Sunday, 31 January 2016

Learning to Live Lagom

Do you Live Lagom? I didn’t even know what that meant until late last year and I definitely didn't up until this year. Lagom literally means, "the right amount is best", a canny little statement for us all to live our lives by. 
Living sustainably with IKEA Gateshead
It was first introduced to me late last year, when IKEA got in touch with details about a project called Live Lagom - who doesn’t love IKEA? The project is all about getting people to live more sustainably to ultimately help us save money, decrease our waste and help look after our surroundings. An excellent initiative if I do say so myself, ‘cause we all need to do our bit to make sure we’re looking after our gorgeous planet. 

In 2015, IKEA ran this project with employees only, inviting them to select IKEA products that they thought might help them to live more sustainably. The project proved so successful and full of inspiring and fun ways to live more sustainably, that they decided to roll it out to selected IKEA Family members and wellbeing media partners (myself included!) to show how making small and convenient changes to our lifestyles and daily routines could help the planet, reduce waste and our energy bills, and hopefully make home life that bit better too. 

Now, I couldn’t have been more chuffed to be asked to take part in this project to see how I could make improvements and live more sustainably in 2016. IKEA kindly offered me £500 to put towards products of theirs to help me live more sustainably in 2016 and share my thoughts and challenges right here. This could go towards anything from larger items (energy-efficient kitchen appliances) down to things to help with smaller changes like storage, soft furnishings and multi-tasking food containers. 

This is a busy old year for us  - I’ve just started my dream job in athletics which means life is quite hectic and I’m away a lot at weekends at various sporting events; we’re getting married this year too, so in-between the new job, Joe’s job, general life and trying to plan the wedding, we are strapped for time, meaning the time we actually have at home needs to be considered and planned (where we can!)so it was always going to be a challenge for us to live sustainably this year, which is one of the main reasons I really wanted to get involved. Could we live sustainably even though we’re super strapped for time?

One of the first things IKEA asked me to think about was why I wanted to live more sustainably? Well, to put it simply, I just don’t think we do at the moment and it wasn’t something that was very high up on our radar (bad, I know). Yeah we recycle but that’s literally about the only thing we do that could help with a more sustainable way of living, and when it comes down to it, that just doesn’t cut it. We always shove the heating on when it’s a bit chilly in the house rather than put a jumper on, we cook every day/night rather than meal-prep/batch-cook and we aren’t very self-sustaining i.e. growing our own herbs or any veggies/fruit when we actually could.

So what did I want to get out of the project? To live a more sustainable life in a really convenient way. My aims? 
  • Meal plan the hell out of life (crucial)
  • Batch-cook and freeze (also crucial)
  • Get storage savvy (our small flat is riddled with clutter)
  • Save on energy bills (cue loads of soft furnishings!)

Alice Barnes Sustainable Living with IKEA
 Back of our van loaded with IKEA goodies.

I picked up my products earlier this month with the help of Julia, the in-store sustainable living advisor at IKEA Gateshead, so I'm about 3 weeks into living a Lagom way. It’s been so interesting to see how the little changes has given me back time during the week. I’ll keep you posted on how I get on...


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