Designing a life

For a long time now I’ve been chuntering to both myself and the world at large about the chaos in my life. At work, I am organised and with it but outside the workplace I feel I am constantly battling against the disorganisation.

I thought that going part-time would provide the solution. Two days at home each week would give loads of ‘me’ time to do all the extras that were being neglected. Sadly, while my garden was getting a fair amount of attention, the house was becoming more and more cluttered and causing a stress burden I don’t really need.

Then last month I bought the wonderful book pictured below:


The part I have found most relevant to me at the current time is the chapter on designing your life. In other words, sorting out what it is you want and working out how to get it.

In the book there is an example of a mind map created by a mother like me who felt that things weren’t quite as she wanted in her life. This I used as the basis for the mind map I have created for myself this evening.


In essence, I did a SWOT analysis of the area of my life which is in urgent need of attention: decluttering. Thus, I looked at my own strengths and weaknesses, then the opportunities and threats (challenges) with regard to bringing greater harmony to my home.

This activity was cathartic in itself and I would highly recommend you have a go for that reason alone. Beyond that, I have worked out a strategy for decluttering and making room for space in my home environment. This in turn I hope will both energise and sooth me.

Basically, I realise that I need to create a framework at home, much as I have at work and plan what I am going to do in the blocks which I designate for sorting out the house. My daughter also needs to be involved and we have in fact already had a productive discussion, the upshot of which is that a broken tiara has now gone in the bin.

I don’t intend half our possessions to go in the bin, I hasten to add. The aim is to stop things getting broken and therefore needing to go in the bin, if possible. Much easier if they are tidied away – if we actually need them and can therefore keep them!

And if nothing else, we have to stop acquiring stuff – at least until we know what we need and where we can keep it…. Wish me luck☺️.

About Helen

I have always been interesting in living a more environmentally friendly lifestyle and used to do what I could. Now, I have come to realise that we have reached such a point in terms of environmental degradation that it is more important - perhaps - to focus on building resilience. I therefore do as much as I can to reuse, grow my own and encourage a supportive community, for example. I also keep reading and learning all the time.
This entry was posted in Good for the environment, Make do and mend, Permaculture, Social and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Designing a life

  1. gaiainaction says:

    Wishing you ‘luck’ Helen. It must be in the air at the moment because that is exactly what I’m at as well. The other night I was awake for hours, pleasantly planning my uncluttering strategy! Might invest in that book you showed. I have some plans drawn up and am going to work it in blocks which is the only way to do it and stay sane. 🙂

    • Helen says:

      Staying is definitely the preferred option! I hope you are successful in your endeavours to declutter, too😊.

      If you do get the book, I hope you find it as inspirational as I do.

      • gaiainaction says:

        I have just looked at the Amazon ‘look inside’ facility and it does look interesting, the more so as I am really wanting to do just that – permaculture in my garden.
        Thank you Helen.

        • Helen says:

          This book isn’t about gardening but the application of permaculture in society, though I think you could apply the methologies to any and all aspects of life, including of course gardening. (Wouldn’t want you to fork out for something only to be disappointed.)

          • gaiainaction says:

            Thanks Helen, yes had actually gathered that and like the whole concept, it is great as I would expect the book to give a good insight into the whole mentality of permaculture, I am sure there is lots to think about and apply in life.

          • Helen says:

            Looby Macnamara does a very good job of explaining permaculture concepts within a social framework. At the same time, in reading the book, I realise that many ideas are extentions of other theories (eg the SWOT analysis I mention, though I don’t think she uses this term, but rather it is something I have extrapolated from my own prior knowledge and experience).

  2. Good luck Helen … 🙂 I must check out that book. Heaven only knows I would love to ‘unclutter’.

    • Helen says:

      Just about everyone I speak to would like to get rid of their clutter!
      When I was in my twenties and living abroad, I lived out of a suitcase. Incredible to believe how much stuff I’ve got now…… Anyway, thank you for wishing me good luck😊.

  3. Lovely post Helen as we unpack our boxes from our moving we sent quite a lot to Charity shops clothes we never wear old books we will never read again so in away we are DE cluttering it amazing how much staff that is no longer needed

  4. Great post, Helen. Interesting to think about applying the principles of permaculture to other aspects of life. Good luck with the decluttering! 🙂

    • Helen says:

      Thank you! It is going to be a long job – but another success today: I’ve persuaded my daughter to give away an old school skirt. Small steps and all that 😉.

  5. mybrightlife says:

    Oh boy. I am walking the same path….good luck your side. Keep us posted and inspired!

  6. afarmingartist says:

    I can relate. I loved your mind map. Clutter is so stressful on everyone in the house. I have always been disorganized, but I am working to improve. Last summer I cleaned out my entire basement and organized every closet in the house, and it felt great. I had donate, trash and electronic recycle boxes which I promptly delivered that day. With 3 active sons and a husband who works crazy hours it’s hard to keep a regular cleaning routine. Living with less is very liberating. Congratulations.

I love to read about your own experiences and any other feedback you have, so look forward to your comments below.

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