By Anne Wadey, Senior Bereavement Advisor at the National Bereavement Service.

Decluttering has become trendy – if you are really desperate you can pay a new breed of professional to assist – a Home Organiser. Apparently, if we achieve this decluttered state we will be so much happier, calmer etc. So it is claimed but it could be just a marketing ploy by the manufacturers of storage solutions.

I am busy knitting to reduce my stash of yarn, sorting clothes to go to the charity shop, regularly give away books so how come I still have so much stuff? Let’s start with clothes. As soon as I step outside the door I use clothes to communicate that today I am a serious professional person whereas tomorrow I may be attired for a country walk or a day at the beach. That’s deliberate but I will also unconsciously declare my wealth (lack of in my case!), level of self-esteem by how much care I take over my appearance and attention to what is classic style or currently fashionable.

When I visit a friend, immediately I scan their bookshelves to discover if we have titles and authors in common to identify a kindred spirit. E-readers are so unhelpful for this though I use one all the time. Do they have original art and craft work in their home or am I in a creative desert?

What I choose to own speaks of who I am; a reader, a textile artist, a bereavement professional, and with an eclectic taste in music with an expensive taste in clothes. So I need to write a Letter of Wishes alongside my Will, stating which books and pictures especially should go to whom amongst my friends. A token of gratitude for friendship through good times and bad that I hope will bring them welcome memories. The rest will stock a charity shop for a good while – unless I eventually manage to embrace the principles of minimalism!