Husband’s definitely got bouncer theory worked out

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I don’t know about you, but Christmas has left my already-cluttered house resembling a landfill site of wrapping paper and random gifts.

Every time I get up from the couch, I spear a toe with a Remington Fuzz-buster or – oh, the irony! – skid on the glossy pages of a book on feng shui.

Claustrophobia drives me out the door on thin pretexts (to dust the bins, check wind direction, count the bricks in the house).

On one such occasion I am gazing at the Solent with awe (all that space and, aside from the odd Fred Olsen cruise ship, no stuff!) when a neighbour bids me hello.

‘How’s your house looking?’ I ask.

‘All back to normal’ she chirrups smugly, pulling a clump of Sellotape from my hair.

I divulge my woes.

‘Forget feng shui, what you need is bouncer theory,’ she tells me.

What is this wondrous new philosophy? Does one load up turkey sandwiches, then bounce like a jack hammer on one’s stocking fillers until they flatten into some kind of jazzy and ethnic-looking rug?

‘No!’ she replies.

‘Bouncer theory means one in, one out. For every present my family keeps they must take something else to the charity shop.”

I explain bouncer theory to him indoors and he is surprisingly co-operative. That night I enjoy the sleep of the just and rise late to find he has a head start on the kids.

Beside a heap of ‘essential’ new bike accessories lies an equivalent pile comprising a dusty fondue set, two pairs of snow shoes and a fireman’s helmet.

‘Why on earth have you been keeping these?’ I ask.

‘They date back to before we met!’

Oh, the power of bouncer theory! Soon Terence Conran will be calling to admire the austere angles of my minimalist home.

At the charity shop I hand the bin bag over to a cheery volunteer. She points through the window.

‘Is that your husband in the car?’ she asks.

‘Yes,’ I reply, ‘do you know him?’

‘No,’ she says, heaving the bin liner out back. ‘But it’s not every morning someone buys a fondue set, two pairs of snow shoes and a fireman’s helmet.’