A FEW years ago my boss placed a book upon my desk.

‘Organising from the Inside Out’, it was called. Stuck to the cover was a Post-it note, upon which he had written ‘Nothing personal!’

My desk was among the worst for clutter - and that was saying something in the days when newspaper offices were awash with cuttings, photographs, dirty coffee mugs, unemptied ash trays and all manner of stuff. My desk was buried under work dating back years.

Often, I could be seen frantically rifling through papers while holding the phone under my chin, muttering: “It must be here somewhere…”

I’m not a New Year’s resolution person, but every year the one pledge I do make - in common with many other people - is to become better organised.

But it never happens. Following advice, which is doled out in heaps every January, I’ve bought box files and folders, bookcases and racks, notepads and planners, in the hope that they will help bring a semblance of order to my life.

But, while a few things are now out of the way, such as the dozens of packets of photos that had for years been languishing in a cardboard box in the dining room, it gets no better. Whenever I move or put away an item, something else takes its place.

Using the mantra ‘when in doubt throw it out’, I have sorted through things I rarely or never use and taken them to car boot sales or charity shops, but my home is still cluttered.

If I lived in a warehouse on the Euroway estate I could fill it.

This level of disorganisation extends beyond my home. Friends marvel at the contents of my bag, when, like Mary Poppins, I pull out all manner of things, from hair bobbles to odd socks, candles (bought at the charity shop and never unpacked), loose change, memory sticks, pens and dozens of crumpled napkins. I even found a light bulb the other day - where from I couldn’t remember.

My sister calls my purse a work of art, packed to the gunnels with receipts, cards, notes - everything but cash.

Like many people, I have the best intention, and mentally list everything I need to do, including clear out my purse. But, day after day, unforeseen things crop up and there seems to be no time to sit down and do it.

Being organised can help us to cope with stress, I read this week, as a professional tidier gave advice in a national newspaper. If you have to rush out in an emergency you don’t want to be wondering where your keys are, she advised.

Too true. My car exhaust fell apart this week and I spent two hours searching for the guarantee.

We have a hook for house and car keys, but I still often drop them on the nearest surface or into a carrier bag. If you’re racing into the house with a load of shopping, the phone is ringing, the cat is wailing, and the postman arrives with a parcel, your mind is anywhere but on your keys.

I also believe that some people are born organised and some are not. I know people whose homes, cars, handbags and lives are perfectly ordered. I can only look on in awe.

I will continue to read tips - today I discovered how placing sheets and duvets inside matching pillowcases will ‘put your linen cupboard back under control.’ Linen cupboard? I wish. Most of mine is either languishing in the laundry basket or scattered about in various drawers.

At work I have improved - with a hot desking arrangement I have had to. My clear desk is very out-of-character...my locker is another story.