“Nothing can bring you happiness but yourself.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
First month of the Happiness Project down. (Quick side note--the author of the book, herself, commented on my first post! This was so one of the most exciting things to happen in my blogging experience.)
The goal of the first month is to improve my energy level. The author of the book set four goals: to sleep more; to exercise more; to clear out clutter; and to act energetic. So, because I'm pretty good about sleeping and exercising, and I'm not sure how much I believe the "act how you want to feel" mantra, I improvised a little.
I identified three goals: napping, cleaning and clearing out clutter.
1. Napping: I love to take a nap. Seriously, I'd rather get up early and be able to sleep for an hour in the afternoon. I blame my Gran for this--you read about her recently--she took a nap every afternoon when I was growing up and I thought it was really cool! Since I have a job where I'm crazy busy (and bill by the hour!) napping during the week is not an option. So, instead, I decided that I'd include time for one nap every weekend. So far, it's worked out well and I do think it improves my mood.
2. Cleaning: So I'm a very organized person, but I tend to let cleaning slide a bit. It just seems to take so much time and energy to dust and mop and vaacum (is it two a's or two u's in that word? or two c's? I don't know) and clean the shower. For a while now I've just felt sort of overwhelmed and like I spent too much of my weekend doing this stuff. I knew a couple of people who I went to law school with or work with who hired someone to clean for them once every other week or so. I felt really guilty about this--who did I think I was that I was too good to do my own cleaning? Yea....then I asked around and realzied EVERYONE I work with and a ton of other young lawyers I know have one. I invested. Pretty sure when I walked in after she was done and my house smelled like heaven, it was well worth the money! Happy---check!
3. Clearing out clutter: This has been AMAZING for me! Like I said, I'm very organized. If you came into my house, things would pretty much be put away where they belong and I could tell you where they were. I am, however, also somewhat of a packrat. I blame my Gran for this as well. She grew up in the depression and saved everything. When she died and we cleaned out the kitchen, I bet she had a million canning jars and those plastic bags you put fruit in at the grocery store. She had medicine that expired ten years earlier and a case full of fake teeth. Apparently, she rubbed off on me.
Well, the author of the book had a couple rules. If you save something because you "might need to use it later" you need to throw it away. And if you save something for purely sentimental reasons, throw it away. (There are exceptions of course---pictures, family heirloom jewelery, etc.) The last rule College Roomie and I developed....."Free clutter is still clutter."
So I started out in my office area. I threw away 7 bags full of stuff one weekend. Old cases I printed out for law school my first year. Old books, folders, magazines. I moved a shelf of plastic drawers from the bathroom to the office and found medicine that expired when I was still in high school and lotion I remember buying in the 8th grade. I found a sample size cologne that was the kind First Valentine wore....which indicates this has been around since circa 6th grade. Yea. It was amazing. I so should have done a before picture, but here's an after.
Then I moved to my laundry room, which was full of boxes and junk and totally a mess. I moved in some shelves, discovered that my dryer was jacked up (you read about that earlier) and threw out 5 more loads of stuff. Again, no before picture, but here's an after.
The latest project was the garage. While it wasn't a terrible mess, it needed some cleaning out done. My friend who lived here before me planned her whole wedding and kept everything in her garage, so it needed some sweeping away of bits of wedding decor. And I saved my moving boxes which needed to be broken down and neatly put away. Now it looks pretty good if I do say so myself.
Those were my three big goals for cleaning out clutter, but I liked it so much, I expanded into my pantry and closets.
Anyway, so far the Happiness Project has been great. I do feel happier and more productive.
Stay tuned for next month.....the author worked on her marriage the second month. I don't have one of those, so instead I've got a totally different idea, and let me assure you, I'm excited!
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