Skip to main content
Declutter Challenge Check-in: Week 2

You are listening to Who Cares About Men's Health?:

Declutter Challenge Check-in: Week 2

Apr 29, 2021

One of the guys stepped it up, two stumbled, and one moved into the next stage of adulthood. Join the WCAMH guys and take the Declutter Challenge to improve your mental health.

Episode Transcript

This content was originally created for audio. Some elements such as tone, sound effects, and music can be hard to translate to text. As such, the following is a summary of the episode and has been edited for clarity. For the full experience, we encourage you to subscribe and listen— it's more fun that way.

Scot: Welcome to the "Who Cares About Men's Health" Get Rid of Your Clutter challenge. This is check-in number 2 for week number 2. We've got Mitch here, Producer Mitch. We've got Dr. Troy Madsen, who's an emergency room physician. And we've got psychiatrist Dr. Benjamin Chan. We've all agreed to take this challenge to get rid of our clutter, to improve our mental health, and this is our check-in. So how's everybody doing? Dr. Chan, welcome back. How are you today?

Dr. Chan: I'm doing great, and I guess I'll just lead off. I care about men's health, and I have failed in the past week since our last check-in to get rid of the mattress, boxspring, and headboard.

Scot: Oh, no.

Dr. Chan: Complete and utter fail.

Scot: What happened?

Dr. Chan: I was on call, got busy with work, life happens. So I failed to make it a priority, but I am not afraid to say that to you and all your listeners.

Scot: And how are you going to . . . do you have a plan in place to make sure this doesn't happen again, or is it just it is what it is in your life?

Dr. Chan: Well, having this recording helps me kind of put it back up the priority list because I feel a little shame in coming in front of this esteemed group of scholars and not doing it. So yeah, this weekend we'll do it.

Scott: All right. Well, that's good. I think that's an interesting point, why maybe some of us fail, right? You might start out kind of excited to get rid of some stuff, but then life starts happening again and it's pretty easy to fall to the back burner.

That's true with any health change, right? Sometimes you have to reengage with it multiple times before you can actually start making it a habit or making it stick. So good lesson. Even though you failed, you brought us a good lesson. Did you even know that, Dr. Chan?

Dr. Chan: That's the beauty of doing this podcast. We teach each other principles, and we hope to grow by them. So I'll stick with that.

Troy: Well, that's a good lesson too, Ben. You mentioned just the accountability. You talked to us about it. Our listeners know they're going to hold you to it. Honestly, and I'll talk a little bit more, but the accountability piece of it has been a big part for me.

Scot: The accountability piece of it stressed me out, and much like Dr. Chan, I kind of failed. I haven't done much since that first initial 72-item purge when I misunderstood what the rules were.

Again, kind of the framework . . . and anybody can do your own framework. It could be one thing a day. It could be the one thing on Day 1, two things on Day 2, three things on Day 3, etc.

I haven't done anything since then, but here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to make a promise. I have kind of a big ticket item that I need to list on eBay. I have a Apple MacBook Pro. I upgraded and I need to list that, and I hate it. I hate putting stuff on eBay.

And I think this is where a lot of us can run into problems too when we start decluttering. We're like, "Well, maybe it might be worth something." There's so much time invested and it's so much activation energy to get over that hump of going and researching, looking it up, listing it, finding the box, weighing it, shipping it, that maybe sometimes you've just got to go, "Maybe not this thing. Maybe I just get rid of this thing because I know the expense and my time is going to be more."

But with this MacBook that I have, I know I can make a little cash. So by the time we talk next time, I will have that sold on eBay.

Mitch: Scot, I think it's interesting you bring that up because I've been trying to sell things on Craigslist and some of the local things too. It's not just the energy of listing it. It's the energy of also dealing with some of these people. I've been getting some like, "Will you take $5 for it? I'll come over right now." And it's just been like, "Dude, no." There is this extra chore that comes with all of it. So for me, there are some items that I might just be donating to just get it out of my head.

Scot: Yeah, just so you don't have to deal with that, right, because it's not worth the stress.

Mitch: Nope.

Scot: Troy, how are you doing?

Troy: I am going to sound like the total nerd in the room now and the total front-of-the-classroom gunner guy, but I'm . . .

Dr. Chan: Yahoo.

