Happy news: President Michael D Higgins has a new puppy

Jennifer McShane

This €12 conditioner is like lipgloss for your hair

Holly O'Neill

Here’s a first look at the new documentary behind the 2019 College Admissions Scandal

Jennifer McShane

Is Screen Burnout making your job impossible?

Laura May

‘I would rather poke my eyes out than get Botox’

Rose Mary Roche

Make a simple healthy swap with this coconut-crumb chicken goujons


How three Irish entrepreneurs got into the beauty industry

Grace McGettigan

5 Golden Globe-winning picks you should watch next

Jennifer McShane

The spring-ready trench coats to see you through to summer

Holly O'Neill

Image / Living / Interiors

“In my house the more clutter, the better”: When minimalist design just isn’t for you

by IMAGE Interiors & Living
29th Oct 2020

Forget decluttering – avid collector Ruth Forsyth loves nothing more than an afternoon flea market rummage and a decent snowglobe.

I confess I’m a (terrible) collector, and always have been. Since I was a child, I have liked things in duplicates and multiples. For me, it’s the process of collecting that’s more important than the collection itself. It’s the hunting and gathering aspect that I take joy from. I physically can’t walk past a charity shop without going in for a root around.

One of my first proper collections featured snowglobes – yes, those tacky touristy trinkets. I loved them. The collection got so out of hand, it could no longer be housed at home, and sadly now lives neatly boxed up, and labelled, in storage. Neatness and order is important, as collecting without order is simply hoarding. I am also a neat freak, and will freely admit to owning more than one labelling machine.

Ruth’s eclectic Ballsbridge home, Photograph: Doreen Kilfeather

One of the things I love most about collecting is displaying – the possibilities are endless. I like to move things around and change the way I display things on a regular basis. I used to picture myself living in a chic minimalist home, and fantasise about how clear-minded and serene I would be. In reality, this would never work for me. I need colour, pattern, texture and change in my life. I crave a little chaos.

Much as I would love to be in a position to collect Picasso’s early works, most of my collections are a little left of centre. For example, my husband and children have asked me to stop collecting child mannequins and body parts.

Though I’m quite sure the feeling of finding that special piece is the same, regardless of its monetary value. I believe that we should buy things we love, not just what we deem to be a valuable investment.

Photograph: Doreen Kilfeather

I find real joy in the company of my collections, as each item brings me back to a Sunday afternoon spent in the Dublin Flea Market with the kids or a wonderfully exotic holiday on the other side of the world with my husband. Each piece has a story to tell and a memory to jog. For me, the most beautiful homes are personal and individual, giving a real sense of those who live in them.

I’d love to update my home the way you might do with your seasonal wardrobe, but that’s neither practical, sustainable, nor affordable. Instead, I keep the bones of my house quite simple and neutral, then add fun items of colour, texture and theme. The key to a strong interior is the same as a good wardrobe – careful editing.

To me, the KonMari method was just that – a con. Throw everything out? Are you mad? Again, wardrobe comparisons are relevant. Just as flares have come back in fashion, so too will my snowglobes. Mark my words.

Featured photograph by Doreen Kilfeather

Read more: 7 artists’ work you can buy that will support a good cause

Read more: Cucumber and elderflower cordial popsicles

Read more: This modern Ranelagh house was built in an awkward former car park

Also Read

Limerick cottage
Inside a tiny Limerick cottage transformed by its architect owner

Architect Patti O’Neill’s cottage is full of gorgeous details including...

By Lauren Heskin

Drag Race UK and a new book on how to be happier at work: What’s on tonight, Thursday January 14

Have no plans for this evening? Same. If you feel...

By Holly O'Neill

Scandinavian cinnamon buns
Start your week off right with these authentic Scandinavian cinnamon buns, or ‘kanelbullar’

These Scandinavian cinnamon buns are the perfect breakfast treat. Make the night before and enjoy with coffee in the morning.

By Meg Walker

What’s on tonight: Wednesday, January 27

An immersive online murder mystery, a true-crime podcast and a documentary about a farming community living in subarctic temperatures.

By Lauren Heskin

whats on
What to watch this weekend: February 12-14

In need of ideas on how to spend your evenings this weekend?

By Lauren Heskin

Weekend baking: Mini ricotta doughnuts with pistachio and honey topping

Why not try something a little different this weekend, with...

By Meg Walker

Howth house for sale
This Howth home with home spa, cinema and swimming pool is on the market for €3.6 million

This five-bedroom house with sea views, an indoor swimming pool,...

By Megan Burns

Framing Britney Spears: New documentary to delve into #FreeBritney case

A trailer for a new documentary titled Framing Britney Spears,...

By Jennifer McShane