Clutter-busting with Conran

September 28, 2009

Sir Terence Conran is about to celebrate his 78th birthday but despite his age, he’s still as sharp as ever. Chatting to him at a party last week, I asked him for a design tip, to accompany a feature I’m working on. Sir Terence thought for a moment (I imagine it’s quite difficult to condense 60 years of design philosophy into just one line!) and then said: “De-clutter. Clear out all your junk, paint the whole house white, and hide all the electrical wires to create a large, airy space. Then, only keep items that you love or that you really need.”

Living roomThis is such good advice, and something that most of us could benefit from. How many of us have a house full of ‘stuff’ and ‘clutter’ that we just don’t need? I know I do. I think my parents’ generation is partly to blame – their post-war upbringing drummed a sensible ‘don’t waste anything’ attitude into them which means that even today they keep hold of everything – just in case. My dad has a shed full of  ‘stuff which may come in handy one day’, and I’ve definitely inherited the hoarder gene! I certainly would never advocate a throw-away wasteful culture, but I’m sure I should heed Sir Terence’s advice and fill a few bags for recycling or the charity shop. Then, with my freshly-painted crisp white walls, the things I really love and really need can take centre stage. That’s the plan, anyway! The reality: I’ll probably just shove even more stuff under my bed. Out of sight, out of mind and all that… – Ellie

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