Earlier this week, I began listening to Gretchen Rubin’s book The Happiness Project while I was driving to work or running. I am half way through the book and have already started my own happiness project. I feel happier already!!
Rubin’s first chapter focuses on vitality and boosting energy. In her first chapter called January, she aims to (1) go to sleep earlier, (2) exercise better, (3) toss, restore, and organize, (4) tackle a nagging task, and (5) act more energetic.
For my project, I decided to focus on the third and fourth items on her list. I could certainly benefit from additional sleep; however, I love being a night owl. I am not yet ready to consistently go to bed early despite the abundance of evidence revealing its benefits. I exercise more than enough since I am doing a 365-one-mile-a-day running challenge, and I have no shortage of energy. Focusing on items three and four however could certainly improve my life.
Toss, Restore and Organize
Rubin began her toss, restore and organize effort by tackling visible clutter. She explains that, “Household disorder was a constant drain on my energy; the minute I walked through the apartment door, I felt as if I needed to start putting clothes in the hamper and gathering loose toys.” I feel the exact same way! Once her clutter-clearing challenge was complete, she spent ten minutes a day keeping her apartment tidy which saved a lot of time and improved her energy.
On Sunday, I am typically faced with a growing amount of clutter in the living room and kitchen that seems to take forever cleaning up. That doesn’t seem like a lot but when you add five loads of laundry, running, dinner, piano practice, etc. to the list, I am exhausted. I found that I was thoroughly drained by Sunday night so I knew I could benefit from this challenge.
This week, I vowed to keep the kitchen counters free of clutter, dishes out of the sink, wet dishes were washed and immediately put away, and I asked the kids to put their toys or music books in their room versus keeping them on our bar stools. Once the initial clutter was gone, I was much happier! I kept the house super clean for six days and intend to continue this new habit. I love it! I often stand in the living room admiring how nice our house looks. Doing a quick clean-up at the end of the day or as the day progressed was so much easier than a large clean-up at the end of the day or week.
Tackle Nagging Tasks
Once the visible clutter was gone, I tackled some nagging tasks. I have wanted to tackle the below projects for months.
- Clean out the bench in the hallway
- Paint the fireplace mantel
- Put film on the bathroom and closet windows to let more light in
- Touch up the bathroom door (there are a few areas where the paint is chipped. (It drives me crazy!)
- Paint the baseboards in the living room (the previous owners left us with two tone baseboards. The main part is all white while the smaller, curved baseboard touching the floor is not painted. It seems so unfinished to me!)
- Re-paint the front porch steps
- Paint the front porch hand rails white
- Clear out our closet
- Touch up the fish tank stand (a small piece of paint is chipped)
- Start blogging again!
Items one through eight could probably be done in an afternoon if I was really motivated but, if the truth be told, doing so would NOT make me happy. I vowed to do a few projects at a time so I don’t feel overwhelmed.
I was so impressed with my progress that I started a behind-the-scenes clutter-clearing project. I cleared out the bench that is in our hallway. For such a small bench, I was appalled at how much was in it. I removed four fabric bags, a couple of plastic bags, an entire bag of leashes and dog toys, a crossword puzzle book, jump rope, a couple of winter hats, gloves, some toys, and a small garbage bag of junk. It looks so much better! The bags below are going to storage and the rest is what we use on a daily basis. I still have several more nagging behind-the-scenes clutter projects to deal with but I’ll save those for another day.
I completed two additional projects on my list. My first project was to paint the fireplace mantel. It previously had grey paint that was peeling. It was not very attractive and bothered me every time I looked at it. A quick trip to Ace Hardware for a small container of Amy Howard At Home Linen paint and new brush took all of 15 minutes. After work one night, I painted the mantel in less than an hour. The joy I have gotten from seeing our new mantel has really made me happy. It is the little things in life!
My second project was to put film on our bathroom window to bring more natural light into the room. We have a small master bathroom; however, the blinds make the room very dark. Consequently, the light is always on. It took me about 40 minutes of measuring, cutting and removing wrinkles to get the film just right. The room is brighter, the light is not being turned on during the day which also saves electricity and it looks much better! A win-win!!
After a week of doing my own happiness project, I found that I am happier already. The satisfaction I get from seeing a clean house is incredible! Since I had extra time at the end of the day, I found that I had time to start blogging again which has been a goal of mine.
If you are interested in starting your own happiness blog, purchase a copy of Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Happiness Project. If you don’t have much time like me, listen to it through Audible while you drive, run or do chores around the house. You might be surprised how much happier you can become with small life changes.