Small Steps

Small steps make big progress. It’s a fact. All the minimalism and slow living folk talk about it. Joshua Becker. Courtney Carver. Brooke McAlary. The Art of Decluttering podcast ladies call it, micro decluttering. Small actions, when there are enough of them, do lead to a big change. This applies to anything really. Grassroots campaigns sweeping the world even. I live by mottoes of similar mantras “The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step” (Lao Tzu, on my fridge magnet), “A job begun is half done,” my teacher used to say. “Done is better than perfect”, a friend told me last year.

Below are some of my small actions that are getting things done in my life this year and last. File under REPAIR AND REUSE.

  1. Found a rain jacket I’ve had about a decade. I used it again, only to find a large tear under one arm that I forgot about. Tried a couple of avenues for repair. Ended up having the local seamstress in the mall repair it for me at discount, I gifted it to a friend who needed a jacket just for now. Asked her to donate it to charity when she was done.
  2. Gathered a bunch of maxi dresses I have only worn as skirts for years, and some clothes I bought at a ‘vintage store’ (ahem, op shop) last year. Took them in for alterations to the same seamstress in the mall. Voila, clothes that fit and tops chopped off of dresses so that they are now skirts.
  3. Expensive dress got a big stain over Christmas. Instead of leaving it and ignoring it, I gathered it up and whisked it to the dry cleaner to see what they could do. A few days later, OMG the stain actually came out. New dress again.
  4. Necklaces, I’m slowly gathering all my bead necklaces that just continually break under wear and tear. Noticed a small kiosk in a local mall that repairs bead necklaces. Finally! Been on the lookout to repair these for years, given my attempts at buying special bead string and repairing myself failed (string too thick, beads glued on). As soon as I’ve gathered all the broken necklaces and COVID passes, I’ll be off to the repair shop.
  5. Located a bunch of old compact discs that were super easy to send to the recycling station at my local library. Old software from old computers. Language learning basics – for languages I already speak. Too easy.
  6. Sold on gumtree an old i-Shuffle that I won, after restoring it to factory settings.
  7. Had a pile of books I wanted to read and declutter. Showed them to a friend, she picked her favourites. I read those first and gave them to her.
  8. Took a bunch of books to a small shop inside the Adelaide Central Market. They bought some from me, I donated a few more. Nice to make a financial gain on books!
  9. Tried on a whole bunch of clothes and did a big sort and donation of clothes I no longer liked or that no longer fit. The timing was good last year as I’d been away several years and “outgrown” certain items.
  10. Noticed a broken but much loved and used bowl from my stick mixer set. Chased up the manufacturers who referred me on to their parts suppliers. Ordered new piece to go with my set – identical to my old bowl – and threw out the old one. Cost a fraction of replacing the whole set.

What’s great about taking small actions is that it really does add up, and creates a momentum, a habit of taking action when you notice something needs fixing, or can be thrown away, or decluttered because it has served its purpose and you’re ready to move on. I’d like to think that with COVID and isolation the world over, we have all found little steps we could take to create bigger change.

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