“And now we welcome the new year. Full of things that have never been.” – Rainer Maria Rilke
What was 2017 for you? For me it was the year of the book. I’ve always loved to read, but this past year some of the books I read actually changed certain aspects of how I live my life. It’s not that I haven’t ever had this happen from reading a book before, just that this past year was particularly influenced by new ideas, most of which came from books.
While I read a lot of books, I thought I would highlight the five that really touched me or brought significant changes into our family’s life. None of these books are new, and I lay no claim to discovering them, but maybe one of them is what you’ve been looking for in the way of inspiration.
The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up – This book has been around for a while and was on the New York Times bestseller list, but somehow I had never heard of it before this year. Marie Kondo tackles the idea of how you think about tidying up, rather than just a new system for getting things organized. The main concept is to only keep things that truly bring you joy. While I’m nowhere near being a minimalist, this book really changes how I look at clutter. I’m one of those people whose brain feels cluttered when our home is cluttered, so gaining a new perspective on that clutter and how to tackle it was so helpful.
Present Over Perfect – Ah, perfection. I think a lot of us struggle with it, whatever your particular brand of perfection is. Social media in particular has magnified the perfection lens. Whatever you think you have to do, or have to be, I don’t think any of us is ever going to look back and think I wish I had been less present in my life at this or that point. I enjoyed reading Shauna’s personal perspective on this idea and while I don’t know that I’ll ever conquer this particular demon, having the tools to combat it is the first step to living a more present life.
The Little Book of Hygge – Hygge was such a buzzword this past year and will probably continue to be. I believe Hygge is actually tied in to the idea above – being present and enjoying the little things. I think the hygge concept has become so popular because people are searching for that way to simplify their lives in this crazy world and hold close to something that makes them feel cozy and safe. The Little Book of Hygge gives you practical tips and ideas for how to bring more hygge into your life. From the recipes (skibberlabskovs!), to the suggestions (rent a cabin in the wood for a weekend getaway) I really enjoyed Meik Wiking’s secrets to happy living and will be revisiting ideas for 2018!
The Organically Clean Home – I love to set goals and I love to cross things off lists. I started last year with the goal of getting our home as free of hazardous chemicals as possible. I had wanted to do this for a long time, but actually taking the time to sit down and research what we use and what to replace it with just seemed so daunting (I wrote a post late last year about this and how I did it). Part of what helped me get started and lay the foundation for our chemical free home was this book. Becky has been doing this for a long time and she really takes the guess work out of it by showing you the basic ingredients you need and how to make replacements for your current toxic cleaners. We’ve been using these natural cleaning products for exactly a year now, and I can honestly say I don’t think we’ll ever go back.
The Magic of Motherhood – I’m only one year into the whole motherhood club, but I think no matter how long you’ve been a mother, we can all agree it’s magical, but it’s also hard. This book is a compilation of essays that make your realize more than anything else that you are not alone, not alone with the doubt, or the magical bliss. It celebrates the good stuff and the hard stuff and makes you laugh along the way.
Cheers to 2018!