13 Tips for Being Happy in Your New Home.

Every Wednesday is Tip Day.

This Wednesday: Thirteen tips for being happy in your new home.

I’ve heard that a lot of people are giving Happier at Home as a gift to someone with a new home–recent grad, new roommate, newlywed, newly divorced, empty nester, downsizer, upsizer, new baby, new city. At times of transition like these, we give special thought to what we want from “home.” So, to make such a gift a little more special, I’m creating a card about “Tips for being happy in your new home” that I can sign and mail to anyone who wants it.

Here’s what I’ve written. What should I add?

Remember to take advantage of the features that you drew you to your home. Take time to light a fire in the fireplace, have coffee on the patio, take a bath in the beautiful tub.

Make your bed.

Be a tourist without leaving home. A tourist reads and studies, a tourist shows up, a tourist looks at things with fresh eyes.

Someplace, keep an empty shelf; someplace, keep a junk drawer.

Enjoy the good smells of home. Take a moment to appreciate the fragrance of a grapefruit or freshly laundered towels.

If something’s important to you, make a space for it in your home. Build a shrine to music, to arts and crafts, to family.

Moving to a new home is a rare opportunity to build good habits and break bad habits. Start going for a walk every morning, or quit smoking, as part of your new routine.

Always put your wallet and keys away in the same place.

Except for holiday decorations, seasonal items, and hand-me-downs that will be used in the next few years, be very wary of “storing” things. If you plan to store it away in an inaccessible place, why are you keeping it?

Every room should include something purple.

Shelf by shelf, drawer by drawer, ask yourself: Do we need this thing? Do we love this thing? Do we use this thing? If not, consider tossing, recycling, or donating it.

No one regrets replacing a burned-out light-bulb.

Give a warm greeting or farewell every time someone comes or goes from your home.

What have I left out? What would you add?

Note about the photo: this is a Christmas ornament in the shape of a miniature Fisher-Price “Play Family” house–just like the one that my sister and I played with throughout our childhoods, and that my daughters play with when we visit Kansas City. I took the photo for Happier at Home; this ornament is one of my mementos from the project of writing the book.

  • sleepydwarf

    Fantastic post Gretchen. I’ve just moved house so this is great timing to read this. I was just thinking of new habits I want to get ingrained right from the start. Making the bed is one. And not storing things – we have a lot less space in this house, so this is going to be very important to us.

  • Plants softens the room. Tip: A cactus or a succulent survives almost anything.

    • gretchenrubin

      I can’t handle the responsibility of a plant.

  • Natacha

    I think you have said great truths there but I don’t see the point of having a purple thing: it is totally subjective whether or not we like this colour. And it is not like green=colour of hope or red=colour of energy, so I don’t get it….

    • It´s a reference to a great novel, though (c;

    • supermom

      my rule is a touch of red in every room….but in my living room it’s a touch of purple instead; much quieter.

    • Mary Sahs

      I think it was Gloria Vanderbilt who suggested you have something yellow in each room. She thought it was a very positive influence. Personally, I like to keep a little container of money in each room. 🙂 If I chose a color, it would probably be turquoise blue. Whatever works for you.

    • Tess

      I am with you on the confusion over the purple thing. Is it your favorite color, Gretchen? Or is there some mysterious power it emits? My touches of purple come in the cat puke I find occasionally……..

    • peninith1

      I think of the ‘purple’ thing as a metaphor for a ‘splash of color’ or a ‘touch of whimsy’ or something that’s a focus or conversation piece. When I looked around my house, I found that I actually did HAVE something purple here and there, and that’s pretty much what I was using it for. But any color or texture highlight would do. I am not a fan of monochromatic color schemes (heaven save me from an all white room!). But just imagine that all white room with, say, a row of eggplants decorating the table. There’s your purple. (-:

      • gretchenrubin

        Touch of whimsy is much better. Thanks!

    • gretchenrubin

      This one was meant to be a bit silly – purple as a metaphor for whatever color or thing strikes your fancy.

