Sverige, vad älskar jag dig

DSC_0270DSC_0083DSC_0018 (2)DSC_0498DSC_0235DSC_0596DSC_0018DSC_0482I’ve been home in Sweden for a little over a week (scoooore!). And I’m finally having time to go through some archives. Those super active bloggers that are able to edit, post and publish every day or week while on the road. I don’t know how you do it!

After travelling to Amsterdam over Christmas, then Finland, Dublin, California, Finland again and Madrid, I finally have had more than 6 days in this country, oh yes! I came to realise that damn: it’s already the end of March. Now that I’m home, and finally fixed my new apartment in order to make it my home, I come to realise again how much I love it here. I. LOVE. SWEDEN. I have to admit though: I’ve already blocked out January and February, where we had 42 days of non-stop snow. Believe me, ploughing yourself on a bike (hashtag: trueDutch) in temperatures up to -18C: NO FUN. Boy did I hate this country then. But now, when it’s time to enjoy my morning coffee on the terras by the water: blissss

The Swedes have a saying: you just need to survive winter.

Careergirl’s advice on selling your first property

‘It’s sold! Your first property investment has turned out to be a winner!’ Drumbells, champagne and a bit of wannabe-Beyonce dancing was definitely needed.  Now, granted, I know not a whole lot of careergirls at the age of 26 out there are able to buy, and sell their first property. The mortgage system  in Sweden is a lot ‘easier’ than in other parts of the world and I am aware of this. But whether you’re renting, owning, living with friends or in the process of buying your first property, I thought to hand out some first-hand experience tips from this newbie seller.

First and foremost, your apartment or house should be a place to live. However, be sure it will not only be a good place to come home to, also make sure to check out the market and future markettrends to see whether your property could potentially turn out to be a comfy pillow in the bank later-on. Cause when it’s time to sell, it’s really time to sell it.
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  • Most properties won’t sell themselves (don’t trust realtors telling you otherwise). Sure if you’re owning in Central Stockholm, Amsterdam or Tokyo, your chances of an easy sell are higher due to housingbooms. But make sure to at least have the idea of putting in some effort into your sale. Effort equals returns.
  • You’re not selling the square meters. You’re selling the feeling. Styling is everything. This is where Swedes are greatly raising the bar for sellers all around the world. Ever heard of Fantastik Frank? For a few thousand dollars they come and style your house before they put it on the market. Granted it’s a lot of money, money that I’m not willing to invest in a stylist, but their Return On Investment is skyrocketing. I feel especially Dutch people are quite bad at house photography and styling for Funda.nl. That property-ad you’re putting out there is everything! Hire a good photographer.
  • Take on a neutral palate for your place. Orange pillows? pink curtains? let’s take those away shall we. People need to be able to envision their own design in your place. Colours mainly clutter that. So go for an easy-on-the-eyes look.

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Shoplog? SHOPSTOP!

Sale! REA! Extra priced! Black Friday! free deliveries! pay 1000 euro’s and get 5 euro’s ‘for free’. ONLY NOW!

Not a day that goes by and some sort of retail- or interior chain is screaming at me to shop their goods. Their beautiful, in sweatshop produced, items oozing must-have luxury, 2 seconds of happiness and the idea that if I don’t shop, I no longer belong. Just let the money flow. It’s crawling through my Instagram pages, my Facebook feeds and even in my work inbox (god damn where’d you get this e-mail?!). And quite frankly I’ve had enough. I’m quitting.
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The entire internet is sprawling with fashion blogs. Shoplogs. Shopvlogs. Shop! Shop! Shop! Do you really believe that £5,- top you’re so proudly presenting will still be ‘soooo adorable’ in a month? in a week? I must admit, I had never thought much about purchasing low-cost-big-volume ‘just because it’s on sale’. But I still did it! Subconsciously. Last summer I stood IN LINE for a Swedish Hasbeens pop-up sale. Because I desperately needed apparently not one, but two pairs of (admittedly gorgeous) sandals.  And thus over time, my wardrobes and cabinets filled itself with stuff. But all the more I’m thinking ‘Ellen, would you really have bought it for its original price? Does it fit your house/body/head perfectly?’ More often than not, the answer is no.

In two weeks I’m moving apartments, and I just don’t know how I did it, but I’ve collected an array of ‘stuff’ over 2 years of living in Stockholm. Upon moving to Sweden 3,5 years ago I only had 3 moving boxes, a chair, a bed and a table. That’s it. I can guarantee it will be at least twenty boxes now. 5 of those filled with clothes. And then I’ve already given 3 boxes away to good-will.

The extend of craziness around shopping is driving me all the further from it. I avoid all shoppingcenters ’till 5 PM. Weekends are a no-go. And when co-workers tell me they stood in-line for the Balmain collection I’m secretly thinking ‘wow, is that how you spend your thursday mornings?! slaying yourself through the crowds, jumping onto the first piece of clothing you can find? and then grabbing onto it like it’s your last IV-drip?’ And then the realization hit me.  5 years ago, I DID THAT! But it’s not the brick-and-mortar stores that worry me. It’s the internet.
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