Productivity Skills: Gretchen Rubin teaches decluttering techniques for every personality



When I started reading this book, a thought popped into my head: it’s like the tao of decluttering your home, full of little cleaning hacks that I didn’t know I need. A perfect companion with your morning coffee.

After reading this book:

  • You will discover a way of decluttering your home that fits your personality
  • You will know how to stop hording things you don’t need
  • You will have a reference of tricks that make declutering interesting

Something specific I really like

My first anti-clutter book wasn’t this one. A while a go I bought Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tiding Up. Before I could read the book, Netflix released Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. There I saw how her method works: “The best way to choose what to keep and what to throw away, is to take each item in one’s hand and ask if it sparks joy.” For some reason it didn’t click with me. To my surprise it didn’t click with Gretchen either. She suggests another approach (which I like a lot): “Does this energize me?” Her approach of focusing on energy rather than joy provides more clarity.

Another thing I really like

She gives 3 suggestions that I really like, which can be summarised as gifts. First, you should beware of conference swag, office freebies, and promotional giveaways (branded mugs, water bottle, pens, or an eraser in the shape of a cow). If you don’t have a clear plan to use these things, they’re clutter. Second, receiving gifts you don’t use. It’s better to receive experiences than things, otherwise it’s wise to create a wish list. Third, beware of buying souvenirs (or receiving). My wife likes to do both, and we often argue about it.

A game changer

Clear clutter before you move, not after you move. This seems like a small change, but for me it’s a revelation. Now I have less boxes to carry, and the whole unpacking process sparks joy (now I get what Marie Kondo was talking about).