      • Jamie

        I think people are tripped up by the purple thing (I know I was a bit ‘wha?’ when I saw it) because your other suggestions ARE literal. So it can be weird to make the mental transition from – She’s being specific! to Oh now she’s just being metaphoric. You have the same declarative tone for the keys and wallet as you do for the purple.

  • Diana

    Another tip: offer your guests a nice beverage (like tea) even if it is just a parent picking up his child. Related tips: have a ritual of a nice beverage with your family (my sons and I have tea and read before bed-no caffeine of course). Really fun is to get pretty trays (Ikea has cute ones) to heighten the experience of tea time. Fun to have are Sugar free Torani syrups to mix with sparkling water (add a little milk for an Italian soda). I now make sugar free egg creams with the Torani chocolate syrup.

  • Styl Emum

    On good smells, pop an orange or grapefruit in the oven on low. Your home will smell divine for days.

  • peninith1

    How about adding “create a threshhold ritual”? — I really liked that thought from “Happier at Home.” Those of us who live alone can’t rely on warm greetings, except maybe from a pet. I’m thinking of inventing one for myself on going out, to express gratitude for the home I leave behind and for all the good I will encounter ‘out there,’ and on returning, express gratitude for the home I return to, leave all unpleasant experiences behind, and bring only the good into my home with me.
    Also think this would be a good ‘home renewal’ reminder list. I am currently going shelf by shelf and decluttering my house, so I am trying to look at it with fresh eyes, as if I really were newly living here.

    • gretchenrubin

      Great additions. So happy to hear that the “threshold ritual” struck a chord with you – one of my favorites.

    • Jamie

      We bought our home at a high time in the market and I often find myself bummed out that we paid too much for our place and that there are many “bigger/nicer” places now on the market. But then I started lighting a home blessing candle at dinnertime to say my thank you for this special home that keeps us all safe and warm. My children love the candle and it has made our dinner time even more special. It’s fun to have a candle lit even when you’re just eating take out!

    • SuzanneU

      I have a Mezuzah on my doorframe. It contains a verse of Scripture. It is a reminder to me that when I go out into the world, I represent the L-rd because I am His child. When I come home, it is a reminder to give thanks for His protection all day long. You don’t have to be Jewish to have a Mezzuzah. I am a gentile.

  • Jo

    Take a moment each day to enjoy your new home…. So often when we move we are all about the decorating or what needs to be done.
    When we moved (13 years ago already) I kept a photo diary of the stages of our home. Building, each child in their room, major changes. It is nice to look back on how things have changed. It also reminds me of how much junk we have collected…

    • gretchenrubin

      What a great idea. I want to do this.

  • I really like these suggestions. For me, the idea of a junk drawer doesn’t work. I’m more in the mode of outer order contributes to inner calm. A junk drawer indicates I’m holding on to things I don’t need.

  • E.S. Ivy

    When we moved into our new home a friend told me that it would be a year until we were fully settled in. I was dismayed at the thought! But now, a year later, I told her that I was *so* glad she told me that because we were almost at a year, we still weren’t quite settled, still don’t have pictures up on the walls, still didn’t have the kids’ rooms painted, and at times it seemed overwhelming. Her response was, “A year, did I say a year? You have five years at least.” Bless her. 🙂

    And I got so excited when I saw the Fisher Price house ornament that I had to go right out on the web and try to find one, and I did! I got so excited! 🙂 I never buy things spur of the moment like that but I *loved* that house.

  • David

    How about not just an empty shelf, but a table with nothing on it, and some big areas of floor with no furniture; that way you have the feeling that you are always ready to start a new project, spread things out, or do cartwheels.
    I love your ideas, though the purple thing seems a bit random, and is maybe the weak link.

    • gretchenrubin

      Yes! Clear surfaces are so invigorating.

  • Our Learning

    Take pictures in various rooms in your home. It’s fun to look back at how rooms (and your life) evolves. It also provides great memories for children to look back at pictures that include different rooms from their childhood.

    • I’ve done this in every apartment or home I’ve rented or owned. It was so interesting to see how my homes have evolved through the years. It’s a great tip. And it also allows me to give things up because I have a record of what they look like and that’s enough.

