Lagom – Why Goldilocks Had the Secret to Happiness


Move over minimalism, Hygge, Swedish death cleaning, you are not sparking joy for us any longer! The latest trend in organizing is called Lagom and it’s awesome. It’s not new, it is a word which translates from Swedish to “just the right amount.” No dramatic militant upheaval to your lifestyle is needed. You don’t have to trade your comfy 3,000 square foot home for a tiny house with a dry toilet. You don’t need to dispose of everything that doesn’t “spark joy.” Awesome, right?

So, what is the meaning of lagom?

Remember the story of Goldilocks? From memory, I think it went roughly like this. A happy, little, free spirited girl goes traipsing through the woods and just as she gets tired from her forest stroll, she comes across a cottage, which might be a high end AirBnB or an evil witch’s hut, she doesn’t care. She walks right in, and sees a table set for three. Dinner smells awesome. She hops in the biggest chair, and without so much as a thought, just goes ahead and digs in to a complete strangers’ dinner porridge. But, the chair is gold plated, hard, too big and unwieldy, and to top it off, Goldilocks burns her tongue on the steaming bowl of dinner porridge. Well that will not do for this fearless adventurer. She hops down and tries the tiny little chair at the other end of the table. This tiny, camping folding chair is too small and uncomfortable! This bowl of porridge is already too cold. Last, but not least, she has an epiphany – lagom! She moves over to the middle chair. This chair is not too big or gaudy and not too flimsy or cramped, it’s sensible, cozy, and just the right size. Goldilocks found the perfect middle ground, the sweet spot, and proceeds to eat the entire bowl of porridge. Now that Goldilocks found lagom, she is happy, though according to memory, she is a bit of a slow learner, because she tries out all three beds, before she finds that the middle bed is where she wants to take a nap. She is later found, still napping, by the owners of the cottage, who despite being bears, don’t eat the naughty little child.

Lagom, or “just the right amount,” is the idea that we can have a rewarding AND responsible lifestyle, not sacrificing what we love, but NOT taking from planet earth more than we need. We can relax. We can have nice things, while being conscious of NEED vs. WANT and being aware when we have ENOUGH. And maybe, for our consumeristic society where more and more families are overwhelmed by the volume of stuff in their homes, lagom could be just the ticket to the calm and peace we seek.