We’re almost one third of the way through 2017, and I’m pleased to report that I’m maintaining one of my new year’s resolutions, the much-needed decluttering of my house.

I’ve already got rid of a lot of belongings I no longer want or need, and this week I progressed further with more donations to a charity shop: two DVDs and two CDs. Every little helps.

However it was only a net loss of three items, because I allowed myself to buy another book. Edited by American author Tom Wolfe, it’s called The New Journalism – though having been published in 1973 it’s not all that new.

A reviewer said it was ideal reading for any feature writer. American journalism often seems very wordy and self-indulgent compared to British journalism, but considering it came highly recommended I felt that it would do no harm to read some.

And this is a problem I’ve long had with the whole decluttering process. I can be ruthless enough with clothes, CDs and films. But I can’t seem to part with books. And I acquire them at a faster rate than I read them.

Self-imposed book buying bans never work. Just after moving house I came across one I’d forgotten I ever had, Tom Brown’s Schooldays. It had been a school prize at primary school and I realised to my shock that I’d had it for 30 years and had never read it. So there and then I declared that there would be no more bookshop purchases until I’d read it and everything else that remained unread.

Stephen Blease That lasted two weeks. Then I saw the second and third volumes of Frank McCourt’s memoirs, the sequels to Angela’s Ashes, going cheap.

Five years ago a load of books arrived. My grandfathers were both voracious bookworms and I inherited enough from them to fill a six-shelf bookcase, many with sentimental value and so never to be parted with. That should have been enough to keep me going for a while, but it wasn’t. I’ve filled another two shelves since.

Recently a friend reminded me of the idiot-proof cookbook How To Boil An Egg, something I’d once browsed through, and I thought it would be worth having my own copy. Now I do.

There’s always an excuse to be found to buy another book. But there are worse things to spend your money on.

And the fact is that books have a special charm that makes them undeniably nice to have, whether you ever get round to reading them or not.

It was never likely that e-books and Kindles would replace the paper books we know and love, or which I love anyway. I’ve only ever seen someone reading an e-book once, on the London Underground – though that could be because I’m usually too busy reading a proper book.

I suppose the pleasure that comes from buying books is like the pleasure that comes from buying anything. Lifestyle magazines talk about “retail therapy”. Shopping bags bear the message “born to shop”. But these phrases usually describe clothes shopping, and those shallow, image-conscious people who never want to be seen in the same outfit twice and feel the need to buy a new one every weekend.

Buying books, I like to think, is a more upmarket, intellectual form of retail therapy.

And the decluttering of my house will have to continue, if only to make room for all the book purchases of the future.