For some years now, I have been throwing stuff out. I have too many clothes, too much stuff of a generalised, not-essential-but may-be-useful-one-day kind of nature. Too much furniture. And too many books and CDs and movies.
In the past, things that have left the house have after a while, been insidiously replaced by other stuff of the same nature. It is of course, all my own doing, like cheating on a diet, or other examples of self-indulgence, self-trickery and lack of discipline.
I dream of clean, sparse, Japanese-style homes, where the bed slides into the wall and the polished furniture is never dusty and the floors are always clean.
Then I look at pictures in waiting-room magazines of cosy, inviting, softly-furnished and warmly-lit English homes, and I think, 'actually, that's what I really like'.
And I get all confused and add another armchair to the already-overcrowded lounge.
But recently, it appears I'm winning. I bought a big glass jar (of the type that contains floating pickled zoological specimens), and loaded it up with my emu eggs and shell collection. Now, that's a whole lot of things that I can still enjoy seeing out but that doesn't need dusting.
I've bought a 100 year old Chinese picnic basket and it now contains nick-nacks and candles, ceramic frogs, flint from a burial site in France and stones from Irish beaches - things I can't throw away. And it also doubles as a little side-table. So that's all good too.
The kids bought me a Kindle for Christmas, and I've now given away about 40 books that I intend to eventually have on it.
We have about half the DVD's on a hard drive now, and all the CD's can go on another too.
I've been knitting madly in the evenings this last winter because I have so much wool to use up. I may take a deep breath and offer some to two friends who knit blankets for charity.
All my clothes are now in one wardrobe arranged by colour, and I'm thinking of rearranging the books in colour order on the shelves, as I've done before.
I do so love getting organised and tidy! It's like a good dose of senna pod tea.