  • Suzanne

    I just relocated to Northern California, and one of my rules for renting homes is: Do something, however small, to improve the rental that I will leave for future renters. For example, fancy-schmancy switchplates are cheap and easy….and every renter after me will get a kick out of them. Or, on move-out, I leave a folder of delivery menus in a drawer with favorite dishes circled.

  • juli

    I always remember a scene from the movie Under the Tuscan Sun, where the main character takes the time to “finish” one room in her home as soon as she moved in, so that one room would always feels like a place of refuge no matter what else was going on around her. 🙂

    • Teddycare1959

      I love that part of the movie too…It is such a great way of showing the home that you are in some love…It will return the favor!

  • ravenrose

    PURPLE? OMG. Normally I love your stuff, Gretchen, but I am going to have to avoid the houses of everyone who takes your advice here. Almost any other lovely color, but not PURPLE. Yikes! My similar rule for happiness would be to make sure not to have either purple or stark white anywhere you can possibly avoid it and tend to the warm colors rather than the cool.

    • gretchenrubin

      The purple tip was meant to be both a bit of a joke and thought-provoking…but seems like it’s not working in that way!

      • Diana

        We are all provoked to thought by the purple tip. It’s working!

        • gretchenrubin

          I keep going back and forth on this. “Touch of whimsy” is less likely to get people riled up, but on the other hand, specificity is more likely to get people thinking – even if their thought is that they disagree.

    • Purple can be warm.

  • Make it your home NOW not later. Settle in like it’s going to be the last place you will live instead of viewing it just as the place you live now. I’ve lived like a transient in the home I currently rent, and to some extent in the home I lived in for 13 years before that. I think I would be/would have been much happier if I spent the time completing the setup of each room as though I were never moving out instead of not doing things because I always felt like I was going to be leaving (eventually). Hang the pictures, for heavens sake! What AM I waiting for?…

    • I love this thought !

    • Yes! I painted every room in my house a beautiful color I like. Many people said – but that will hurt the resale. I said – I’m living here now! Why do I want a color that won’t offend some stranger 20 years from now?

  • Sarah

    Thank you! I needed that. My family recent moved to another state, and I’ve been in a funk because I miss friends and family. I need to make an attitude adjustment, and your tips (and your new book) have given me a good place to start. I also ordered the Little People ornament. I have fond memories of playing with the house with my sister.

    • gretchenrubin

      I’m so happy people like that ornament! As I describe in Happier at Home, as an under-buyer, I almost never make an impulse buy, but I fell in love with this little ornament. The doorbell works!

  • Allison

    These are great! Am I trying to read too deep into this one though?
    No one regrets replacing a burned-out light-bulb.
    Does it mean, with other changes to the house you might be hesitant,
    but at least changing a bad light-bulb is easy? Or am I missing the right message? Loved your book!

    • gretchenrubin


  • Tania

    I’d say, invite someone over. Don’t delay making happy memories in the new home of time spent with friends, neighbors and family.

    • Erica_JS

      Yes! Especially for those of us who move frequently – don’t wait until the house is perfectly arranged and the boxes are all unpacked to be a generous host, because that day may never arrive (I speak from sad experience. 🙂 Go ahead and light the candles and serve the food in the middle of clutter and chaos, if the alternative is not doing it at all or waiting till “someday.” Guests don’t care about your home decor, they care about your hospitality.

  • This is an awesome post! We just moved into a new home a couple months ago and remembering these things I think will help us enjoy it even more!

  • Anne

    I just moved to a new apartment, and the thing that helped me the most was reading Christopher Alexander’s “A Pattern Language.” The first part deals with city planning and large buildings, but the last third or so deals with residential design and interior design. It’s very readable.

    However, there are a number of spinoffs of the book, which seem to be much less helpful. Also, it’s an expensive book, but most libraries have it.

