Tag Archives: order

Secret of Adulthood: Someplace, Keep an Empty Shelf.

From Further Secrets of Adulthood: Someplace, keep an empty shelf.

Now, what’s so great about an empty shelf? An empty shelf shows that I have room to expand — I’m not crowded in by my stuff, I have order and space.

For most people — to a somewhat surprising degree — outer order contributes to inner calm, a subject that I explore at some length in Happier at Home and also in Better Than Before.  For most people, outer order helps them stick to their good habits.

We can all agree that in the context of a happy life, something like a crowded coat closet is trivial, yet over and over, I find that getting control of the stuff of my life makes me feel more in control of my life generally. And if that’s an illusion, it’s a helpful illusion.

A friend told me, “I finally cleaned out my fridge, and now I know I can switch careers.” I understand exactly how that feels.

Some people say, “Gretchen, do you really have an empty shelf?” I really do (though I have to protect it against my husband, who never sees an empty shelf without wanting to stick something on it–is this related to the fact that I’m a Finisher and he’s an Opener?). If you want to see my empty shelf, watch here at minute 6:41.

The opposite of a profound truth is also true, however, so someplace, I also keep a junk drawer.

How about you? Do you have an empty shelf, a junk drawer, or both?

Podcast 17: Put Things Away in an Exact Place, Beware “My Preciousss,” and the Challenge of Staying in Touch

It’s Wednesday — which means it’s time for the next installment of  “Happier with Gretchen Rubin.

Coming up: To celebrate our 20th episode, we’re going to do an episode that features our listeners. So leave us a voicemail answer at 774-277-9336, by June 24, 2015, to one of these questions:

— if you could change one aspect of a relationship, what would you change? Huge, trivial, any relationship.

— what happiness demerit would you give yourself? what gold star would you bestow?

Thanks so much to the folks who have already sent in comments. Fascinating.

This week:

Try This at HomeHave an exact place for everything. Agree, disagree?

Happiness Stumbling Block: Beware of anything we call “our preciousssssss.” Whenever Gollum refers to the ring, he calls it “my precious.” “Losst it is, my precious, lost, lost! Curse us and crush us, my precious is lost!“ Want to see a ten-second clip of Gollum talking about his precious, from The Lord of the Rings movie The Two Towers? It’s here. Also, I mention being an “Abstainer.” You can hear a discussion of that term in episode 2.

Listener Question: “What’s some deeper advice for Owls living in a Lark world? And did you realize that the tone of the show was ‘yay, Larks’ and ‘boo, Owls?'” Wow, I certainly didn’t mean to sound dismissive. I’m a big believer in the fact of chronotypes (morning people and night people), and that we should try help shape the world to accommodate a person’s Owl nature.

Elizabeth’s Demerit: Elizabeth feels that she’s not doing a good job of staying in touch with her old friends who live on the East Coast. Elizabeth mentions the “update” habit that we discuss in episode 2.

Gretchen’s Gold Star: I give a gold star to my mother-in-law, who helped me re-frame the experience of plane rides, to make them more enjoyable.

As always, thanks to our terrific sponsors. Check out Smith and Noble, a solution for beautiful window treatments. Go to smithandnoble.com/happier for 20% off window treatments and a free in-home consultation. Limited time.

And Framebridge.com — a terrific way to get your art and photos framed, in a super easy and affordable way. Use the code HAPPIER at checkout to get 20% off your first Framebridge order.

We’d love to hear from you: does it help you to put things away in an exact place? And what’s your precioussssss? Call: 774 -277-9336 for your questions and comments — especially for the Very Special Episode.

Comment below. Email: podcast@gretchenrubin.com. Twitter: @gretchenrubin and @elizabethcraft. Call: 774 -277-9336.  Facebook Page.

To listen to this episode, just zip to the bottom of this post and hit the red “play” button.

Or if you’re reading this post by email, click here to view online, to listen to the podcast from this post.

