day one. It includes my classroom readiness checklist, the sub binder and the setup, and so many template assignments that anybody in the secondary space can use. 

My goal is that you can download that and feel like you at least have a place to start and then are supported as you go throughout your year.

So the New Teacher Toolkit is linked, and I hope that if you don’t need it, you can share it with somebody who you think might benefit from having just a nice little kickstart to their year. 

Snack Break

Now that we’ve been through a lot already this episode, I want to take a little snack break. 

While I am not a food blogger by any means, so many people have reached out asking help for simplifying meal planning and also just meals that you can take to school. 

We all need something quick, but we want something that’s a little bit good for you and we don’t necessarily want to repeat the same thing every day. So snack break, here we are. 

For the snack break this week, I just want to throw out the idea of these salad kit wraps. 

You basically buy a chop salad kit, and I think any variety would really be worthwhile. Add some protein. I bought a Southwestern salad kit, and then I added some shredded chicken to it, and I put that in a tortilla. I wrapped it up and it’s a wrap. 

It’s a salad kit wrap, and it’s mostly going to be vegetable based, so that’s nice. It’s a little bit healthier. Add some lean protein in there. And also it’s super efficient to pack. 

One salad kit will probably last you about a whole week’s worth of wraps at school. 

I wanted to throw that out there as a way to simplify how you can pack for an entire week at once. Take it all in one lunchbox and leave it in the fridge so you don’t have to worry about it. But still have something that’s pretty dang tasty in under five minutes. 

#75Simple Challenge Update

I wanted to give an update on the #75Simple Challenge for those of you that are joining in. And even if you haven’t, it’s a great time to join in because it’s for whenever, whoever, wherever. 

You are just creating five simple steps, the simplest of steps, towards a goal or habit that you want to set up. And you’re just going to start crossing off a tracker every day that you do it because that feels good. Feels really good to cross things off of a list and to color in a little section on a tracker. 

The #75Simple Challenge  for me includes no caffeine. I was going to just say no coffee, but I went full extreme to no caffeine. And honestly, it’s for the best because otherwise I think I’d have a lot of late night Dr. Peppers. 

I am also doing vitamins when I get home. I am prioritizing vegetables at lunchtime, I am taking my makeup off, and I’m trying to prioritize a walk or a workout during the day. 

These are really simple things, but they have made a pretty big difference when I’m following through with it. 

And I say when I’m following through because I have missed my vitamins…twice, actually. That is going to be the harder one for me. 

But I’m not going to sit here and say, oh, we’re all done. We’re no longer in the game. We got knocked out, we have to go sit down and we’re just going to veg on all of the candy that’s still left over from Valentine’s Day before we get Easter candy. 

Instead, I’m just going to realize that I won’t hit 75 in 75 days. That doesn’t mean I can’t set up a new habit right now. 

Just because you get knocked off the horse a little bit doesn’t mean that you need perfection to be able to make it to your goals. 

So I want to tell you to keep hanging in there.

I have five days out of the eight since I started that are crossed off of my list, and crossing them off is still very satisfying. 

So keep it simple. And if you think that it’s too complex or you think that maybe you need a little bit more wiggle room, simplify your goal even smaller. 

Because just like letting go and limiting on and decluttering all the items in our house, we need to let go of the pressure and limit reaching fully for the stars and making sure that we can still feel successful in all of the little things. Because sometimes it’s the simple things in life that really make the biggest difference. Until next time.

Related Episodes:

49: Spring Cleaning Series, Part 1 – Clear, Classify, and Categorize

50: Extra Credit Strategies for Spring Cleaning Your Counters

51: Simple Steps to Letting Go and Decluttering for Spring CLEANing


Discipline is Destiny Book

New Teacher Toolkit

#75Simple Challenge

5 Steps to Simplify Your To Do List

Focus Blocks

Productivity Planner

Unit Planning Kit

How to Find Me


Instagram –  @engineerdoeseducation

Instagram – @simplesystemswithsampodcast


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