• 05/08

    My smart, witty and ride-or-die (not so little) daughter Emma is turning 11 this July. She’s been brought up in a minimalist home since forever – even though she could argue it was she who taught me to be a minimalist even before she was born... and she’d be right. You see, contrary to the popular belief that babies are a handful and need a million things for their well-being, something in my mommy brain made me believe babies needed only the bare necessities to be safe, to feel loved and to grow up happy – and in my own particular situation, I was right.

    So much is told to women while they’re pregnant – not only by their doctors but by society in general (about the well-being of our children). We’re told that we need 1-1000 gadgets to feed, comfort, teach and entertain our babies and they do that by playing on our worries and our vulnerabilities. That’s how we end up with these tractor-like strollers, blaring "educational" toys, rockers, bottles... all tucked away in our basements – and as our children continue to grow, we continue to be pressured into buying the next fad that we think will make our lives easier and our little ones happier.

    The reality is that babies and kids, in general, need less than we think to grow up healthily and happily. I’m not saying that all they need is dry nappies and full tummies but however long our lists are, the reality is they probably need only a small percentage of that to be all they're meant to be.

    It is true what they say... that once you become a mother, you will never (and I mean never) know a life without worries. And it didn’t take me long to realize how the system manipulates women into becoming consumers by using that innate potential for worry to their advantage. Sadly, over-buying things that our kids don’t really need is like having a headache and taking a (placebo) pill to make it better. While we might get the sense that the problem is gone, it will continue to be there until we address it.

    Mothering as a minimalist gives us the power to raise kids that are mindful, healthy and that don’t suffer the pressures to keep up with oftentimes unattainable lifestyles. It creates little humans that feel a sense of responsibility and empathy towards others; and that has been the case with my daughter. Ever since she was little, she’s never had an issue hearing the word "no" when wanting a toy and not getting it. She’s detached from material things and takes care of what she has so when it comes time to give things away, she can give them away in the best shape possible. She cures her boredom with creativity and she doesn’t feel the pressure to get the next cool toy or wear the next line of clothes.

    So you might be asking yourself how you might mother as a minimalist too... and here are the basics of what you need to know:

    Care for your own mental and physical health first
    Even the littlest thing is capable of getting to us when we are not taking care of ourselves. We become more reactive and less rational when we don’t put our needs first; when we don’t feed our bodies and our souls the way we need.

    Connect with your kids
    There is nothing that children crave (or need for that matter) more than connection. Play with your kids, have conversations, ask questions, reply to theirs and truly spend time together away from phones, televisions and distractions.

    Do not purchase things for your kids by reasoning that either you want to give them all you never had or all you did have
    Emotion-driven purchases will always pile up. Forget about that toy you always wanted and never had. I can assure you the lack of or the abundance of something didn’t create your character and it won’t create your kid’s character either.

    Have conversations before you say "yes"
    Ask your kids why they want that toy or that one specific brand of glue to make slime (real-life scenario for me) and use that to teach them how advertising works. Use technology to your advantage and research the difference between the product that advertisements are telling them they need and other equally-as-good brands that might be cheaper (and in the end even better for our planet). We should all be making informed purchases in the end.

    Teach your kids to detach emotions from things
    Don’t encourage your kids to want material things to fill voids. They should feel happy, entertained, cool, interesting and more, regardless of having that one object or not.

    Use the "one in, one out" technique with them
    If buying something they want fits your life, your home and your budget ask your kids to get rid of one thing before you bring a new one into the house. If they are not able to let go, then maybe it isn’t time to continue to purchase things that will simply accumulate in your home.

    Teach them to save
    Instead of whipping out your credit card when your kids ask you for something, check out the price, have that conversation and offer your kids a part of the money to buy it. Explain that the other part can be paid for using their savings. This is not only to teach them the value of money but it also stops them from wanting everything and it makes them stop to consider their own desires.

    Prioritize experiences and knowledge
    Saying "no" to the unnecessary will open room to invest in things that will have a lifelong impact in their lives. Maybe you can trade the next Transformers for a nice theater play, an art course, Jiu-Jitsu lessons or something that will give them know-how and the comfort of time spent in a group of other children that share their same interests.

    Do not buy good behavior and do not punish bad behavior with material things
    Kids should be obedient, studious and kind simply because it’s good for them – not because they’ll get something out of it or they are scared that something will be taken away from them. Rewarding your kid’s common good behavior with things creates entitlement and that will be detrimental to how they grow up. Use your words to encourage them and teach them, not things.

    Spend moments in gratitude
    Everyone can overlook how lucky we are when we are on auto pilot. Have daily, weekly or even a moment once in a while in which you and your kids spend a moment to express gratitude for the things you have. Gratitude helps us to not take things for granted and to value what we have. It makes us happy and allows us to also be perceptive of the needs of others. This is a gift you could be giving your children, one that will change their lives forever.

    Living with less leads to a fuller life, no matter your status or age - minimalism can have a positive effect on your well-being and that of your family; it allows you to not feel like you are falling short all the time, it reminds you how to live, it gives you the freedom of "slowness", it allows you to truly delve into unforgettable moments of play and it inevitably and indefinitely takes a burden off your shoulders.

    Wherever you are at in your life and whatever your finances look like right now, give "less" a chance. That’s my proposal (and my challenge) to you.

    ph. cover: caroline birk other: sanne hop
  • 04/05

    I was reading a couple of articles lately and I came across one that explained in 10 points why this person believed minimalism to be toxic. The arguments ranged from things like, "It hurts your potential and ambition."... to, “It deprives you of buying what you want”. I read the entire thing waiting for it to teach me something but it was one big nothing burger.

    I find it increasingly difficult to believe that in 2019 there are still boxes to neatly package and categorize absolutely everything in life. The black-and-white minimalist still throws shade at the minimalist who doesn't find color to be indicative of whether or not they live a true minimalist lifestyle. Yes, I find it somewhat icky that we have to make everything so all-or-nothing.

    Minimalism has abolished the ball and chain of having to strive to acquire the unnecessary. It’s given freedom to people who wouldn’t dare travel because they couldn’t leave their “stuff” behind... and it has given more meaning to yet others who where constantly trying to climb the never-ending Jacob's ladder to reach the Joneses.

    I feel many of us don’t understand the power that the philosophy of minimalism has in how we purchase, how we spend our time and how we work towards our future – and that of our children. No, I don’t believe minimalism is toxic. I *do* however believe that our *lives* have become so toxic that the notion of pairing down, letting go and not constantly hoarding makes us feel like living a minimalistic life could even harm us instead of benefiting us.

    Minimalism takes on various shapes and forms. For some it is stoic and it keeps them in check... while for others it is freedom. No matter what the arguments are, the principles of minimalism are there to free people – not hold them down. It has done exactly that for me in times of plenty and in times of little.

    Ph. Cover 01. 02. 03. 04. 05. 06.
  • 02/19

    Menu Table Lamp
    Eave 3-seater Sofa
    Bella Coffee Lamp
    Ceramic Pitcher
    Side Chair
    Norm Architects have restored and rebuilt a historic villa in Copenhagen after a devastating fire. The story goes that the house used to be inhabited by the renowned Danish architect, designer and cultural critic, Poul Henningsen. Today, a family of three resides in the historic house–a modern home that holds references to its original state–with beautiful high panels, parquet flooring, low, paned windows, teak furniture and–of course–retro PH lamps hanging over the kitchen island.
  • 01/22

    Sundling Kicken

    I've been noticing an increasing wave of negative comments surrounding Minimalism–and while I wish that wasn't the case, I have to admit I completely understand where people are coming from in regards to the preachy types and the black and whiteness of it all. It is indeed quite puzzling how people can complicate something that’s meant to simplify our lives.

    The saddest part is that minimalism and mindfulness can be immensely beneficial to everyone's life... but if we complicate the mere act of becoming a minimalist we lose sight of the simplicity of it all.

    It is counterintuitive to encourage people to "let go" and then serve them with 101 "must do's", don't you think? Well, it shouldn't be made complicated. In fact, minimalism as I see it, should fit into your life and not you into minimalism. This is not a cult, it's a lifestyle–one that can change our lives completely and make our lives lighter and freer; so the only principle that we should never let go of is this:

    Minimalism results from mindfulness.

    That means that only you can determine what is right or wrong for you, what the essentials for your particular life are and what you truly need to let go of. Everything else is just a fad.

  • 10/04

    Ragnar Ómarsson

    Let’s all be honest—we love acquiring things . . . Whether buying gives us a sense of power, comfort, practicality or false joy. We all have reasons why to constantly buy things—but how much is enough and how much do we really need... and have you ever thought about why you need one thing or another?

    Being mindful about everything material around us helps us develop a character that is more understanding, simpler and richer. It stirs up in us a power that not many of us practice. It makes us less reactive and more intentional about the things we purchase—and it significantly and gradually makes us pull away from desiring the material in the search for happiness—which means it brings us true happiness instead.

    Buddhists believe that gratefulness should be a habit and that we should cultivate it independent of conditions or circumstances.

    How many of the things you acquire or already own do you take for granted? How many trinkets are you stacking in your drawers? How much of what you have is truly relevant to your life and your well-being? And are you aware of those things? Are you truly satisfied with what you have? Do you have enough to be grateful?

    Minimalism, mindfulness and gratitude are intertwined. It is impossible to live a life with the essentials without being fully aware of what those things bring into our lives; therefore it is also impossible not to be grateful for those things.

    To cultivate gratitude, we need to be mindful and aware first of what we already have; denying ourselves of the pleasure of practicing gratefulness makes us to constantly want more . . . to worry. To always think we need more, to never desire deeper, more meaningful things, like peacefulness—and that is no way to live.

    The power that comes from mindfulness is gratefulness—and the benefits of gratefulness are endless. It starts by getting us out of our heads. It helps us look at humanity as number one and not selfishly to ourselves. It connects us to our passions with more intent, it fills us with happiness, it grounds us, it makes our minds and hearts lighter. In a nutshell, it makes us happily content.

    How much of what you own are you truly grateful for?

  • 08/18

    Photography © Republic of Fritz Hansen

    People who are real passionate about something sometimes have a hard time agreeing—which is often the case with minimalists. There are those that see it as something structured and dictatorial—as if it could only exist one way: You are either in the black-and-white emptiness or you are merely a so-called minimalist.

    I see it as oblivious to rules as we are as people ourselves. Minimalism lacks rules but it doesn't lack principles. These principles are there to help us make the best of our lives... and I am happy to see people experiment with these preconceived notions on every level of the creative spectrum.

    Powerful design studios who base their views on minimalistic principles (such as the power of investment over spending) are bringing to the fore new collections of products for those, who like myself, miss the warmth, the craftsmanship and the stories behind beautifully built products that reflect the genuine humanity of those who make them.

    Republic of Fritz Hansen is one of those, changing the "shake and bake" recipes for a warmer and more inclusive approach—and I for one celebrate what this new wave of minimalism is shaping up to be.

    What are your thoughts?
  • 08/03

    Photography © Matilda Hildingsson

    Home is one of those words that brings us instant comfort when we think of it. We learn the value of home in different ways starting from our earliest memories ... when we had a bad day at school but had a safe place to come back to... when we became insufferable door-slamming teens... and then a little further along the road when we bring our babies home for the first time from the hospital.

    It's incredible how concrete, water and wood can become a place that gives us a sense of who we are and where we belong. I still remember the home I grew up in. It holds the same value for me as has every place I've lived in—no matter the distance, the country or the size of the roof.

    As minimalists, our spaces teach us valuable truths: A few square meters are enough space for us and our dreams. Living with less is the best way to live freely and clutter-free. Comfort is not found in a cluster of cushions, comforters and scented candles—but rather in making that home truly ours. There's no price to the peace found in one's home but instead we learn that no material things can match the almost spiritual feeling of being at home and the sacredness of a home well loved. A home might be ever changing, it might not be bricks and stones. It might be found in a group of friends, in hugging our little ones tight, in the memories we keep that warm our hearts.

    To me, my minimalist home is made of the stories my little E and I have built in it. It's made of our daily battles, of the lessons we've learned in it. In the chattering of friends who visit and the afternoons lying in my balcony hammock thinking of life, feeling grateful or sometimes even defeated, yet at home.

    The sense of a home grows fonder as we become less attached to the material. It pulls us closer to feelings, it warms our houses and turns them into homes.

    Home can be wherever you want it to be. It's about presence and not property. A home can be full while having only what you truly need in it.
  • 09/30

    Photography © Aritzia with Thanks! Talking about minimalism and cutting down on acquiring things is becoming more and more polemical... but it doesn't compare to what I’m about to do now: meddling with your wardrobes.

    It’s a reality that people spend the most of their free income on fashion – and even when we value the power of those purchases that much, there’s still a universal, lingering feeling that there’s not enough clothes in one’s closet.

    The common belief in any circle, no matter your social background, is that the more clothes we have, the better we dress – and that just isn’t true. Decision making is more difficult when we are swamped with useless options. Have you ever notice that the more clothes a person has the harder it is for that person to find the bulk of it enough?

    People create the biggest resistance to living a Minimalistic life when it comes to the point of pairing down their wardrobes - and that is because there’s still the misconception that Minimalists are people with martyr complexes that only wear black or white and have 5 pieces of clothing hanging from a rack.

    The truth is that it’s not about cutting down and wearing uniforms every day of the week. It’s not even about not having much – it’s about owning enough, it’s about quality over quantity and about not putting the value of your self-image in clothes.

    I will admit when I started cutting down on my purchases I was more an idealist than a practitioner of the art of minimalism. I wanted to make my life easier and I wanted to be able to, in the first place, not want to desire buying clothes as deeply as I did – and instead invest that money in something of higher value.

    What I eventually learned was that I was not only throwing money into purchases... but I was also letting go of the beauty of a simple, well-curated life – one with less decisions and more freedom.

    Instead of owning 14 white shirts we could own 2 really quality ones... but that's easier said than done.

    The truth is that minimalism looks different for everybody. Your life is not the same as mine. I not only work at home but I get ready for my afternoon gym session in the morning because it conditions me to actually work out instead of losing myself in my work, meaning: I live in gym clothes 5 days a week (which I love by the way).

    Your situation might look very different, yet there are some principles than can help everyone when it comes to curating a minimalist wardrobe:

    01. Clarify what’s most important for you. Is it quality or is it quantity?
    02. Start easy by removing all eyesores from your closet. If there's anything there that resembles a rag (been there, done that) it's got to go!
    03. Do not break the bank when shopping by getting four kind-of-good pieces when you can get one quality piece and take good care of it.
    04. Divide your closet into two sections: Clothes you wear often and clothes you wear rarely. This exercise is very telling of our habits. We usually wear only 20% of the clothes we own... which makes it easier to let go.
    05. Get comfortable with waiting. Instead of pulling the trigger on a purchase, sit on it for a while. It’s not your life’s mission to take advantage of a sale nor is it crucial for your image to buy something that you don’t absolutely need.

    The beauty of knowing what to acquire when is that it makes us understand that we are the ones who wear our clothes, not them who wear us.

    How do you curate your wardrobe?
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