THERE’S nothing like Christmas for making you aware of how urgently you need a clear out.

Trying to find space to store presents before the big day is a challenge. I had everything packed away in large carrier bags in my daughters’ rooms, but when they came to stay for Christmas, it had to be shunted elsewhere.

I toyed with the garage but having accidentally left my anorak in there and found it full of holes and a mouse’s nest, it wasn’t an option.

Last year I used my neighbour’s house, but didn’t want to bother her again, so I ended up squashing it all alongside our bed with a sheet over the top. Climbing into bed from the bottom for a few nights was a small, if awkward, price to pay.

The episode made me realise how full of stuff our house is; how, even though we have some decent-sized cupboards, we have no space for anything. And that many of the things in there, we don’t need.

It’s my fault. Compared with me, my husband’s possessions take up very little space. If I’m honest I don’t know how he puts up with all my clutter. My things dominate the house, from clothes - many of which I will probably never wear - to books and, most annoyingly, newspapers.

He has the occasional outburst, saying it’s depressing. I know he hates it. If there is one thing that would prompt him to up sticks and leave, it’s my mess.

I usually ignore de-cluttering advice: my previous editor once left a book on my desk at work entitled ‘Organising from the inside out’. He had stuck a Post-it note on the front saying ‘nothing personal’. Despite the hint, my desk remained a landfill for the next few years.

I am simply unable to de-clutter, but this year I am determined that things will change. They have go to. Sadly, my parents died with a year of each other and their house needs to be sorted through. This mammoth, distressing task, more than anything else, has made me realise that the contents of our house need a massive purge.

“If anything happens to you and Dad I am not going through all this,” one of my daughters said quite bluntly, while tugging opening a drawer.

She’s right. I recently caught an episode of the BBC series Sort Your Life Out, and was shocked by the volume of things that people own but can easily live without. The programme, presented by Stacey Solomon, sees families completely empty their home so they can see how much stuff they really have.

Being overwhelmed by it can put a strain on your relationships, Stacey says. ‘The average home contains thousands of items that aren’t really needed, and living among all this clutter can make you miserable,’ she wrote in a national newspaper.

She is often told how the levels of disorganisation are a constant source of unhappiness and arguments.

‘Organising and cleaning is better than any type of yoga or meditation for lowering stress levels,’ she says.

I don’t think I’d dare expose my own hoarding habits on national TV. I can imagine the reaction on social media: ‘Urghhh, why would anyone hang on to those?’ as a 30-year old, withered pair of flip flops was unearthed, alongside a decades-old flask, or a bag full of of bags.

“Why do you need all these brochures?” my husband recently asked, after coming across a carrier filled with tourism leaflets. “You never know, we might go here, or here,” I replied. "They give me ideas for days out.”

“It will all be online" was his answer.

No guessing what my New Year’s Resolution will be.