January 2016


Several months ago I received a newsletter from IKEA Family. In the newsletter they were promoting a programme called #LiveLAGOM. They were inviting IKEA Family members to apply to become a #LiveLAGOM Ambassador. If chosen, we would receive £500 of IKEA products designed to improve our family’s sustainability and eco-friendly footprint. But it wasn’t just about receiving “free” IKEA products, it was about making a difference in your family and thus making a difference in the world. And guess what? We got chosen!


The Swedish word “LAGOM” comes from the phrase “lagom är bäst” which means “Not too little. Not too much. Just right.” Well, I’m sure that’s more of an implied meaning and I very much hope I haven’t offended Swedish readers by simplifying the meaning of “lagom är bäst”. Essentially, the concept is to have the right balance of everything in your family life including being more sustainable, eco-aware and environmentally friendly. In order to achieve successful change, you shouldn’t have to make Earth shattering changes to the way you live. Just the right amount will ensure that your changes are sustainable too. I like this philosophy very much.

Our goals for the #LiveLAGOM project are very simple and achievable, we believe!

  • L…Less Waste
  • A…Awareness
  • G…Get Warmer
  • O…Organise
  • M…Meal Planning

L…Less Waste- Thankfully our county (Cambridgeshire) has a very thorough recycling and waste management programme. We actually have it quite easy with 4 bins: 1 for household waste, 1 for recycling (no separating anything out), 1 for yard waste and 1 small bin for food waste. The food waste bin appeared just over a year ago. We have a small-ish bin for outside collection and a small counter top bin for to add food waste and scraps from the kitchen. When this was introduced through the waste programme, it made a MASSIVE difference in the amount of household waste that went into the bin every week . I am quite proud to scrape our food scraps into this bin on a daily basis! However, my goal for our family is to waste less by cutting down on how much goes into those much needed bins. In particular, this is most necessary for our food waste. I have not always been a savvy shopper and have frequently wasted veg (this is where I am the worst) by simply not using it in time. I have also been known to buy a product with the intention of using it but as my motivation for cooking dwindled throughout the week, the incentive to use that ingredient lessened. I have also been guilty of buying meat and not using it in time because, again, my recipe inspiration had evaporated. I cannot be so stupid and wasteful anymore! Less waste, more sense.

A…Awareness- We are very guilty of leaving lights on in the house when it’s not needed. We are guilty of letting a tap run too long. We are guilty of not making an effort sometimes when it comes to recycling or donating unused items. NOW, the lights, which now house LED bulbs, are going off; sockets are being turned off; the thermostat is staying around 18-19°C; we’re using extra layers versus wasting heat. I find that my brain is more switched on as a result of switching off things we don’t need. We are installing a new kitchen tap which will aid us with water saving as well. Thanks to the Hugh Fearnsley-Whittingstall #wastenot campaign and Marie Kondo’s method of tidying, instead of lazily binning the 6 bags of disused clothing, shoes and bags in my major New Year’s clear-out, I donated those 6 bin bags to charity instead of increasing the size of our area landfill. That felt good.

G…Get Warmer- Our house is a 1970’s-era semi-detached delight. Thankfully we do have double glazing and loft insulation but we’re still attempting to get cavity wall insulation and one by one, our double-glazed doors and windows are losing their effectiveness. One of our windows in the stairwell actually has a light breeze coming through it when the wind begins to swirl. Brrrr. The back wall of our lounge is filled with patio doors and a medium sized window. We very much appreciate the light it give us but it’s blooming cold! Thanks to #LiveLAGOM, we now have Marjun-lined curtains for the patio doors and Hoppvals-cellular blinds for the back wall window and the stairwell window. Our lounge floor is now graced with Mölby, a beautiful, high-pile rug which feels so warm and snuggly underfoot when we sit in the lounge. As the Winter temperatures continue to drop we are definitely feeling the difference a few extra layers make in keeping the warmth in and the cold out.

O…Organise- I’ve taken a big step this year in getting rid of (in a responsible and charity-minded way!) of unnecessary clutter and junk. Again, the KonMari method helped me to only keep the items that were bringing us joy and function. Our kitchen became far easier to work with when I eliminated the items that hadn’t been used in several years. And who needs 8 sets of measuring spoons anyway? Organising our refrigerator was a huge accomplishment and one that I was really proud of. Now, the only things resting in our fridge are the things we are going to need in the very immediate future. What a difference that makes! Our new way of organising has led us to our last #LiveLAGOM item…

M…Meal Planning- I have always resisted meal planning. My husband shudders at the idea of being too planned with our life. I’m not sure why this is but it’s how he is. However, leaving dinner choices up in the air meant that I wasn’t making the most nutritious choices and often meant that dinner was something thrown together at the last minute. I have begun planning out our lunch and dinner meals before heading for the supermarket so that then I am only buying exactly what we need. I also know, at the beginning of each day, what we’re having so I can prep ahead of the school run which has meant that our evening meal is often ready, with the exception of side dishes, before I pick up the children from school. This has meant an earlier eating time, more time to relax as a family after dinner and a far easier feel to dinner, bath time and bed time. Also, with my Förtrolig food storage dishes, I fix slightly larger portions and freeze part of the finished product for use at a later time. The Förtrolig series is also great for left-overs as it will go from fridge to microwave/oven and then to table with only the lid needing to be removed. AWESOME. I know loads of people live life like this all the time but it’s new for us, and I love it. Hardly anything was wasted this past week and I love the feeling of that!

Not too little. Not too much. Just right. We are really enjoying the #LiveLAGOM experience and I can already see the difference is making to our eco-footprint but also to the function of our family. Now pardon me while I go and pull the curtains in the lounge. It’s getting a bit chilly!


2 thoughts on “#LiveLAGOM”

  1. Hi Karin, I really enjoyed reading this. We’re doing the Live Lagom project in this house too and your focus areas is like reading a mirror image of ourselves! We too are dreadful when it comes to food wastage! We have a dog so leftovers is not really a problem but I’m very guilty of raw meat and veg that have gone past their use by dates, and for exactly the same reasons as you – my lack of motivation to cook detioriates as the week progresses (must be in the name lol). I’m hoping to start composting our food waste but I’m still only looking into this at the moment. We shall see :p Best of luck with your project, I’m going to enjoy following your story.

    1. Karen,
      Thank you for your comment and commiseration! I’ve found remarkable success with meal planning and am really pleased with the difference the Marjun curtains have made in our lounge. Now if I can just get my husband to install the 2 Hoppvals blinds and the water-saving tap in the kitchen! Good luck to us all! 🙂

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