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In praise of - organised chaos.

STUFF: it's everywhere.

It's spilling out of boxes, it's cluttering up the hall, it's choc-a-bloc in cupboards, it's stacked against the wall.

What can we do with it all? Well, we can put it in storage, of course. I'm about to use one of those curiously soulless warehouses, therein to bung an assortment of books, DVDs, CDs, furnishings, guitars and, you know, whatnot.

I use the word "bung" advisedly. I'm far too busy to have proper systems for things, and the objects will just end up where they're lobbed. What's the point of stashing away objects carefully? You never, ever find what you're looking for anyway.

If that's what it's like for mere mortals, what must it be like for Amazon? You've probably seen, or even passed on the motorway, the online retailer's massive warehouses.

If I order The Macrobiotic Cure for Syphilis - "slight fraying to edge of cover; allow two years for delivery" — how do they know where to find it? Maybe Amazon parcels take so long to come because they've had to send someone off with a rucksack and five day's provisions to find your tome or other object of desire.

But, according to a film on the BBC's website, Amazon uses "chaotic storage" to help its pickers locate stuff.

It's not all that chaotic. They know which aisle the object's in, but the chaos lies in how the objects are placed next to each other: higgledy, as it were, piggledy.

They don't put similar items together. Books aren't placed beside other books (at least of similar size), nor bottles with other bottles, nor wigs with wigs. By putting objects of different shape and size next to each other, it's easier to find the one you want.

Amazon calls it "random stow". It's been hailed as revolutionary. But I've been doing it for years.

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