The 10 Minute Tidy and Other Happiness Project Fails

One of the books I read this month was The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.

happinessprThe international bestseller focuses on Rubin’s year-long quest to find happiness by conducting exhaustive research and trying out various happiness-related techniques. 

I will admit, the whole thing sounded a little warm-fuzzy-eat/pray/love-y to me at first,


but I decided to give it a shot anyway. Some of my friends had given it good reviews; plus, I couldn’t deny that I too could stand to be a bit happier. 


In the book, Rubin devotes each month to a separate set of happiness “resolutions”: January, was all about “Boosting Energy”, while June focused on friendship. October was about mindfulness and paying attention.

Inspired by what I was reading, I decided to try out a few of Rubin’s happiness resolutions myself.


Well, let’s just say they met with varying levels of success: Some left me feeling happier- others? Naaat so much. I figured I’d start by telling you about the ones that didn’t go so well, because that way it builds more suspense. Plus, it’s just way more fun to read about people failing.

So without further adieu, I present to you:

BreezyK’s Failed Happiness Project Experiments.

1. The 10 Minute Tidy

Rubin notes that household clutter can be a huge drain on one’s energy- and in turn, happiness. In order to eliminate this source of stress, she advocates the “10 Minute Tidy”: Spend 10 minutes each night cleaning up your house or apartment.  

Well, as you all know, tidiness is by no means my strong suit. I recognize this, and have gone about fixing it the best way I know how: by throwing money at the problem. I invested in a cleaning lady about 6 months ago, and it has been the best decision of my adult life to date.


But after reading about Rubin’s success, I thought maybe, just maybe, if I cleaned for 10 minutes a day, I wouldn’t NEED to pay someone else to do it. Novel!!!

After day one, I was already cutting deals with myself: “If you just do 5 minutes tonight, then you can do the other  5 in the morning!” I found myself staring at piles of dishes in the sink, willing myself to feel SOMETHING. Some desire to clean them. But all I felt was a strong desire to eat a bowl of cereal and watch Fashion Star. So that’s what I did. 

Needless to say, the 10-minute-tidy lasted about as long as my willpower at a desert table. But on the bright side, at least my cleaning lady is still gainfully employed??

Oh God I’m so bougie……  

2. Get More Sleep

Rubin is a big proponent of sleep: when you’re not tired, she argues, it’s easier to tackle the day, and to be happier while doing so. 

I know she’s right- I regularly suffer from dragging-a$$ syndrome at work, and can tell you it does NOT make me happy.


So I tried taking her advice and going to sleep earlier.

You’d think it would be easy, right? WRONG. No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t seem to do it. By the time I finished work, went to the gym, made dinner, worked on my blog and did my daily PVR maintenance, it was almost always 11:00pm. Then it was another hour before I actually fell asleep.  I tried shutting out all the light in my bedroom and removing electronic devices like Rubin suggested (Ok, I’m lying. I slept with my iPhone), but even that didn’t help. 

If anything, actively trying to get more sleep actually made me get less sleep, because I became so obsessed with it. I’d be laying there, all, “how many hours until I have to get up now?”


I recognize that this lack of sleep is probably going to take 10 years off my life… but hey, that’s what Starbucks and ErasePaste are for.


Plus, bags are the new black, right?

3. Buy Needful Items 

According to Rubin, when it comes to money, there are two different types of people: Overbuyers and Underbuyers. Overbuyers buy items in bulk; thinking they might be useful someday, whereas underbuyers delay making purchases or buy as little as possible.

Underbuyers tend to experience stress because they are always in need of something and are scrambling to buy it.

I would definitely consider myself an underbuyer- I’m always running out of stuff and feeling stressed. So I decided to do as Rubin suggested, and switch to more of an “overbuying approach” – the next time I went to the grocery store, I bought the 24 roll pack of toilet paper instead of my standard four. I also got a little crazy and sprung for the big packages of paper towel and laundry detergent.   

