Ms. Rubin's Happiness Project, which I haven't read, is the better book, apparently, and actually life-changing for some people. I bought that one as well, and have yet to read it; I wish I had read it first.
But this book? It's quite ordinary. That's not to say you won't get anything out of reading it. Just don't expect to be wowed. What it felt like, more than anything, was that I was reading about the completely ordinary, daily life of a very unadventurous, boring person. But the title is, after all, Happier at Home, and so the reader needs to expect that it's a book about domestic life. Without, unfortunately, many fresh insights about to make ordinary life more extraordinary, or "happier."
Here are some of her insights. Do any of these things sound new to you?
- The possessions that carry emotions are those that matter most to us, and if they carry happy emotions, they are the ones that should be saved, when cleaning one's closets.
- We should spend quality time with our children at least once a week. Better yet, set a date and time for it.
- Guard your free time so that there is time each day to do what you love. Don't over schedule yourself.
- Live in the present, so that at the end of your life, you won't realize, too late, that you hadn't managed to show up for it.
Knowing this background, I found it odd and funny when I read about her cleaning out her closets and cupboards. (Huh. She does this?) She said that in her kitchen, coffee mugs and measuring cups were mixed together on one shelf, and she separated them, which made her happier. (Hmm. I wonder who combined them in the first place? Her cook/housekeeper? Or was she the culprit?)
Anyway, for someone as neurotic uptight and controlling as she comes across in the book, it would seem very out of character for her to have a shelf where coffee mugs and measuring cups were mixed together in the first place. Although, they are not, anymore, and she is happier about that.
Speaking from my own viewpoint as a neurotic, uptight and controlling librarian type, who does not have a cook or housekeeper, and who raised a family and worked full time outside the home for many years, busy as I was and am, I would NEVER combine coffee mugs and measuring cups on one shelf.
Good grief, does the woman have absolutely no sense of organization? ;)
My measuring cups have their own, dedicated drawer, where you also find beaters, whisks and spatulas. My shelf for coffee mugs holds only that--and good heavens, I hate seeing "mixed" mugs. Mine are (almost) all of the same type--Fiestaware. Inevitably, a few of other denominations get mixed in--souvenirs from vacations, gifts, and so on. ;)
If you want to read about the nitty gritty of one person's domestic life, and come away knowing more about how she organizes her space than you know about your own best friend's organizational habits or skills, this book is for you.
As to my own best friend, she seems very organized, although I've never actually had the opportunity to look into her drawers and cupboards . . . Perhaps I might find some disorganization there!
I do know that her freezer is absolutely stuffed, crammed with food she bought on sale with her active couponing habit. Unlike my freezer, which is practically empty, and gets a few things thrown into it, like bagels and meats, once a month, when I take my two-hour round trip trek to Costco.