Book Review: Outer Order Inner Calm

Outer Order Inner Calm
Author: Gretchen Rubin
Genre: Nonfiction Self-Help
Publisher: Harmony
Publication Date: March 5, 2019
Pages: 208
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: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦


WWW Wednesdays – September 19, 2018


What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Time for another WWW Wednesdays, which is brought to you by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. If you too want to participate, answer the above questions and post that link on Sam’s page.

Currently Reading

Finished Reading

You May Now Kill The Bride (Return to Fear Street #1) by R. L. Stine


The Fear Street series was an obsession of mine when I was in middle school into high school. A month ago, I heard that R. L. Stine had decided to revive his Fear Street street – 20 years later – with a new series called Return To Fear Street. I knew I had to pick up the first book as soon as possible, if for no other reason then to just relive my younger reading days. I managed to get a copy from my local library and put down all my other books to read it immediately. This would be a good example of books that you love when you are younger but not as much when you are older. There are about 100 pages near the end of the book that are fun and thrilling, but overall I was a little disappointed. Even the end was not very strong in my opinion. It isn’t a bad book, but I think it is a timely book to be read by younger people. Still, it was nice to relive my teenage years through literature for a couple days.

Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery by Robert Kolker


I am continuing my true crime phase with this book related to bodies of sex workers found on Long Island. It gives a lot of details on the lives and families of all the victims – almost too much detail. Frankly all the people mentioned started to get a little confusing. While I do think the family life of the victims and the families’ involvement during the case is important, I believe the writer should have kept his focus more on the victims. I also would have like a bit more information about the police case, like a first hand interview, not just what the media was reporting. It is quite depressing though how many cases there are of sex workers disappearing and being killed, and authorities not doing anything about it. There was a similar serial-killer case in my hometown of Milwaukee many years ago that was pretty much ignored at the time. After being arrested for other crimes and released a dozen times in two decades, detectives finally tied the perpetrator to all the murdered women. I hope that the case of the Lost Girls will be solved someday.

Reading Next

I got a bit distracted this past week, but I don’t anticipate any distractions this coming week, so I should finally finish all the books I’ve been in the middle of for a while. Have you read any of these? What have you been reading lately? Any recommendations?



WWW Wednesdays – August 15, 2018


What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Time for another WWW Wednesdays, which is brought to you by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. If you too want to participate, answer the above questions and post that link on Sam’s page.

2018-08-07_14-38-09I had a great time reading for the 25inFive Readathon which ran from August 9 – August 13. It was difficult to read 5 hours on the weekdays when I was working, but I made up for it on the weekend. I felt that this was a good excuse to take time for myself and indulge a bit in my reading life. The readathon helped me catch up on some library loans and NetGalley ARCs. Otherwise, I only read about an hour to three hours a day.

Currently Reading

Finished Reading

The President is Missing – This political thriller is a little too realistic. The president realizes that someone in his White House inner circle may be assisting terrorists who have planted a cyber-virus so decides to go off-grid to help save the country. While I don’t believe that any president would be as hands-on as this one was or even be allowed to be, it definitely was a thrilling page-turner. It reminded me a lot of the movie War Games. I think it is terrifying to realize that technology really does run every aspect of our lives – our electricity, water systems, Wall Street, etc. However, there is a section in the book where the discussion of cyber attacks drags on and on, so I skipped ahead a bit at that part. I also thought the end was way too wordy, though I did laugh a bit at the part where the president tells Russia to stay out of our elections. Overall, I thought this was a good book – much better than some of the reviews I’ve read.

Saved by the Cowboy – I received this ARC from NetGalley. It is a cute romantic novella that includes an exciting main character, Olivia, her crazy family, a sexy sheriff, friendly townsfolk and love letters hidden under the floor boards of an older house. While I didn’t like the Sheriff as the main love interest – found him a bit dry – and didn’t quite feel the passion between the Sheriff and Olivia, I enjoyed Olivia’s search for the meaning of lasting love, and how she thought that finding old love letters between her grandparents would shed some light on that.

Whitey Bulger: America’s Most Wanted Gangster and the Manhunt That Brought Him to Justice – I was looking for an audiobook to listen to when I came across this one. I’ve been on a true crime kick all year, and when I saw this one on RB Digital (a library app), I had to get it. I lived in Boston when they caught Whitey Bulger, and this story dominated the news for over a year. This book was published shortly after Whitey Bulger’s capture and gives specific details of the dealings (including murder) he and his crew had in parts of Boston including Southie where I used to live. I thought this was a very comprehensive telling of the Whitey Bulger story by two award-winning Boston Globe journalists.

Reading Next

What are y’all reading this week? Any recommendations?



WWW Wednesdays – August 8, 2018


What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Time for another WWW Wednesdays, which is brought to you by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. If you too want to participate, answer the above questions and post that link on Sam’s page.

Currently Reading

The President is Missing by Bill Clinton and James Patterson


I put a hold on this at the library as soon as it came out many months ago, and it finally became available. I thought it would be a fun summer read, even if I haven’t heard great reviews.

Finished Reading

The Lucky Dress – I received this ARC from NetGalley and believe it is now available to the public this week. An enjoyable romantic tale, where Emi is forced to face her ex-fiancé, Jack, when her brother marries Jack’s sister. Emi and Jack’s relationship ended poorly, and as the wedding events take place, the author takes you back to explore Emi and Jack’s entire relationship. Can Emi and Jack find their way back to each other or will they move on with the individuals (Liam and Greta) that they bring as dates to the wedding?

