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Take Smaller Steps

by Rochelle Melander

Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.

– Vincent VanGogh

I’ve got a house full of stuff. Some I collected, some I inherited, some my children left behind. It overwhelms me. When I think about decluttering, and I think about that a lot, I feel overwhelmed.

This year a friend recommended I download the decluttering calendar created by Taylor Flanery of Home Storage Solutions. Each day, the author recommends a different decluttering project. We start the year in the kitchen, tossing outdated food and organizing pots and pans. I’m rocking this. Not only do I not treasure my expired tuna, I also have plenty to get rid of. I’m building momentum. (You read about my success with this a couple of weeks ago in “Tools to Write More in 2024”)

But there’s another reason this is working for me.

Small steps.

I declutter for just fifteen minutes a day. I created a daily cleaning and tidying routine. I know when I’ll work. The calendar tells me what to do.

We’re just three weeks into the new year, and I can see a difference already. My dishes aren’t piled up. I can easily access anything I need in the pantry. Yay.

Taking small steps have helped me write more this year, too.

Each morning, I spend fifteen minutes working on a new writing project. Because I created a topic list, I don’t have to wonder about what I might write about. I have plenty of ideas to choose from. Now it’s just a matter of taking that small step.

At the end of a year, I hope to have a big, hairy rough draft. It will need taming, but don’t they all?

Your turn

I know you have writing goals. I’m guessing that some of you are hacking away at them every single day. Or maybe you sit down once a week or so to write. I’m also guessing that a few of you are putting off that writing until you have more time.


Schedule fifteen minutes a day to write.

Make a list of ten topics you need to write about for your project. Or ten scenes that you need to write for your novel. Or ten themes you want to cover in poems. You get the idea.

Then do it. Every day, take one small step toward your goal.

If it feels too big, take a smaller step.

That’s how you write a book. Or declutter your house. Or do just about anything, it turns out.

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