Minimalism and Hygge: How to Get Cozy Without the Clutter

Minimalism and Hygge: how to get cozy without the clutter

Minimalism and Hygge are two concepts you’ve probably heard a lot about in the past few years. But when I first heard of the Danish concept of Hygge, I thought it didn’t fit with what I was trying to achieve by simplifying and decluttering my home. All I knew of Hygge was it was about creating cozy spaces filled with lots of candles, blankets, pillows and books.

While creating coziness is certainly one aspect of Hygge, it’s not everything. I have learned minimalism and Hygge are not mutually exclusive in the least.  In fact, they both promote many of the same values in the end.

Minimalism and Hygge: how to get cozy without the clutter
Photo by Jen P. on Unsplash

Today I want to dive deeper into the concepts of minimalism and Hygge and discuss how they not only fit together but how they compliment each other in many ways.

Fall is a time of year when many of us look forward to getting cozy and embracing all the Hygge feels. Read on for ways you can embrace minimalism and Hygge to create a simple and cozy home and life you love!

First, let’s get clear about what minimalism and Hygge both entail.

What is minimalism as a lifestyle?

Minimalism often gets a bad reputation as cold, sterile, uninviting or stark. People picture all-white rooms with one chair and not much else. While this can be what minimalism looks like for some people, it’s definitely not the only way it can look. There’s a big difference between minimalism as a design aesthetic and minimalism as a lifestyle.

Minimalism as a lifestyle is about figuring out what you value most, then removing everything that doesn’t align with that or distracts you from what you value most.

It’s about removing the clutter and the excess so you can appreciate the things you value more. I’ve often talked about how minimalism doesn’t have to look a certain way. The key to creating your own version of minimalism is deciding what matters most to you, then removing the excess and distractions keeping you from what matters most.

Minimalism is not about living with nothing. Instead, it’s about keeping what you use and love and getting rid of what you don’t. At its core, minimalism is not about what you own or don’t own. Instead, it’s about why you own what you own.

What is Hygge?

Hygge (pronounced hue-guh) is a popular Danish concept. Although there’s no direct English translation, Hygge is best described as a mindset and way of living focusing on slowing down, enjoying the moment, being present and finding contentment in everyday moments.

It focuses on finding ways to appreciate the cozy, simple moments. And creating an atmosphere where you can celebrate and enjoy the present moment. It’s a feeling, a mindset and a way of life that promotes well-being, more than any particular design style.

Although there are certain ways to bring more Hygge into your life (think candles, cozy blankets, a warm fire, etc.). Hygge isn’t just those things.

In fact, Hygge isn’t about “things” at all. It’s more about slowing down and being present to appreciate and enjoy your life. And finding ways to celebrate ordinary moments and make them special.

For example, a hot cup of tea can be Hygge. It isn’t the tea itself that is important. Instead, it’s the act of slowing down and being present as you prepare your tea. Then taking the time to sit down and drink your tea, not hurrying or rushing it. Instead, just mindfully enjoying it and appreciating the tea, the moment and how it makes you feel.

Hygge can be thought of the “art of creating intimacy” and is often described using words like coziness, charm, happiness, contentment, comfort, kinship, connection, simpleness, homey, inviting, etc.

It was a way to help the Danes find ways to make it through and enjoy the cold, dark, dreary days of winter. And as someone who lives in the often cold, dark, dreary Canadian prairies, I can understand this well. If you can’t beat winter, you might as well find ways to make the best of it! And embracing Hygge is a wonderful way to do this.

How do minimalism and Hygge fit together?

If Hygge is all about slowing down to appreciate the simple moments and being present to enjoy them fully, it’s easy to see how minimalism and Hygge fit together.

Minimalism and Hygge: how to get cozy without the clutter
Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

First, let’s start with minimalism…

Minimalism is about deciding what is important to you, then removing anything that isn’t important or distracts you from what is. Minimalism allows you to remove the clutter, distractions and busyness from your life. Giving you the tools to slow down and simplify so you can find more time and space to focus on appreciating the things, people and activities you love.

When you choose to own less and slow down, you create time and space in your life to live more mindfully. Giving yourself the opportunity to appreciate and be more present for the things, people and activities you love most.

Moving onto Hygge…

Hygge takes this a step further and encourages you to savour and find contentment in the simple, everyday moments. Hygge encourages us to slow down, be present, find connection and happiness in everyday moments. Appreciating the simple, cozy moments in our lives where we can find gratitude and joy.

