A Mini Checklist To Achieve Hygge at Home
Have you heard of Hygge?
Hygge is a Norwegian term, pronounced hugga, that embodies the Danish obsession with coziness. I recently read The Little Book Of Hygge by Meik Wiking. Actually, I indulged in the audiobook read by the author and it was fantastic. In an attempt to explain why the Danish are often thought of as the happiest people on Earth, Wiking describes the many customs, preferences, and quirks of the Danes. Some of these are very familiar to me as a Canadian who sometimes experiences what feel like 8 month long winters. Find out a few of the simple, minimalistic ways you can achieve Hygge at home.
Hygge is about the little comforts
Cozy socks, hot tea, and candles are pretty essential if you want to live through the winter to see another spring. The climate in Denmark causes many of the Danes seeking warmth, light and each other during the long, dark winter months. Wiking even includes a couple of slow-cooking recipes that sounded mouth-watering on my commute home as I listened to the step-by-step recipe being read to me. In fact, after renting the audiobook from my library for free, I went ahead and ordered a used copy of this book so that I follow the recipes, and share the book with friends. My book collection is getting a little bigger than I meant it to, but this will be a welcome addition to the shelf.
Is Hygge like minimalism?
I like to think of minimalism as an over-arching concept that has many interpretations and applications. Actually, my math brain thinks of it like a Venn diagram, where minimalism is a great big circle, and some small and medium circles overlap the big circle in different sections. Hygge and minimalism definitely intersect. Hygge reminds us to choose the things we enjoy, surround ourselves with people that we really love, and have a piece of cake now and then. Yes, Wiking is adamant about the cake.
Minimalism teaches us not to be frivolous about the things we buy or the tasks we spend our precious time on. We learn to choose what is important, high quality, and most enjoyable, just like the happy Danes.
I finally learned not to buy anything at Forever 21 anymore, because it doesn’t last more than once through the dryer. I’ve inched my way toward higher quality items that will serve a purpose in my life. The next level up from that is to choose the items that bring you comfort and pleasure. This is where we can borrow concepts from Hygge and build a simple, enjoyable life customized with your favourite things.
You can still own stuff when you are pursuing minimalism
You were never supposed to throw away all of your possessions in the name of minimalism. Hopefully, that’s why you’ve stumbled onto this blog, to take it easy with the changes in your life and do whats right for you. So as you declutter and re-evaluate, you can remember that the Danish love their big, wooly socks, natural wood decor, and cozy blankets scattered across the house in all the places you might need to get extra comfy. Personally, I have not yet been successful at decluttering my blanket collection. But I did get rid of all the old socks with holes, and all the boring mugs that didn’t spark joy.
You can probably name a few things right now that make you feel cozy, warm and lifted. Keep these things! Let them do their jobs. When they no longer give you this same energy, you will know you can consider letting it go.
Here is a mini checklist to achieve Hygge at home:
- Buy candles and choose warm light over white light. The Danish love candles, in fact, they burn more per person than any other place in Europe. They also invest in good lighting for their indoor spaces. Wiking jokes that a group of Danes under bright fluorescent lighting will be groaning and squinting. The bright white lights just aren’t cozy or inviting. I’m too risk-adverse to burn candles very often (mental images of curtains and cats ablaze always make me think twice). But I certainly choose natural light over electric light when I can. And I swoon to a campfire like a moth to a flame (I’m the moth).
- Wear black. This was my favourite little tidbit in the book. It turns out the Danish style is casual, yet fashionable. And this means a lot of black clothing! Sometimes grey. There are so many benefits to converting your wardrobe to most black pieces. Everything matches, you can keep it simple with fewer items, and I don’t know about you but I definitely feel put together in black.
- Cook in a Dutch Oven. Okay seems like a cheap shot. To be more like the Dutch cook in a Dutch oven. Trust me. I made my first ever meal in an enameled cast iron dutch oven and I am in love. I used fresh, whole ingredients, cooked on the stove top for about 15 minutes and then put the whole thing in the oven for 2.5 hours and had a wonderful beef stew with red wine sauce. I was SO impressed with myself I feel like superwoman. Please try this! The house smelled fantastic, which is exactly what you’d hope for when trying to achieve Hygge at home. A delicious, warm, cozy hug. This may not be the most minimalist thing I have ever done, as you do have to buy more than a handful of ingredients, but I am convinced my second attempt will be much easier. I have frozen fresh herbs, I am fully stocked up on carrots, onions, and garlic, and my red wine supply is quite healthy.
I plan to use this 5-quart teal wonder many many more times. I hope to find a minimalist cooking and meal prep rhythm.
How do you balance cozy with minimalism? What are the items that you absolutely love that lift your spirits?