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How to declutter and make more room for happiness in your life

Make room for happiness with less clutter
"Outer Order, Inner Calm": How to make room for happiness with less clutter 05:11

Can decluttering make more room for happiness in your life? According to New York Times best-selling author Gretchen Rubin, for many people, there's a connection between outer order and inner calm – "even a sense of possibility."

"Outer order is when we've just cleared away everything that's clogging our space. We've gotten rid of things that we don't use, don't need, don't love. And some people want to be left with more, they love abundance. Some people want simplicity. But it's getting rid of everything that's just in our way," Rubin said Tuesday on "CBS This Morning." She's out with a new book called "Outer Order, Inner Calm: Declutter and Organize to Make More Room for Happiness." Rubin's books, including "The Happiness Project," have sold more than 3.5 million copies.


To start, Rubin said: "Don't get organized." Your impulse might be to buy more containers, filing cabinets, or fancy hangers to organize what you currently have, but Rubin said you have to start by asking these three questions: Do I need it? Do I use it? Do I love it?

"Because if you don't need it, use it or love it, why do you have it? It's the cord to nowhere, to nothing. You can get rid of that," Rubin said.

By the time you get rid of the things cluttering your life, you won't need that filing cabinet "because you only have three documents left."

She acknowledges it's not always easy. "In the choice, there is decision fatigue, it's hard. It's emotionally draining. It's intellectually draining," Rubin said. "But once all of that stuff has been wiped away, given away, recycled, donated, that's when you can really see, well, where to do I put things? How do I organize things so I can find them easily, so they make sense to me, so they look appealing."

Rubin also advised: cultivate helpful habits.

"One great habit is the one-minute rule. Anything you can do in less than a minute, do without delay," Rubin said. "If you can hang up your coat instead of throwing it on the chair. If you can rip open a letter and see that you can put it in the recycling. And that just gets rid of that scum of stuff on the surface of life. It's a little habit that's easy to work into even a very busy life."

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