The holidays are past us, but the cold weather will be sticking around for quite a while for those of us in the northern hemisphere. Just because the time off and celebrations have concluded, and we have to get back into the swing of work and school, doesn’t mean the warm, cozy feeling has to disappear with the beginning of the new year.
The desire for finding and treasuring moments to relax in a calming environment has grown as people’s lives have gotten more hectic and demanding. There is an appreciation for moments of peace and comfort as part of maintaining good mental health throughout the year.
The desire for this sense of comfort and warmth has led the people of the United States to look beyond its borders for philosophies that will help us simultaneously achieve clarity and minimize stress. Thus, the discovery and appropriation of two important methods in the world of comfort have emerged: hygge and decluttering.
While both hygge and decluttering can be implemented individually in the home and the office, we propose implementing them simultaneously in order to create the optimal winter habitat.
First, for people who are new to either or both of these, here is a short introduction to each.
An Introduction to Hygge
Hygge is a Danish word that some say is essential to Danish culture. The word hygge frankly doesn’t have a direct translation into English or most other languages. If you put the word into Google Translate, it will say that the English equivalent is the word “fun”. Anyone who knows, understands, and lives hygge knows that there is much more to it than that.
Danish watch company Skagen describes hygge as the Danish mode of enjoying simple pleasures, including friends, family, graciousness, contentment, good feelings, and a warm glow. The New Yorker describes it as the art of feeling cozy. It is perhaps best illustrated by the feeling of sitting by a warm fire; with a fresh cup of coffee, cocoa, or mulled wine; and snuggling with your significant other in your PJs, simply listening to the cracking of the fire and not having to worry about work or commitments.
And winter is the perfect time of year for practicing hygge, thanks to cool weather, candles, fresh pastries, warm beverages, cashmere socks, and everything else cozy the winter brings.
An Introduction to Decluttering
While there are many ways to declutter, the most famous is the KonMarie method, developed by Marie Kondo, a Japanese decluttering expert and consultant.
She is of the philosophy that decluttering should cause only joy, not emotional pain nor stress. In fact, she is convinced that the clutter is itself likely the cause of your stress.
The decluttering method is based on the idea that everything you own should cause a deep feeling of joy, or be absolutely necessary. As you declutter, you should go through all your things and converse with them. Ask them if they bring you joy or if they are absolutely necessary. Those that don’t or aren’t should be sent on their way.
As a result, you will find yourself with only things that bring you clarity and joy, rather than things that may cause stress and discomfort.
How to Combine Hygge and Decluttering
We believe hygge and decluttering are a match made in heaven. While hygge by itself offers moments of comfort, you might be distracted or stressed by feeling that you are in an environment that is untidy, cluttered, or reminds you of things you have pending.
Begin by decluttering your space using the KonMarie method. The process itself will bring you joy and put you in the perfect mindset to really enjoy hygge. You will be free to relax in an environment that is stress-free and promotes mental clarity, rather than mental clutter.
A strategy to create the perfect winter habitat:
- Set aside a day to declutter.
- Start by focusing on one particular area of the room.
- Touch each individual thing, remind yourself where it came from, recall when you have used it, and ask it (and yourself) if it brings you joy or if you need it.
- If the answer is yes, keep it. If the answer is no, send it on its way.
- Continue until you have created a decluttered room, which will also make way for a hygge room.
- After you have decluttered the room, get comfy. Wear your comfiest socks, pants and sweatshirt, and have your partner do the same.
- Make your beverage of choice – something that will allow you to relax.
- If relevant, light a fire or candles.
- Pick a book or start a light conversation with your partner, or simply be and enjoy your own, and each other’s, company.
- Hygge it up, and enjoy!
During these cold winter months, hygge and decluttering are both great on their own. However, together, their cozying and relaxing power is even stronger. Try decluttering to create the perfect environment for practicing hygge, and make it a regular practice to help develop a happy, open, relaxed mindset.