Tsh Oxenreider
About the Author

Tsh Oxenreider is the author of Notes From a Blue Bike and the founder of The Art of Simple. She's host of The Simple Show, and her passion is to inspire people that 'living simply' means making room for more of the stuff that really matters, and that the right,...

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Reader Interactions


  1. i’ve just finished the book as a bit of prep for setting up our marital home this coming summer – it was really helpful for thinking through what was most important for us in terms of how to make our home and schedules work for us to allow us to those things we love and enjoy! thanks!

  2. I’m gonna get your book. I have to.

    The perfectionist….running around in circles…overwhelmed…overcrowded girl in me…needs it.

    Please know, I have been so blessed by simplemom. I have been following this site for a couple of months now and the wealth of info I am now armed with is just awesome. Seriously. Your work is a blessing 🙂

    My husband and I are praying about doing some work overseas. I’d love to hear about what you and your family did there!

    Have a wonderful week!

    Kate 🙂

    • I’m so glad you’re blessed! It’s a blessing to me just to know that.

      Quite honestly, due to security reasons, I can’t share much online about our work overseas. If you come to Relevant in October, I’ll be much more transparent in real life. Otherwise, “code” will have to suffice, if you get my drift. 😉

    • Hmm…. That’s a huge question, and one I can’t quickly answer here in the comments in quality. I wrote a post awhile back about my top 11 blogging tips, so maybe that’ll get you started. And judging from some of the questions I’ve been getting from readers lately, I think I need to dive into the whole blogging-as-business topic on Simple Mom.

  3. Thank you for “the whole story”. I have to confess… I have stacks of “organize your home/self/life/etc. books”, most of which I give up on after the first chapter when I say to myself “yes, but this system is for organized people with good habits”. Organized people don’t need books on how to be organized! And every one of them made me more discouraged than the last. When we moved across the country to live/work at a children’s home, we left most of our possessions behind, and it was only then that I could start to see from beneath the clutter-pile that had consumed me and realize how much of my peace was stolen by possessions. Now, reading your book, I’m hoping to develop new habits but realizing that its not about how to properly organize and store all the things I have as much as it is about not having what I don’t need or love taking up space and peace.

    Anyway, I’m grateful for your story… for getting to know that you have your struggles too, and that God used you to bless others anyway. <3

    • Oh yes, I’m a totally normal person. Don’t let the title of my book fool you into thinking I’ve written it because I’ve got it all figured out. It’s more in spite of it. I’m very much a normal mom with three normal (read: messy) kids.

  4. Ooh, I want to get my hands on this! I’m a perfectionist who’d like to change. And teach my husband how to as well. No one realizes how much it takes out of you. Good luck to you and God bless!

  5. So Fun! We’ve been with our family to the “Highest Spot in Thailand” this year! I totally connected with your story — the need for creative outlets for me, during this first year living overseas– has been much more important than I realized. I think blogging/writing/photography has been this bright spot of connection during a time when everything else has felt so dag-gum tough. We live in Chiang Mai– is that where you came several years ago?

    Regardless, so excited about your book– I have loved everything I’ve read from you on SimpleMom and InCourage. I hope you can enjoy this time of fruitfulness!

  6. I want to know how to pronounce your name 🙂

    I would also like you to know that all of the copies of Organized Simplicity in the Maine library system are CHECKED OUT! This means I’m waiting and waiting to get my hands on your book and I’m very much looking forward to reading it.

    I am so glad that you were able to climb out of your depression. Understanding some of what you went through makes the smile on your face look even more radiant. Blessings to you!

    • It’s pronounced like Tish. And I promise you, it’s not me; it’s my parents. They picked a strange Russian name in the late 70s — they weren’t smoking anything, but they certainly named me like they were free spirits.

  7. Your book arrived last week…it’s my upcoming-road-trip-reading and after this and reading the “real life story” behind it, I’m even more interested.
    “Intentional Living”….this is what I want.
    Thanks Tsh 🙂

  8. Wow…what a moving story. I’ve been afraid to add “get a book published” to my bucket list, simply because it feels so impossible, and my writing isn’t stellar. Still, words and encouragement are my passion, and reading your story makes me believe it *could* be possible for me.