Want to know what to expect from other episodes of the podcast, when you listen toHappier with Gretchen Rubin?” We talk about how to build happier habits into everyday life, as we draw from cutting-edge science, ancient wisdom, lessons from pop culture—and our own experiences (and mistakes).  We’re sisters, so we don’t let each other get away with much!

HOW TO SUBSCRIBE: If you’re like me (until recently) you’re intrigued by podcasts, but you don’t know how to listen or subscribe. It’s very easy, really. Really. Instructions here.

Or for an amusing short how-to video made by Ira Glass of This American Life, click here.

If you want to listen to more than one episode, and to have it all in a handier way, on your phone or tablet, it’s better to subscribe. Really, it’s easy.

Again, be sure to subscribe and listen and subscribe on iTunes so you never miss an episode. And if you enjoyed it, please tell your friends and give us a rating or review. Listeners really respect the views of other listeners, so your response helps people find good material. (Not sure how to review? Instructions here; scroll to the bottom.)

HAPPIER listening!

What My Husband Taught Me. About Unpacking.

I’m on Day One of recovering from jet lag. So far, so good.

One of the first things I did after I got home from Australia — after repeatedly hugging every family member and racing from room to room like a puppy — was to unpack.

This was something I learned from my husband.

When I was younger, I followed the “unpack as necessary” approach. I’d leave my suitcase open on the floor, and take out things as I needed them, or when I felt like putting a few things away. It took a few days to empty the suitcase.

But over the years, I learned that this approach drove my husband nuts. It bugged him to see that open, half empty suitcase.

So  a while back, I decided that I could unpack immediately, out of love for him.

And I quickly realized that this approach was much better. So, although I didn’t feel like unpacking within the first hour of getting home, I did — and it was a huge relief to have that task accomplished. Unpacking isn’t hard, but it feels hard.

Also, what a relief to have everything put away. I reminded myself, yet again, of that Secret of Adulthood: Outer order contributes to inner calm (more, really, than it should). OuterOrderContributesToInnerCalm_124842

It was funny, about this trip. I was gone for a week, and although I’ve been away from home for longer stretches, this felt much longer.  Partly, it was the fact that I was so far away; not just traveling around the United States, but on the other side of the world.

But I didn’t anticipate how jarring it would be to cross the international date line. Even though I rationally understand it, of course, there really is something deeply disconcerting about traveling into tomorrow, and then back again into yesterday.

Apparently, it’s not true that people rioted in England in 1750, when the country adopted the Gregorian calendar, to demand that their “eleven days” be restored. But even if they didn’t actually riot, I understand why they might have felt like rioting. It was very weird to see the calendar jerk forward and back, even though I knew that my life was rolling ahead as usual.

So…any tips for jet lag?

Podcast #10: Special Episode! Live from Elizabeth’s Cluttered Closet.

My sister Elizabeth Craft and I are having a great time doing our new podcast,  “Happier with Gretchen Rubin.

Elizabethclosetbefore1Today’s episode is completely different from our usual format. Because I was in Los Angeles for my book tour for Better Than Before,  we were in the same place (which we usually aren’t). And Elizabeth had the brilliant idea that we should record ourselves as we observed one of our familiar sisterly rituals: whenever I visit Elizabeth, we clean out her closet.Elizabethclosetbefore2

So this episode comes straight to you from the depths of Elizabeth’s closet. Which happens to be a walk-in closet in Encinco, California.

I’ve always loved before-and-after photos, and here are some from her closet.

Among other things, we discuss why, trivial as it may be, cleaning out a closet is likely to make you happier; why you should designate a recipient for your give-aways, before you start clearing; why you should actively ponder your stuff; why it’s helpful to store something in an exact place; why you shouldn’t get organized — plus there’s  a shoe-sorting montage. elizabethclosetafter1

We had a great time doing this — though I’m pretty sure I enjoyed it more than Elizabeth did. Note that we both wore Kansas City shirts, in honor of this occasion.elizabethclosetafter2

We’re thrilled–we’ve hit more than 600,000 downloads, in just eight episodes! Thanks for listening! And we’ve heard from so many listeners — which we love. (By the way: if you like the podcast, we’re sheepishly asking people to rate and/or review it, if time and inclination permit; that’s very helpful for a new podcast like ours.)

