As Michelle Obama prepares to leave the White House, she’s been talking publicly about how eager she is to return to normal life. “I want to open my front door without discussing it with anyone — and just walk,” she told Oprah Winfrey in an interview last year.

She has also said she wants to sit in a yard, stroll through a big-box store and open a window in her house, all things she has not been able to do for eight years.

Yet a team is already laying the groundwork for what’s likely to be a somewhat busier post-White House schedule for a popular first lady who has signaled her eagerness to continue her advocacy work of recent years — and has proven to be a compelling voice in American politics.

After a long break, Michelle Obama plans to get to work with a small staff that will move into office space in Washington. The group will be led by Melissa Winter, the first lady’s longtime deputy chief of staff. A veteran Capitol Hill aide, Winter was the first lady’s first hire during her husband’s 2007 campaign.

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