‘Just get me something small, anything you think I’d like.’ Apparently these are the words that strike fear into the hearts of my nearest and dearest. They say I’m impossible to buy gifts for as I can never be specific about what I may want. I also have a very bad habit of picking up bits I suddenly realise I rather like when I’m out shopping for everyone else. You see, I generally abide by a strict principle of not looking, therefore not creating desire for things I wouldn’t otherwise have known existed. But when I do start looking, oh what wonders abound! So many lovely things, pretty things, things I had NO IDEA I needed! Hence the corollary, my almost obsessional joy in de-cluttering.
I’ve long aspired to be what I call ‘capsule collection woman’. In other words, this is an alternative universe in which my bathroom cabinet has only the exact essentials required for my daily ablutions. My wardrobe would be neatly hung with only perfectly fitting and beautifully laundered ‘outfits’ ready for work, rest and play – nothing superfluous, tatty or unworn. In this transcendent vision, I would waft downstairs to find no random piles of papers awaiting ‘sorting’, no dog hair, no stacks of children’s toys requiring fixing or items in need of new batteries. And, the cupboard under the sink would be a supreme example of household organisation.
Sadly it is not quite thus, hence the aforementioned obsession with clutter clearing; my daily battle to keep on top of it all. But it seems to me that stuff comes in faster than I can recycle it out. And then Christmas comes along and one actively goes to great lengths to add to the accumulations. Now don’t get me wrong, I am no secret hoarder, and by many standards Ogundehin HQ is pretty streamlined. Key household mantras are ‘a place for everything, and everything in its place’; alongside ‘it’s easier to clean up as you go along’ (both fairly regularly adhered to).
But, we Brits physically have less space at home than our European cousins (on average 85 square metres compared to 137 square metres in Denmark!), needs must keep a tighter handle on it all. There are many ‘rules’ you can set yourself – ‘one in, one out’, ‘throw something away everyday’ and so on – but I think the best one is simply to buy consciously. In other words, really consider and question every purchase, for yourself and others. Do you/they need this? Are you sure you/they don’t have something similar at home already? The exception to all dictats though is when you find that thing that simply makes your heart sing, in which case buy buy buy! And apologies in advance, because this issue is full of things that we at Team ED think might do just that.
First published as my Editor’s Letter in the January 2016 edition of ELLE Decoration UK