You may have noticed a lot of talk about hygge lately (pronounced “hoo-gah”), which, in a nutshell, is a Danish approach to living simply and intentionally.
According to Luisa Thomsen Brits, author of, ‘The Book of Hygge – The Danish Art of Contentment, Comfort, and Connection’, hygge is a way of being present, mindful, and connected.
According to the author, Danes are some of the happiest people in the world. They don’t hygge to be content, they find contentment in hygge. “Hygge is lived in the middle of all of the other elements of an engaged life.”
So what can we learn from this Danish life philosophy, and how can it make our lives easier?
When someone hyggers (yes, it’s a verb!), we promote trivsel, which translates to “wellbeing in ourselves and others.” So even when life is challenging, hygge is about cultivating an attitude of optimism to get to trivsel.
Sounds lovely, but how do you DO it? By keeping only what we love, need, and connect with, to start. As William Morris puts it, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or beautiful.”
Beauty and utility are at the heart of Scandinavian design – think IKEA! Thomsen Brits goes on to say that, “if something has purpose as well as beauty, it has integrity. If our surroundings are too cluttered it is harder to make space to hygge. We can easily become paralyzed in disorganization and clutter by the objects around us. Hygge requires clarity, (which is) difficult to achieve if we are burdened by things or at a loss to find what we need in a sea of possessions.”
So, if we keep what we value in the present, we are on our way to a more hyggelist (yes, it’s an adjective too!) life.
If we view our home as a place of solace that restores and sustains us, we must be intentional in what surrounds us. As Thomas More states, “Home is an emotional state, a place in the imagination where feelings of security, belonging, placement, family, protection, memory, and personal history abide.”
Sustaining ourselves, and others, is closely aligned with hygge – it meets our desire to create a cozy, safe environment that resonates with our inner lives.
But how do we create and sustain a home that has meaning and function when our lives are moving so quickly, with little to no time for organizing and decluttering and deciding? Besides hiring professionals to help (yes, Ease Up is here to do just that!), we can also, on our own, make decisions about what is useful, what has meaning, what makes us content, as opposed to what feels heavy, outdated, and burdensome.
If moving towards an organized home – and mind – is our goal, we can use the concept of hygge to help us get there. As Thomsen Brits reminds us, “Each home represents an ecology of objects and totems that speak to the lives of the inhabitants. Each one of us finds meaning in things that represent our actions, goals, achievements, and the salient events of our lives. They are strands of meaning everywhere”
Is hygge helpful in organizing, decluttering and managing your home? Please send your comments, feedback and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Author
Having caught the organizational bug early on trying to “balance” things out as an elite gymnast, Jessica Tudos brings a diverse set of skills and experiences to her role as a professional organizer. Drawing from her global work as an experiential educator, author, and motivational speaker, Jessica is on a mission to empower people to lead healthy, creative and organized lives.