    Yours is the only “home-managing” blog that I still read, because yours is the ONLY one that doesn’t make me feel as though I’m peeking in at Martha Stewart and her fitted-sheet-folding perfection. I feel as though we could be neighbors, and your blog ALWAYS encourages and motivates me. I BELIEVE I can do a little better everyday when I read your writing. That is something special.

    I can’t wait to finally be able to buy a copy of your book – and I’m so grateful to have such an inspirational corner of the internet to visit so often. 🙂

    May the Lord RICHLY bless you and keep you and your family.

    • Thank you so much for your kind words! I always want people to leave the blog encouraged and inspired, not defeated. If it requires me telling you how NOT Martha I am (Stewart, not the Bible chick), then by golly, I’ll do it.

  9. Thanks for sharing your story and the path that has led to your book. I have been hearing bits and pieces about this book, and now I really want to check it out!

  10. Tsh, I’m and avid Simple Mom reader and can I just say that you have encouraged and inspired me SO much?! I love this that you wrote above, “My heart was about simplifying — my time, my home and possessions, and my money — so that the things that really mattered could shine through.”—this is what I want, what I’m striving for in my home, my personal life and for my family. Thank you!

  11. Love this post! I’ve been reading along for awhile now, but didn’t know the “back story” sort of speak. Thanks for sharing a little more about you. I love your honesty–refreshing!

  12. Thank you so much for your honesty and encouragement. You’ve been a huge inspiration to me as I try to live a more intentional, simple life. It’s really nice hearing about your life.

  13. Thanks for sharing your story, Tsh! Love the book, love the blog, love your encouraging words. God’s blessings to you and your family!

  14. I bought your book not even knowing who you were first and I have to tell you that it changed my life. I LOVE this book. I have bought other organizing books in the past. In fact they still sit on my shelf half read. But I have to tell you that I devoured your book, took it to heart and started implementing right away. It’s on my list to promote on my blog really soon. My 17 year old daughter even read it and loved it. Now that’s saying something.
    I of course same across your blog via your book and I’ve been checking in ever since.
    Keep up the good work and thank you for a book that actually gets to the heart of things.

    • Thanks for your kind words, Kim! Glad your daughter likes it, too. Hopefully my daughter will one day enjoy it also, without too much eye-rolling. 🙂

  15. I do love your book. I am decluttering as we speak. I have four kids and it is a process. We acquired a lot of our stuff from well-meaning family-lots of them, and also trying to get our firstborn to “like” toys (he was subsequently diagnose with autism). It already feels tons better around here!
    Thanks for such a lovely guide. I really enjoyed hearing the story behind it.
    Oh and that classy photo is awesome!!

  16. thank you for so openly sharing your heart tsh. what a blessing your story is to me. love the book, in fact i think i’ll read it a second time as we prepare to homeschool this next year. i need to get re-organized! xo

  17. Just wanted to say that I love your website and your book! Thanks too for sharing your struggle with depression. That’s something I am dealing with now and it’s encouraging to hear that it can get better.

  18. Hi Tsh,
    Thank you for sharing your story and it’s quite an encouragement to keep blogging. 🙂

    However, I’d like to especially thank you for talking briefly about your depression. In the Christian world, depression is not readily “acceptable.” And it’s freeing when moms share this about their life.

    Blessings to you and your book.
    In Him,

  19. WOW! Thank you for sharing this! About a year ago I was diagnosed with depression, and it was a major shock to me! It took me a few months on meds to get a handle on things, and now I have been in counseling for about 6 months. My psychologist recently asked me what I like to do for fun, what I really enjoy… and my answers were the same as yours! I like to read, write, sew, and decorate. In fact the things that keep coming up in counseling is the constant mind-numbing work it takes to keep my household running. I have loved Simplemom for these reasons. It has inspired me to get a handle on things. Now I need to go read your book! Thanks for being real with us and sharing!

