The dreaded decision

2013-10-29 08.55.49Ok folks, it is your turn to help me declutter, or not.

Just over three years ago, as many of you will remember, I almost lost my son in a terrible bicycle accident. I am certain that he would not be here today had he been one of those foolhardy young people too stubborn to wear a helmet. I see them all the time, some riding along with the helmet hanging over the handlebars when it should be on their heads. Or worse still, perched on their heads with the strap undone ~ I really, really can’t understand the mentality of that decision. Please keep in mind the we have helmet laws here in Australia deeming it compulsory to wear a helmet when riding on public roads.

But I digress. The shattered helmet (photographed above) that saved my son’s life, or at least saved him from a fate worse than death, is still sitting on a shelf in my garage. My husband and I have, so far, avoided  making a decision as to whether we will declutter it. I have consulted both my son and his sister as to whether either of them want the helmet but both have declined. My son has kept the buckled bike frame for now with intentions of possibly using it in an art project. It is at his house so is not an issue for me.

Logic tells me that…

  • …it is just one more thing to fit in to our small apartment when we move in.
  • …I still have my son so I don’t need to keep this thing as some kind of macabre souvenir.
  • …that it is of no use to anyone.

My heart tells me that…

  • …this thing saved my son’s life.
  • …I could put it on display to remind us how lucky we were.

Keep in mind that there is hardly a sentimental item in our home that I wouldn’t happily get rid of should my husband give the nod. I think he thinks I am a little heavy handed with the decluttering of my life’s mementos at times. But this item, I am not too sure whether I am ready to let go. On the other hand I don’t want it cluttering up the limited space in our new apartment. And there isn’t much point in storing it in a cage in the basement. Today’s mini mission was a coincident but perhaps it is trying to tell me something.

Tell me what you think.

Today’s Mini Mission

Declutter a sports related item. No longer used equipment, uniforms, souvenirs or even trophies.

Eco Tip for the Day

Where possible use less of things. You might be surprised how regularly you use more of some things than you need. Here are some products you could probably stand to use less of ~ less shampoo, less conditioner, less laundry detergent, less dishwashing liquid, less toothpaste, hand cleanser, car wash… Quite often advertisements and manufacturers instructions suggest we use more than what we really need. So using even more than that is a fools game, wasting product and your hard earned cash and increasing supply due to demand.

For a full list of my eco tips so far click here

It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow

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  • Coming full circle ~ By Nicole V He awoke with a start, his heart pounding from the strange dreams that he’d had. He had no idea how long he’d slept. The inky darkness stretched all around him … and the silence, the […]
About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.


  1. Let. It. Go.

  2. I would take a picture of it and remember that it is not only the helmet, but the hand of God that saved your son.

  3. Hi Colleen. That’s a tough call and a very personal decision. It’s understandable that you and your husband have held on to the item this long, but it is one of those things that would not be useful to anyone else. It’s probably time to let it go, but only you know that answer for sure.

  4. Just asking the question means that you’re probably ready to let it go…

    I, personally, wouldn’t want to keep something like that around, but everyone is different.

  5. Take a photo and say goodbye to the helmet.

  6. Since you are asking, I think you are ready. Like several said take a picture first, that will be enough if you have an urge to look at it. Also if your son and your daughter do not want it, they have moved on. Like everything else we let go of, you will probably never ever miss it. I’m always surprised that about a week after something goes, I do not miss it at all and an only very glad it is gone–even though I thought I would miss it at least a little. But if you really truly aren’t ready, keep it a little longer. Maybe decide on a date to consider it again. You can hug your son, but not his helmet.

  7. Bike helmet manufacturers often will collect broken helmets and the stories that go with them as will medical professionals and anyone doing education about the importance of wearing your helmet when riding. We are in the states and just sent my husbands broken helmet (head was fine, collarbone not so much) back to bell and got a coupon towards a new helmet for him. So my vote is for letting it go in a way that will do good.

    • Hi Eve, thank you for that information. American companies are so much more generous with that sort of thing than Australian ones. I did write an email including a photo to the manufacturer of my son’s helmet. They were happy to receive it and responded quickly but there was no request for me to send them the helmet or offer of coupons.

  8. lose it.
    you are so lucky to have your son.
    don’t need broken helmet reminder.
    btw. i still have the stone washed out of my sons hip after a bad skateboarding accident, so who am i to talk.

    • Hi Eema, thank you for your input on the helmet issue. I have decided to get rid of it. I told my son yesterday and he said good. He is a good little declutterer just like his mum.
      You must have a son like mine. Mine is also a skateboarder. Oddly enough, aside from one sprained ankle and the odd bruise my son has never had much in the way of skateboarding injuries. It is a miracle though. He doesn’t wear a helmet for that and skateboards on the road at times. And this is since his brain injury. Young men, they are a danger to themselves. I wish you luck with yours.

  9. Thank you again to all those who have commented on this topic, either here or via email and facebook. I appreciate each and everyone of you. I can’t possibly keep up with them all. However I wanted to let you know that I did send an email, with photo, to the Adura Helmets company and they responded very quickly with the following reply…

    Hi Colleen,

    Thank you for the email.
    I can see that you can have a connection to something that has saved a lot of loss, but saying that the helmet is designed to do just that and we receive a lot of feed back with thanks.
    I can see by the photo that the helmet has received an impact far above the test limits, so it was luck that he was wearing a good quality helmet that was up to the job.
    I hope that your son makes a full recovery and he can still enjoy cycling.
    Again thank you for the feedback, I print It out and show it to all the staff and it makes us feel good to know we are saving lives.

    Moni, you will be pleased to know they are a small New Zealand company. Go the Kiwis.

    My next task is to see if I can find a local cycling safety group who would like the helmet as an example to its students as to why helmets are so important.

    • I am late in replying to this. But I have strong feelings about it. First, you must follow your heart. It will never lead you wrong. Your son may grow up and have children of his own one day. And they will grow up and he will have to teach them and they will want to learn how to ride a bicycle. And he will want them to wear a helmet. And like all children, they will resist, since they all think they are immortal. Keeping that helmet and giving it to him, means that he can pull that helmet out and show it to his children and tell them how that shattered helmet could have been his own shattered head. And he wouldn’t be there if not for that helmet. I think that would be a pretty profound lesson. There are only a few times we have a chance to be able to “get through” to our children. I don’t believe that the effort to declutter means that we all need to become Henry David Thoreau. And it doesn’t mean that every day of our lives, we must be on the lookout for every single iota be thought though as to whether or not that item is a KEEP or TOSS item. Yes, get rid of the garbage. Toss or give away what you don’t need. But, stop obsessing. There is enough stress in our lives as it is. We don’t need to stress over each drawer in our house. We may have too many hangers, but good grief – is it that important that we need to write it down to remember to clear the excess out? Let’s spend some time making homemade bread instead. Peace, Annie