Happier at Home is Gretchen Rubin’s follow-up to her hugely successful The Happiness Project. Like The Happiness Project, Rubin sets a different focus for each month with corresponding tasks, all aimed at making her happier. This time, as the title suggests, the emphasis is on aspects of her home that will provide happiness for Rubin and her family.
Instead of starting in January, this time she starts in September: the beginning of fall, the start of the school year, and a good time for symbolic fresh starts.
What I love most about this book is how it is structured with such a sense of organization. For example, Rubin chose to focus on Possessions in September. She aimed to simplify her home from the stuff that wasn’t needed, and also, highlight the meaningful things. To accomplish this, her tasks were: cultivate a shrine, go shelf by shelf, and read the manual. She makes it seem so easy…in order to achieve happiness in this area, you must do x, y, and z.
Of course this formula doesn’t always work. Sometimes a goal Rubin sets ends up being a flop, either because it wasn’t practical or it doesn’t end up making her happier…all of which is part of the journey. It is also refreshing to see that even Rubin herself gets tired of sticking to her many resolutions. She writes, “I was weary of myself–my broken promises to do better, my small-minded grudges, my wearisome fears, my narrow preoccupations.”
I relate to this author a lot; we seem to have similar personalities, husbands, and interests. That may be why her books speak to me so much. I also like reading about other people cleaning and organizing…it almost makes me feel like I’m doing it myself. But no, my house still stands here messy and cluttered while I lounge on the couch with my book!
While this definitely is a tale about Rubin’s own self-discovery, it offers helpful insights into happiness for the rest of us. She researched every possible angle on the topic, and sprinkles little happiness facts throughout her own stories. One interesting tidbit- apparently, people who have sisters tend to be happier than people who don’t. (There are times when I’d beg to differ with that…)
If you are stuck in a rut and looking for a book to get you motivated with clear, concrete examples of how to achieve happiness, I highly recommend both Happier at Home and Rubin’s original manifesto, The Happiness Project.
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