While words may be essential to your survival, the constant acquisition of new books is bad for your purse, so today let's do battle with "Gotta have New Books Syndrome!" and instead establish a system to read what we already own before we go trawling the second-hand book shops for one more vintage literary treasure to add to our collection...
1. First choose a place where "books you haven't read" are going to live. Empty a bookshelf, choose a big basket, or allocate a window ledge on which to store them: preferably somewhere you pass frequently so you will be constantly reminded what is available to read...
2. Scour the entire house for all the books you haven't read, then sort them into two piles: books you won't read in a million years and books you still plan on reading.
3. Give away or recycle the books you won't read in a million years. Today!!
4. Place all the other books on your "Read Me Next" shelf. Add library books and borrowed books while you are at it...
5. Finally (and this is key) make a list of the books you haven't read in the back of your Book Journal and tick them off one by one...
Only when the shelf is empty are you allowed to go book shopping!
Today let's tip out all of the nonsense we have accumulated over a lifetime of shoving in goodness knows what and re-invent our private little worlds in a way that does just justice to who we are and what we need when we are snuggled up under the cosiest of quilts.
Now comes the fun part: choosing the items to put back in your drawer.
First of all think practically: every bedside drawer should contain a spare set of house and car keys, a spare mobile phone with pay as you go credit available, a torch, a packet of matches and a couple of household candles. (Don't forget to copy a short list of emergency and family telephone numbers on to the back of a vintage postcard in case the mobile fails).
Next up, add spare reading glasses, a tiny little photograph album with your most treasured family photographs in, your journal, a couple of the kind of pens that make you smile, some pillow spray, paper handkerchiefs, lavender sleep balm, aspirin and herbal sleeping tablets.
Other ideas? A small packet of facial wipes. Private letters wrapped in a hankie and tied in a bow. A tube of hand cream or preferably an all purpose balm like the very wonderful night-stand classic that is Elizabeth Arden's Eight Hour Cream. Bach Sleep Remedy. Massage oil. A tiny notepad. A pretty embroidered handkerchief. Vic's Vapour Rub. A packet of parma violets for sweet breath first thing in the morning. Lip balm. A book that is important to you. A secret bar of the darkest, most scrumptious chocolate you can find. A bundle of short lengths of ribbon for book-marking. A little batch of post-it notes. A pashmina folded flat for draping around cold shoulders.
And of course anything else you need beside your bed. Night night Housekeepers..