Learning How To Live Lagom

January 2, 2016
small lounge makeover

Those Scandinavians really have this language game nailed. 

Hygge was most definitely the world’s (i.e. Pinterest’s) word of 2015: originating in Denmark it’s that lovely cuddly feeling that you get from candles, blankets, cushions and open fires. It reads wonderfully but if you try to pronounce it you may well sound like you’re trying to hock up phlegm. Yes, the Scandinavians may have language but I’m still working on pronunciation.

Well, forget Hygge. I’m here to introduce you to the Scandinavian word of 2016, this time from Sweden. And you’ll be pleased to know it’s much easier to pronounce.

Internet, Pinterest, meet LAGOM.

live lagom

I came across the phrase ‘Live Lagom’ at the tail end of 2015 courtesy of my friends at IKEA – and we all know I’m a big-time fan of my friends at IKEA. It’s a phrase that sits beautifully with the way I’ve been trying to live my life in 2015: minimally, without fuss, within my means. It translates to roughly mean “the right amount is best” – not too little, not too much, just enough. Isn’t that lovely?

Minimalism and economic living is something I am really excited to push on through with in 2016 so when IKEA asked if I’d like to try to introduce more ‘Lagom’ into my life I was thrilled. I’ve always admired IKEA’s ethos when it comes to sustainable living; I was Editor of their online magazine for some time and have long been a fan of the Scandinavian aesthetic. So this is something I’m thrilled to take part in. Saddle up cowboys, let’s learn how to Lagom-ify our homes!

The remit is clear. IKEA have given me £500 to spend on items that I have to prove will help my family live a more sustainable life and then I will write about my experiences here and over on Instagram/Twitter using the hashtag #LiveLagom.

small lounge makeover

Here’s how my Lagom journey has gone down so far:

A couple of months ago I started with an early Sunday morning tour behind-the-scenes at my local store where we were given a special view of their renewable energy drives (of which there are loads!). Did you know IKEA farm rainwater to use when flushing their loos? Or they save around £40k in heating bills a month from recycling old or damaged product to use in their woodchip heating system? Plus their roofs are COVERED in solar panels to power their stores… it’s really quite amazing.

We were then talked through some ideas for how we might want to improve the ways we live. We discussed our new sustainability ideas with our fellow Lagom participants – a mixture of bloggers, non-blogging families and IKEA co-workers –  and were given a brochure of products to select from.

I went home thinking hard about Living Lagom. My very own sustainability consultant Angelina visited me at home the next week and she was so inspiring and full of ideas; I’d been meaning to sort my storage situation in my living space, including my kitchen cabinets, for AGES and that was the kick up the bum I needed to finally do this (you can see the brilliant results here in my small lounge makeover).

Then it was on to the good stuff. The Lagom-shopping stuff.

I decided that I’d go with what I know when it came to picking my pieces – storage and cooking. This was quite a challenge: there was a fairly specific list of choices and no way you could go off-piste and order a sofa or bed without proving it would somehow make your life more sustainable.

And so a few weeks ago I spent a lovely morning at IKEA Milton Keynes touring the store with Angelina, picking out what I thought could help our family move towards living a more Lagom life. My aims will include:

– Vastly reduce the amount of food we throw out
– Use energy-efficient bulbs
– Batch-cook and use leftovers, freezing more food
– Wash clothes less and at 30%
– Take any old outgrown toys to the charity shop, throw away broken ones
– Recycle as much as I can

I don’t get to pick up my shopping selections for a little while but I’m SO excited to: first we went for a whole compliment of LED lights to kick-off some energy saving, up to 85%! In addition some LED strip lights were selected to brighten up under my kitchen cabinets. Then I chose a really brilliant new food storage system for our leftovers, as well as an old-school pressure cooker and some new bigger pots and pans for batch cooking. Next there was a mirror with added rail to help me organize my clothes (it doesn’t sound like much but I’m UBER excited about this) and finally storage for under-the-stairs to aid with recycling and toy clutter.

I understand some of the participants have gone for bigger pieces – dishwashers, energy-efficient appliances – but I’m excited to see what these little tweaks to our home will do for the way we live. It won’t be without effort from us… I will be meal planning like a madwoman, making the most of our leftovers and doing yet more tidying and de-cluttering, especially when it comes to laundry, toys and recycling.

I can’t wait to get started! I’ll be back with more IKEA wisdom on easy ways of Living Lagom very soon.

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  • Reply John @dadyougeek January 2, 2016 at 6:49 pm

    I love this ethos, its so simple but brilliant and will hopefully help! Interesting to learn how efficient their stores are, I had no idea!

    Storage is something we need to thing about, and only tonight after putting the 3rd food waste bag into the bin I was disappointed at how much food (read money) we are wasting!

    • Reply alice January 2, 2016 at 11:53 pm

      Throwing out food is such an easy thing to do – I’m terrible for being ‘too tired to cook’ after planning all our meals out and ordering takeaway. Must stop doing this, its unhealthy and hurts my wallet!!! :)

  • Reply Kate Takes 5 (@KateTakes5) January 3, 2016 at 11:50 am

    It’s such a great project isn’t it? Makes sustainable living actually exciting!

    • Reply alice January 3, 2016 at 3:45 pm

      It really does! It’s actually making my two interested in tidying and cooking, nothing short of a miracle ;) x

  • Reply Kelsey January 3, 2016 at 12:41 pm

    This sounds so great! I can’t wait until we’re back into a place of our own so we can put our own way of living into practice. I batch cooked once before and couldn’t get on with it, maybe it’s time to try again.

    • Reply alice January 3, 2016 at 3:51 pm

      I always used to feel a bit weird eating food from the freezer Kelsey, I don’t know why. I was like, why eat frozen food when I could cook from scratch? BUt I’ve done it a couple of times this week and it’s made dinner time SO MUCH easier!

  • Reply Molly January 3, 2016 at 4:30 pm

    So looking forward to seeing how you get on with the Lagomification! I’m doing a similar thing this year and have just ordered a ceiling washing airer to free up floor space in our office (which was once a utilities room) and avoid buying a tumble drier. God I sound old.

  • Reply Ems January 4, 2016 at 8:41 pm

    Really interesting post Alice! I recycle loads but on the other hand, because I’m at home so much always stick washing on, bad. Will keep my eyes peeled for how you get on, I love a good storage idea (geek!) :) X

  • Reply Nice Idea lacking in execution February 19, 2016 at 12:49 pm

    Well that didn’t offer much insight into Ikea’s lagom friendly ranges. Thanks for that.

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