Troy: Thanks, Ben. I'm well over 500 items. Well over.

Scot: What? What did you do?

Dr. Chan: Wow.

Troy: We have done a major purge here, and part of it has been the accountability.

Scot: Okay. So "we" . . .

Troy: Well, I have carried my weight in this. So yes, you are right. I am the pack rat in the family. My wife, Laura, is the one who's always trying to get me to get rid of stuff, and she heard about this, and she just started getting rid of stuff. She said, "I'm not going to get rid of your stuff, but we're doing this." She started clearing out stuff from the kitchen.

And for me, the way this has worked . . . we talked about the one thing Day 1, two things Day 2, three things Day 3, or double it every day to get it to 10 billion, which I haven't done. But the way that it has worked for me is I get some momentum. I just say, "Okay, I'm just going to start," and then I get that momentum. And then I'll get a pile of 500. No, not 500, but maybe 100 things, and then I'm just like, "Okay, I'm doing this. I'm committed. I'm going to do this. I'm going to get rid of these things."

Then I find I have to get them out. We have to donate them. I can't let it sit there, because my pile that I built up the first day, I then gradually pulled things out of that pile and said, "Well, I can't get rid of this. This means a lot to me. We've got space for it. Why do I have to get rid of it?"

But that's how it's happened. I've gotten rid of 50 DVDs. I've gotten rid of at least 10 different bags, just like duffel bags or backpacks. We've cleared out a number of kitchen items, sporting equipment, office items, things from our office closet that have just been sitting there. And I have also gotten commitments from people to take some big ticket items, a couch, a mattress, a TV.

Scot: Wow.

Troy: Even a hot tub. So all of these items are moving out.

Dr. Chan: We need to stop the podcast. This is revolutionary. We can't top this.

Troy: This is a big thing for me, honestly. I was not trying to be dramatic saying I was struggling with this. I have been struggling, but I've tried to ask myself as I do this, "Number one, have I used this item at any point in the last year?" And if the answer is no, then I probably need to get rid of it unless I can see a good justification that I'm going to use it within the next year.

And so trying to go through that process with these things has really helped. And it's been a good feeling to say, "Hey, I'm not the stuff I own. I am who I am. I'm not these items. These are not me. I can get rid of them if I'm not using them." That's been helpful.

Scot: Good. Wow. So quite a turnaround, because in the beginning you were stressed and anxious and didn't know that you'd participate even.

So Laura's participation, your wife's participation, do you think that's helped, or could you have done this even if she hadn't gotten excited and behind it?

Troy: She definitely got the ball rolling. It was her just doing this and saying, "Hey, let's just get going and let's do this."

Also, I think it's very helpful if you're in this situation with someone else to certainly respect their boundaries and say, "Hey, I'm not going to touch your stuff. That's your stuff. If you want to go through it, great." That's been very helpful.

Then it's been where I've thought, "Well, I'll just start to go through it and see." And as I've done that, just kind of getting some momentum.

I think the whole one on Day 1, two on Day 2, that helps. At least for me it helped just to say, "Okay, I'm just going to get rid of a few things." But then as I got some momentum, I was like, "Keep going."

Scot: That's what that minimalist documentary said, is that will just get the momentum going for you.

Another thing too . . . I don't know a couple years ago if you remember. . . I don't remember what her name was, but it's the KonMari method of decluttering and getting rid of stuff.

Mitch: It's Marie Kondo.

Scot: Yeah. Marie Kondo. Thank you.

Mitch: We did it really big. I have a story, but that's all right.

Scot: So her thing, Troy, was when you've got something you want to get rid of and you're like, "Am I going to use this in the next year?" and you're having a hard time getting rid of it, just thank it for what it's done for you, thank it for its service, and then know it's going to go on to serve somebody else. It sounds so weird, but it worked for me.

Troy: That sounds weird, but that helps. It really does help. Pretty much everything we've donated . . . there have been some things that just aren't in condition to donate that we've tossed, but it's been really helpful just to take it down there, donate it, and be like, "Hey, someone is going to use this. I'm not using it. Someone else is going to use it."

I admit the things I've struggled getting rid of are gifts, like gifts I've received from people, even though I haven't used them just because of that sentimental piece. I'm still struggling with that a little bit. So still a few things that were given to me as gifts that I have not gotten rid of, but I just haven't used. They were in the pile and I pulled them out of the pile. So we'll work on that.

