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Modern Parenthood

A happy home and an orderly home can come hand in hand

That's the message of our happiness expert, who writes that something as simple as keeping a tidy bed can make your whole family happier.

By Guest blogger / May 21, 2012

Taking care of chores can help maintain a happy home. Children cook breakfast in bed for Mother's Day. from the left: Ian, Elizabeth, mother Nancy Marshall holding Charlotte, and William.

Melanie Stetson Freeman / The Christian Science Monitor

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New York City

When people tell me they’ve done their own happiness projects, I always ask, “What resolutions did you try? What worked for you?”

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Guest blogger

Gretchen Rubin is the author of the No. 1 New York Times bestseller "The Happiness Project" and the forthcoming "Happier at Home." She started her career in law and was clerking for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor when she realized she wanted to be a writer. Raised in Kansas City, she lives in New York City with her husband and two daughters. She blogs at  The Happiness Project.

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One answer comes up more than any other. I’m not saying that this is the most significant thing you could do to boost your happiness, but it does seem to be a thing that people actually do–and that boosts their happiness.

Related: Are you a Helicopter Parent? Take our quiz to find out!

This most popular resolution? To make your bed.

Now, it’s true that some people thrive on a little chaos. They find a disorderly room to be comfy and casual. When one of my friends was growing up, her mother made such a big deal of keeping the house clean that now my friend has gone far in the opposite direction. Very far. Most people, however, even if they may find it tough to keep things tidy, prefer to live in orderly surroundings.

It’s a Secret of Adulthood: for most people, outer order contributes to inner calm.

If you love a calm environment, making the bed is one of the quickest, easiest steps to cultivate a sense of order. Also, I get a real feeling of accomplishment from having completed this small task. It’s nice to start the day feeling that I’ve crossed something – however minor – off my list. It starts me off feeling productive, disciplined, and efficient.

Especially if you’re feeling overwhelmed, picking one little task to improve your situation, and doing it regularly, can help you regain a sense of control. Making your bed is a good place to start. It might help you build momentum to keeping other, more significant resolutions.

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best family and parenting bloggers out there. Our contributing and guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor, and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. Gretchen Rubin blogs at The Happiness Project.

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