When you consider your favourite place, how does it feel? Is it comfortable? Is it energizing? Do you go there to recharge or to get introspective? Is it a solitary place or is it filled with laughter and the love of others? The spaces in which we live, work and play really can affect our mood, our outlook and even our physical and mental health. How do we create an environment that nourishes our body and our mind?
Recently I read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and its sequel Spark Joy. Many of you will be familiar with these books as they are the inspiration for the Netflix series Tidying Up that everyone seems to be watching.
The premise is simple. In tidying, one decides what items bring them joy, and anything else receives thanks for its usefulness but ultimately is moved along. There is a very prescribed and precise method – the KonMari method, named after the author and series’ host Marie Kondo – for decluttering clothing, books, papers, miscellaneous items and even sentimental ones.
After reading the books, I was inspired to declutter and to arrange what remained in a way that brings me joy. But there is something about this method of decluttering that feels a little cold and impersonal. Maybe that is the point. However, when I consider what I want my space to feel like, cold and impersonal do not accurately describe it. Yes, I know, the point is to keep only the things that bring you joy. But sometimes it isn’t the things that bring the joy, but the feeling you get when you enter a space.
Enter the notion of hygge (pronounced Hoo-Gah), that beautiful Danish concept of comfort, coziness, connection and warmth which I long for in my home and in my life. After reading Kondo’s books, I enjoyed The Book of Hygge in audio book form. This is exactly what I was looking for! Ideas for creating that feeling of comfort in my home and in my office. Cozy blankets, games and puzzles that bring people together, candles, netflix on the couch, a steaming cup of hot chocolate after playing with the kids outside in the snow. All of these bring comfort, draw us together and create that cozy sense of safety many of us crave, particularly in our high stress jobs and in a society that praises working ourselves to death while criticizing rest and down-time.
For me, the answer lies in a combination of both of these books’ ideas. How do I create a comforting and restful home, complete with the things that bring warmth and togetherness into the space, while ridding myself of all that does not bring the joy and the feeling I am looking for in my space? I am not entirely sure but I am working on it. My spaces will, I hope, be a reflection of the peace, the warmth, the comfort and safety I long for in my life. They will help me to nourish my body, my mind and my soul, so when the world around me turns chaotic – and it will – I can come home, wrapped in the feeling of safety and warmth I desperately need.
What do you want your living and working spaces to feel like? Do you want them to inspire focus and accomplishments? To reflect your sense of fun and whimsy? Do you want a place to decompress or a space to get energized? Whatever you are hoping to do, I would love to hear how you create the feeling you desire in your home, your office or anywhere you spend your time.