Not me. I would never wear this skirt.
Not me. I would never wear this skirt.

I was feeling excited about my new purchases, until I encountered two immediate problems: 

  • How am I supposed to carry this sh*t? – and
  • Oh yeah, I live in a 500 sq. foot condo. Where the hell am I going to put it all?

After a rather awkward walk home, I ended up stuffing the paper towel and detergent in the back of my coat closet. As for the TP, I broke it down and shoved one or two rolls in various locations around my apartment: under the couch, in kitchen cupboards, you name it. For days, every time I did anything I was finding a roll of toilet paper. It was like the worst Easter egg hunt ever.

Actually maybe this was.
Actually maybe this was.

So to recap: so far in my Happiness Project, I have perpetuated my slobiness, become an insomniac, and turned my apartment into a replica of Mama June’s coupon closet. 


Things are looking promising!! Stay tuned for round 2!!

Question of the Day: Are you an underbuyer, or an overbuyer?


26 thoughts on “The 10 Minute Tidy and Other Happiness Project Fails

Add yours

    1. haha I wonder what impact requesting no Juvenal would have on one’s life, if any??
      I’m cheap when it comes to necessities but way overspend on material things…


  1. You will find out if I am an overbuyer or underbuyer in my new book, The Bitterness Project, where I talk about ways in which to be bitter, available almost nowhere. If you have money though, I could be produced somehow.


  2. I don’t know if I could say if i’m an underbuyer or an overbuyer. In the grand scheme of things, I’m probably an underbuyer. I feel guilty spending some money on new clothes or shoes, feeling like that money will be missing for bills (which is totally not even rational, so whatever.) But then when it comes to food? I ALWAYS OVERBUY. I guess I underestimate how much time I’ll actually be home to eat all the food I just bought? I try buying stuff that doesn’t go bad easily, but it doesn’t always work. Then I have to throw away things sadly 😦 Then again, there’s toilet paper. I bought a HUGE pack of it last June and still have at least half of it left. (However, again, I have not been home much the past few months). But, I have to drive to the store and therefore bring it home in the car, and then stash it in the cupboard under the sink. It works out.

    Can’t wait to see your success stories. Your suspense plan worked. :p


    1. I always overbuy fruits and veggies too, and then feel guilty when they all go bad 😦 just yesterday I threw out a whole bag of stuff and every time I tossed another item in the trash I heard a “ca-ching! ca-ching! ca-ching!” uuuugh


  3. I feel like underbuyers have more money generally though, and that should make them happier (cause they haven’t spent it all on toilet paper). Does she deal with that issue? (overspending and therefore being broke?) I’m curious.


    1. The thing with most under buyers is that they just scrimp on necessities and spend their money on other, arguably less useful things instead. Take our good friend for example, who won’t spring for a cab, but will buy a luxury watch 😉


      1. Haha. It seems like you’ve set yourself up for it. At least at home no one else will see you doing this. Unless you have company over. Then things will REALLY get awkward.


  4. I found Rubin’s book actually made me feel worse about myself, which would be LESS happy. At the beginning, I thought, yes, I can do this. But I just pretty much failed at everything and then didn’t care and spiraled into a pit of unhappiness. I do like the theory of the 10-minute tidy. Maybe I’ll try that again. I mean, 10 minutes. How hard can that possibly be?


    1. Not to be discouraging- but hard!! That is, if you’re a lazy slob like me 😉
      I definitely got discouraged a few times too.. I think I’d rather be wilfully blind about all the stuff I’m bad at maybe.


  5. Though you may feel like you failed at these things…at least you got a blog post, or two, out of reading the book. I…did not. But I was happy while I was reading it and daydreaming about all the new happy projects I would do, but then they seemed like too much work…and who wants to do all that…great post!


    1. I agree many of them seem overwhelming.. Rubin is SO type A which actually got on my nerves at times. I was like can you explain how a regular person would do all this??


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