Monday, November 17, 2014

Toys (N Stuff) Are(n't) Us

Hello, lovely Friends!

The words "declutering" and "organization" might sound so boring sometimes, aren't they? We read and heard about tips on how to get organized and clutter free all the time, all over the internet and women's magazines. Sometimes, we got so overwhelmed that we don't even want to start decluttering.

Here, let me share with you one tip that might make getting rids stuff you don't need sounds more appealing and will give you satisfaction reward very quickly. No, it's not sell it, or donate it, or anything like that. You can do all those things, but I will suggest to do one more spesific thing that will give you joy.

Give it to someone you personally know. Donate it through someone you personally know. Lend it to someone you personally know. Swap it with someone you personally know.

The keyword is "someone you personally know". When you give or lend it to someone you personally know, the satisfaction reward is immediate. I tithe and donate to shelters and orphanages and causes, and it made me feel good. Let's admit it, as selfless as helping people might sound, - and it is a good thing that the Lord told us to do -, the warm feeling inside at the aftermath is an additional motivation for doing it, right. Especially, when I feel like I have helped someone whom I personally know, then the satisfaction and good feeling level increase tenfold.

Here are some examples of what I did from time to time...

Clothing, purses, shoes

Here in Indonesia, there is no such things as thrift stores. Wearing thrifted clothes are considered tacky and for the very poor, especialy by the older generation. There are many online stores selling "preloved" items nowadays by the younger generation, the tweenies and the twenties, but for me, it takes too many effort to take picture of each item then sell them. Especially because I don't have many branded stuffs, and the ones I have, I wear for years.
  • About once or twice a year - whenever we have time and commitment - Hubby and I would clean out our closet and get out the things we no longer want and the things that we have worn out.
  • The things we have worn out, usually are recycled. I have some purses and skirts made over from old jeans. Most of the worn out clothes, I cut up into pieces for rags, especially water absorbent materials. The rest, I wrapped in plastic bags and into the trash they go.
  • The clothings and shoes Hubby no longer want but still in mint condition, he spreads the words out to the local community if someone might want them. Usually our local helpers like chaffeur, neighborhood security personnel, and gardener, would gladly accept them. Once, a friend of his who just switched job from casual environment to office, more formal environment asked if he could take whatever office wear that Hubby doesn't want anymore but still in good condition, so he doesn't need to "use my first month salary just to purchase a whole new set of wardrobe to work for that salary". Hubby gave him, I think two pair of business shoes, four formal shirts, two formal slacks, and a blazer. He knows these people personally, and he said it feels so good to know that the clothings and shoes that he had paid with good money, that had served him well for so long, that he no longer cared to wear - because even a man can get bored wearing the same dozen or so formal shirts over and over for two or three years in a row - still can be stretched for good use by his friends.
  • I wrapped my good clothing and purses and give them also to our local helpers: our child minder, our gardener's wife, etc. Some time ago, I wrapped a lot of good clothings in a box and sent it over to a volunteer friend, who then brought all the donations herself - she chartered a plane - across the country where there was a natural disaster. They needed clothing desperately instead of money because over there, they could not buy clothes, eventhough the money was available. I wouldn't know who will get the clothes, but I could be 100% sure they will reach the purpose they were given, because I personally know my friend who volunteered directly for this natural disaster shelter. Trust me, it felt so much better than donating to just a local shelter where I do not know anyone there personally.
Baby neccessities and toys

My son doesn't care for toys. He has a very limited number of toys. It's not because I cannot afford to buy him some inexpensive "decent" toys, or we're being stingy, but because he really doesn't care for them, and I don't intend to let mountains of unused, uncared toys, piled and scattered around his room, or invading the rest of the house, like I often see in houses with little children. After several attempt to entice him with toys, I gave up and let him play with whatever his heart pleased, as long as it's not something dangerous. These are among his favorites:
  • Books.
  • Used parcel cart.
  • Blocks.
  • Doctor play set.
  • Plastic spoons and real grown up spoons.
  • Plastic food containers.

  • Plastic cups.
  • Laundry basket.
  • Cereal cardboard boxes.

  • House and car keys.
  • Real car. Yes, he loves car. He loves sitting in my or his father's car and makes cute "broom broom" noises. We took him to Timezone once to play with toy car, and he couldn't care less for them. Only real cars will do.

