Title: Outer Order Inner Calm
Author: Gretchen Rubin
Genre: Nonfiction Self-Help
Publication Date: March 5, 2019
Format Read: Book
Standalone or series: Standalone
Where I got the book: Library
Date finished reading: April 8, 2019
Goodreads Description: Bestselling author of The Four Tendencies and The Happiness Project Gretchen Rubin illuminates one of her key realizations about happiness: For most of us, outer order contributes to inner calm. In a new book packed with more than one hundred concrete ideas, she helps us create the order and organization that can make our lives happier, healthier, more productive, and more creative.
In the context of a happy life, a messy desk or crowded coat closet is a trivial problem–yet Gretchen Rubin has found that getting control of the stuff of life makes us feel more in control of our lives generally. By getting rid of things we don’t use, don’t need, or don’t love, as well as things that don’t work, don’t fit, or don’t suit, we free our mind (and our shelves) for what we truly value.
In this trim book filled with insights, strategies, and sometimes surprising tips, Gretchen tackles the key challenges of creating outer order, by explaining how to “Make Choices,” “Create Order,” “Know Yourself–and Others,” “Cultivate Helpful Habits,” and, of course, “Add Beauty.”
When we get our possessions under control, we feel both calmer and more energetic. With a sense of humor, and also a clear sense of what’s realistic for most people, Gretchen suggests dozens of manageable steps for creating a more serene, orderly environment–one that helps us to create the lives we yearn for.
My Review: I am a fan of Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project books, and Outer Order Inner Calm is a continuation of this with a lot of daily tips on how to create order in your home, work and life that will lead to happiness.
One of the first tips that she gives the reader is to take a look at every room in your home. Really analyze that space and make sure it brings happiness. I was blessed with my first real home just a couple of years ago. It is a constant work in progress, but as I did my walk through the rooms of my house, even rooms that I thought were completely finished still had a few things that could be done to make the space even lovelier. As an avid list taker, I’ve been making notes of projects, big and small, that I want to complete throughout my home. For the smaller projects I will definitely start utilizing Rubin’s 1-minute rule and the power hour. After one of the episodes on Gretchen Rubin’s Happier podcast, I actually started doing a power half hour most every day for the last few weeks to help me go through a room of boxes that have been ignored for the last two years – I termed this room the Room of Doom. By putting aside 30 minutes a day, I was not only able to completely go through every box (which added up to more than 60 boxes), but I did it all in time to participate in the community garage sale, which helped minimize my donation boxes from 11 to 5. We were even able to pass on bigger items that no longer added any benefit to our lives. My husband also helped out too, as he wanted to let go of things and clear some space in our house as well. It has been a week since we finished going through the last box in the Room of Doom, and we still are amazed at all the space we have now. We have given ourselves a whole other room in the house. Tips, like the power hour, can really help one move toward a less cluttered and calmer house.
As we went through our belongings, Rubin’s three big questions were far more helpful, in my opinion, than Marie Kondo’s “does it bring you joy.” For the record, I do utilize the KonMari method as well, but there are lot of things that I need but don’t necessarily bring me joy (aka years of tax forms). Rubin wants us to ask ourselves three questions: “Do I need it? Do I love it? Do I use it?” (p. 8). I was definitely surprised how many times both my husband and I answered “no” to those questions. It was a bit liberating and helped us feel zero guilt about getting rid of some of the items.
One thing I really like about Gretchen Rubin’s work is that she often quotes other writers or recommends other resources that might dive further into a specific topic more than she does. I always find this incredibly helpful.
Besides all the amazing tips throughout this book, she sums up a Top Ten list at the end for creating outer order. I borrowed this book from the library, but this might just be one of those books that I have to have on my shelf as a guide I can consult when I need to. I definitely recommend this one!
“Outer order isn’t a matter of having less or having more; it’s a matter of wanting what we have.” (p. 19)
My Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