I’ve just started reading Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin. It’s the follow-up to The Happiness Project which I haven’t read, but is a best-seller and, from all accounts, an inspirational read.
This book is somewhat of a memoir covering nine months in the life of the author as she embarks on making changes to her home in her quest to become happier. ”Of all the elements of a happy life,” she writes, “my home is the most important.”
Her statement is something to really think about, and what attracted me to the book. After all, we spend so much of our lives at home that our relationships with both the objects and people around us at home truly do have a massive influence on our feelings.
It’s important to note that this book is neither about decorating your house to make it more attractive nor about how choosing a certain paint color will help your mood. It’s not even a how-to book (much to the dismay of many of the reviewers on Amazon) but as I read Rubin’s thoughts on the subject of home and the steps she takes to make hers work better for her, it makes me think about my own home and what changes I may want to make in order to feel happier myself.
The first chapter is entitled “Possessions” and her goal here is to “find a true simplicity” via her resolutions to “cultivate a shrine”, “go shelf by shelf” and “read the manual”. I can completely relate to her desire for “the peace of simplicity, of space and order” and her assessment that the solution is not as simple as eliminating everything in sight.
So, for the month of September she “undertook two complementary tasks: first, to identify, arrange and spotlight meaningful possessions; second, to get rid of meaningless stuff.” In keeping with her second resolution, Rubin says she went shelf by shelf to take a look at her family’s possessions. ”Did one of us use it or love it? Would we replace it if it were broken or lost? If so, was it in the right place? If not, why keep it?” For her third resolution, she read the instruction manuals of coffeemakers and other equipment around her house in order to have a better understanding of them and put them to better use.
She offers some useful ways to gain control of our possessions, and completing these tasks seems to have worked very well for her, but did she really do it all in just one month while working and raising two kids?
So far, I can’t say it’s the most inspiring book I’ve ever read, however there is just enough in the first two chapters to strike a chord with me and make me want to hear what else Gretchen Rubin has to say. Have any of you read this book? I’m curious to hear whether or not you enjoyed it or incorporated any of the author’s ideas.