etc columnist Louise Margaret

Why the good old-fashioned cluttered look will always prevail


We have been told to tidy up since we were able to drop our clothes on the floor and we understood the phrase “TIDY YOUR ROOM”.

Parents over the years have mastered (and failed) at instilling this command on children, and children have complained, moaned and whined about completing it.

Funny how, in adulthood, we actively seek out ways in which to help us tidy up better.

Read any home style magazine and there are articles galore on how to declutter your life, or how to clear out your wardrobes leaving only the essential items we need, and a scarf. There is the Kon Marie method in which you pile everything in a certain category, say for example, all of your books, and that you pick up each and every book and ask yourself ‘does owning this, bring me joy?’ Stupid question when it comes to books, but possibly the right question when holding up a bargain bucket charity shop purchase which you had to have as it was only 50p.

There is the minimalist approach to your home, which has no rules per se, only that you can, and possibly should live with less. There are the extremes of this approach whereby you own one white fruit bowl, and the only people I could see possibly benefitting from this style of living, are the extremely clumsy, or colour blind (why is everything always white?). Of course, this style of living makes perfect sense for those seeking absolutely no clutter, I mean if you own nothing it’s hard to leave it all over the floor.

I am not one for minimalism, but neither am I a hoarder. I just like my stuff. I was once told that I maybe had too much stuff and you know what? I do, and I am proud of that fact. If, after being on this Earth for over four decades, I owned a white fruit bowl and a candle as the centre pieces of my coffee table, I would break out in hives.

No, I am more a hygge kinda gal. It’s pronounced like ‘sugar’ but ‘hoo-gar’. It’s a Scandinavian word that doesn’t translate that well into English but loosely means cosy, toasty, happy and sociable with friends.

Things like a comfy chair with a light or lamp so you can read books and sip tea. It means owning many, many books and having things that surround you that make your life relaxed and comfortable.

I know I’ve been in houses that are so sparse, clean and white that I have felt unclean just walking into them without a bio-hazard suit on over my clothes. Give me a bit of cosy, things on show and serve tea in mugs that don’t match. And by the way, yes I do own a fruit bowl, but mine is full of odd sweets left over from Christmas, a bottle of nail polish, a PS4 controller and a school newsletter.