  • His bottles of baby lotion and powder.
  • Any kind of fabrics and free magazines.
  • Any kinds of remotes: AC remote, TV remote
  • Our wireless phone. Nope, he doesn't throw any kind of electronic devices. I don't know how he knows that if he throws them, they will get broken, but he does.
  • My pantry and everything in it.
  • Groceries.

  • My drawer of bath products and toiletries.
  • My purse and everything in it.
  • Any kinds of tins and cans.

  • His Daddy. We got him toy with buttons he can press and make noises, yet somehow he prefers to use his Daddy's nose as a button and ask his Daddy to make funny noises each time he presses the "button"!

Luckily, in the office, many of my coworkers had already had babies when I gave birth to Michael. We receive many baby neccessities and toys that either have been used but still in pretty good condition, or things that have not been used at all because the parents bought too many baby clothes or dolls or toys or whatever. Michael is still playing with some toys borrowed from friends. The toys he doesn't care, I returned so they could be passed on to other children. Even until now, there are still female coworkers or male coworkers' wives who are pregnant and expecting, and the baby stuffs are still rotating from parents to parents! Isn't it great! You can also do the swaps and rotating things with your neighbors, church members, or relatives.

  • A coworker's wife will have C-section in several weeks. At first he wanted to borrow Michael's baby bathtub, but then he told me that his parents have bought them one. I reminded him that the one he had doesn't have a stand, while mine has. After C-section, it would be so much easier for his wife to bath the baby standing up instead of kneeling down on the floor with the baby bathtub. "Just take my baby bathtub with the stand. Your wife will only use it for about three months, so it doesn't worth buying it. Just return it back to me afterward, so some other new Mommies can benefit from it later on." He agreed. Now I have extra space in my house because I don't need to keep the baby bathtub and its stand, and my coworker's wife doesn't need to hurt her incision by kneeling down when bathing her newborn.
  • Michael received lots of neccessities from other Mommy friends: newborn clothes (my friend bought a dozen too many), baby spa inflatable pool, baby walker, baby toys, teether, new baby bottles (again, my friend bought too many). I have returned some of the toys that Michael have outgrown, and they are being rotated again to some other coworkers' babies.
  • A friend of mine bought a baby crib that she only used for three months because the baby cosleep with the parents afterward. She then let a coworker borrowed it. Win win solution because the baby crib, she said, takes too much space in her tiny apartment! Also, she was quite happy to help a friend!
Books and DVDs

I collect books and Hubby collects DVDs. I love reading and he loves watching movies. Have you ever had the experience of buying some books and DVDs based on stellar reviews, then after reading or watching it once, you found out you don't like them and cannot even finish the story? Raising hands, here. Guilty as charge.
  • Some books, I sold to friends and the used bookstore.
  • Some DVDs, Hubby gave to friends.
  • Some books we donated to a friend who volunteered at a local orphanage school.
  • Some other, we just brought to the office, spread the words around, and within a couple of hours, coworkers gathered around my desk and got whatever book or DVD they wanted for free. At the end of the day, I went home with no books nor DVDs that I don't care about, and my drawers have some empty space for new books and DVDs! Best of all, I no longer need to stare at those unwanted, unloved books or DVDs and feel guilty about buying them!
I am trying to find more and more fun ideas on how to declutter and get organized and frugal and not to hoard stuff. I'm not into "limit your wardrobe into ten essential pieces" or anything like that, I love my stuff! Haha! Yet, I don't want to get too attached to stuff, if you know what I mean. I want stuff to remain what they are: stuff. They should be useful to human, they should give joy, they should be enjoyed, they should be shared when it is possible. Once a possession becomes too precious, it is no longer the owner's possession. Instead the owner becomes possessed by their possessions. Scary, huh!

You might ask me, how if I don't have anyone to share with, swap with, give to, or lend to? Well... I highly doubt it, but if by any circumstances you really don't know anyone who might benefit from your stuff, then well... just do the cliche: donate, sell and get rid of. Haha!

So, will you join me in giving away stuff you no longer want or need, and save someone else you know some money, and gives you joy in helping a friend? If you do, or have done something like that, please share with me in the comment section. If you know other posts highlighting the same topic, please share also!

