Happiness expert Gretchen Rubin on why a cleaner house can clear your mind


Gretchen Rubin isn't here to guilt trip you. She doesn't want your space to cause you shame. And she definitely doesn't want to throw away all your books. As the author of bestsellers like "The Happiness Project" and host of a podcast called "Happier with Gretchen Rubin," she knows that feeling bad doesn't make things better. So for her newest book, "Outer Order, Inner Calm: Declutter and Organize to Make More Room for Happiness," Rubin wants you instead to better enjoy what you value most.

"Outer order and clearing clutter is really about getting rid of the things you don't need, don't use, don't love," Rubin told Mary Elizabeth Williams on “Salon Talks.” "You don't want the cable to nowhere, the bread maker you haven't used in five years. Those are just clogging things up."

Whether you're a diehard decluttering enthusiast or someone whose aesthetic is "more is more," Rubin's principles for cherishing what you love and letting go of the rest remain the same. The key component is just allowing for different approaches, especially when you're sharing space with others. "It is really important to understand how people could do things a different way," she said. "If you expect everybody to do it your way, a lot of times they can't."

And decluttering is never solely about objects; it's also about releasing endeavors and distractions that no longer serve you. "You have to be willing to abandon a project," she said. "Get them off your shelves and off your conscience. That is a positive thing."

Watch the episode above to learn more about how finding your outer order can help fuel an overall happier life.


About “Salon Talks”

Hosted by Salon journalists, “Salon Talks” episodes offer a fresh take on the long-form interview format, and a much-needed break from the partisan political talking heads that have come to dominate the genre. “Salon Talks” is a destination for information through conversation. Viewers can expect discussions with A-list actors, artists, authors, thinkers, and newsmakers as we explore the full range of the human condition. The show streams live on Facebook and Twitter and each episode is published in full on Salon.com.


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