Happiness is... a Pottery Barn Kids Catalog.
by Risa Green
A friend of mine sent me that book called The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin, which is about one woman’s quest to become happier over the course of a year. In it, she devotes each month to a different theme (energy, friends, love, etc.), and then makes small resolutions for how to improve her life in these areas. The book is okay – it’s an interesting project, but I find her writing a little dull – although I will say that she presents some good arguments for why certain things, like taking time to do projects with your children, or throwing a party for someone you care about, can actually improve your overall level of happiness. But what really hit home for me the most was her chapter on de-cluttering your life.
Now, I have said before that my house is consumed with clutter, and that one of the things that drives me the most crazy is figuring out what to do with all of the crap that comes along with living a full life. I mean, I have near-sexual fantasies about clean countertops and organized shelving. Just reading about this woman cleaning out her closet or filling five jars with the plastic junky toys that her kids don’t want to throw away gave me a little thrill, like I was some kind of Peeping Tom. And so I decided, if this Gretchen Rubin could do it, then so could I. I resolved that for my own Happiness Project, I would try to achieve the holy grail of home organization: I was going to make my kids’ playroom look like a Pottery Barn Kids catalog.
Ahhh, the PBK catalog. I can’t really wax poetic enough about it. Those perfect bookracks that are never overstuffed. Those wicker baskets filled with toys that fit neatly inside. Those craft tables with the built-in roll of paper that always has a clean, straight edge. This catalog is my porn. The only thing missing from it is a Room-of-the-Month centerfold.
The thing about our playroom is, I already have all of the accouterments to accomplish my goal. I own the Sabrina wicker baskets and the Cameron Creativity Storage System. I bought the Carolina craft table with the cute little matching Carolina chairs. I even have a giant magnetic chalkboard with little hooks and cubbies that was discontinued three years ago. And yet, even with all of these things, my kids’ playroom does not resemble a PBK catalog.