My son's room looks a bit sad now he's gone off to university. You would have thought, after all my moaning, that I'd be glad to see it empty of odd socks, old bus tickets and dirty coffee cups. But it looks all forlorn.
"He'll be back," says my husband. "There's only a few weeks till Christmas."
On Sunday, I find my daughter in his room, using the computer. (This may be because there's more space than in her own room, which is knee-high in rubbish.) I sit on the bed and look around at the unusual tidiness.
"I do like this room," I say.
"Why?" says my daughter, who is trying to get it back to its old state by doing some kind of art project that involves shredding bits of tissue paper all over the floor.
"Because you can see the garden," I say.
Back downstairs, I start thinking. I feel very mean, because he's only been gone five minutes. But I think about all the things I could do with my son's room.
I could make new curtains and turn it into a guest room. (We've never had a guest room. Visitors make do with a blow-up mattress.)
Or I could buy comfortable chair and a second TV and have somewhere to go when my husband's watching Top Gear.
Research from the office products company Staples says that nearly 80VIRTUAL-Gallery-145076%