  20. Love your book! I enjoyed hearing the story behind the book. Living intentionally is such a process. Looking forward to meeting you at Relevant.

  21. Tsh, I don’t recall how I came across your site a month or so ago but so glad I did! Many of the topics on your blog go hand in hand with my own beliefs and what I’ve been trying to archive on my own blog. I’m just startting out though and my blog is nowhere near professional! BUT it’s my little corner of the world to share what God’s teaching me about simplifying and living intentional (which is my One word for the year to live by) and it helps keep me accountable. Thanks so much for sharing your life with the rest of us and teaching us!
    In Him,

  22. I was honestly just thinking about how much I enjoy the articles that come through your site – and was thinking, “I wish they’d touch on depression.” And then thought, “But Tsh probably hasn’t dealt with it herself.” But you have! I’m looking forward to reading more from you this week. I’m thinking about the blog idea myself – a more intentional one than my family/hobby one – and am not so sure I’m up for the commitment. Love yours, though.

  23. I love stories where God takes something that seems entirely negative and horrible (depression in this case) and uses it to create something beautiful not just for that person, but for hundreds of thousands of others, too! What an amazing God we serve!

  24. Tsh,
    You have such a gift. I am 57 and your blog is one of my must reads. I went back to nursing school in my 50’s because I got rid of excess. God gives us a rich gift indeed when we tell Him we have enough. If you have info on how to publish something, my daughter has written a great children’s book. Thanks for sharing your insights.

  25. Very interesting to hear some of your back story Tsh! Had no idea you had dealt with depression! Since this is something that I have been thru as well, it is no wonder I felt a bond with you when reading your blog! I too long for an intentional life and that is what I am currently blogging about at Living the Balanced Life.

  26. Hey, there. I purchased the e-version of your book and devoured it! I am SO glad you started this blog and wrote your book. I have embraced it all in total. My husband can’t believe the change in me. He’s like, “You’re an animal!” My closet is clean! You should see his side of the closet. I have tossed out, donated, sold, Ebay-ed, and given away so much stuff that I had no use for. And in the process, I have welcomed in so much more of the good “stuff,” -time with my family and friends and that thing they call a dog (Max). I have let go but received so much more in the process. Thank you a million times times another million for your inspiration! Where would I be without you? Up to my elbows in unwanted scrapbooking supplies and buried above ground. xxoo

  27. Hi Tsh!
    I discovered Simple Mom about two or three months ago and I can’t even begin to tell you how much it has meant to me! When I read here that you have struggled with depression as well…I felt so “not alone”! Anyways, the flu has hit here and chaos has ensued, so I have to go, but thank you for being real!

  28. I just wanted to thank you for you openness and honesty here. I moved to another country twelve days after giving birth to my second daughter. Adjusting to a new country while pregnant or newly post-partum can be very, very challenging.

  29. Tsh – I’ve followed your blog for about a year and LOVE it! Our kids are about the same ages and our goals are similar as well. I carve out a little “me” time daily to read your blog and am never disappointed. Thank you for sharing what you are learning! – Ellen

  30. Your book is great. Congratulations! I saw it on another blog post in January, looked at it, and decided this was a book that I must have. I read it right away. I am all about living simply and clutter free. (My friend and I took a Karen Kingston seminar over ten years ago.) There is always something to “give back to the world.” Especially now that I have two kids. Your words continue to inspire me “live intentionally” and put my family first. I discovered your blog from your book. Thank you and best of luck with your book.

  31. I am in the middle of reading your book right now and I’m in love, I can’t wait to finish it and read it again. I have read your blog for a long time but this is just so much more! Its putting into real words how I felt I always wanted to live my life but couldn’t describe. Thanks!

  32. I’ve followed your blog for several months, and even though I’m not a mom, so much of what you write about has encouraged and challenged me. I’m so grateful for how God has used you! I can’t wait to buy your book, it’s at the top of my list!

