My Happy Wall

"Be A Treasure House Of Happy Memories" reads one of Gretchen Rubin's monthly resolutions, in her book The Happiness Project. (I'm reading it this week, as one of my Week Seven Goals.) She notes that "Studies show that recalling happy times helps boost happiness in the present." Like her, I'm fully bought into this concept, and have fully embraced the role of family memory keeper, with my Project Life spreads each week. (See yesterday's post.)

But could I do more to make the reminders of our happy moments more vivid in our home?

With this in the back of my mind, I was struck by another of Gretchen's resolutions "Toss, Restore, Organize." She makes the comment that "Household disorder was a constant drain on my energy", which I find completely true for myself as well. (I addressed this issue, in part, in Week Four, when I tackled the various piles of paperwork in my house.)

Passing through my kitchen, my eyes (and spirit) caught and dragged on a large bulletin board I have on one wall. It has long been cluttered with a disorderly assortment of outdated flyers, expired coupons, old photos, random notes, faded kids art, and the like.

I wish I had thought to take a "Before" picture, but I was too quickly taken up by the Zeal of a Big Project.

I decided to clean up my kitchen bulletin board and transform it into an organized storehouse of happiness reminders.

I started by clearing absolutely everything off the board. This is quite a large bulletin board, perhaps five feet high by three feet wide, and it was PACKED with miscellany. So this first step took some time.

Dealing with the stuff on the board, thankfully, was not so bad, given my efforts of the past few weeks to create a logical place for various types of papers and keepsakes.

A lot of it was immediately dumped in the recycling bin. Other items found a home in my new system for handling "transitioning" paper in my house (pictured above, and described in more detail in this post).

And kid-related keepsakes were tucked into their albums.

Next I got out a stash of colored papers and decided on a grid pattern of bright colors to form an orderly and cheerful background. And then I hunted around for momentos of happy times and tacked one to each square.

I found this scrap wreath I made with the kids last Valenties day that I just adore. It gives me a happy jolt every time I see it.

I tacked on this tiny note my son gave me the other day. So simple, but another jolt of happiness.

And I invited the kids to nominate their own happiness prompts. Their #1 choice was this photo of them with our friend (and former nanny, back when I lived the corporate life), Wendy. We love Wendy. She makes us happy.

In no time at all, we'd easily managed to find enough little happy things to fill the squares on the board.

Some observations:

  • Bulletin boards aren't good places to store most types of paper. There are better ways that are more organized, and result in less clutter. 
  • Bulletin boards can be great places for display, with a little effort put into keeping them organized.
  • It's easy to ignore a disorderly bulletin board. We get used to it and our eyes gloss over it. We underestimate the accumulated daily impact this can have on our peace of mind and happiness.

My board, previously a happiness drag, has become a happiness boost in my kitchen.

I'm planning to keep it moving with new momentos replacing old, while retaining the underlying grid pattern to ensure that the display doesn't revert back into a messy cacophony of visual clutter.

I'm thrilled with this project because it hits on so many of my recent themes: clutter clearing, memory keeping, and filling my empty walls with color and life.

Do you have a messy bulletin board that could be re-made to deliver a stronger happiness jolt to your day?


  1. famous last words.... it's on my list! Which is turning out to be rather long... but I'll get there!

  2. Love love love this idea!!