Decluttering. How to put a box away for six months and then get rid of it forever.

My best friend, who has trouble saying goodbye to some things she owns, once moved house. About two years later she still hadn't unpacked three boxes which were hanging around in her laundry.

"If I was you, I'd throw them out without even looking in them," I said. "If you haven't needed it up till now, you probably want need it at all."

I don't know what she did with them, but I've always remembered that advice and when we moved I decided I wouldn't take anything I wouldn't be happy to pull out of its box and put away.

Recently it has worked in another way. We decided not to put out our framed photographs when we came to this house, but I couldn't bear to get rid of them. I was very emotionally attached to all of them. "Surely I'll put them out one day?" I asked myself.

I made a decision. I would put them in a box, leave them in a cupboard and then, some time later, if I still hadn't used them (or missed them) I would get rid of them. That was three years ago.

I didn't throw out the photos, but took them out of the frames and popped them into my 'photo box' (another item for sorting and decluttering through, but that's another day... or year...) and I am going to send the frames to the op shop this week.

While I was in the mood, I went through the top of the kids bedroom cupboards. I discovered: a bag of Thomas trains,  two pairs of unworn pyjamas, a new-in-box baby soft toy, a laser printer and a computer tower, amongst other things. They are also on their way to the op shop.

And, *gasp*, I am feeling like I might want to declutter my books. The simple reality is that I haven't read any of my Amy Tan's for at least 10 years, I've never read Dracula or some of the other classics I've been keeping for.... what? I have a stack of books about autism I've read and won't read again, and I feel reckless and light even just thinking about not having as many books as I've got right now. Who said books were the be all and end all of collecting - those sacred things you can never have too many of?