The last few days have been totally mad. I decided to put my old bread maker on eBay, fully expecting to get no responses. But someone was prepared to pay for it to be shipped to them, which entailed me researching a courier. And all the other activities that go with sending a somewhat fragile item through the post.

On the way home from my first Leeds Permaculture Network (LPN) committee meeting this evening, the bread maker was finally dispatched. So, that’s a bit of purposeful decluttering done and now I can turn my attention to a completely different matter.

The matter in question is fundraising for LPN. This is a new venture for me indeed, so it looks like I’m onto yet another learning curve. However, we need some cash to take things forward, rather than coasting along, reacting  to rather than actually being at the forefront of positive change.

Anyway, we shall see. In the meantime, here’s a shot of the wild flower patch at Old Sleningford Farm. If only there was space for one of these chez moi – but I’ve never got this kind of seeds to grow, so better that I gave my seeds (courtesy of Kew Gardens’ scheme to provide more habitats for pollinators) to the farm.



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.
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27 Responses to Distractions

  1. The flowers are so bright and cheery! Best of luck with your fundraising.

  2. mybrightlife says:

    Have often thought about trying to sell my old stuff online but the postage issue always gets in my way!

    • Helen says:

      I know! I had hoped to have someone come and collect the bread maker but the couple seemed genuinely keen on having a replacement, so I accepted their offer. Not sure I will do it again – it’s just too time-consuming……

  3. Lovely update Helen thanks for sharing have a blessed day

  4. TheDigger says:

    Wow, that flower meadow is beautiful!

  5. We LOVE wild flower meadows – gorgeous picture! Hope the fundraising goes well. AoF x

  6. Congrats on the sale and the decluttering. Best of luck with the fundraising.

    • Helen says:

      Thank you, Alys. The decluttering is an uphill struggle but the fundraising should be interesting.

      • Helen, have your read Marie Kondo’s book? A lot of my associates and friends are finding great success with her simple method.

        Here’s the link: http://tidyingup.com/

        • Helen says:

          Thank you for the link! I will look into the book. In truth, the main cause of the mess – the ‘tangled mess of noddles’ she describes’ is down in part to my laziness. Though that is also because of procrastinating over what seems to be an insurmountable task 😉

          • I work with many clients who start from a place of feeling overwhelmed. I also doubt you are lazy, and instead are a busy, single mom with a job, a garden and other interests to keep you fully engaged. If you read the book, you’ll see that she has you break everything down into bit size chunks. You start with just clothes, for instance, and don’t move on to the next thing till done. Then books, and so on. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

          • Helen says:

            That sounds logical. If you think of advice about dealing with other problems, the suggestion of breaking things down into manageable chunks is given there 🙂

            And true, I do have to sit down sometimes…. I need to educate my daughter more about being tidy and set firmer limits about how long she can play for etc. The thing is to encourage rather than control I believe, but it’s hard going 😉

        • Helen says:

          We did take more stuff to charity today and I managed only to buy two reels of cotton thread in return, which I do actually need 🙂

          • Excellent! That is half the battle: keeping things out of our houses that we don’t need.

          • Helen says:

            Yes… And persuading my daughter that she doesn’t need it. She’s finding it hard to let go of her baby stuff, unfortunately….

          • It takes time for them to let go of things. We often are ready for them to let things go before they are. My son virtually emptied his room last year (at age 13). He was suddenly done with it all. One thought is to pack it away in a ‘special place’ for the time being, then ask her again in six months if she misses it. Or, let her pick a few favorites, then set the rest aside. Chances are she’s attached to what the things represent. Once she’s old enough, she’ll be able to sort it out. Meanwhile, you’re setting a good example by reducing your current possessions and limiting new ones.

          • Helen says:

            I remember myself being very upset when my mum threw away my panda (she now regrets it). It was on the top of the bin and I kept stroking it till it was gone. So good you let your son hold onto his stuff until he personally was ready to let go.

