Book Profile - Outer Order Inner Calm

Outer Order Inner Calm

“If there’s a mess in my house there’s a mess in my head,” was something we saw on Instagram recently.” We are sure it describes many people, especially professional organizers. Gretchen Rubin best- selling author of The Happiness Project, has written Outer Order Inner Calm. One of her first insights in the prologue states “When I’m surrounded by a mess I feel restless and unsettled.” Many people can relate, studies have shown that most people need organized spaces in their home or work in order to function well and be happy.

Ms. Rubin’s book is a quick read. Basically it shares short helpful tips on how to stay organized. Nothing is complicated and to be honest the tips are basic. However, reading it, light bulbs go off frequently in our heads, with thoughts of how true, doesn’t everyone do this? Well obviously not. The book is a great reminder that we all have different priorities, and sometimes we need helpful reminders on the best way to organize our lives. There are too many great tidbits of information to review them all. Here our are top 10 decluttering and organizing suggestions from the book that we stress to our clients at House to Home Organizing.

Three Big Questions of Clutter

-Do I need it?

-Do I love it?

-Do I use it?

According to Ms. Rubin “if you don’t need it, love it or use it, you should probably get rid of it.” If deciding this on your own is challenging, you may want to consider hiring a professional organizer to help make these decisions with you.

Donate Quickly


So you have de-cluttered and all your donates are sitting in the hallway or garage waiting for you to drop them off. The problem ? You get busy and they may stay there for months causing more clutter. Try to move the donates out on a timely basis.

Ask Yourself, Do I Need More Than One?

Of course you need more than one charger and one pen. But how about screwdrivers, coffee pots, and rulers. Keeping a reasonable amount of necessities is fine. Try not to have huge quantities of items in your home as they will create unnecessary clutter.

Clear Clutter Before You Move, Not After You Move

At House to Home many times during an unpack and organize job the client could have saved money if decluttering had happened before the move.

Clear Off Any Offsite Storage Units

You know the old saying “out of sight, out of mind.” Storage units are convenient but can be costly if your items are left indefinitely. If you need a temporary holding place for your belongings by all means get a unit, but try to only keep it temporarily.

In Active Areas, Strive to Keep Surfaces Bare

You want to keep your work area surfaces clear, especially in areas such as your desk and kitchen counters. You will be more productive if you have clear areas to work.

Beware the Siren Call of Inventive Storage Containers

So many times we go to clients homes and they have tried to be proactive by purchasing storage containers before we organize. We can’t stress how important it is NOT to purchase systems until after decluttering. Quantity of items being kept will determine the proper containers to purchase.

Reconsider Gift -Giving

Gifts are wonderful to receive. Yet, how many stuffed animals, LEGO sets, candles, kitchen gadgets can one family own? Ms.Rubin and House to Home Organizing suggests purchasing experiences vs. stuff. How about a gift card to a show? Going out to lunch or dinner together? A gift card to a spa or better yet, professional organizing?

Store Things At The Store

We all get caught up in the common trap of purchasing things because they are on sale. So often we have way more than we even have room to store in our homes. Remind yourself that things will always go on sale. Try not to clutter your living space with an over- abundance of items.

Spend Out

So many times we fall into the trap of holding on to things are opposed to using them. Candles, pretty soaps, china, good wine fall into this group. Life can be short. Light your candles, open the wine and break out the good dishes when family and friends come to visit. Ms. Rubin states, “put things to good use, spend out.”

In conclusion, as the book states, “outer order is a challenge to impose and it’s a chore to maintain. Nevertheless, for most of us, it’s worth the effort.” When you declutter, donate, and organize properly you will see how you can be more productive, and save money and time. Most important, your “inner calm” you will feel from your “outer order” will help you to feel happy and less stressed, a goal we all aspire to have.