Simplicity. Less clutter. Minimalism. Many of us aspire to it, even when it seems impossible. Because when you figure out what to keep, donate, trash or recycle, your mind has extra room to roam.
The Swedes know this kind of organization isn’t as hard as you might think. The country that gave us the Original Swedish Snus figured out clutter long ago.
LAGOM: Everything in moderation
In Swedish, lagom (pronounced /LAHH-gome/) means “moderate; not too little, not too much” and “just right.” Lagom guides the Swedish approach to living well through simplicity—and having less stuff.
What does that mean for your cluttered space? For one thing, lagom means getting rid of duplicates. Do you need 50 ballpoint pens? Or three coffee makers? Probably not. Instead, picture having less stuff and gaining space for your mind to fully enjoy the things you do have. That’s lagom—and it can start with the smallest of things.
A measure of simplicity
Take tape measures. Most households have several because they’re both cheap and useful. Maybe you’re holding on to them for the sake of convenience, such as one tape measure in the truck, one in the junk drawer, and one somewhere on a cluttered workbench. Or maybe—you’ve got sentimental reasons.
Say a particular tape measure was your dad’s. The Swedish philosophy of lagom would suggest: if it works, keep it. And then donate the rest. But if it doesn’t work, either decide it belongs in a keepsake box…or consider that back in the day your dad would’ve chucked it when it wore out, and he’d be happy if you did the same today.
Lagom doesn’t happen all at once
One important point the Swedes acknowledge is that lagom is the work of a lifetime. In the spirit of moderation, decluttering can only happen if you’ve got the opportunity to do it. Living life comes first.
But when you can (and as you’re able) there’s a lot of pleasure in mentally pregaming how your decluttered room, home or life will function. Everybody’s vision is different. And so, in due course, you’ll be enjoying a less-is-more space—when you’re ready for it.