The Masterpiece – I received this ARC from NetGalley and have been so excited to read it, since hearing about it on the What Should I Read Next podcast. It did not disappoint. It quickly became one of my favorite reads of the year. It combines, historical fiction, drama, and mystery with fascinating characters and an almost lyrical writing style with beautiful descriptions. The story takes place in New York’s Grand Central station, which in the 20’s was home to an art school. However, in 1974, that school no longer exists, but a young woman who works at Grand Central station discovers the remnants of what was formally the art school, and her curiosity is peaked.

Lord of the Flies – I read this for my Classics book club and was not disappointed. A group of young boys are stranded on a deserted island after a plane crash and have to learn to survive until they are rescued. It is a quick read but also depressing as the premise really is that the beast on the island is actually human nature, and that there is evil in all of us.

Make Trouble – This is Cecile Richards’ memoir. She was the daughter of Ann Richards, who was governor of Texas from 1991-1995. Ann Richards was one of few women and and a democrat to hold that position in Texas. Cecile Richards tells her story of what is was like being Ann Richards daughter, but also of her own life in the world of politics and activism. She supported unions, worked for Nancy Polosi, campaigned for Hilary Clinton and fought for women’s health care, becoming the president of Planned Parenthood. Her husband and kids have also taken on roles of activism. It is an inspiring book that makes you want to go out there and fight for a better country and world.

Reading Next

I am looking forward to my next round of reads. I think the variety will suit me just fine and help me succeed in the 25infive challenge I am participating in this weekend. This challenge is to read for 25 hours total from August 9-13. Let me know if you are participating as well, and we can cheer each other on. I’ll be posting on my Instagram, Twitter and on Litsy @Morr_Books.

Tell me what you are reading or share your link!


Have A Happy 2018!!!

Screen Shot 2018-01-29 at 10.49.48 AMI am bummed that I did not manage to get a holiday message out last month, but I hope y’all had a wonderful and safe holiday season. We were fortunate enough to have our immediate families all in Houston and enjoyed spending time with everyone.

2017 was an interesting year for us. My husband and I are adjusting quite well to our new location and jobs. I continue to work for a public library, which I am enjoying. Why would I not enjoy being surrounded by books all the time?! I also work with a wonderful group of people. My husband taught his first graduate class in Statistical Mechanics (the kind of physics that describes large numbers of interacting particles) last spring. It went very well, and he was later told by a new student that he had been deemed “the cool professor.” He is teaching the same course again this year, which means he’s able to build off of last years work.

My husband also attended many conferences last year all over the place, including Tel Aviv, Israel; Aspen, Colorado; Washington, DC; and 2 in New Orleans. I sometimes got toIMG_20170116_195111071 tag along on these trips, so I was able to explore Israel, DC and New Orleans, while he was unfortunately working. Israel was fun and interesting. We were only there for a couple of days, but the conference actually set up a night excursion to Jerusalem (see picture on the right), which included a dinner; a walking tour; time at the Wailing Wall; and a lights display, so at least my husband got to see some of Israel. I also got to do a day tour to the north side of Israel that included Nazareth, Capernaum, and the Galilee Sea. The tour guide was very well-versed in the history and religious symbols of each area we went to, so I enjoyed it immensely.

Unfortunately, work kept my husband very busy all year, so we did not take any extended vacations together. However, I took a road-trip around England with my best 20431586_470116973362867_389937866817083112_nfriend. This trip was actually inspired by my love of all things Jane Austen, since there were special events being held to honor her for the 200th anniversary of her death. However, we did other things besides Austen events, including visiting Stonehenge (see picture below this paragraph); going on a Harry Potter walking-tour of Oxford; visiting some tourists sites in London (British Library, Westminster, 221b Baker Street); and meeting up with a few friends who reside in different areas of England. Our road-trip did not just include bigger cities like London, Bath and Oxford. We also spent some time in the countryside in the Peak District (see picture above on the left of Chatsworth House in Derbyshire), which may have been my favorite part. Plus, we were fortunate to have absolutely perfect weather for most of our time there.


We continue to love our new house (see picture at the bottom of this post). It has been a learning experience, being first-time homeowners, but we it has been completely worth it. We remodeled my husband’s home office, so he has a comfortable space to work. We 20170827_175305also had our roof replaced, which luckily held up during Hurricane Harvey. Harvey was a very stressful time for us, as we did experience some damage to our fence, which probably can be attributed to nearby tornadoes. We also watched as high waters turned our street into a river (see picture above on the right of a main street in our subdivision). After all that, we then were evacuated for fear of a potential breach of the Brazos River. Luckily, that breach never happened, and we were able to return to our home that had very little damage and no flooding. We were spared when so many others were not, and we find ourselves very blessed and thankful for that.

I hope 2018 turns out to be a great year for everyone, filled with lots of happiness and preferably no hurricanes!

LOVE YOU ALL!!!!  ~The Morrisons


24-Hour Readathon Halfway Point


We are officially 12 hours into the Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon. It has been a gloomy day, which might inspire more reading, but gloomy days always make me tired, so I am definitely more exhausted than last time. I am still going strong though. I’ve finished 2 books and read about 300 pages. I’ve also completed 8 mini-challenges and was very active (if not too active) on social media. My audiobook was a good idea to help me get up and walk every now and then. My snacks have also treated me well. I am looking forward to opening the Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked ice cream after dinner.

One of the many things I love about participating in the readathon is alIMG_20170429_133602_967l the fun mini-challenges you get to participate in. For example, check out my awesome book face on the right. Surprisingly, that is the first time that I’ve ever done something like that. However, my goal for the next 12 hours (besides staying awake) is to not be overly distracted by the mini-challenges and social media. I want to get through more of my TBR pile. This is going to be difficult, because the later the hour the harder it is to keep my eyes focused when they really want to sleep. Thank God for large print books!

Here’s to the next 12 hours! My Weekend is All Booked!