Cottagecore Living - 5 Practices You Can Start Today
If you’re like me, you fell in love with the Cottagecore movement when it first exploded in 2020. I’ve always loved “cottagecore” things, such as shabby chic decor, books like Anne of Green Gables, and the idea of running away to a quaint little cottage to live a quiet, simpler life.
As much as I want to leave my busy life behind, I simply don’t have that luxury. Deadlines, Netflix, important meetings, noisy neighbors, convenience store food, and high-speed internet are all parts of my reality and likely yours too (to be fair, Japanese convenience store food is pretty great).
Instead of plotting my escape to a cottage I can’t afford in the Scottish Highlands, I’ve decided to incorporate a few cottagecore lifestyle changes in my regular routine. Here are my tips for adding a bit of cottagecore to your world that won’t result in any major life changes.
1. Hang dry your laundry
Did you know? Just about everyone in Japan hangs their laundry out to dry. In fact, most homes in Japan don’t even have electric dryers and those that do rarely use them. In my apartment, I insisted on having a dryer (as well as a washing machine that has a hot water setting, another luxury), but I mainly dry my clothes outside.
Not only will drying your clothes outside save you some money on your electric bill, it’s kinder to your clothes in the long run. If you find your clothes to be a bit stiff, as I frequently do, you can simply fluff them in the dryer on low heat for a few minutes.
I enjoy the few minutes I step outside most days to hang my clothes up, especially now that it’s fall and the weather is gorgeous. It’s the perfect time to spend a few quiet moments reflecting on the simple pleasures of life: the warm sun, scent of freshly washed clothes, and gentle breeze can calm even the busiest soul.
2. Churn your own butter
It’s actually quite easy (and fun!) to churn your own butter. There’s nothing like a slice of home-baked bread with butter your churned yourself: it’s positively heavenly. I recognize that bread-making might be difficult for some (unless you have a bread machine or a “home bakery,” as they’re called in Japan), but making butter is a cinch.
To churn your own butter, you simply need to beat heavy cream with a handmixer on high for around five minutes. Odds are, the second you think, “Am I doing this right?” the liquid cream with transform to solid butter right before your eyes: it’s like magic! From there, you can season your butter with salt, garlic, honey, or whatever you fancy and use the leftover buttermilk in another recipe (buttermilk bread, anyone?).
3. Change up your lighting
You heard it here first: overhead lighting is so not cottagecore. Most of us are subjected to harsh lighting from morning to night, whether it be from our phones, computers, or blinding overhead lights often found in places of business and retail stores. Don’t let bad lighting encroach on your cottagecore vibe!
No, you don’t have to cover your home in fairy lights (though you totally can and I’ll like you better for it). Just try adding a few lamps to your space and get in the habit of switching from overhead light-mode to lamp-mode a few hours before bed. For example, I turn my lamps on once the sun sets to send a signal to my brain that it’s time to wind down for the day.
4. Use little dishes
Remember that Simpson’s episode where Bart suggests the family get one long bowl to eat out of and Marge realizes he’s talking about a trough? A trough can be super cottagecore, particularly if it’s aesthetically rusted and belongs to a pony that lives on your property. In your home though, the smaller the dish, the better.
Whether you’re eating a burrito you had delivered via Uber Eats, a handful of Oreos, or that homemade bread and butter we talked about earlier, try putting your meal on several little dishes (bonus if they’re vintage and/or mismatching). There’s something so fancy and *aesthetic* about eating a meal from lots of tiny dishes (anyone who has ever dined at a ryokan aka Japanese style hotel will understand).
I never realized how much eating utensils affected my mood until I switched to wooden flatware and dainty dishes. Eating yogurt out of a small, cute dish rather than the plastic container it comes in just lifts my spirits.
5. Have " T " time (treat yourself)
I love just about everything about tea: the way it looks, the way it smells, the simple joy that comes from preparing a cup of tea with a delicate snack on the side. Tea is the ultimate cottagecore treat.
The irony? I can’t stand the taste of tea. No matter how many varieties I try or cubes of sugar I add, I just can’t drink tea. However, I still enjoy tea regularly because I prepare a mug for my husband every night during the autumn and winter months.
My daily “T” time (“treat yourself”) occurs every morning when I whip myself up a caramel latte and savor each sip as I power up my computer to start the workday. Whether you practice regular coffee breaks, tea times, or something else entirely (kombucha rests?), make sure to take time to treat yourself daily.
You don’t have to head for the hills (literally) to start living a more cottagecore way of life. Try adding mindful, aesthetic practices that appeal to you to your everyday routine. Remember, there’s no right way to cottagecore – do whatever speaks to you!