We’ve become a little obsessed with emulating the Scandinavian way of life. And for good reason; they are the happiest people on Earth. The five Nordic countries all feature in the top 10 of a 2017 Gallup report which ranked 155 nations by happiness. In comparison, the UK came in 19th and the USA 14th.
We can learn something from the way these folks live. We’ve already embraced the hygge concept of cosy conviviality. But for many of us, our homes don’t provide the refuge we’re seeking. Life inevitably leaves a trail of clothes, toys, paperwork… you name it, it creates mess. Mess that adds to your to-do list when, really, all you should be worrying about is what time to take your bath and whether you’d like a glass of red or white wine.
But don’t fear; there’s a new Scandi trend in town, and it’s set to revolutionise our living quarters. We’re talking about lagom – loosely translated to mean ‘not too much, not too little, just enough’, this is a philosophy akin to minimalism without being so scarily impossible to achieve. It doesn’t demand perfection; it simply empowers you to create a life with less baggage.
Imagine your home with a place for everything and everything in its place. Enough becomes enough. Each and every possession is valuable, either for its utility or for its beauty. This is the essence of lagom living.
Here are three ways to bring a little more lagom to your home.
1. Track your trail.
80 percent of your mess with comes from 20 percent of your activities. The trick to stopping mess in its tracks is to identify that 20 percent.
Over the course of a few days, make a concerted effort to notice what, when, where and who is creating the most mess. Once you’ve tracked the worst offenders, establish a logical storage system within easy reach and implement a ‘one touch policy’ – nothing gets left on the side, in the hallway or on the floor, it gets put straight into its drawer or cupboard. No exceptions.
You’ll need to be strict with yourself and your cohabitants at first – to make this new system stick it will must become a habit, which takes around 60 days to form. You may need to invest in some extra furniture, but see this as an opportunity to introduce a new feature piece into your home. Check out the gorgeous, affordable furniture from Nyde for inspiration.
2. Check your shopping habits.
“He who buys what he doesn’t need steals from himself.” – Swedish proverb.
Are you an impulse shopper? Do you bring new objects into your home that serve little purpose and, ultimately, rob you of your sense of tranquility?
One of the core themes of lagom living is to buy things designed to last rather than investing in throwaway goods of little to no true value. Next time you feel the urge to splurge, take a step back and consider the true cost of your purchase.
Create your own shopping rules – what is the minimum requirement of a product in order for it to be worthy your home? Consider this from a cost, utility and design perspective; it is going to save you money, make your life easier or make your home more beautiful? If the answer is no, exit stage left immediately.
Give the possessions you already own the same treatment. Question their value – if you find they are providing you with little, it’s time to wave goodbye. Where you can, upcycle or recycle – one person’s trash is another’s treasure, after all.
3. Add calming touches to finish your haven.
Now that you’ve cleared the decks it’s time to add some light touches to compliment your new sanctuary feel. Aim for small pleasures that you can appreciate in moments of calm.
Add some hygge to your soft furnishings with comfy cushions.
Invest in calming, minimalist wall art that draws the eye.
Creating an amazing lagom home doesn’t have to be a chore. This is a concept that you can achieve over the course of time if you’re willing to put in small, targeted efforts. By embracing the best of Scandinavian living, we invite a sense of calm into our worlds. And who knows – maybe some of that Nordic happiness will rub off on us along the way.