            The issue in my case now is serious lack of space. We are full to the rafters, so my daughter can’t have any more appropriate toys etc until we get rid of what is taking up the space. A lot of the stuff I’m talking about is complete tat and she has never touched it anyway. Or like the box which held an upright vacuum cleaner and has been used as a bed for her cuddlies, and which has sat in the middle of our living room for two years. It blocks the way to the window and the bookcase. I have felt the need for it to go for a long time but finally my daughter has started to understand the distress this obstruction causes me and agreed to it moving on ( though not the toys, which I do understand😊).

          • The fact that she understands your distress is a huge step. Face it, kids are self-centered. They eventually learn otherwise through our examples and deeds, but it takes time. Some adults never learn it and I’m sure you’ve met one or two on your path throughout the years. Would you mind sharing how old she is?

            I have a suggestion for you to try, but not knowing her age, this may not work just yet.

            Instead of approaching your situation as “we need to get rid of things” instead try “I want our environment to be open, spacious and inviting”. Let her know that you can entertain more friends, relax, and feel at ease when you have open space, light and room to move. Together you could put together a list of ideas. You might also try modeling. Start out with some things you can do: I think I’ll donate that extra chair to make room, or this weekend I’m going to go through everything in this room and only keep what’s really necessary.

            Try the “If it’s not beautiful or useful” then let it go.

            Another idea is to take a hard look at what might be useful one day. If its not useful in the foreseeable future, out it goes. You no longer have the space for that category, and it is robbing you of a peaceful home.

            Each of you can write your own mission statement at the top of the list. Yours might be: I want to come home to a place where I can relax after a long day. In order to relax, my home needs a place for everything, room to move around, air and light.

            Hers might be I want a place to keep things that are precious to me. I want to be able to invite a friend for a visit with room to play.

            Keeping check back to your own feelings about your beloved, tossed plushy. I’ve heard similar stories again and again. The trauma you experienced comes from the fact that your plushy wasn’t just a thing but an object thar represented comfort and safety and warmth. When children are really ready to let go of something like that, it’s often found one day abandoned in a corner with dust. Then it can go. Some children even kill off an imaginary friend. They no longer need them, so off they go.

            Keep in mind that children can’t usually work at the same pace. They may only be able to handle one thing at a time. I worked with a neighbors girls once. They had over 100 plushies. I asked each of them how many they thought would be a good number to keep. Once we had that number, they each chose their favorites. We quickly cut the collection in half. You can also make a rule: all plushies live here: in one corner, one box, one basket, or one corner of the bed. Space is finite.

            In your situation, you’re not talking about one precious thing, but an accumulation of things. And I remember well the beloved cardboard box filled with toys in a corner of the living room. My boys are now 15 and 18 and most of what they love lives in a mobile phone. 🙂

            Finally, you’re a single, busy mom and that alone requires an enormous amount of time and energy. You owe it to yourself and your daughter to make your home a welcoming place. Best of luck on the journey.

          • Helen says:

            Thank you very much for your thoughtful and detailed response, Alys. My daughter is nearly nine, so in some ways quite mature in terms of being to empathise, and working with her in the ways you suggest appeal to me.

            That said, I have explained about how house not being as inviting as it could be (I am sorely embarrassed to tell the truth) but I am not sure just how ready she is to take this on board. Even though she has seen plenty of homes which are uncluttered and much more relaxed, she can’t make the comparison. On the other hand, her motivation to have room for a piano was high enough to help me dismantle the sofa.

  7. Jackie says:

    Have you tried freecycle for getting rid of stuff? You don’t get cash like with e-bay but if you just want to get rid of things, it’s local so people are usually willing to come and collect. I’ve disposed of some quite useless (to me but useful to others) things that way; and old carpet, a broken step-ladder, plants, magazines, jam jars – all sorts of things. It can get quite addictive.

    • Helen says:

      I can imagine it being addictive 😉

      Amazed what you can get rid of through freecycle…. I’ve just been dismantling my sofa to make room for a piano and am keeping the padding (wadding and foam, the former for crafts and the latter for loft insulation). I had hoped to be able to use the wood in the frame for raised beds but it is too difficult to break up. However, if someone wanted your broken step ladder, maybe someone would like my sofa frame (before I ask the council to take it away)?!

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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