As always, thanks to our terrific sponsors! Like Smith and Noble. Go to smithandnoble.com/happier for 20% off window treatments and a free in-home consultation.

And to Travel Zoo. Head to www.travelzoo.com to sign up for a free membership–or download the highly rated Travel Zoo app.

Want to get in touch? Email: podcast@gretchenrubin.com. Twitter: @gretchenrubin and @elizabethcraft. Phone: 774-277-9336 (774 HAPPY 336). Click here for the Facebook Page — post your own “before and after” closet photos, we’d love to see them. Or comment right here.

And we would love to hear from you — about whether you were inspired to clear a closet– and if so, if it made you happier — your questions, and any other comments.

To listen to this episode, just zip to the bottom of this post and hit the red “play” button.

Or if you’re reading this post by email, click here to view online, to listen to the podcast from this post.

Want to know what you can usually expect from other episodes of the podcast, when you listen toHappier with Gretchen Rubin?” We talk about how to build happier habits into everyday life, as we draw from cutting-edge science, ancient wisdom, lessons from pop culture—and our own experiences (and mistakes).

Each week, we give  a “Try This at Home” suggestion, for some easy habit you can try, as part of your ordinary routine, to boost your happiness—something like setting an alarm to signal your bedtime, or using the one-minute rule, to help yourself stay on top of small nagging tasks.

We also suggest questions to help you “Know Yourself Better”—like “Whom do you envy?” and “Are you a Marathoner or a Sprinter in your work style?”—and explore “Happiness Stumbling Blocks,” those small, seemingly insignificant parts of daily life that drag us down—everything from aforementioned problem of the Evil Donut-Bringer to the fact that working is one of the most dangerous forms of procrastination.

We “Grill the Guest” (well, we plan to — we haven’t had a guest yet), consider “Listener Questions,” and finally, we get even more personal, and each of us either gives ourselves a “Demerit” for a mistake we made that week, that affected our happiness, or awards a “Gold Star” to someone or something that deserves recognition.

We’re sisters, so we don’t let each other get away with much!

HOW TO SUBSCRIBE: If you’re like me (until recently) you’re intrigued by podcasts, but you don’t know how to listen or subscribe. It’s very easy, really. Really. Instructions here.

Or for an amusing short how-to video made by Ira Glass of This American Life, click here.

If you want to listen to more than one episode, and to have it all in a handier way, on your phone or tablet, it’s better to subscribe. Really, it’s easy.

Tell us what you think! Drop us a line at @gretchenrubin, @elizabethcraft, Facebook, podcast@gretchenrubin.com, or call 774-277-9336. Or just add your comment to this post.

Again, be sure to subscribe and listen and subscribe on iTunes so you never miss an episode. And if you enjoyed it, please tell your friends and give us a rating or review. Listeners really respect the views of other listeners, so your response helps people find good material. (Not sure how to review? Instructions here; scroll to the bottom.)

Happy listening! Or I should say, HAPPIER listening!

Secret of Adulthood: Someplace, Keep an Empty Shelf.

Further Secrets of Adulthood: Someplace, keep an empty shelf.

Now, what’s so great about an empty shelf? An empty shelf shows that I have room to expand — I’m not crowded in by my stuff, I have order and space. For most people, outer order contributes to inner calm, a subject that I explore at some length in Happier at Home and also in Better Than Before. (If you want to know when Better Than Before goes on sale, sign up here.)

Some people say, “Gretchen, do you really have an empty shelf?” I really do (though I have to protect it against my husband, who never sees an empty shelf without wanting to stick something on it). If you want to see it, watch here at minute 6:41.

The opposite of a profound truth is also true, however, so someplace, I also keep a junk drawer.

How about you? Do you have an empty shelf, a junk drawer, or both?