Fighting clutter? Clear a surface. Check out this video from Gretchen Rubin.

One of the most striking things I've discovered since starting my happiness project is the influence of clutter on mood. For most people, outer order contributes to inner calm; a messy coat closet, for instance, is clearly a very trivial element in life, yet clearing out that messy coat closet gives a disproportionately large happiness boost.

Over and over again, people tell me that they've gotten a huge charge from tackling messy areas. I think it comes from fostering a sense of control, and order, and space, and a feeling of freedom from stuff.

Fighting clutter, though, is a never-ending battle. I'm always looking for little ways to stop its insidious progress through my apartment. I've been trying this resolution, with good results: Clear a surface.

Gretchen Rubin is a writer, whose book, The Happiness Project, is the account of the year she spent test-driving studies and theories about how to be happier.