Scot: Some of those favorite DVDs of yours, those movies, they're going to go bring joy to somebody else.

Troy: Oh, man.

Scot: So that's fantastic.

Troy: Trust me. When I pulled those out and I saw "Napoleon Dynamite" and "Dumb and Dumber" in that stack, I struggled. But then I said, "If I want to watch 'Napoleon Dynamite' or 'Dumb and Dumber,' I can stream it."

Dr. Chan: Troy, do you think you would have donated them or gotten rid of them if we didn't have streaming services? I'm just curious your thought process on that.

Troy: Yeah, great question. I don't know if I would have because I still would have thought to myself, "Yeah, I'll watch this at some point. Some of these are shows that are just such extremely high quality great shows. I can't get rid of 'Dumb and Dumber.'" So you're right. I think that that was a part of it. But knowing I could stream it was helpful.

Scot: All right. Let's go to Mitch. How are you doing?

Mitch: I'm doing pretty well. So this week I decided to tackle clothes. That's kind of interesting that you brought up Marie Kondo because we did . . . my partner and I, Jonathan, we did a purge when Marie Kondo was big two years ago, when she first came out with her Netflix series and everyone was into it. He had just broken both of his arms and he was up on drugs from the e-scooter accident, and he decided, "We've got to purge. Now."

And what was funny is he got competitive and started getting rid of things because I had a smaller pile than him. And so there is this interesting, "No, Jonathan, I think you need more work shirts." And he's there with both arms in the slings being like, "No, we have to get rid of these." And sure enough, at the end, he had gotten rid of too much and we had to go get new clothes and stuff because he had gotten rid of so many things.

So with this latest purge, understanding that kind of situation, I just got rid of things that . . . I don't know what it is. It seems like maybe just the Sears family, but it seems like men get free shirts at events and then hold on to them for 20 years. I had high school events, these shirts for . . . literally, I had a shirt for Llama Fest 2008. There are 75 llamas and an obstacle course. It was fun. But I had held on to that Llama Fest shirt for 20 years now. It's time to let that shirt go. I haven't worn it. It's just the thing that sits in the back and takes up space.

So I got rid of clothes that didn't fit, clothes that I hadn't worn in a couple years, and then anything that had a hole in it. It seems like I always hold on to that one pair of good socks that has just a little hole in it. No. If it had any sort of hole in it, I got rid of that too.

So I ended up getting rid of a good almost 50 pieces of clothes if you count all the socks and underwear. I've got space now for maybe new clothes. I just got rid of the stuff that I'm not using.

Scot: Dr. Chan, I've got a question for you. I believe that when a man can finally get to the point in their development where they can look at their socks and actually get rid of them before they have holes, that's when they've truly developed. Do you agree with that from a psychiatrist's point of view?

Dr. Chan: Yes, 100%, and it's just funny you mentioned that, Mitch. I love that example. I've got these favorite dress shirts and I just kind of rotate through them, and I only really donate them or get rid of them once I rip a hole usually in the elbow.

It's something about . . . I think men, we're just kind of comfortable in our outfits. I've got my favorite pair of khakis and I just . . . yeah, when I go out and purchase them, I just buy three of the exact same. That way, when I kind of run through one pair, I go to another. It's just fascinating how we approach this.

Scot: Yeah. I never felt more like an adult when I started getting rid of stuff before I'd worn holes in them.

Troy: Well, I have not matured to that point yet, Scot.

Scot: I guess that's a good update. So that's good. We've had some successes. We've had some opportunities to learn. I'm not going to call them failures. I'm going to call them opportunities to learn, Dr. Chan and myself. We've seen Troy come from very skeptical to getting all behind it and feeling pretty good about it.

And if you'd like to join us in the declutter challenge, just go to and share your story. You can share your pictures. We're sharing our pictures of our stuff there. You can do however you want to do. The way we recommend is you get rid of one thing on Day 1, two things on Day 2, three things on Day 3 just to get the momentum going, or you can just do it however you want. Help your mental health and get rid of all your clutter with "Who Cares About Men's Health."

Relevant Links:

Listener Line: 601-55-SCOPE
The Scope Radio:
Who Cares About Men’s Health?: