home self-care Wellness

Hygge vs. Minimalism – Can They Exist Together?

May 5, 2017

If you missed my latest April Favorites videos, you can watch episode #1 HERE and episode #2 below! Hope you enjoy xo


Two years ago I decided to start a Capsule Wardrobe. I was inspired by Caroline’s journey over on Un-Fancy and wanted to try it out for myself. I picked a number (I believe mine was around 45?) and set out my clothing for the season. My decision behind it wasn’t because I wanted to limit my shopping (I’m not a big shopper), but more because I genuinely hated picking out my outfit every day. The peak of my fashion skills was high school…when I wore a uniform everyday.

I so appreciated the ease of not having to worry about what to wear because my options were so limited. It also made me think twice about buying something so I found myself focusing more on the quality of clothing and just shopping in general rather than on what was cheapest or how to maximize my dollar.

I did a few seasons of capsuling (I’m making that a thing), but eventually my eagerness started to fade. I found myself dipping into the back of my closet to reach for something from another season or going shopping simply because I was so bored of what I owned already.

I once again learned the all important lesson that my personality does not vibe well with rules…will I ever learn?!

Today on The Healthy Maven we're exploring the concepts of Hygge vs. Minimalism and the question of "can they exist together"?I found myself craving more variety, wanting to express myself in more ways than my black turtleneck could handle. I also wanted my cozy christmas socks in the middle of summer and the choice of every lipstick under the sun!

I wanted comfort and joy in the stuff I owned. I wanted Hygge.

For those of you unfamiliar, Hygge is a Danish term meaning nice, cozy, safe and comforting. It’s a psychological state, but certain objects or possessions can bring the feeling on. Think, that cozy sweater or your favorite candle.

So here I am struggling between wanting less and wanting more. So how did I resolve the two? I moved.

Moving is like the ultimate purge. And moving across a continent will really make you think about the stuff you own and whether or not it brings you joy. What we brought had to be worth it and things we truly valued.

We got rid of a lot. More than I expected we would, but it was so refreshing to not feel like we were so burdened by stuff. At the same time, we kept quite a bit too. Things like my cookbook collection or my excessive number of essential oils. Sure, I don’t need all of them to function, but I enjoy having them in my home.

It’s something I’m torn about, because as a society I do think we consume way too much, myself included. I’m not going to pretend like I don’t get a little rush when I order a new cookbook or my next ASOS shipment arrives. But I also know the anxiety of feeling like your home is too cluttered. When our apartment is clean I feel SO much better and I honestly think I’m more productive.

I’m learning that it’s okay to NOT be a minimalist, even if it’s being touted as “the next new thing”. Do I think it works for some people? Absolutely. But I am not one of those people.

I think purging is necessary and we definitely shouldn’t let our “stuff” define us. When you buy something, donate something else. But more than anything, be conscious when you do purchase something about whether it is bringing you joy in that moment and if you think that joy will extend beyond the rush of buying it.

At the same time, collect things that offer value to your life or that you can turn to when you’re in need of some comfort. Fill your home with things that make you smile or invoke those feelings of hygge.

You don’t need things to feel good, but you also don’t need a blank canvas to feel good either.

The happy place lives somewhere in between.


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  • Reply
    Stella @ Stellicious Life
    May 18, 2017 at 6:29 am

    Loved how your post made me think things through. Genetically I’m predisposed to hoarding: my great-grandfather, my grandma and my dad are all collectors and it’s gotten to a point that I realized that if I didn’t want to go down that road I had to make a conscious effort most of the time in order not to have us drown in stuff. For the past months I’ve been feeling overwhelmed and cluttered by all the stuff in our apartment, thankfully we’ll be moving in a few months and I’m definitely planning on purging. We’ve already decided with Boyfriend to go through all our clothes and shoes and donate whatever we don’t need or don’t wear anymore. Until now I’ve always put aside things that could come in handy later, but seeing how even after years I haven’t used or worn them, it’s time to give them away.

    I feel you when you say that a cluttery, overstuffed apartment stresses you out, I’ve been there. And now I can’t wait to start quasi fresh in our new apartment 🙂

    • Reply
      Davida @ The Healthy Maven
      May 23, 2017 at 7:24 pm

      Moving is honestly a blessing in disguise! We got rid of a lot when we moved and I feel so good about it. I thought I’d be more upset but I’m really not!

  • Reply
    Jen @ Chase the Red Grape
    May 7, 2017 at 10:36 pm

    For me, hygge is being more minimal. I actually find my ultimate comfort in being surrounded by minimal belongings. Being minimalist, I don’t think, is defined by not enjoying or getting comfort from your belongings, more that you hone down your belongings to having only what you need in your life.
    I love embracing the hygge in my life and feel that living life without complexity is the key. When all your belongings truly evoke great emotion and give you that ‘glow’, that’s hygge to me. 🙂

  • Reply
    May 7, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    I so appreciate your insightful commentary on this topic, Davida! And your constant willingness to reevaluate what’s no longer serving you. That’s never easy but especially not when you are doing so publicly!

    I read this article last week, in which the author offers a different perspective but comes to a similar conclusion: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/29/style/when-the-gospel-of-minimalism-collides-with-daily-life.html.

  • Reply
    Krystal // The Krystal Diaries
    May 5, 2017 at 10:30 am

    I’m somewhere in the middle. I read Marie Kondo’s book and really learned a lot from it. I’ve never been much into clutter but I did hold on to some items that I never used or had any purpose for. I’ve slowly been going through my house room by room (I know, against how Kondo suggest we should do it) and I’ve been purging and reorganizing. I’m not a total minimalist as I love my collection of coffee mugs and shoes but I have realized I don’t need to own so many bags since I rarely ever switch my bags around.

  • Reply
    dixya @food, pleasure, and health
    May 5, 2017 at 10:23 am

    i m torn between these two as well. for me personally, i want to be minimal when it comes to paper or random crap around the house but im totally hygge when it is about kitchen + living room. i want those areas to bring me joy & comfort instead of feeling deprived in order to become minimal. my anxiety is so much better when things are clean and organized. i have been listening to the minimalist podcast and really appreciate when they talk about how its a lifestyle thats different for everyone.

  • Reply
    Alicia @Bridges Through Life
    May 5, 2017 at 9:59 am

    Great thoughts. At the moment I am leaning towards minimalism. After backpacking for 4 months I really realized how little I needed. I am also moving into a bedroom in my fiance’s family house so I can’t have as many things. I have held onto so much from my childhood but finally letting go of more as the boxes are just a pain to move every year. It is somewhat freeing to let go and start fresh.

  • Reply
    Juliette @ Namastay Traveling
    May 5, 2017 at 8:02 am

    This is a great balance to talk about. After reading Kon Mari’s book, I was obsessed with cleaning and purging everything I owned. But then, I became afraid to buy anything at all, even things I absolutely loved. I’m working on a balance now to keep things around that bring me joy and feel cozy and welcoming, while not overdoing it with *crap*. Great thoughts!

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