  33. Tsh, i’m so excited to be learning more about you!! I say that I’m “recovering from anxiety” and there was certainly some depression mixed in there, too. I didn’t feel like my “old self” until my hubby and I sold our home, “quit” our leadership positions at church and moved across town (to a smaller home) to embrace a quieter and simpler life. The relief I felt was almost immediate. Now I’m doing almost NOTHING and cannot fathom how I lived at such a fast pace, and did so much, back in the “old days.” Well I do know how–I was stressed and resentful and anxious!!
    We’re learning so much about simplifying and how far it goes toward our mental health–and our happiness! I adore your blog and your book {I encouraged all my friends to buy it, too!} and talk about it all the time!! We’re doing our family mission statement this week as we prepare to buy our next home–we want to make sure our move fits in with our mission!
    Thank you for sharing your story and yourself with us–you are changing and inspiring so many lives!!! Looking forward to continuing the journey! {by the way, I re-arranged my pantry this week and thought of you!}

  34. P.S. On Monday, I mentioned on Facebook that I had re-organized my pantry, had my meals planned and had my daily dockets ready to go–one friend said, “Doesn’t a little organization make you feel so good??” {YES!} and my cousin asked what a daily docket was so I gave her a link to your site. Gotta share the looooove!! 🙂 Thanks for such wonderful inspiration AND the tools!

  35. I am just so inspired by you! I bought your book at the book store about a week ago.. It was, for lack of a better more sophicated term, magical. In the last two weeks, just by thinking about my family’s mission statement has already changed so many things for us as a family. My husband and I have been looking for a better life. Both working full time with 2 small children. The last 6 months things have been very slowly but surely moving in a different direction, then about the time that I unintenionally picked up your book… Things have snowballed into the beginnings of a simpler life. Thank you.

  36. I love that picture! and I was reading your book till the post office lost it during my cross country move. but I really like your idea of intentional living…I think that is oh so important and a great thing to teach our children by action and word!

  37. Oh my goodness! I knew I liked your site for a reason! I have been searching and praying for a site that will help me get back on track. I too suffer from depression, and through counseling have found just how big of a perfectionist I am. So much so that my house and my family had to be perfect right along side of me and I was not happy until they were. I have also been trying to be purposeful and intentional with my family and my life, trying to get out of survival mode and begin to engage with my children. Everything you said spoke not only to my heart, but to my soul. I cannot wait to buy your book! Thank you!

  38. I just love the term “intentional living”. It really speaks volumes to me as I think I have let the activities of my life overtake me. I seem to wake up each day and let my schedule live my life. I’m a full time architect working in a busy practice. I commute an hour and a half in the morningh and sometimes 3 hours at night through crazy traffic in a crazy West African city. I have an 11 month old daughter and tons of things I wish I could do but never do. Lots of things to write, a clothing line in my head…every spare minute I have, I wonder if I could just catch a nap because I’m so exhausted. I wish I could stop working but we’ve got a mortgage that needs both incomes! I’m not even praying purposefully. Sometimes I wish for the carefree days of singleness. So Tsh, is there hope for an exhausted person like me? I’m too scared to look for your book in case I get depressed and feel like a failed wife and mom!

    • Oh goodness, hopefully the last thing my book would do is make you feel depressed and like a failure. I’ve been there, done that, got the t-shirt. Truly. You won’t feel behind. My goal was gentle encouragement and inspiration, so my prayer is that it does just that for you.

  39. Thank you for creating this blog! I have always wanted to start a blog but with add and depression it’s a battle not to be self defeating. So I read yours in the mean time! You have made a life that is truly rewarding with experience and that is an inspiration. I want to live abroad with my kiddos and hubs but figureing out the logistics and mainly the job part has been over whelming.

    I can’t wait to read your book!

  40. Thank you for sharing this with us.

    I am reading your book now and oh my, my the richness. I can’t wait to hear more from you at Relevant.

    I experienced two MAJOR depressive episodes, one at age 18 and one at age 26. I will be 40 this year and I can praise God for His mercy and grace on my life. Including those two periods of depression. He wastes nothing.

