Gretchen Rubin’s Daily Tricks for Staying Happy

What inspired you to write about the power of decluttering?

Your space reflects you. It projects your identity to the world. If you look around and everything you own is useful or beloved, you may feel more integrated with yourself.

Any advice for getting started?

Adopt the one-minute rule. Anything you can do in less than a minute, do without delay. Throw away a wrapper. File an email. Hang up your coat. That will get rid of that scum of clutter on the surface of life. And over time, you start to see a big difference.

Once you’ve cleared the clutter, then what?

It’s not enough to get rid of stuff that’s dragging us down; we also need things that lift us up. We want to be delighted in our spaces. You can add whatever you want to your space to make it beautiful—just choose those things purposefully.

What else do you do to feel happier?

Relationships are most important to me. I’m in four book groups because I love to see friends and I love books. I also have this habit with my sister and parents called “update”: About once a week, we send a super-boring email about whatever’s going on, just to make ourselves feel more connected.

What’s your morning routine like?

The first thing I do is kiss my husband. He’s usually still asleep, but I’m like, “I want to kiss my husband before I check my phone.” Then most days I go for a long walk in Central Park. It’s exercise, it’s nature, it’s light on my face resetting my circadian rhythm. It’s the greatest thing.

How about when you’re feeling blue—how do you recover?

Do 10 jumping jacks! I tell my daughters this all the time. Or run down the stairs. It makes you feel goofy and energized.

Rubin’s new book, Outer Order, Inner Calm, is out now.

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