What do we kiwis know about Lagom?  Is it a way of life that we could adopt to create a better place to live?  New Zealanders will argue that we are the greenest country on the planet, but perhaps that is only because we are such a young country with more space than population.  At-the-moment!

While sitting in early morning traffic in Albany, on Aucklands North Shore I took a really good look at the construction going on around me; Apartments and Town Houses filling all the empty spaces, little boxes with no sun able to reach their windows, no space for a lawn, little off street parking, multiple bedrooms filling tiny foot-prints.  There is very little thought put into the aesthetics and how the buildings sit in the environment.  I have to wonder (I have time, Auckland may be growing but its roads are not and traffic jams are now the norm) who will live in these homes.  They are not affordable to the first home buyers, they are in fact very un-affordable for the families that most need houses according to our housing crisis statistics.  What sort of lifestyle will the inhabitants lead in these tiny homes, with no sun and no garden?

Am I sitting in my home with my big lawn, my open plan spaces, my water view casting judgement on those who do not have what I have?  Perhaps I am, or perhaps I feel for how the city has changed and how that affects the lives of those who inhabit it.  I wonder what the children will do with no grass to play upon, no sunshine to lift their spirits and no space to breathe.

Lagom is Swedish, it means simply ‘in moderation’.  It means to take stock of what you have, buy what you need and buy it well.  Enjoy the process of all aspects of your life from tending the garden, to cooking a meal to cleaning your home.  The possessions you collect should be meaningful, of quality and add value to your lives.  William Morris, a Designer and Socialist who incidentally was not Swedish, said “have nothing in your home you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful… the true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life.”

And so my point?  How can we be sustainable, how can we moderate, how can we teach our children about simple pleasures of gardening and home making when the homes are now designed to keep people out of them?

How to live Lagom

How to live Lagom

You can read about my thoughts about Lagom in the latest issue of M2 Woman Magazine.

Photography and Styling by My Little House.

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