At the start of the year, we began our LiveLAGOM project with IKEA and Hububb. We were incredibly excited to be selected as ambassadors, to see if we can live a more sustainable life, with the help of £500 worth of IKEA products. Being a huge IKEA fan, I didn’t need asking twice!
The idea of the project is to live a more LAGOM life, which comes from the Swedish phrase ‘lagom är bäst’ (the right amount is best). So enjoying what you love, while not taking more than you need.
So we set to making a list of issues we wanted to address, and the products that would help us. Then it was shopping time!
So how are our LIVELAGOM resolutions going?
1. Improving access to our recycling (for junk modelling) and cooking gadgets, to help me cook more efficiently.
We used to have this ugly old storage unit next to our fridge, which housed a mass of junk, both for the girls to use, and also just stuff we hadn’t sorted out. We now have a lovely new BESTA cupboard, which has turned chaos into order, and looks a darn sight better too. Eventually, I think we will add more units above, to create even more storage.
The drawers are home to cereal boxes, toilet roll inner tubes, pens, paints, scraps of card and paper and anything else the girls find that they want to make into something new.
They have had such fun with their junk modelling, and especially enjoyed making are out of the boxes the BESTA unit arrived in!
The cupboard also houses my food processor, slow cooker, blender and other cooking gadgets, meaning I actually use them now! Before, they were hidden at the back of the under-stairs cupboard so rarely saw the light of day.
Now I don’t give up my meal plans at the first hurdle (finding the right equipment) and have been cooking better meals. We planned to store the bread maker in this cupboard too, but then when I used it, a load of black stuff fell out of the bottom, and the smoke alarm kept going off, so we had to throw it away. Then we borrowed one from Ryan’s mum, and it blew a fuse. So we have decided we are not meant to make our own bread and have abandoned that idea for now! You win some, you lose some, right?
Our dining area is now a much nicer place to be, and we have a new LED blub in the light which is much brighter than the old one. So the girls are spending much more time here, meaning I can spend more time cooking from scratch.
2. Reducing food waste and planning meals more effectively.
I am now using my compost bin, and that has really helped scare me into wasting less food. I had to put a whole bunch of forgotten asparagus in it last month, which made me feel dreadful. But I am generally planning our meals better, and composting all of our peelings, Thea’s half eaten bananas, and literally hundreds of tea bags. I didn’t know I drank so much!
3. Being more energy efficient, to help reduce our carbon footprint, and to save money.
If you have read my blog before, you’ll know I have a few issues with the kitchen that came with our house. Apart from the barely working cooker and horrible orange tiles, it also has awful energy gobbling lights. So replacing them was an obvious way to save energy.
My husband Ryan has replaced the lights beneath our kitchen cupboards with a series of OMLOPP LED worktop lights, and they are brilliant. Without them, I cast a shadow over the worktop from the main overhead kitchen lights, (like on the left) and now I can actually see what I’m doing (on the right)! They don’t get hot, and melt the contents of the cupboard above (like the old ones) and they cast a nice even glow. We love the remote control and the fact that you can have two levels of light.
Of course we still have the hideous tiles (in fact you can see them better, ha ha) but the kitchen is so much more functional, it’s amazing what a difference lights can make!
We have also bought some inset spotlights, to replace the monstrous overhead lights, but as they need to be installed by an electrician, and will leave two whacking great holes in the ceiling, we are waiting until we can afford to get a new cooker and have it all done in one go.
We are using our new rechargeable batteries and charger and have teamed them with a STOTTA light for Ava – it clips on to her bed frame so she can turn it on if she needs to get up in the night, and we don’t need to worry about it being left on as it switches off automatically. The energy saving batteries don’t last as long as normal ones, but they are so easy to charge and we haven’t had to leave any out for the recycling, or buy any new ones, so I think it’s well worth it.
4. Making our home office more cosy, and not use the heating so much.
As a freelance copywriter, I often work from home, and get really cold. I had been turning on the heating but felt guilty about how wasteful it was when I only really needed to heat that little room. Thanks to my new sheepskin rug and snug monochrome blanket, I am much more cosy. I put the rug over the chair so it keeps my back warm, and drape the blanket over my lap. Yes, I look like an old lady, but I am warm so I don’t care.
We have also been chitting potatoes in the office, ready to go into our freshly dug vegetable patch.
When we were deciding how best to use our LiveLAGOM budget, we seriously considered getting an induction hob, as our ancient old cooker is the number one thing that wastes energy in our home. But this meant getting a new oven and replacing the worktop, as the old one is a push in, all-in-one cooker.
So that plan is on the back burner until we can afford a more extensive renovation. In preparation for our new future hob, I bought a new OUMBÄRLIG stock pot, which is induction hob-friendly. My old copper-bottomed pan won’t work on an induction hob, and it is not safe for the oven either, so I have given the pan, and my casserole dish to my sister in law, as the new pot replaces them both (also saving cupboard space, hoorah!)
It seems to cook food much faster, and because it’s so tall, the ingredients don’t splash out like they did in the old one.
So far, it’s not just the physical changes to our home that we have noticed (as great as they are) it’s the changes to our attitude that have made a difference, and will hopefully continue to do so!
I am trying to declutter, to give us more breathing space, and to give our unused stuff away. We held a really fun and successful Swishing Party where my friends and I swapped clothes, gave a lot to charity, and raised money for another charity. I’m also trying to be bit more green fingered, and have bought some little succulents. I figure these are the most likely to survive!
So we still have a way to go, but I can already see the difference in our lives. It’s clear it’s going to be much more of a longer-term change.
Don’t forget to search for #LiveLAGOM on Twitter and Instagram, to see what all the other ambassadors are up to! I’ve been really inspired by everyone’s stories.
*IKEA have given us £500 worth of products to help us live a more sustainable life, but all opinions are my own, as always.
I’m linking up with:
This Mum’s Life and Pink Pear Bear for #BigPinkLink
MrsCraftyB for #MakingHome
Mummascribbles for #TwinklyTuesday
RunJumpScrap for #BestAndWorst
The Twinkle Diaries and Mummy of Boy Girl Twins for #HomeEtc
Motherhood the Real Deal and Mum Muddling Through for #CoolMumClub