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My 9 Steps to Hygge

Hygge. Konmari. Minimalism. Wabi sabi. These buzzwords have been floating around Pinterest boards and blogs for the last several years. I remember sometime in high school hearing Oprah talk about owning only what you love. There is comfort to be found in intentional living.

I struggle with the American way of life. My own consumerism can easily get out of hand with an unexpected windfall. Now that I’m a homeowner, and we’re looking ahead to family planning, the financial burdens that come with consumerism are overwhelming and increasingly stressful. In my younger years, carrying a credit card balance seemed so normal. Now, I resent the monthly payments and kick myself for falling into the credit trap. I now owe money for things I “purchased” years ago, that I’ve probably already given away because I never used/wore/read it.

I’ve been drawn to the idea of minimalism for a while. I even wrote about it several times on my previous (and now defunct) blog. I spent days culling through books and tchotchkes,  giving away anything that didn’t bring me joy. I read about capsule wardrobes and the freedom of owning less. These ideas are still enticing, but there’s a sense of lifestyle that’s missing.

If you read about minimalism for more than 5 minutes, most people will tell you the definition can be very personal. It’s not about owning only 100 items, or living in a tiny house, or selling all of your belongings and living out of a suitcase. It’s about not owning things you don’t need or love.

So, I was in Cashiers last weekend, curled up by a fire, drinking wine, and reading. I had downloaded a book called The Cozy Life: Rediscover the Joy of the Simple Things Through the Danish Concept of Hygge. There is a sense of minimalism and intentional living in hygge, but it’s not a restrictive concept. It’s about creating a sense of cozy living, which cannot come if you’re surrounded by clutter. But that doesn’t mean you can’t own trinkets and candles and extra pillows – in fact they help to achieve hygge. So does a warm, hearty meal, wine, chocolate, and good friends. So basically, hygge is my everything. (Insert heart eyes).

So how am I working toward a more hyggeligt life? Here a few steps I plan to take:

GET RID OF CLUTTER

  • Try a capsule wardrobe. My wedding is April 1. My goal is to pair down to 33 items (minus accessories AND MY WEDDING DRESS!!), and start the 333 Project Challenge during my honeymoon.
  • Shopping Diet. Starting when we return from our honeymoon, I’m putting a stop to physical purchases for 2-3 months as well. I love spending a Saturday afternoon on a brewery patio, or eating al fresco in the summer. I love entertaining people at my home. I love being able to experience things in my city. It’s difficult to do that when I’m spending so much money on things I don’t need – lipstick, clothing, linens, exercise gear. So upon our return, I want to spend a few months getting to know the things we already own.
  • Sell or Donate. Even without doing the 333 Project Challenge, there are items in my closet I know I don’t wear. I’ve decluttered enough that I don’t own many items that don’t fit or that I don’t love – at least in a hypothetical world. I have a uniform that I stick to pretty closely – skinny or straight leg cropped pants, button up shirts, flat shoes. I wear a variation on this almost every day. I have a few dresses and skirts, so on occasion I’ll change things up, but that’s about it. Just about every piece of clothing in my wardrobe conforms to this. And yet, there are pieces that I just don’t wear. I have at least 5 versions of this blouse in several colors and prints:blouseThey all fit just fine, and I wear 4 of them a majority of the time, but I never wear the white version. Why? I don’t know. I’m afraid to get it dirty. I hate that you can see my bra and/or camisole underneath it? I love the idea of a flattering white shirt over skinny jeans or legging, but just not this one. I’m planning to send several pieces to ThredUp to resell. Anything they don’t use, they will donate for me. I also have some big pieces around the house that I’d like to get rid of: a bike, skis, trunks, glassware. There are so many places online to safely sell personal items, there’s no reason not to anymore.
  • Discard, Discard, Discard! If you’ve ever been to my house, you know about 1/4 of it is closed off. We have TWO ENTIRE ROOMS full of things we should throw away. This is the first thing I plan to tackle, actually. Eric and I are unexpectedly free this weekend, and I plan to work through these two rooms to throw away the extra papers, ratty t-shirts, empty boxes, etc.

BRING IN HYGGE

  • Candles. This one is easy. I’m obsessed with candles that smell like fresh linens, but I want to branch out and see what kind of natural scents I like. Lavender and rosemary? Citrus and pine?
  • Plants. Succulents for my office. Large leaf greenery for the living room and bedroom.
  • Good food. I have 3 books by Yotam Ottolenghi. I often flip through them and admire the gorgeous food photography, but I’ve yet to make a single recipe. As I mentioned previously, the Whole30 diet forced me to try new spices and prep methods, and I think I finally have the courage to tackle these new dishes. My SIL has told me they aren’t complicated at all, but I’ve held back until now.
  • New textiles & furniture. This is a long term plan, and one that we’ve had since before I ever heard the word hygge. Our couch is pretty old and lumpy. It’s also a dirty olive green. Not my favorite. We plan to buy a new couch in the next year or so, a new rug, and maybe an accent chair. We also need curtains big time. Our bedroom is pretty much set, but I’m excited to move the living room rug in there and potentially do some DIY projects with the furniture and lamps we already have to pull the colors together. All of this will certainly happen AFTER the shopping diet.

SAY NO. AND SAY YES.

  • I love to travel. Eric and I have a trip planned every month between now and September. But other than that, I don’t want any crazy obligations. I want to run my races, drink my patio beers, and float down my river. That’s how I want to spend the next several months. That means saying no to concerts and movies, and saying yes to BBQs and house parties. There’s no science to it, but if I find I’m dreading an event because every weekend is filled up and there’s no time for spontaneity, I’m going to pull out. I’m not going to be afraid to carve out some time for myself.

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