Then I started on books. I have thousands. I bagged up over 300 of the buggers that (a) I probably won't read again, (b) are obsolete (like old dinosaur books) and (c) was given but have never read (and unlikely to). I ebayed the collectible stuff then Gift-Aided the rest to my local charity shop, taking in four bags a day so it was manageable for the staff. I had a letter yesterday from the South Bucks Hospice that it funds telling that, so far, my donations have made them £63. That's a good feeling.
My next attack was CDs and DVDs. Why keep them? I have all of my music in MP3 format. And the films and TV series I have are constantly cycling on Dave, GOLD and the SKY movie channels. A lot more are on YouTube. So they all went the way of the books.
I found boxes and folders and scrapbooks full of press clippings of my drama performances, shows and exhibitions and things I've had published. So I scanned them all and chucked them. After all, all I need is a record and not the physical object. It was kind of nice to read the good reviews again after all these years. I had to give up the drama lark after my back injury in 2005 - I just can't stand for prolonged periods without a lot of pain - and I do miss treading the boards.
Yes, I did use the rather pretentious handle of 'Stephen Meryk Colgan' back then before I settled on the equally pretentious 'Stevyn'. The play, incidentally, was Constance Cox's wonderful adaptation of Oscar Wilde's Lord Arthur Savile's Crime.
I've also made a start on de-cluttering me. I've always struggled with my weight. I like my food and I love to cook (ex-chef) and I dearly love a drop of good real ale. But none of it likes me and a mere sniff of cream or hops and my stomach distends by a good six inches. In 2007 I took the radical step of doing a crash diet with Lighter Life. I can testify that it works. Look:
I went from 21st to around 15 and 1/2 in seven months. Lighter Life worked for me because I have strong will-power and, essentially, you give up food. You replace normal meals with special shakes and bars that provide everything your body needs - except calories. At nearly £70 a week it's not a cheap option, although it's not as expensive as you might think because you have no food shopping bills. You're also paying for counselling and that, I'm told, is the most important part. It's your relationship with food that's at fault, not the food itself. Unfortunately, the particular counsellor I had (no longer there I should add for clarity) was awful. She was a Gillian McKeith clone and too abrasive and annoying for me to bond with. Consequently, I left the programme before the stage where you graduate back onto 'real food' and went back to my old lifestyle. And since then, I've put 3st back on.
So now I'm doing it right. It's not rocket science; you put fewer calories into your body than you burn during the day and you do some exercise too. So that's what I've been doing; long, energetic walks, calorie-controlled meals, no booze. And it's working. I've lost a stone in January already. Four to go. I aim to be well on the way to 13st by my birthday in August.
And tomorrow (or maybe the day after as I'm off to Brighton tomorrow) I start work on the second phase of de-cluttering. I still have over 1000 books gracing these bookshelves. How many of them do I actually need?