Hygge can be a natural extension of simplifying

A friend recently asked me if I do anything specific to add more Hygge into our home. I realized I don’t do anything intentionally. But creating a simple, cozy, inviting home is what I naturally gravitate towards.

I don’t go out of my way to create a home that feels Hygge. Instead, I purposely fill our home with only the things we love or use. This allows me to create a space where we feel happy and able to be fully present in. We aren’t distracted by piles of clutter or unnecessary objects. Instead, our home feels warm and inviting in a clutter-free, simple way.

To me, both minimalism and Hygge come back to creating a home and space you love. Both minimalism and Hygge are about being intentional with your space and filling it with things you love or use.

Getting rid of the clutter, the excess and the distractions are essential to creating a space that is inviting and easy to enjoy the present moment in.

Get clear about what you value and what is most important to you. Then you can get rid of anything not adding value or simply not important to you. Not only will this help you create a more simplified, minimalist home, but it will also make it easier to begin adding more Hygge to your days!

Minimalism and Hygge are not about “stuff”

Hygge is not about “stuff”. You don’t need to buy anything or own certain things to embrace Hygge. Instead, it’s about finding contentment and being present for the simple, everyday moments in your life. And finding ways to celebrate those moments.

You don’t need to buy anything or add anything to your home to embrace Hygge. Instead, it’s about creating a home you can feel present in rather than distracted and stressed in by piles of clutter. A home where you are happy to slow down, relax and enjoy the simple and cozy moments of life.

Although minimalism initially feels very much about “stuff” as you work to declutter and simplify, at its core, minimalism isn’t about stuff either. It’s about simplifying the stuff so you can make time and space for more – more experiences, more fun, more of what you love!

Both minimalism and Hygge encourage you to find contentment with what you have – knowing the simple moments in life are often the most meaningful in the long run.

Minimalism and Hygge teach us to be intentional with our time and our space so we can be present for and mindful of the important parts of life. Giving us ways to slow down and appreciate simple moments that bring us joy.

Minimalism and Hygge help you create an inviting home you love and are happy to welcome others into. Both minimalism and Hygge allow you to create connections and memories. Without worrying about being embarrassed by piles of clutter or mess!

How to bring more minimalism and Hygge into your home

When you’re creating a minimalist, Hygge home, focus on creating a space you love that you enjoy spending time in and are happy to welcome others into.

When you put a minimalist spin on bringing more Hygge into your home and life, it becomes less about what “stuff” you need to add, and more about creating ambiance and a space you can enjoy. It becomes about creating a home you love that you can fill with happiness, memories and special everyday moments, not “stuff”.

The first step of adding more minimalism and Hygge into your home is clearing the clutter.

Clutter is distracting and overwhelming. Instead of feeling relaxed, cozy and comfortable in your space, too much clutter leaves you feeling stressed, overstimulated and unable to relax. Get rid of the clutter and distractions, only leave the things you love, make you happy or are useful.

And remember, less is more when adding coziness to your space while still keeping it simple. It’s ok to keep things that add cozy elements to your spaces. Just remember to keep it simple to avoid adding unnecessary clutter.

Keep it to only what you use or love. Having fewer things, but things you really love or use often makes the difference between a cozy space you love and a cluttered space that stresses you out.

Here are some simple examples of how to add more Hygge into your home while still keeping it simple:

  • Clear the decorative clutter from your home. Decorate with meaningful items that make you happy and personalize your home instead.
  • Remove distractions and clutter from your spaces so you can focus on being present with the people you’re with and the activities you’re doing.
  • Connect and spend time with the people you love. Play games, cuddle up, read, enjoy a cup of tea or a glass of wine together and really be present.
  • Dim the lights and light a candle. Candlelight is a great way to add ambiance and create a cozy atmosphere in your home. Keep it clutter-free by not getting carried away with the number of candles you have. And use them up before buying more. Another great tip is to add layers of light. Use lamps, candles, twinkle lights, etc. to create different layers and intensities of light.
  • Create an atmosphere of relaxation. Play some soft music you love, pour a cup of tea or glass of wine, turn off your phone and be present!
  • Mindfully prepare a meal, then sit down and take the time to enjoy it. Sharing it with family and friends is a great way to add even more Hygge!

All of these things are a lot easier to do when you declutter and simplify your home first. You create more time and space in your home and your life when you’re not busy managing all the “stuff” and clutter in your home. Instead, minimalism gives you time and space to appreciate these simple Hygge moments.

