De-clutter your way to happiness

By Alice Bristowe

Following on from her New York Best-sellers “Happier at Home” and “The Happiness Project”, Gretchen Ruben has now set herself the challenge to record her theories online about how to be happier, and sets you the challenge of completing her ideas.

According to this online movement – the site has surpassed the mere title of ‘blog’- it seems that being able to find your keys couldn’t just lead to an easier morning, it could lead to an easier life. Ruben writes that:

“getting control of the stuff of life makes me feel more in control of my life generally…. a helpful illusion.”

So in a bid for an easier life, we’ve been scanning the site to find some useful ‘tidy’ tips. Whether you are sorting your stuff for storage, or holding storage for others, or simply feel you need some more order, why not give these a try.

• Arrange your living space so it’s attractive, well organized, and well lit. Then you can enjoy it better, whether its more space for yoga, for your children to play in or for you to relax!

• Keep a bag of things you want to store away. As soon as you decide you don’t want or need it, put it in the bag and prepare it for storing away someone at home, or with a neighbour through Storemates.

• “I need to find the perfect recipient for everything I’m getting rid of.” True, it’s easier to let go of things when they’re going to a good home, but be wary of letting this kind intention become a source of clutter, itself. Try to find one or two good recipients.

• Be wary of bargains, sales, hand-me-downs and give-aways. Do you really need this thing? Or love it? Beware: because of the “endowment effect,” we value things more once we own them. Once that thing enters your home, it will be tough to get it out again

• Don’t keep excessive amounts of anything. Those glass vases that come from florists. Those ketchup packets that come with take-out food. A house with two adults probably doesn’t need fifteen mismatched souvenir coffee cups.

• Put things away in a specific place. It’s much easier to find things later, and it’s oddly satisfying to slot things into their precise places. “Ah, this particular basket on this shelf is the place for the AAA batteries.

• Take to the web and find out more of Gretchen’s happiness theories and challenges at: http://www.happiness-project.com/

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