Friday, November 9, 2012

Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin

Read while home alone? definitely
Tissues needed? not even one
Overall rating: 4.5 stars

In Happier at Home, Gretchen Rubin spends a school year working on various aspects of her home life in an effort to be a happier person. She tackles areas such as possessions, marriage, parenthood, time and body by making resolutions that promote happiness. She strives to be herself, but better by valuing her possessions and by being more aware and appreciative of the loved ones in her life. Rubin makes the point numerous times that what makes one person happy may not make someone else happy. So while this is more documentation of a personal journey than a traditional self-help book, there are plenty of ideas that can be applied directly or interpreted to fit the needs of the reader.

I really enjoyed this book! It wasn’t a fast read for me, but it was definitely worth my time. Many of Rubin’s ideas weren’t exactly new to me, but I often need a reminder about the obvious.

Some ideas I liked and want to incorporate into my own life:
  • Holiday Breakfasts: a simple way to mark special days like Valentine’s Day by having festive placemats and table decorations (but simple!) and heart-shaped toast or red milk on cereal. I’m seeing lots of days with new meaning: Cinco de Mayo, Flag Day, 1st day of fall…
  • Wednesday Afternoon Adventures: Rubin and her older daughter take turns picking a destination or activity after school on Wednesdays. The adventures are generally low/no cost and allow them to be home by suppertime. I think this would be a fun tradition.
  • Give warm greetings and farewells: not much explanation needed here, right?
  • Suffer for 15 minutes: and be happy?! Rubin is referring to spending 15 minutes per day working at something that desperately needs to be done, but that you REALLY don’t want to tackle. Having a time limit and a dedicated time to complete a task are supposed to increase happiness. I’ll let you know when my closet gets cleaned!

Rubin is also the author of The Happiness Project. I haven’t read it, so I’m not sure if this one would have been even better with that as a background. I have put it on my request list, though!

You can see a book trailer for Happier at Home here.

What makes you happy?

This is one of the few books I did NOT get at my library. I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review, but the opinions are mine.


  1. I love the idea of Wednesday afternoon adventures. Almost like a date with your child. I'd love to be able to implement something like that where I alternate weeks between my two daughters. I think it would be really nice to have some one on one time with each of them and that doesn't happen often.

    1. Exactly! Although I spend all day with my little guy, it's easy to do our own things and not really "be" together--that's what I'd like to do with some special time. And as he gets older, I think it will be even more important.

  2. I am also reviewing this book. I like her and her books a lot. Hope you have a great weekend! :O)

    1. Awesome! I look forward to reading your review! Thanks for stopping by!