Pickled Herrings & Spring Cleaning Scandinavian Style – 4 Lessons Learned

By Money Viking Greg


We have been doing a bit of Spring Cleaning around our house this past weekend. Part of this was spurned on by the purchase of a nice USED couch (Thank you brother and sister in law). We saved big money buying used, no retail costs, taxes or shipping! Money Vikings are huge proponents of buying used in general, especially used furniture. The couch acquisition led to a cascade of events moving old couches into the garage, moving furniture around, finding places that had not been vacuumed since a long long time ago in a galaxy far far away. This evolved into full fledged Spring cleaning time. Free workout too!

Part of the domino effect of all the movement of furniture led to me losing my computer desk to another purpose. We needed the table I was using in the kitchen for more counter space. After I lost my desk, I started to fantasize about a new fancy writing and art desk area. As a blogger, writer and visual artist, my work space is important to me. So, I started searching online on craigslist first for a new desk. I started at craigslist just like any self respecting financial blogger would do. As the time and search went on, I did not find what I was looking for, so I heard the siren call of the IKEA website calling my name. I logged on and was instantly teleported into perfectly appointed rooms straight out of a Scandinavian fantasy. I was in love. Great job marketers!

I found picture after picture of the perfect working set up, with beautiful lighting, well appointed plants, some beautifully framed art and the latest colors. Marketing genius towards a guy like me. I was hooked like on a drug. I knew inside any kind of purchase like this was not going to help me achieve F.I.R.E., but hey I would look good while stuck in the rat race for longer! Just kidding! I realize IKEA is pretty good value for what one buys, but still, I wanted to resist spending a few hundred bucks if at all possible.

I went as far as to go to IKEA. The place was absolutely packed! I got stuck in the maze and received a good workout trying to get to the desks. They must put desks at the end because they sell so well. You are forced to walk through the whole setup and be enticed by item after item. I arrived at the desks. I thought long and hard about spending hundreds of dollars. Then it struck me. In our garage buried under stuff was an old IKEA desk I had bought USED many years ago. What if I…?


I escaped the IKEA by making 2 purchases: a jar of pickled herrings and a hot dog. No afternoon with little allen wrenches and flipping through pages of construction instructions for me. I realized I had an old desk in the garage, but it was dirty. What if spent my time giving a really nice cleaning and making it look like new? So I did. I spent a lot of time getting this old desk looking great, and it worked. No spending hundreds of dollars plus taxes.



ONE: Buying used is a very powerful wealth building trick. We become so desensitized to the retail prices of things that we forget what a deep discount can be realized through buying used!

TWO: Take a deep hard look around at what you have. When you feel you need something, you may already have it if you take a look around and go through what you already have. I have discovered this several times over the years. I initially thought I needed to go buy something without realizing I had something that serve the purpose just as well.

THREE: Get organized. How often do we fall victim to not being organized with our stuff and our life. Getting our financial life organized leads to more efficiency and wealth, just as getting our physical life organized. Added bonus when we get our physical life organized is a growing pile of stuff for a garage sale to make a little extra money.

FOUR: Learn from the Scandinavians. We are the Money Vikings, so we take some cues from Scandinavian culture! Simplicity in life and design. The simple comforts, etc. can lead to more contentment and happiness. There is a term for the Scandinavian lifestyle called Hygee. There are some great books about this and I will do a post on this concept at a later date. The basic component is celebrating the simple pleasures each day that bring us happiness and warmth. Who could ask for more.

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