Hygge. Kos. Mys. Gemütlichkeit. Gezzelig.
Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, German, Dutch. I’m sure there are many other expressions in many other languages that one can use to define a feeling of intimate, homey warmth and comforting cosiness. Whichever word defines it for you, this is the state I try to achieve long after the last yuletide bauble has been regretfully packed away. A few more months of winter (and I adore winter!) still stretch before us, and it’s a time of inner workings and betterings… the behind-the-scenes moments that lead to the vivacious burst of glorious colour and life in the spring.
This winter, my idea of cosiness was two-fold: to clean out and improve our living spaces with (as much as possible) pieces or tools that we already owned and to find a snug, agreeable spot to work on something… projects, studies, and even goals that could be accomplished without need for moving.
I immediately started out with cleaning and decluttering. The living room looks more spacious, and even with less toys the children are happy, if not happier. There is more room to run around in, and they play with the toys they truly like… this means a lot of licensed properties (kids’ shows) that were either gifted/given are now gone, except for a very few that we have kept as they are still more malleable for their imaginations. It is nice not to have a riotous explosion of colours that seems to be the hallmark of a ‘branded’ home.
Their bedrooms got the same treatment, and not even their books escaped a good purge. I love children’s classics, etc. but somehow, less timeless books for children do sneak in. That’s OK… I’ve come to terms with the fact that these short-term reads still piqued their interest in reading, and then I distribute them around the little free libraries in our area for other children to have something new to read, too.
As an aside, we gifted both boys a dolls house that is minimal and not geared towards a specific gender in its colour scheme. It sits in our older one’s room. Normally, dolls houses that are of quality do not come with the furnishings. It took my mind a while to wrap around that concept, but now I appreciate that. It’s more individual when you take the time to source your own furnishings based on your tastes and preferences (or even choose from the many that this particular company we went with, Maileg, offers) instead of being given a set lot of furniture to play with, and it is almost like a gift that keeps on giving. Every few weeks, there may be a new little surprise to see and play with in the dolls house. Even A enjoys playing with the furnishings, especially the working lamp and fireplace. It is a cosy spot for our oldest to sit and relax and play a little bit right before bed as well. Accogliente!! (Italian)
The bathroom and powder room were given their usual cleaning treatment, and time was taken to use up various lotions and potions (we don’t have many but accumulation still happens once in a while!) and I love how clean and minimal and bare (I say that with enjoyment! Bare counters and cabinets are wonderful to me!) these spaces are now.
For the kitchen, the spice cabinet got a good cleaning and organisation, but because I had previously decluttered and keep a minimal amount of dinnerware and silverware, there was not much else in terms of cleaning/clearing out that I could do. The kitchen counters also have the minimal amount of items sitting on them, and while I plan to make some room in the budget for some fresh flowers or greenery to pretty things up a bit, it is otherwise perfect.
You may not immediately think of home renovations as something to be done during the winter, but it was actually quite peaceful to completely clean out, declutter, repaint, rearrange and update our bedroom and closet earlier this month. A bonus is that unlike summer, when such activities will often leave one overheating, the winter simply makes anyone indulging in such exertions toasty warm without having to turn up the heating. The paint we had already bought early last year, and one of my goals for this year was to wake up to a room that was not a poorly-painted dirty, bleary yellow so it dovetailed beautifully. While we do need to buy a better ceiling fan/light, the only thing I planned on buying for the room was a new set of sheets and covers as we only have the one and it is quickly getting very worn and raggedy. However, I did not account for the wanderings of a rambunctious two-year-old. He broke a glass lamp that somehow survived our first child’s toddlerhood, and so I bought a replacement from IKEA. Otherwise, everything we already had and I actually sold off quite a few items that were lying around in our bedroom. I can now truthfully clean out that room in less than five minutes, and my man and I both love spending time in our room now. (I wonder if the French word douillet might be the equivalent of the Scandinavian terms for “cosy”… if so… that is what our room is now!)
That is it for most of the house. I am back to the smaller ‘inner workings’ I spoke of earlier. Working on finishing little projects, and slowly but surely deciding on things to let go of (sell/donate/repurpose as much as possible)… so call this Swedish Death Cleaning ahead of time… although one never knows. My ideal for a cosy home is a place for what’s enjoyed and/or needed, and what’s enjoyed and/or needed in its place.
Sartorially, I’ve been dressing quite a bit like Anne of Green Gables meets Laura Ingalls meets Betsy Ray. I’m not sure why but it makes me smile. Old-fashioned layers just seem so much more elegant than sweatshirts on sweatpants.
As for that snug, agreeable little spot that I spoke of earlier… here it is.
Not much has changed since this picture except a new cotton throw (I detest the prolific-ness of polyester and acrylic in throws!) and that I’ve stuffed the throw pillows with down feather inserts. What a luxury upgrade!! Polyester batting hasn’t got anything on nature… I sit here most evenings, working at a scarf that I started in 2016…
Update: I finished the bloomin’ scarf!! Started December 3, 2016 and finished February 7, 2023. Whew!! (I didn’t work on it some years… but finally decided that having huge bursts of working on it and then forgetting about it was not the way to have a pretty scarf to wear before I turned 40! Amazing how fast it went by when I finally buckled down and focused!)
I hope you are keeping warm, cosy and making the most of the last bits of winter magic!!