    The book’s main point is identifying “patterns,” which are arrangements of rooms or furniture (or other elements) that work well on a subconscious level. You can also think of pattens of your own, things that are idiosyncratic. Finding and using patterns that work for you make your house feel like a home very quickly.

    • gretchenrubin

      I am a GIGANTIC RAVING fan of “A Pattern Language.” So much there. A brilliant book. It completely changed the way I think.

  • Jill

    At least once a year, rearrange the furniture.

  • Melissa

    I like! How about “Display things you love”? Oftentimes, people box up some of their favorite items to keep them safe. The problem: they never get to enjoy them!

    Or, “Avoid bringing in temporary fixes.” It seems those temporary items always stick around the longest and are the most despised.
    Side note: You have an extra “you” in #1.

    • gretchenrubin

      In Happier at Home, I talk about my resolution to “Cultivate a shrine” which gets to your idea of display. So true.

      Temporary fixes point is also true, alas!

      • I have two shrines in my home. The most important one is the fireplace mantel and the hearth. I change the decorations seasonally and find this becomes the true heart of the house. My second one is my great grandmother’s china cupboard which found its home in a perfectly-sized niche in a spare room, and it represents the heart of my childhood.

    • Kris

      I would greatly agree with “Avoid bringing in temporary fixes.” Don’t compromise – get something you really love. I feel like all too often I’ve gone for “practical” or “less expensive” or “just for now” or “what’s in stock” and I find these lamps/sofas/coffee tables/dressers/shower curtains to be symbolic reminders of other ways I’m compromising on my happiness.

  • Jeanette

    I used to bake bread or cookies to make our ‘new’ place smell better, then I’d share a loaf or a plate to meet new neighbors.

  • Susi

    Hello, I think your site is awesome, another tip could be something that I always do, have a guestbook! That is for my own place, that way when I have dinner parties, or guests staying over night, they all sign the book. Actually mine is pretty unique, I keep a good set of felt pens beside it, on its own little ledge in the breezeway – and I encourage people to take a whole page and do some art, if they are shy about drawing I just tell them to take seven different colours, and use every one once in signing thier name and/or leaving a comment

    • I have a guest book too! I lost it for a few years but put it out again this year when we started offering space for couchsurfers. It will be a fun way to remember momentary friendships and pleasant evenings.

  • Love this post. Our home is a B&B so many of these things we do…but for our guests. However, I find that having our home always look ready for guests even when it is just us there, gives me energy – it is inviting, complete with fresh flowers. I think flowers are a good tip – even if they are from the garden or a bough of evergreen in the winter, bringing the outside in is a great way to feel connected to your home and it requires you to refresh it ever so often.

    • After watching The Hours, where Meryl Streep’s character buys outrageous amounts of flowers, I resolved to buy more cut flowers for my house in the off-seasons, and to cut my own flowers for the house every week. Instead of waiting for someone to send me flowers, I’m treating the home that I love.

  • fab40foibles

    why something purple??

    • gretchenrubin

      This was supposed to be a little goofy and also thought-provoking, not really literal, but it seems to trip up a lot of people.
      So I will change that to “Every room should include a touch of quirky.”

      Or is it more thought-provoking to say purple, because that causes people to stop and think, “Huh, why purple? What do I think that every room should include?”

      • Erica_JS

        I’d say (and initially interpreted it as) “Every room should include something in your favorite color(s)” – for me, turquoise and red!

      • fab40foibles

        just looking at the orange sofa & thinking purple may be a little too…purple!

      • I love all the ideas, but the purple especially made me grin – it’s always been my favorite color. It did also make me wonder, “Why purple?” but the thought made me happy. “Quirky” works, too, but I like that it made me stop and think.

      • Ms.Holland

        I interpreted your ‘purple’ in every room as a reference to those seeking a deeper awareness as colour pschologists state that the ‘color purple relates to the imagination and spirituality. It stimulates the imagination and inspires high ideals. It is an introspective colour, allowing us to get in touch with our deeper thoughts’.

