Balance and practicality are the new warm and snuggly, apparently.
HAVE we reached peak Scandi yet? Well, probably not if you live around those parts.
Here in the UK though, we Brits could be accused of taking Scandinavian lifestyle trends to a new extreme. Let's consider it: we bought the clothes (Adidas Stan Smiths – am I right?), ate 'open sandwiches' in the right hip coffee shops and made suave urban loft-style updates to our homes. Then came 'hygge' (the Danish art to living comfortably), one of the most Googled words in 2016, and now we're buying Scandi self-help manuals. Well, I suppose they are supposed to be happier than us... so why not buy the handbook?
As it turns out, we’re not done basking in all things Nordic yet, no sir. ‘Lagom’ is the next movement on the horizon. In Swedish, it translates as ‘just the right amount’, a mix of balance and practicality, and is exercised by not being wasteful and enjoying a more frugal existence. So, not as self-indulgent as hygge, then... better chuck all those Ikea ISGATA cushions.
It's somewhat sobering after all the excess of 'hygge', with its soup, cheese and crusty bread in warm socks by the fire with the latest Richard and Judy club bestseller. Lagom's more community minded ethos is to positively impact the environment, your pocket and peace of mind with sheer simplicity.
Here’s how to become a Lagomer...
MAKE SUSTAINABLE UPDATES TO YOUR HOME
OK, so you’ve only just invested in a chic corner sofa and an unnecessarily large white deer head for your new Scandi-cool living room. But the biggest and most impactful Scandi update to your home should be a sustainable one. To start, switch to LED light bulbs to help reduce leccy bills and any negative effect on the environment. For future improvements, invest in energy-efficient appliances such as an induction hob which ensures only a small amount of heat is wasted. To help, our faithful friends at Ikea are championing Lagom (of course they are) with a 'Live Lagom' campaign and have a range of energy-saving products to choose from at Ikea-friendly prices.
SAVE ENERGY & SWITCH OFF
Ah, so Lagom is a lot like an exasperated parent shouting at the kids to turn the lights off ‘cause the house is lit up like the bloody Blackpool illuminations’? Kinda. But for good reason. Lagom is largely an environmentally conscious practice and teaches Lagomers to not waste energy and go back to basics. Good tips include switching all the lights off when you leave the house and not leaving TVs and digital devices plugged in when unnecessary. This also extends to water-waste; take shorter and colder showers (yikes), use the dishwasher on ‘eco’ as it is far more energy efficient and remember to turn the tap off when scrubbing your teeth.
UPCYCLE & RECYCLE
It all starts with keeping your plastic bags and remembering to actually bring them to the supermarket with you - that 5p could be put to use elsewhere, and it all adds up. To take upcycling a step further, store unused fabrics and materials for future craft projects; mason jars for tea lanterns for example (although, you've probably already got a few of those from your hygge period). Also, seek out upcycling events in your neighbourhood to help turn old clothes into something wearable again. As always, ensure to recycle plastics and other recyclable materials.
PLAN YOUR MEALS
‘Waste not, want not’ could almost be a Lagomer proverb. By planning meals and organising our fridges, we could get much more out of our monthly and/or weekly shop. Use a shopping list to see exactly what you’re spending your money on. Organise your food by using clear containers stacked neatly in the fridge so you can monitor what is going in and out. The idea is to make do with what you already have without being tempted to splurge on food unnecessarily (guilty).
Living minimally has been cited as the key to living happier. Just say the name Marie Kondo to proactive minimalists and watch them gush with adoration. In the home, it’s important to de-clutter as a way to make the most out of the items you already love and own – as the Lagom definition suggests, we’re aiming to have ‘just the right amount’.
MANAGE A WORK-LIFE BALANCE
Easy for them to say, eh? What with their six-hour working days. Still, Sweden may have a point about maintaining a work-life balance. As the Lagom philosophy is mostly about moderation, ensuring work doesn’t creep into personal time may ensure both productivity in the office and a far less stressful existence. Go outside, take a lunch break, cycle to work and most importantly, spend time without spending money. Lagom's overarching message is embracing the simple, little things.