Despite their long, dark winters, Danish people are among the happiest on Earth. Their secret? Clutter-free homes that are cozy, warm, and welcoming! We’ve rounded up a slew of straight-from-Scandinavia tips that will help you make your nest every bit as mess-free. Read on to get started!
Make Goodbyes Easier With a Feel-Good Motive
“Letting go of our stuff can evoke strong feelings,” says Danish life designer Lena Bentsen, author of Goodbye Clutter, Hello Freedom ($12.99, Amazon). “Clients often resist donating unwanted items to generic places.”
Finding an organization that you’re excited about giving back to can make all the difference in motivating you to pass along things you no longer need. Your daycare centers, for instance, may be thrilled to receive gently loved toys and art supplies, while the animal shelter you adopted your pup from will surely welcome old blankets and pillows.
Speed-Clean With a Snapshot
Realism is a hallmark of the Danish approach to clutter, notes Bentsen. “We know that to achieve our goals, we must shrink them into bite-size pieces.”
Instead of tackling a whole room, start with, say, a messy cabinet. Not sure where to begin? “Take photos of your home from different angles,” she advises. “When we look at a photo, our eyes focus on what breaks the flow of the image, helping us spot key areas we should tackle first.”
Tell a Story With Your Mementos
“Though most of us have too many mementos, we definitely should save things that tell our story,” says Bentsen. Pretend you’re curating a museum show about your life. “You’ll see that saving one special vinyl record is enough to take you back in time, and you don’t need the whole collection.”
Close Any Open Circles
Imagine every task runs in a circle that starts and ends in the same place. “Danes believe in closing these circles rather than leaving them incomplete,” says Bentsen. “When we make a cup of tea, the kettle is rinsed and returned to its spot before we enjoy our first sip.” The result is more coziness and less time cleaning overall.
Sound exhausting? “Just the opposite!” she promises. “Each closed circle gives you a burst of energy. Then you enjoy returning to that tidied space later.”
Set the Stage for Joy and Serenity
You can use visual cues to create a welcoming, peaceful atmosphere, notes Bentsen. Start by making sure at least one surface in each room is tidied. “Just seeing that a single stretch of counter space is clear makes people less likely to leave crumbs,” she explains. “Similarly, seeing empty shoe cubbies in the entry cues family and guests alike to put their sneakers in the right place.”
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.
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