I justify buying and collecting some of the many things I do through vague ideas that they will be part of some art project or other, maybe painting their picture, or setting up little scenes to photograph or using them as props for my stall (if or when I ever have another one). These are stories I tell myself, and sometimes I do them, but the rate of the things being accumulated far outweighs the times I actually use them in these ways. That is not to say I don't get pleasure out of them-just thinking of the ways to use them is enjoyable, and of course there is just looking at them, admiring their quirky characteristics, and amazing details. Having just read 'Stuff. Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things' by Randy O Frost and Gail Steketee, which is a fascinating book, I am considering these things a little more closely. I know I have not got the big problems the people in the book have got, as we can still use most parts of our flat comfortably. But if you look at it objectively, I have too many things for the space they are in, and although it is livable, there are difficulties such as certain things are either lost, not easily accessible or totally forgotten. Also, I do clear the piles of books and some of the bags of wool that are in the sitting room and stick them on the bed for the day if we are expecting visitors.Partly this is to make the space more usable for more than two people, but partly it is because I know it looks very cluttered. Some of the theories in the book about why people hoard really struck me. One was the fact that they are going through life avoiding any form of distress. They feel distress when trying to make decisions about the importance of things, which will lead to them deciding whether to keep something or not. So they simply don't make these decisions, then they lose the ability to do so without causing ever increasing amounts of distress. Another idea I found interesting and which struck a chord is how all these things contain dreams and possibilities. But because of the chaos that rules their lives due to the hoard, many or most of these possibilities and dreams are never realised. So, I decided to start painting pictures of some of the many things I have. I have been using my big sketchbook and have done a few pictures. This one was the most enjoyable as I liked using the gouache paint and I love how these two look together! The cheeky monkey is from Rye and the slightly worried doll is from one of Linda Sue's local goodwill shops, and I was the lucky recipient!