The definition of zakka most often touted is this:
“Everything and anything that improves your home, life and outlook. It is often based on household items from the West that are regarded as kitsch in their countries of origin, but can also be Japanese goods…The interest in Nordic design or Scandinavian design, both contemporary and past, is also part of this zakka movement. Zakka can also be contemporary handicraft.
Zakka has also been described as “the art of seeing the savvy in the ordinary and mundane”.
I was first introduced to the idea when it refered to creating tawashis, small scrubby items for the household made of acrylic yarn that are really popular in Japan. From there I discovered that there is a huge movement in japan to create things for the home that are simple, brightly colored, very decorative and perhaps best of all, reusable. There is no need for a scrubbing sponge that gets replaced every week or 2 if you have a cotton or acrylic pot scrubber that can be thrown in the wash, then air-dried. You save resources and money, and you can inject your own personal style in to things by crocheting, sewing or knitting your own items. Want a sunflower dishtowel? Why pay somebody $7 when you can use yarn you might already have on hand and make something that won’t fade, fray, or develop holes?
I liked this idea, and the idea of making other small items around the house that are simple, beautiful, and keep the amount of waste down. I’m trying my best to minimize my impact on the planet and have an enormous stash of yarn, so I thought I would start doing this and see how well my handi-crafts hold up. I’ve also decided to try and pass the idea along by crocheting handicrafts for donation that will include the description on the label for others to read when they receive them. I feel it goes along with the idea of trying to be more mindful in your everyday life, not just for the purpose of Buddhist thought, but also environmentally and psychologically. It’s always funny how these things tie in together.