As the hubbub of the holidays dies down, some of us may be left feeling a bit adrift. The holidays are generally full of social get-togethers, parties, and time with loved ones, not to mention a lot of clutter. It’s understandable if you’re feeling a case of the after-holiday blues.
One way to feel refreshed is to refocus the vibe of the home, and maybe with the soothing design philosophy of ‘hygge’ in mind. Or, instead, maybe you’re looking to purge, and dramatically so, through minimalism. While neither of these on-trend styles go hand in hand, traditionally speaking, there is a way to strike a balance between them that might really inspire your creativity.
Making some small changes to your day-to-day lifestyle, as inspired by the two, can set you up for success and satisfaction for the year ahead.
First, let’s break down the characteristics of each.
What Is Hygge?
Hygge is an old Norwegian term and a Danish cultural concept that people make time for in everyday life. Hygge values warmth, happy coziness, togetherness, and satisfaction, often through shared or well-loved items. This notion won’t be new to many communities across Canada —where comfort during cold winters is key.
What Is Minimalism?
Elements of the trend of minimalism first became popular in the 1980s. The minimalist lifestyle focuses on the basics and working with muted colours, simple forms, minimal knickknacks and keeping only those items that serve a necessary function.
With current popular TV shows like The Minimalists and Tidying Up with Marie Kondo posing compelling minimalist questions like “What is absolutely needed?” “Does this spark joy?” or “Is this adding value to my life?” it would appear this trend is here to stay.
How Minimalism and Hygge Can Go Hand-in-Hand
While hygge and minimalism have clearly defined differences, there are definitely some crossovers. The clearest is they both seem to shirk materialism: the need to upgrade, add more, and buy new.
If hygge shows us how we can cherish what we already have (the heirloom, the well-worn), then minimalism is about actively stripping down to bare essentials, and hopefully passing any purged items on to those in need. For many, both are the perfect antidote to a cluttered and expensive holiday season.
Before going further, it’s good to remember that as moms go, we’re often guilty of solely focusing on others, even when it comes to reducing the contents of our wardrobes. We’ll focus on kids’ clothes, toys, and shared living areas before we look to our own, personal spaces.
However you approach the hygge or minimalist look, make sure you factor in some ‘me time’ when it comes to decluttering. A busy space can impact our way of living, so it’s important to take time for yourself.
Some Big-Picture Tips for Minimizing
When it comes to clearing our homes of excess clutter, some areas are often overlooked or not considered fully. Here are a few tips to make your minimizing process more thoughtful, in a way that balances a sense of the hygge style.
Don’t Forget Your Jewellery
Jewellery boxes are often forgotten during big cleans. It’s so easy for jewellery to become a tangled mess of chains, lonesome earrings, and rings with missing stones. If you sort and organize your jewellery into some sort of order, you’ll be more likely to respect, cherish and actually wear it.
Unlike unwanted clothing — which is usually great for donation — your old silver and gold jewellery may hold some financial value, and thus some extra consideration should be taken when sorting. Before you discard the pieces you no longer want, seek out a specialist to see if you have any items of worth. They’ll be your guide to selling silver jewellery, gold jewellery and anything in between. Most gold and silver buyers will also be happy to consider broken jewellery, too.
In the hygge way of life, relationships are something to be treasured. For jewellery with sentimental value — your grandmother’s brooch or the necklace you wore for your wedding — consider crafting a shadow box for them. A visual reminder of treasured memories captures that hygge spirit.
Consider a Capsule Closet
When it comes to our attire, hygge and minimalism are actually quite complementary. When living by the Danish trend, you’re to be as comfortable as possible at home (say, with big, soft socks and sweaters) and not worry about embracing the season’s hottest fashion trends.
A capsule closet encapsulates this notion perfectly. A capsule closet means purging your clothing selection back to 30 to 50 items. Each item of clothing should be able to work together seamlessly.
That said, don’t rush through the process of sorting your clothes. It’s an awful feeling to give away an item of clothing and then wish you still had it later. Create a pile of ‘maybes’ when clearing out your closet. Let it sit for a week or so until you’re certain. Donate any items of clothing that are in good shape.
For clothing that’s seen better days, don’t throw it away. Consider darning and mending or even dyeing them. Crafting and upcycling is another hygge act that seems to emerge from the minimalist’s playbook. Focus on what’s in front of you, taking time to breathe and appreciate what you have.
Don’t Forget Your Overflowing Bedside Table
It’s all too easy for bedside tables to become an unsightly pile of medicine packets, tissues, half-read books, and phone chargers. Your sleeping space should be a calm, relaxing area to accentuate respite.
Having drawers crammed full of unnecessary knickknacks isn’t helping you find peace at the end of a busy day. Clear out your bedside tables and keep only the necessities on hand. Keep the top of your bedside table as minimal as possible — and specifically without blue-light technology, like phones and iPads, close by — and you’ll also be combining a hygge sensibility to the new clean space. Make this a habit moving forward.
Credit: cottonbro studio Via: Pexels
Some Lifestyle and Social Acts that Incorporate the Hygge Way of Life
Now that we’ve covered a few tips on minimalizing your home, we can focus more on the hygge lifestyle: paring back on what you don’t need, embracing creature comforts and cozy warmth, and appreciating what you have — and those around you.
Here are ways you can achieve this:
Don’t reach for the television remote in the evening or on the weekend; instead, play a board game or jigsaw puzzle with your family, partner, or friends (or try a paint-by-numbers, puzzle, or solo game if you’re on your own).
Instead of going out to a noisy restaurant for dinner, invite your friends and loved ones to your house for a warming home-cooked meal.
Don’t doom scroll on social media (i.e., reading bad news story after bad news story …). Light a few candles, grab your favourite book and a cozy blanket, boil up your favourite herbal tea and curl up for the evening.
Appreciate seasonal produce by cooking up warming soups. If you have an elderly neighbour nearby, consider dropping them off a jar. Cabbage, apples, carrots, and potatoes are all delicious types of Canadian winter produce.
Start a book club with your teenagers, friends, and neighbours. A book club is a great way to get together in the comfort of your own home without relying on technology. You’ll establish new connections and bond over your dislike for villainous characters.
Be comfortable. It’s okay not to make fashion statements around the house. Relaxing in your comfy old hockey sweater and leggings is perfectly acceptable.
Turn to crafting. Whether this is something you’re already a dab hand at or if this is something you need to learn, there’s tremendous satisfaction in making things yourself (even if they end up a little wonky).
Spend time outdoors. Go on a hike with your kids, meet up with friends, and follow a blaze in a Provincial Park near you.
Spend some time each day to write in your journal. Reflect on the day’s events. Journaling is great for kids to do, too. Get them to record a favourite part of their day and something they’ve learned.
In the end, everyone’s different. What works for one won’t necessarily work for another. But hopefully, something from this hygge-minimal-fusion lifestyle has given you food for thought. Be it paring back your closet, or spending more time cooking nutritious and seasonal foods, or refocusing your energy on what you have, here and now, there’s bound to be something in either design philosophy that will help you emerge from the holidays and start the new year feeling revitalized and inspired.