      • Elise

        I know I am a bit late with my comment but I’m playing catch up. After reading all the comments regarding the color purple, what stands out to me is that maybe you should write a post on the effects of following someone else’s ideas too closely. When I listen to another person or read what they have written, I pick and choose the ideas I would like to implement. So for me, if I did not like purple I wouldn’t feel like Gretchen wanted me to have purple in every room. I actually would assume that you wouldn’t care one way or the other but would just want me to be happy and were giving suggestions and ideas that I could follow if I wanted to. Interpreting things this way is second nature to me but maybe it isn’t for others. The question then becomes, do you provide more generic advice or do you try to inspire people to learn to pick and choose from what you have written? Interesting.

      • brainysmurf

        Thanks, Gretchen, I love this purple debate you’ve inspired. How about “Every room should include a touch of purple…or whatever colour ‘pops’ for you”?

        I LOVE purple, it’s my signature colour.

        For eight years, I had a light purple bathroom with deep purple towels and silver accents. I still have a deep purple bath sheet that is my favourite. Purple was supposedly the colour of passion when I used to wear a mood ring. Remember those days? 🙂

        Looks like you have the makings of a whole post on Provoked by Purple or similar!

  • Just wanted to say…I LOVE PURPLE! 🙂

  • I love the sentiment behind this. I recently became enamored by the “red door” concept in how we approach our home and who we “let” in it. It’s an interesting read (and I loved the bit about Martin Luther’s wife). http://darlingmagazine.org/paint-the-town-red/

    • That was a great read Sasha, thanks for sharing the link! And very thought provoking too.

  • ETB

    My tip would be to make the outside entry inviting, either through plants (alive or fake), a freshly painted front door, wreaths, a nice customized entry sign, some chairs, etc. I feel happy whenever I see our cheerful entry and really “welcomed” home.

  • Maria

    Gretchen, I love you but I have to say, enough with the “every room should have something purple”! Not everyone likes purple. I don’t wear purple (it’s too lame and not stylish), and I certainly don’t have purple objects in my home (because I’m not a 5 year old girl). I assure you, more purple in my life would not boost my happiness. I get that you like it (for whatever reason), but this is definitely not universal advice.

    • gretchenrubin

      As I said to other commenters, “purple” was meant to be funny and thought-provoking – a metaphor for “spark” not taken quite literally. I see from comments that many people do take this quite literally, and don’t agree, so I thought about changing it to a “touch of whimsy” but that, to me, sounds perfectly acceptable but so vague that it doesn’t really spark thought. The point of “purple” is to make a person think – either, yes! Purple! Or gosh, no, never purple, should be red or green or yellow…or something silly…or something homemade…or whatever.

      A challenge from a writer’s standpoint is that specificity is interesting and spurs action, but any time you’re specific, more people will disagree. It’s easy to agree with a vague admonition, but also easy not to think much about it.

      I can’t TELL you how long I debated about whether to have the final card say “purple” or “touch of whimsy” for the Welcome to Your New Home card.

      • Jamie

        Something homemade in every room seems doable and would definitely add to “homey”. Too many homes seem to be picked out as sets from a furniture store and really lack personality. I agree with the purple sentiment if only to suggest that one’s home not be overly “matchy matchy”. (Although I agree with Maria that purple is probably my least favorite home decor color!)

      • I don’t care for purple either, but that might be because it has been associated with older women! Of course I’m one of them now, but I still don’t like purple. I want warm colors in my rooms and have experimented to find the best ones for me. My living room (as opposed to my dying room?), has three terracotta walls, one yellow wall, and the paintings, photographs, lamps, curtains, and pillows have red, yellow, and terracotta colors in them. It’s a perfect melange of warmth.

      • Antz Crab

        I dont quite understand the fuss over purple…its a lovely regal color n the writer’s words must be respected as the other suggestions are equally simple but compelling

  • Sherry

    I would suggest adding a pet to your new home!

  • Chris

    Gretchen I feel like you are just repeating yourself after your second book..I am pretty sure I read something really similar a while ago..

    • Cindy

      Oh course there will be repetitive items in a book like this but many of us still love the inspiration.

  • Anne

    Some things are metaphorically purple whether they are purple or not.

