Tiny Steps in Three Directions for Week 45 (Decluttering and Simplifying 2010)
I’ve made some very tiny steps of progress in three areas that are very important to me, and I’ll tell you about them today.
A small box of utterly useless stuff is ready to go to Goodwill, and a few bits of paper from around the house are gone. It’s not much, but it’s some progress.
I’ve also started reducing the amount of clothing I own — again. I wear the same five or six items every week, but I still have much more clothing than that. Near the beginning of this 52-week journey, I dramatically reduced the amount of ill-fitting and ill-chosen clothing I had, but I’ll be working over the coming weeks to eliminate even more. Those items that fit except… well, except for whatever small thing, really, will be going.
I’d like to get my wardrobe down to a lean, mean collection of things I really enjoy wearing. Then, I can make a trip to my favorite thrift stores and find some things to fill in any gaps.
I’m also on a journey to reduce my living expenses. The biggest drain on our household budget, our mortgage, can’t really be altered at the moment, so that huge piece will have to wait. I can, however, make some progress on the smaller things.
The second biggest expense we have is our (one) car. With David planning a return to working outside the house, we may actually need two again, but that’s a discussion for another week. The payments on our 2009 Camry are higher than I’d like, the car is larger than I thought and it is already starting to show signs of mechanical issues, so I think it’s time to get a smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicle. I hope we can do that in the next three or four weeks, but I need to research some prices first.
That leaves me with only the monthly bills over which I have any control today. Early this week, I checked to see why I was paying $15.95 a month for my postage printing software (needed for my bookselling business) when my mother pays $9.95 for the same service, and I realized I was paying for upgraded services I no longer need. So I downgraded and saved $6 a month. I’m working on eliminating another bookselling fee that will save me $25 per month, too. I just need to make sure I don’t lose a feature I need.
I’m always checking bills for ways to save, but every couple of years I take a closer look. Since my income is at a low point, this is a good time for every bill to get a review. I’m also still trying to find a way to eliminate our $36-per-month trash service, but that isn’t practical yet. (Please read my article Generating a Handful of Trash a Week from May 5, and have a look at that article’s related posts, too. Comments are still open on that post and every post at So Much More Life.)
Returning to Freelance Writing
As the bookselling business that has been supporting me since 2003 continues in its own little depression, I’m returning to freelance writing. I started my return several months ago, but I’m making a little progress recently.
I started freelancing at age 17, and most of my work was journalism then. But I’m more interested in marketing writing, essays and ghost-blogging these days. And I have a client or two. It’s very low-paying work, but it’s giving me a chance to sharpen my skills and bring in some much-needed additional income.
Like in the other two areas mentioned above, it’s very, very small progress, but it is steps in the right direction, and that’s an improvement.
Tiny, tiny steps forward, I’m learning, are much, much better than slipping backwards — and they’re better than standing still, too.
Nothing earth-shattering happened this week, but a few dollars saved, a few dollars made and a few things eliminated is very nice.