  41. I’m so glad this simplemom project has brought so peace to you.
    I’m thankful that you are setting a living-amazing example, inspiring others trough your experiences.
    I cannot tell you how much impact you have made in my life. I feel so proud of even cleaning one drawer, that had take me sooo long.
    It is so much easier to take decisions based on our purpose. Never had experience such peace in trowing away stuff that has been taking a lot of energy at our house.
    And the more important, I feel encouraged to set an example for my daugher.
    Thanks and Gos Bless

  42. Tsh, this post was what I needed. Sometimes in beautiful blogland we forget that everyone has dark times, not just us. And also that everyone has to start where their heart is and make choices for a better life. Thank you!

    • Blogland does that, doesn’t it? Paints a rosy shade over everything. After all, most people like to show the parts they’re proud of; that they want to reveal. Your’e right — it’s so important to remember that we’re all just people, and imperfect ones at that. My in-real-life friends know this. It’s good that my online friends know that, too. 🙂

  43. I love the book! It has helped me get rid of both physical junk & emotional baggage tied to stuff. I still have 10 boxes filled w 30+ yrs of “emotional junk” to clean out.
    Thanks for sharing your story in the book & much deeper here. It is beautiful to see God working in you & through you for his glory. He has enlarged your mission field in an amazing way! Looking forward to meeting you at Relevant.

  44. It never fails to encourage me when I read the “real” stories of how amazing people have done the amazing things they’ve done, and what God used to bring them to that place.

    And that photo kind of looks like you’re getting ready to take a bite out of your book! Love it, friend!


  45. Hi Tsh. Thanks for sharing about your depression – it is something I’m dealing with as well. My biggest frustration as far as taking care of my home is that I will have a bad day (or 2 or 3) & have no motivation to do much of anything. Then I will have some better days, but in the meantime the house has become a disaster area. It’s like taking 3 steps forward & 2 back. Anyways, on a different note I really love your book & appreciate your openness about your faith.

  46. I have been sporadically reading your blog for a while. I must say that you are such an encouragement to me. Depression is something that isn’t talked about much in Christian circles, but it is so real. I have MS (for 30 years) and suffer from trigeminal neuralgia ~~ pain that is unbelievable at times. I have found that blogging helps me to put feelings to words and then the feelings (sometimes) make sense.

    Is is alright if I put your blog link on my blog roll?? I am fairly new to this social network and don’t want to do anything that will get me in trouble 🙂 My blog is http://www.melodyejoy.wordpress.com. You can check and make sure I am an okay lady (I promise you, I am). I think so many of my fans would benefit from your insight!!


    • Yep, you absolutely may! FWIW, it’s really no big deal to link to others you like and want to promote. It’s copying or scraping other people’s work that’s not so good. Which you aren’t doing. 🙂 Thanks!

  47. Wow Tsh! Thanks for sharing your testimony here. What a glory to God!! Isn’t He just amazing! 🙂

    We should get in touch some time! 🙂 I have a weekly meme that is right up your alley. 😉 Always on the hunt for some fresh ideas and challenges.

    I look forward to getting your book in the future!

  48. When my friend wrote a review of your book on her blog, I decided to look into it! It is something I struggle with — and I’m so thankful I picked up the book. I can’t believe you wrote it in eight months!! It’s really been a blessing!

    Anyway, I’m just starting a 30 Day Challenge on my blog to Clear the Clutter — and the inspiration for doing it was found in your book (and From Clutter to Clarity). I’m learning so much — and with two rooms cleaned out, I feel a weight lifted from my shoulders!

    I’m looking forward to hearing you speak at Relevant!!

  49. Thanks for writing this Tsh!

    It’s awesome for those of us who have followed your story (or at least part of it) to hear this side of things…I’m just as guilty as everyone else out there for idolozing bloggers — feeling envy for their perfect lives and their ability to do it all. These kinds of posts help us all feel more connected with you — and I know they aren’t easy to do!


  50. Tsh,
    What a great story–it leaves a smile on my face. I *love* the wonderful crazy way God works.

    Thanks for sharing!

