Our Happiness Project // Tip #1: Tackling Clutter with the One-Minute Rule


If you saw this post two weeks ago, you know that Zach and I have started a personal quest for more balance and general happiness based on Gretchen Rubin's best-selling book, The Happiness Project. Basically, we are just following along with the book- one chapter per month- and taking some of Rubin's methods and applying them to our own lives.

We just started the first chapter this month, so there is still plenty of time to join in if you haven't yet! This month's topics are all about energy and vitality. Physical aspects of energy, such as sleep, exercise, and even "faking" energy, are emphasized. But what I really wanted to talk about today is the effects that de-cluttering and organization can have on energy levels.

One of my favorite discoveries in this chapter was the use of the "One-Minute Rule."

The One-Minute Rule: If a task can be completed in one minute, do it now.

Examples of tasks that fall within this rule: hanging up your jacket when you get home, opening and sorting mail as it comes in, putting your dinner plate in the dishwasher instead of the sink, etc. It seems like kind of a "no-duh" concept, but internalizing it and really being aware of opportunities to utilize it can make a big impact. Small tasks really do add up when it comes to staying organized. And furthermore, taking care of simple tasks in the moment helps to lighten the mental load that comes from having a constant list of things to do piling up, put off for a "better time."

I'm using the One-Minute Rule to work on a few things that always pile up for me. For example, making sure to clear trash or accumulated objects from my car and purse at the end of the day or making sure to answer emails that only require a quick reply in the moment instead of planning to go back to them and inevitably forgetting. I've also been trying to use passive time for more multi-tasking. For instance, I've realized that I can unload and reload the dishwasher in just the time it takes to boil water or wait for something to cook in the microwave. I can basically clean the whole kitchen while cooking if I'm really on the ball.


All of these quotes/images are from Gretchen Rubin's blog. If you're not already subscribed, I highly recommend it. It's a daily must-read for me.

If you're also going through the book or just want to keep up on the topic, make sure you're subscribed to get future posts! On the first Monday of every month we'll have an update on how the challenge is going, talk about what prompts are really helping, what was hard, etc. And if you're already taking part, I'd love to hear what's working for you so far!

Do you already use the One-Minute Rule in your life? And if not, do you think it could be helpful?