Hey guys! Exciting news! I'm giving away 5 copies of Gretchen Rubin's brand new book, Happier at Home, today!

I got an advance copy of the book (faaaancy!) from the publisher, and I read it on the plane to and from Colorado over the weekend... I loved this book.

I was struck by how similar I am to Gretchen in some ways. In the first chapter she wrote: 

"...I always have to fight the urge to do nothing. If I didn't have to consider Jamie and my daughters, if I didn't have my mother to coach me along, I'd be living in a studio with bare walls, crooked blinds, and a futon on the floor, forever. For some, that simplicity would seem attractive and perhaps even admirable, but not to me. In my case, it would be the simplicity of evasion and apathy, not the simplicity of beautiful emptiness or voluntary poverty."

It made me think about the way that I engage with my surroundings. While I don't think I'd be living in a studio apartment with nothing more than a futon on the floor if left to my own devices, it did make me realize how I tend to get my surroundings to a point that's acceptable and livable, but not usually much more. I put in the least amount of effort, and then I leave things as they are, often half-finished or not-quite-right. I get apathetic or overwhelmed, and then I do nothing. When Ryan and I moved into our new house in June, we vowed that we were going to work on making our basement into a comfortable hang out space rather than a dumping ground for all the random things we didn't know what to do with, and yet we haven't made the time to do it, and every time I go into the basement it's kind-of depressing and is a reminder of all that I haven't done to make my house a home.

I think I get overwhelmed because there seems to be so much to do all at the same time, but I love how Gretchen broke down the areas she wanted to improve in her home life to increase her happiness and tackled them month by month, one topic at a time, using lists (I LOVE lists!) and charts to keep track. Focusing on just one topic per month makes it seem DOABLE. And that's big for me. If a project or idea seems too big and broad, I will procrastinate and find any reason not to do it.

For example, I've been saying since we moved into our house in June that I want to set up a backyard area for eating and lounging, and I've gotten as far as buying a table. It's sitting sadly in the backyard without any chairs or anything... a little thorn in my side of projects left half-done. While buying chairs isn't a very big thing in and of itself, all of the options for finding chairs overwhelm me: searching for thrift stores to hopefully find the perfect vintage-y chairs, going to IKEA, what about Home Depot?, maybe garage sales are the way to go..... too many options, and then I do nothing.

But Happier at Home is inspiring me to take charge of my home life and make it purposefully happier! I WILL get some chairs this weekend and work on my little backyard area. I'm determined, because I know how happy it'll make me to have a place to sit and hang out in the backyard.

{Gretchen takes on 9 topics in the book, one per month: Possessions, Marriage, Parenthood, Interior Design, Time, Body, Family, Neighborhood, Now.}


So, now for the giveaway part!

Random House has generously offered to donate 5 copies of Happier at Home to 5 lucky winners!

All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this post telling me about an area of your home life that could use a happiness injection. :)

Comments will close at 11:59pm on Tuesday September 11th, and the winners will be announced Wednesday morning, September 12th!

Good luck! Can't wait to read your comments.

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