10 Scandinavian Secrets to Turn Your Home Into a Place of Dreams
The Scandinavian way of living is attracting more and more attention. We want to have a minimal number of unnecessary things at home, properly organize the space, and not rush anywhere. This lifestyle of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden is also accompanied by a special approach to cleaning and cleanliness in the house. Studies have shown that the home environment directly affects a person’s mood: for example, a cluttered interior can cause stress.
Combining cleaning and other chores
In order to avoid many hours of general cleaning, it’s worth gradually cleaning the space over a period of several days. You can organize by doing something more enjoyable at the same time. For example:
- If you move from one room to another, collect and remove everything that is out of place on the way;
- While you wait for the kettle to boil, wipe the kitchen surfaces;
- While you watch a TV series, you can iron the linen;
- Wipe off dust, unload the dishwasher, or fold clothes while talking on the phone.
To make all this a habit, you can buy a special cleaning mitten. And after a while, you won’t notice that cleaning accompanies your other chores.
Cleaning in summer more often than in winter
As you know, there is not much sunlight during Scandinavian winters, unlike the summer period. In the warm season, Norwegian, Danish, and Swedish houses are full of light almost around the clock. Rebecca Thandi Norman, the co-founder of a Scandinavian lifestyle portal, notes that she cleans in summer more often because the sunlight makes dusty areas more visible.
No wall-to-wall carpets
Niki Brantmark, the author of Lagom: The Swedish Art of Living a Balanced, Happy Life, says that wall-to-wall carpet is a big no-go. According to Niki, this type of carpeting is very unhygienic. So, Scandinavians opt for wood floors that they cover with rugs selectively since those can be shaken outside and washed in a washing machine.
Planning storage places in advance
In most Scandinavian apartments (except for those that were recently built), there is almost no built-in storage, like closets, cupboards, or shelves. However, Scandinavians are prone to minimalistic solutions and try to plan storage places in advance. This way, they have fewer surfaces that can accumulate dirt and dust.
Bringing pillows outside
Many of us can probably remember the way our grandmothers often took blankets and pillows outside. We are not used to this in modern conditions, but the Scandinavians actively practice this approach. They not only remove dust from the furniture but they also send all the small cushions and pillows into the fresh air to let them dry in the sun and make all foul smells disappear. After that, the pillows are cleaned again with a vacuum cleaner.
Sorting things out by thinking about the future
Margareta Magnusson, the author of the new book, The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Make Your Loved Ones’ Lives Easier and Your Own Life More Pleasant, recommends that you ask yourself, “Who do you think will take care of all that when you are no longer here?” when you visit your storage areas and start pulling out what’s there.
“Life will become more pleasant and comfortable if you get rid of some of the abundance. Mess is an unnecessary source of irritation. Death cleaning is not about dusting or mopping up — it’s about a permanent form of organization that makes your everyday life run more smoothly,” says Magnusson. It is actually pleasurable to go through things and remember their worth.
Minimal usage of cleaning agents
If you only clean every few weeks, you’ll need various cleaning agents to get rid of all the accumulated dirt and dust. However, the Scandinavians are accustomed to cleaning up their houses gradually and they try to avoid situations where a room gets really dirty. This way, cleaning agents are not necessary, just a damp and dry microfiber cloth is enough. They use additional cleaning agents only when it’s necessary, like when they need to clean the oven or scrub the floor.
Using white items in your interior
As a rule, white is not the most popular color when it comes to towels and rugs. Many people refuse to buy items in this color because they get dirty fast. But in reality, dark items get dirty just as quickly, it’s just that the dirt is not visible on them as much. Scandinavian style is characterized by a large number of white items: towels, carpets, and bed linens. Residents of these countries prefer to see stains and wash them immediately, instead of using multi-colored towels. And to keep the white color white for longer, they wash items at 140°F with a preliminary wash and rinse.
Using soap as a wood finish
The Scandinavian interior is characterized by the wide usage of wood furniture. Furniture made of beech, ash, pine, and birch is the most popular. To make the wood look good, a special solution is used, thanks to which the surface of the furniture becomes softer. With this method, the furniture is covered with a soapy film, it doesn’t protect the surface as much as varnish or oil, however, it encourages you to treat your furniture items more carefully.
Not spending too much time making your bedroom look tidy
The Scandinavians find comfort and coziness in imperfection. Many people are accustomed to ironing sheets and pillowcases, making their bed every day, and laying out the pillows in a certain order. For people from Norway, Denmark, and Sweden, this is too much, because they prefer wrinkled linens and randomly scattered pillows. That is why making their bed after they wake up takes just a few minutes.
Bonus: refreshing the interior every season
Although neutral shades prevail in most Scandinavian homes, homeowners love to add bright accents like figurines, pillowcases, flowers, tablecloths, works of art, etc. to their interior. At the same time, the Scandinavians don’t stick to the same interior for long. During cleaning, they can easily replace any detail following their mood, or the season.
Which of these Scandinavian cleaning secrets would you adopt? Tell us in the comments below.