Podcast 210: Very Special Episode! Elizabeth’s Favorite Clutter-Clearing Ideas from “Outer Order, Inner Calm.”


It’s a Very Special Episode! In honor of spring-cleaning, and in honor of the upcoming publication of my book Outer Order, Inner Calm, we’re talking about clutter-busting. The book hits the shelves very soon—March 5. I’m also getting ready to go on my book tour. Please come, bring your friends! Information here.

Outer Order Inner calm book open to know yourself

For this Very Special Episode, Elizabeth identified the ideas from the book that have worked best for her, from her perspective as a truly clutter-blind person:
  • The one-minute rule
  • Power Hour
  • Allow technology to clear clutter—for instance, you don’t need to keep an instruction manual for an appliance
  • Beware of freebies, swag, and free stuff
  • Remember, clearing cutter helps you remember and appreciate the things youown
  • Acknowledge the emotional bonds created by possessions. Elizabeth mentions being sad about the fact that I  finally gave up the jacket that I’d worn so many times, but was now utterly tired of. Here’s a photo of that beloved garment; I did wear it a million times, and now it has gone to someone else, who will love it as much as I did.

    Gretchen's flower jacket

We discuss Marie Kondo’s blockbuster bestseller The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Upa book I love (it’s one of only three books that I recommend in the “Suggested Reading” section of Outer Order, Inner Calm). My approach is different from hers, because she argues that there’s one best way to clear clutter, and I think that many different approaches can work for different people. If you want to hear the hilarious By the Book episode (#77) where Kristen Meinzer and Jolenta Greenberg talk about their adventures following the KonMarie way, listen here.

Happiness Hack

Follow the “three strikes, you’re out” rule. If you’ve thought about relinquishing a possession three times, you’re ready to give up that thing. Know Yourself Better: If we clear clutter in the way that’s right for us, it’s much easier to do it—and maintain it. Consider these questions:

Elizabeth’s Demerit

Elizabeth wants to store certain entertaining items in her home office. She planned to organize this space over the holidays, but she hasn’t done it yet. Good news for me! I can’t wait to tackle this task when I stay with Elizabeth in Los Angeles during my book tour.

Gretchen’s Gold Star

I give a gold star to Jamie, who loves outer order as much as I do. No more, no less. And that contributes greatly to the harmony of our marriage.


  1. Thank you to everyone who has pre-ordered my forthcoming book Outer Order, Inner Calm! I so appreciate it. Get your pre-order bonus when you submit your order number or receipt at outerorderinnercalmbook.com. There are only a few days left to pre-order! Remember, if you pre-order five copies or more, you’ll get a shout out here on the podcast from me. (When you submit your proof of purchase,  you can specify the number of copies you pre-ordered.)
  2. Speaking of Outer Order, Inner Calmclick here if you’d like to read a free excerpt or listen to a clip from the audio-book. And yes, I’m the one reading it.

Join the conversation! I do a live show on Facebook called: “Ask Gretchen Rubin Live.”
 You can check the schedule.




Like what you see? Explore more about this topic.

Subscribe to Gretchen’s newsletter.

Every Friday, Gretchen Rubin shares 5 things that are making her happier, asks readers and listeners questions, and includes exclusive updates and behind-the-scenes material.