Minimalism and Hygge: how to get cozy without the clutter
Photo by Alisa Anton on Unsplash

Minimalism and Hygge – a wonderful pair for an intentional life

There are many clutter-free ways to add more Hygge into your home and life. Embracing minimalism and Hygge definitely don’t have to contradict each other. In fact, they both are tools you can use to live a life filled with contentment, gratitude and intention. Minimalism and Hygge make it easier to begin appreciating and being present for the simple moments of life.

Finding ways to bring more minimalism and Hygge into your life allow you to focus on what matters most to you and appreciate the little things in life. Because as we often learn, the sweet, simple moments of life are often the ones we remember and value the most in the big picture of our lives.

Have you found ways to add more Hygge to your home and life as you work towards simplifying and embracing minimalism? Have you noticed connections between minimalism and Hygge?

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  1. You wrote, “I don’t go out of my way to create a home that feels Hygge. Instead, I purposely fill our home with only the things we love or use. This allows me to create a space where we feel happy and able to be fully present in. We aren’t distracted by piles of clutter or unnecessary objects. ”

    I agree. I believe that if you “puposefully” seek out items for areas to produce Hygge, then the natural process is hindered. One could put too much “stuff” trying to focus on hygge, and therefore diminish the comfort of the area, therefore causing it to become “cluttered”. Hygge is a natural beautiful wonderful feeling that surrounds you in Peace and Joy! You cannot go out and “buy” it. It is like the feeling you had when you saw one of the sunsets that you still remember, and how you basked in delight at the pure beauty of it all. Or perhaps if you are a yarn lover, it’s what you experienced when you saw and touched a deep rich colored beautiful soft yarn….Remember?

    I feel that the key to Minimalism and Hygge is to have what is loved, and relish the experiences of special moments of Hygge.

    Simply Wonderful!

    1. Wonderfully said, Cynthia! I couldn’t agree more. I love the examples you gave of the sunsets and the yarn. Those are perfect examples of lovely Hygge moments and the feelings that go with them. Thanks for reading and sharing your insights!

  2. I do NOT want to see political ads here. Will unsubscribe if they continue. Referring to Conservative Buzz re: Trump and the Media.

    1. I’m sorry to hear there was an ad you weren’t happy with. I do my best to keep my ads set to not show any political ads – but clearly one snuck through. My ads are delivered through an ad network that delivers user-specific ads based on a complicated computer program. I do not choose the specific ads you see, rather each reader sees unique ads based on their browsing history. As with any computer program, it’s good, but not always perfect. Clearly, it showed you an ad you are not interested in seeing, and I apologize for that. I am working on my end to ensure my ad settings are set to avoid ad content of a political nature. In the future, if you ever see an ad in my posts you do not want to see, there is always an option to report the ad under each ad. This is another way to help refine the process and the ads shown to you. Thanks for letting me know, I’ll do what I can on my end to fix the problem and hopefully, you will still be able to enjoy the post.

  3. I absolutely love this! I have never heard of Hygge but I love the concept. I’ve always been the type of person who values being in the present time with the people I’m with. I didn’t realize that clutter prevents Hygge and coziness, But now that you say that, I completely agree! My hubby and I have been de-cluttering recently because we just couldn’t take so much stuff anymore. And I have to say that by doing so, our home is a lot more cozier, restful, and we can enjoy it WAY more!

    What a great post, I’ll have to share it with my followers!

    Many blessings,

    1. Thank you, Caitlin! I’m so happy you enjoyed the post and could learn more about Hygge. I totally agree with you – I find the more I declutter, the cozier and more inviting my home feels. Good for you for working so hard to declutter, that’s awesome! Thank you for reading and sharing, and I hope you enjoy your decluttered, cozy space!

  4. I completely agree with you! Never thought that minimalism is cold, we can surround ourselves with things we love and that make us feel good. It is not about things, but about how they make us feel. And if we have too many, then they just go into a pile where things we actually love get buried. xo Zuma

    1. YES!!! I absolutely agree, Zuma! If we have too much we can’t use or appreciate the special things that really matter to us. I love your description of minimalism too (and totally agree with it), keep what we love and get rid of the rest! Thanks for reading and sharing your insights!

  5. Hello Melissa,

    Really enjoyed reading this article. I’ve only heard abour hygge recently. Sounds like something I would be interested in while aiming for a simpler and more intentional lifestyle. Thanks for sharing.


  6. I really enjoyed reading this, and I agree with what you said. It’s definitely complementary because the core message is the same. Looking forward to more cozy evenings! 🙂

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