    • gretchenrubin


  • Anne

    I’m very receptive to smells, so I bake bread ASAP or make cookies. Or cook something good with herbs. Or all the above.

  • Haha! I find it hilarious how many people have taken offense to the colour purple! I wonder if any other colour would have had the same reaction. (I’m aware that the colour isn’t the point of the statement but I’m just thinking out loud here).

    Maria xx

  • Veronique

    I just finished reading Happier at Home and loved it. I was struck however by your part on driving.I love driving and when going long distances often pop in an audio book if I am not in the city. I am unsure however if anyone enjoys driving in the city. Pedestrians, cyclists, buses and other cars make for a stressful driving experience at the best of times. I find using my GPS takes a big chunk of stress away. If I am lost I simply go to my stored addresses and hit home or if I am not heading home plug in my destination. It gives me a visual I can peek at when at a stop sights or lights and provides me with auditory warning before I need to turn or merge. I find this allows me to focus on the busyness on the street and feel safe knowing I can’t get lost. I always ask for a car with GPS when I travel and have driven through Paris, San Francisco,Toronto, New York and London with much less stress. I have gotten to know the city I live in much better thanks to my GPS because I feel more at ease to explore.

  • Diana

    Hi Gretchen, part way through Happier at Home and just at the point of this picture. It made me laugh & cry – here in Auckland NZ I had the exact same dolls house when I was little and now I have two boys, Mum was considering “moving it on” to another home. Now I will ask her to keep it. Your book is beautiful, inspirational and just such a captivating read. Thank you for making every day a happier day!

    • gretchenrubin

      Thanks so much for your very kind words. I’m thrilled that you’re enjoying the book. And love the play house too!

  • Jane Edwards

    As to the color purple: from the vantage point of my favorite chair, I looked around to see if I already had anything purple. At first glance: no. Then I noticed a pattern of purple-ish squares in the quilt on the sofa and that a woman in a painting had purple in her dress, and then the lilac-scented candle next to me got me to wondering if lilac or lavender counted as purple which become somewhat of a philosophical question because I wondered if you would think that was cheating, and then wondering why I should care what you thought, but I do, so, Gretchen, do the purple pastels qualify? Finally a struggle to decide if some of the panes in a stained glass window where more purple than blue or more blue than purple led me to face the truth; they are blue. But, guess what? In pursuit of purple I just spent a very pleasant few minutes looking closely at some beloved treasures which I see, but don’t see, every day. I even got up out of my chair to look at them: closely.

  • Put up beautiful family photos. I’m a family photographer and again and again I hear that when a client hangs their family as artwork, the home is instantly warmed.

  • Moya

    I always plant a tree or a nice shrub outside our new home as a symbol of new energy and a way of grounding us in our new home.

    • Marie-Claire

      Now that’s a great idea! When we lived in MN 30 years ago, we planted a tree for each of our children, and an apple tree each in honor of a dear uncle and aunt whose funeral we couldn’t attend because it was in Europe. When I recently visited this old home, the children’s trees were about 45 ft tall, and the apple trees were loaded with apples that the deer were eating when we visited!

  • Cindy

    Great thread. I wanted to add NEVER discount the power of a freshly panted room (include the trim if warranted). This can be a lot of work (or money if you don’t paint) but it will update your space and make it new again. Also don’t hold onto decor and furniture that you have never enjoyed or if your taste have evolved. I had to add this because too many of my friends hold onto thing they don’t love. Make your home, your home.
    FYI I think every room needs something teal or aqua.

    • Guest

      I love teal! I painted my whole entire living room teal and every time I come home to it it makes me happy and relaxed. Absolutely everyone I’ve had over has complimented the choice as well.
      I really think people get afraid to ‘commit’ to having color in their home… I know I was… but now that I’ve done it I can’t imagine going back to the stark builders white that was here before. It just wasn’t homey.

    • sc

      I feel very awkward for disliking teal. A colleague of mine has a teal dining room, and it gives me the chills to eat there.

