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April 11, 2013

Letter: The minimal in me

I yearn to be capsule collection woman. By which I mean I’ve been throwing/giving/donating away as much stuff as possible over the last month in an effort to be streamlined, and tidy. I’ve long quested to have a wardrobe of effortlessly chic pieces that I wear year in and out, and to some extent I’d succeeded on that goal. But now my wardrobe seems to be full of old favourites that need to be retired. I’d always wanted a bathroom cabinet stocked only with a single brand of face wash and moisturiser, a signature nail polish, matching lipstick, toothbrush and toothpaste. This is also not quite the case. I appear to have accrued all manner of lotions and potions in an attempt to maintain a youthful radiance and carefree complexion. And I sincerely wanted to not buy another book until I’d read all the ones I already have! Additionally definitely not happened. But worse, my house has a basement. It’s terribly well organised however it is rather full, and since I read on the minimalists.com website that organising is often well-planned hoarding, I have come to the horrible conclusion that this is me. So why can’t I get rid of more stuff? And what is it all anyway?

Some of it, I protest, is physical family archive: photos, portfolios, sketchbooks, letters, magazines, books etc which arguably I could scan, download, tearsheet or otherwise attempt to amalgamate into a couple of neat albums on the computer. But this might be a lifetime quest, and would make me fantastically poor company for the duration. The CDs and DVDs have already been relieved of all their boxes and are neatly filed in Muji wallets (love these!), the books are carefully arranged by category, and coughs slightly, yes even the magazines. And the rest? Well, there’s general household tool kit things (drill, sander, electric screwdriver, hammers and a seeming surfeit of chisels and files for some unimaginable reason), tins of spare paint, extra tiles and carpet off-cuts. Then there appears to be a large Chinese bird cage, fake palm tree(!), preserving pan plus empty jam jars, various chairs, stools, large vases, oversized dinner party crockery, a mirror in the shape of Italy, a Calderesque mobile, suitcases, Christmas decorations and several crates of assorted other “objets” collated over the years.

It’s not that it’s stashed downstairs because I don’t like these things. It’s rather that there’s no place for them upstairs, which has previously not been enough reason to discard any of it. After all what if we move somewhere with more rooms? Hmmm. Seems like a bad case of just-in-case-ism. Thus, pursuing my mission to change-my-life-in-90-days (see last month), I have about 30 days left to dispense with as much of it as possible. Just think what I could do with all the time freed from perpetually re-sorting the basement? Hell, I could turn it into a games room!!


First published as my Editor’s Letter in the April 2013 edition of ELLE Decoration UK

ELLE Decoration cover April 2013

ELLE Decoration cover April 2013


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Writer, Author, Brand Consultant & TV Presenter

Michelle Ogundehin is internationally renowned as an authority on interiors, trends and style. She is an influencer with expertise and the multi award-winning former Editor-in-Chief of ELLE Decoration UK.