Decluttering Keeps Me Sane

Physical clutter begets mental clutter. The minimalists who pare their wardrobe down to 33 items are onto something smart,” –
Linda Esposito on Psychology Today

Seriously mother, you will be more happy with less stuff.

Raised by a mother that likes to buy new clothes, shoes, bags almost every month, I tend to have the same behavior with stuff but mostly with shoes. I love pretty shoes. I can recall my most epic shopping moment is when I bought six shoes in one time when I found a counter that sells Steve Maddens shoes for a ridiculously low price.

But those rarely happen, we can’t afford to have that kind of (barbaric) shopping spree. But can you imagine if I have a bigger income, yet still maintain my shopping habit like that? How much stuff do I need to store, clean and choose every day?

Last month, I went to my friend’s place where she stayed in a 4×4 m2 room exclude her private bathroom. For her clothes storage, there is only a two doors-wardrobe, and she fills it with too much stuff. It is really packed, that makes her new-pressed clothes get wrinkle again when she squished them into that wardrobe. She has beautiful collections, but it’s hard to see their charm once you look into her closet. You need more effort.

I don’t think bigger wardrobe will solve her problem, nor dreamy walking closet a la Clueless. *Unless she has a private stylist and butler that will meticulously take care all her possession.

“Those STORAGE ‘solutions’ are really just a means within which to BURY POSSESSIONS THAT SPARK NO JOY” – Marie Kondo

That’s true, it is not just about the size of the room, the wardrobe, nor the organizing method. Our parents regularly sorted and gave their clothes or other stuff that still in good condition to others, and they have storage for EVERY item. But, I often feel suffocate among those storages (bookcase, cupboard, containers, etc). There are too many things. Do your parents keeping many knickknacks on their house? like wedding favor, souvenir, decorating stuff that being kept for years.

Learn from them, I don’t want to start hoarding miscellany. My husband and I never bought and display any souvenirs from our trips to our house. All the memories are kept in the digital version, so does my book collections. Of course, nothing could beat the joy of reading a book and flipping its pages, but until I can make a time to read books for pleasure I’ll stick with the Kindle.

Minimalist Millennial Mother

Be a stay at home mother, I don’t want to spend most of my time cleaning up the house, but I don’t feel comfortable to leave my house messy either, so what I need to do is minimalize the cluttering. By doing so, I can have more time to do other activities that can feed my brain and soul.

Yeah, keeping the house neat while raising a toddler? this combo doesn’t add up right. But, based on my experience, we can lower the level of the clutter. This is what researchers said about the benefit for kids of having fewer toys/stuff:

#1 Learn to tidy up, be responsible for her space

Having fewer toys didn’t discount the fun in her play time. On the contrary, there’s an experiment that shows fewer toys at some point will stimulate kids to be more creative to invent games and use their imagination to play.

I noted, Najwa only spends less than 5 minutes when playing alone with her toys. Instead, she can spend hours with her friends by using random stuff. She often plays with her girls-squad here in our neighborhood, and one of her friends has abundant pricey toys that make her playroom just like a toy shop.

Despite the gap in the number of toys, Najwa’s house still is the most visited place to play, they usually flocking into our house start at 2 pm.

Together we spent our time doing some experiments, making arts, do worksheets, playing outside, chatting, and lots of role play. This also applies to a baby or one-year-old Najwa back then.

Oh, and another perk for having fewer toys is, they won’t feel overwhelmed looking all the mess they made. After several trainee session, they really good at tidying up the room again 🙂

Najwa with all her possessions.
Yes, all of her uniforms, clothes, plushy, and toys already in the frame. Things that exclude are her (five) shoes, two other bags, books and some of her stationary. *The white box is bigger than it looks (45 cm x 52 cm x 21cm) by IKEA.

#2 Embrace the value of sharing

I love the idea of sharing stuff, it's good for our budgets,
reduce clutter in our home, encourage us to meet new people,
and great social experience for kids.

On our bookshelf, we only have a book set of Halo Balita and less than a dozen kid books, we didn’t plan to add more books to our bookshelf, yet.

Luckily we live at Jagakarsa, 4.5 km from RIMBA BACA – our favorite library. They have superb collections, we prefer to borrow lots of good quality books, and having some great time there. We even made a sharing circle among Najwa’s girl-squad, so everyone has an opportunity to read all the books before we return them all on our next biweekly visit.

*Rimba Baca’s yearly member fee is IDR 330k, every member can borrow 5 books per visit, and do in-house activities there: coloring, feeding rabbits and turtle, playing finger puppets, wear some fun hats. Non-member needs to pay IDR 30k per visit, without borrow any book.

#3 Help kids to be more focus

Based on feedback from Najwa’s teacher, she needs to develop a longer attention span. Luckily, while reading more reference for this topic, I read that researchers from the University of Toledo published a study in The Journal of Infant Behavior and Development called, “The Influence of the Number of Toys in the Environment on Toddler’s Play.”

"Fewer toys at once may help toddlers to focus better, 
and play more creatively."

Yes, the number of toys in our homes matter. Between kids with four toys or sixteen toys, which one do you think has more sustained levels of attention? Toys can act as a distraction, and kids still need our help to provide an environment with fewer disruptions.

“Toys are not merely playthings. Toys form the building blocks for our child’s future. They teach our children about the world and about themselves. They send messages and communicate values. And thus, wise parents think about what foundation is being laid by the toys that are given to their kids.”

Joshua Becker on

So does clothes, and other stuff. I keep her (and our) stuff minimal by limiting the storage, I hope it can set her future behavior towards stuff.

Our Prophet Muhammad always promotes modesty thru his simple way of life. Nowadays we can see the minimalist lifestyle massively adopt by conscious citizens, but Prophet Muhammad already set the bar from 1400 years ago. He was a wealthy man, married with a super-rich widow, and he born from a respected and wealthy family too. They can have everything a la Crazy-Rich-Arabian, but choose to live in simplicity.

I’m not a minimalist by nature, but by time, I feel this lifestyle makes me save more; in financial, efforts, and time. I feel super comfortable for giving my heart into this way of life. How about taking this to another level in 2019? (^o^)

Buat saya, patokan level hidup minimalis yang membahayakan itu: stok baju Najwa habis setelah 7 hari ga nyuci baju.

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