      I agree that color and fresh paint are good. I grew up in the land of tasteful neutrals (Northern California) and appreciate more color in the Midwest and East Coast. But I think most American offices are atrociously dull.

  • Tania Ginoza

    I love this, thank you. Regarding purplegate, just insert a color or other word of your own. That’s how I read it. It could be green, pink, lace, whatever floats your boat. Isn’t part of the path to happiness being more flexible? Writing can get very dry if an author never includes a bit of their personality into it.

  • Dion

    Before you walk over the threshold of your new home – have everyone in the house swallow a teaspoon full of honey – then walk inside the home and toss a few coins in the front hall or living room to represent a sweet life full of sweet memories and much success and prosperity in your new home. And if you are so inclined you may – say a little prayer. (Old Greek Custom)

  • I’ve had a light bulb burned out in my pantry for months, it makes me annoyed every single day, but I never realized until just this moment. If you didn’t say “No one regrets changing a burned-out light-bulb.” I might not have realized just how this effects my happiness so negatively!
    New light-bulb just went on tomorrow’s grocery list. 🙂

  • Victoria

    I’ve had a theory for a long time that, among people with a favorite color, purple is the most common. I don’t know if there’s any research on it. Turquoise and blue might be runners up.

  • Brian

    Loved the book! Have been making my bed for a month. Decluttered and got rid of a lot of stuff including cleaning closets. Cleaned a shelf and made a shrine in a nice glass ice bucket that I can turn whenever I feel inclined. Funny the small things I put in it that I
    really enjoy seeing everyday that were hidden in boxes. Using my mother’s silverware as my everyday stuff as I used to enjoy it once a year and put it away. Using and loving inherited grandmother’s china as everyday dishes so no longer stored and got rid of old cutlery and mishmash of plates. More space! Even got me cooking fancy things again that I really enjoy eating. Making my apartment new again.

    • gretchenrubin

      Wonderful! So happy to hear that the book struck a chord with you.

  • Britney

    Have a guest book in your house and when friends and family come for a visit, have them sign it and say what they did while they were there (came for a bbq, scrapbooking, canning, etc.) What a wonderful way to capture moments from a guest’s perspective.

    • Britney

      Sorry, I didn’t realize this had already been posted!

  • kt

    If you have just stumbled upon this sight, I urge you to explore, read, sign-up and buy the book. Practical advice and tips that make sense!

    • gretchenrubin

      Awww, you’re so nice to say so! That makes me very HAPPY.

  • Hugh Houtman

    Hi Gretchen,

    Every room should include something purple:

    1) Deep Purple, Dyna Shore

    2) Deep Purple, Joni James

    3) Deep Purple

    4) Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton & London Symphony :

    5) A Little Lullaby for, to help you sleep? :

    Deep Purple, Lalana

    Love your website!

    All the best always,


  • Kimberly Foreman

    I try to put something black in each room and I have it mixed a different wood in each room,(cherry, rosewood, birch, etc.) Try getting some purple dried flowers from Michael’s or other shops, mix it with greenery, ceramic pitchers, baskets, etc. I really makes your kitchen a home quickly.
    During the holiday season, you can replace the pitchers with the ceramic light up old fashioned cities. Use extension cords above the cabinets, and plug in all your buildings. Run the cord down through the cabinet, and drill a hole big enough to come out or reach your outlets under the cabinets. The other alternative is to temporarily fasten your cord to the side of the cabinet, trying to conceal it as much as possible.
    When you turn out all your lights in the kitchen accept for your “Dickens'” old fashioned city building lights, it is so cool. The buildings are sold all over the country at many stores, Kohl’s, Bealls of Florida, etc.
    Have fun decorating!

  • Generally if we moved in new home we will feel like new environment and uncomfortable to stay in that surroundings. But you can make it beautiful with the proper planning and best ideas.

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  • arish h

    Great article, Thanks for giving us more ideas about how to do. Thanks for posting it. packers and movers in jaipur

  • Sandy Fennell

    It’s weird the warm feelings I got just from looking at that ornament. I spent hours and hours playing with my FP house.

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