My Hygge Home and Kurashi at Home
Today I am highlighting two books written during Covid that, not surprisingly, discuss home life, and how to make the most of it. I start by quoting descriptions from the publishers, then will add my take on the books.
My Hygge Home:
How to Make Home Your Happy Place
“An inspiring new book from the bestselling author of The Little Book of Hygge about how to use space, light, and Danish design to transform your home to fit your needs.
Now more than ever before, our homes need to be a place of comfort, a place to feel safe when we shut the door. Our homes are where we can truly be ourselves, unwind, and create special memories with our family and friends. Inspired by Danish design and traditions, this beautiful new book from Meik Wiking shows us how to turn our home into a cozy sanctuary and live a bit like the happiest people in the world—the Danes. Hygge [pronounced hew-ga according to my Norwegian friend] is the art of surrounding yourself in comfort and is at the core of Danish culture in creating a happy space. With simple tips based on new research from The Happiness Institute in Copenhagen, this book reveals what makes a happy home: including the difference between space and size, the importance of lighting, and how to foster better connections with our loved ones. No matter how much space you have or what your budget is, Meik explains how you can use color, light, and space to create your happy place and celebrate coziness the Danish way.”
I am a sucker for books about hygge, as most of my favorite pastimes: reading, playing and teaching music, cooking, and entertaining friends are all quintessentially hygge activities. Author Meik Wiking started the Hygge buzz with his first book, The Little Book of Hygge, and his Happiness Research Institute has done great work in identifying practices that bring us the greatest joy. My Hygge Home is filled with gorgeous photography- because of course the book itself is meant to bring joy and inspiration! It also includes interesting charts citing statistics on topics such as, “WHAT HAS THE GREATEST IMPACT ON YOUR HAPPINESS?” According to the Happiness Research Institute, their survey of 13,480 people from ten different countries revealed that 17% said Mental Health, 15% said Satisfaction With Home, 14% Physical Health, 6% Income, 3% Employment, 3% Civil Status.
Wiking also stresses the importance of connection:
“One of the most consistent results from the research on happiness is the importance of relationships with people.”
He goes on to make suggestions on how we can design our homes and neighborhoods in ways that best encourage and facilitate socializing.
Hardcover 271 pages, Kindle 326 pages.
Kurashi at Home:
How to Organize Your Space and Achieve Your Ideal Life
“Inspired by the Japanese concept of kurashi, or “way of life,” Kurashi at Home invites you to visualize your ideal life from the moment you wake up until the end of each day. By applying the time-tested query from Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up—“Does it spark joy?”—to your mindset and behaviors, you are invited to imagine what your life could look like free from any limitations. This vision then becomes a touchpoint that helps you make conscious, mindful choices—from how you use every corner of your living space to how you take advantage of every moment. At its core, the KonMari philosophy focuses not on what to get rid of, but on what to keep. In this inspirational visual guide, beautiful photographs and Kondo’s unique suggestions empower you to embrace what you love about your life and then reflect it in your home, activities, and relationships, like creating a calm nook for writing, taking time each morning to review a to-do list, or having relaxing nighttime rituals that promote a restful sleep. Your newfound clarity will inspire you to clear out the unneeded clutter so you can appreciate the inviting spaces, treasured belongings, and joy-sparking moments that remain.”
I enjoyed Marie Kondo’s latest book even more than her first book about tidying; though it’s not quite as “life-changing,” in her Kurashi book, we find the author a little mellowed and less perfectionistic, now that she has children, and can’t make her house as pristine as it was when she was single. I think the decluttering revolution Kondo has ignited is wonderful. Using her method (loosely), I have helped my mother to declutter her closets and cabinets, and my daughter has helped me to do the same.
By the way, I highly recommend buddy-decluttering. Tidying a lonely tedious job, and when someone you trust is helping you along, gently asking the right questions, “Do you actually use/wear/like/need this?” it helps you to assess your possessions more thoughtfully and honestly.
Kondo’s Kurashi offers more tips for everyday living, including how to make a fast and easy Dashi, the base for miso soup (which many Japanese people eat daily for breakfast, and is a simple way to promote better gut health!) She offers fill-in charts to help the reader identify his/her ideal day, ideal evening, and ideal lifestyle, and provides instruction in how to move towards those lifestyle dreams.
Audiobook 3 hours, Hardcover 224 pages.
If I were going to choose one book over the other, I would choose Wiking’s My Hygge Home, but I think the two books together provide a comprehensive approach to considering one’s space consciously, with helpful tips to improve and enhance it. Spring cleaning anyone?