  51. Hi there, I first saw your book in the library, but now it is on my list to purchase.. 🙂

    I was wondering how you chose the name Reed for your little guy, that is my husband’s name (actually middle name, but the one he goes by) and you do not hear it very often.

    Thanks for sharing with us!

    • I think we both have just always loved the name. It’s really hard to find good names with our last name, ya know? Our criteria is short, and not super common but not bizarre. So it fit.

      It was also a high priority to have an easy-to-spell name, if you get my drift. 🙂

  52. It is amazing how God knows exactly when & what we need in our different “seasons” of life. I stumbled upon your blog thru a blog of a blog of a blog…and saw your book, read some of your blog & knew: God had led me to this site for the very reason I am struggling in life right now- trying to do it all, trying to be perfect, & yet, accomplishing practically nothing. Bought your book, read it in one weekend (was sick for 2 wks & couldn’t start on all your ideas) but am ready to start now! Thanks for being an inspiration to many & a God-send to me!

  53. Reading Simple Mom in my early days as a mom last year was a big inspiration for me starting my own blog. Writing it has been helping me deal with postpartum depression and feel a sense of self again, so it’s further inspiring to hear that your blog arose from healing from depression as well. Sure hope things turn out as well for me! (Publishing a book has always been on my bucket list too).

  54. way to go tsh! i love reading about you – & you are shining through… in all your creative, God-given, embracing-imperfection glory.

  55. This book really did change my life. I recommend it to everyone and will be buying one for a gift for a friend. Love, love love!

  56. Thanks for the interesting history. I found you about 4 months ago and have really enjoyed the entire Simple group. I agree so much with what you said about intentional living and being more free from our culture’s pressures and doing what we were created to do. Thanks for the inspiration!

  57. Thank you for sharing! I suffer from depression as well as crippling perfectionism, and am desperately searching for a way to simplify my life. I will be reading your book as soon as I can obtain a copy, and becoming a regular reader here. God bless!

  58. Wow, your testimony is powerful. Isn’t it true how amazingly our God works through our weakness. I am so thankful for a person who is honest and true about their struggles in order to bless someone else. Thank you for this. It motivates and inspires me. I will be praying for you and your family in the days to come.

  59. Friends, thank you SO much for your encouraging and kind words here! They really have made my day. Made my week. Thank you.

    Depression — Yep, it’s real. Even for Christians. And yes, waaaaay too untalked about. You all have encouraged me to write about it on Simple Mom, so be looking for that in the future.

    Love all your words here! They’re honey for me.

  60. Tsh,

    Thanks for sharing this part of your life! It is so interesting to read more about you.

    Your book is one of my absolute favorites. It is different to the average clutter free/simple living advice I have read before. It is so refreshing. Reading it really filled me with determination. I love it! Thank you.

  61. Over the past 2 months I’ve entered every giveaway I can find for ‘Organized Simplicity.’ I’ve been waiting for the library copy for equally as long. I can’t wait to get my hands on it. I’ve always had a motto…”_____ with purpose.” Fill in the blank…love, pray, work, care, walk/drive. It keeps me focused. I like your take…intentional living. I really have enjoyed your blog. Thanks for the inside story!

  62. You continue to minister to me and your readers with your honesty. Thank you also for all the tools you’ve given us to live a more intentional life. My husband is a stay-at-home dad for our family and even he is eating up your advice. 🙂 I am so appreciative of your willingness to let God you use you to be a vessel of hope and sanity for people out there like us. All the best to you and your family, Tsh!! 🙂

  63. I think it’s funny how many recovering perfectionists love your book… I love it because I’m looking for a kick in the pants to get my soul, mind, body, and house humming! I love how each step makes me really think about my purpose in life, and how each part of my life can serve that. And I hope you don’t mind, I’m journaling it at annasimplenote.blogspot.com.

  64. Thanks for the good writeup. It actually was once a amusement account it. Glance advanced to far delivered agreeable from you! However, how can we communicate?