Last week's to do list:

  • Read and contemplate on Hebrews 2.
  • Start reading Gary Thomas: Sacred Marriage.
  • Read Chapter 8 of Kitami Masao's "The Swordless Samurai: Friends and Family", a historical story of how a Japanese "warrior" who could not fight rose into power and unified all of Japan with his power of mind, interpersonal skills, and shrewdness.
  • Renovation project week 11: finishing walls, looking for gate maker, start buying floor tiles, looking for other stores to buy building materials; just in case.
  • Updating iTunes on my laptop, so I can upload files from my iPhone.
  • Organize the china closet.
  • Organize our book shelves.
  • Continue organizing my personal facebook pictures.
  • Buy, wrap and send wedding gift for Hubby's cousin.
  • Send caregiver care package to Bandung.
  • Looking for new childminder. Our current one is pregnant.
  • Write one fashion post.
This week's to do list:

  • Read and contemplate on Hebrews 2.
  • Reading Chapter 2 of Gary Thomas: Sacred Marriage.
  • Read Chapter 8 of Kitami Masao's "The Swordless Samurai: Friends and Family", a historical story of how a Japanese "warrior" who could not fight rose into power and unified all of Japan with his power of mind, interpersonal skills, and shrewdness.
  • Renovation project week 12: paving floor tiles, looking for bathroom sanitaire equipments.
  • Sell no-longer-read books to used book store.
  • Organize book collection to two existing boxes.
  • Organize personal facebook pictures collection from the year 2013.
  • Write one fashion post.
  • Change living room decoration from Fall to Christmas.
I'm linking up to these wonderful Ladies:



    Tuesday, November 11, 2014

    Week in Recap: Ordinary Life

    I am sad to say that Hubby's auntie, Aunt Marie, who I wrote here was battling cancer, has passed away yesterday on Monday. Please, kindly pray for her soul and for the family who is left behind, especially her children: Pram and Sheila. This is a truly mourning period for Hubby's family; with two of the youngest sisters/aunties in the family passed away within the period of less than a month.
    Hello, Friends!
    Last week had been a rough week and I've been really stressed out and running around like a headless chicken. Many arguments as well between Hubby and I, both of us were really drained last week, but thankfully, all have been resolved and we kissed and made up. Hurray!! Well, they say that a ship was not built to avoid the storms of the high seas, rite. So is marriage is not built just to withstand the good times, but also the bad times; sweet disposition as well as bad mood and fights. That's what makes it a covenant not to be taken lightly!
    On top of the many tasks needed finishing last week, we also got cheated by the store where we usually buy building material for our renovation project, named KendiM*s. She sent more expensive material for lesser quantity without notifying us, with an excuse that she is out of the cheap brand and she was trying to "help" us. Help us! She could just have sent a quick text telling us she was out, and we would have said OK anyway. When I said so, she said in a very impolite tone to take our business elsewhere, which I quickly reply "You dang sure we will!" This kind of dishonesty and rude attitude we will not tolerate, so no more business with that store! I was determined to find another, more honest, store to take our business to. And glad to say, we did find a better store with even better prices. Ha!
    But looking back, I realized that even during the extremely strenuous week, we still had many delightful, lovely moments sprinkled on top, middle, bottom and all around. ^__^ Allow me share with you, Friends, also as a reminder that even in the middle of the darkest pit, God still sends us small love packages tied with a pretty ribbon everyday!
    About food...
    On the weekend we decided to heat up some frozen dim sum that Hubby bought from a coworker. The dim sum came in packages of ten each, and overall they are way cheaper than if we go eat them at restaurants. We had siaomay and fried shrimp tofu. Hubby had some black coffee with a piece of chocolate biscuit with cream filling. I said dim sum is supposed to be eaten with green tea, but Hubby argued that it's Chinese tradition. In peranakan culture (mixed of Chinese and Malay culture, common in Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia), people have dim sum and coffee at Kopitiam or CoffeeShop. Delicious!
    Remember the little ice cream parlor Hubby and I went on the evening of Hubby's birthday? We went there again in the afternoon and this time, I made sure that I took lots of pictures! The place is really cute and it reminds me of my parents' home in my hometown. Lind's in an ice cream chain originated in my hometown, but they have opened several branches in other cities, including Jakarta where I live now. The interior and furniture is pretty similar to that of my parents' home: heavy wooden chairs and tables, some with marble tops, heavily gilded mirrors, huge Chinese vases, antique objects and ornaments and clocks. Ow, and lots of lots of greens that add more homey and secluded, serene ambiance.
     The wooden furnitures and lush greens makes this place feels nice and cozy.
    For me: Tazmanian devil. A mix of chocolate and moccha ice cream with hazelnuts, chocolate sauce topping, and cherry on top. Yummy and pretty looking, rite!
    For Hubby: Praline Macchiano. I guess it has lots of coffee ice cream in it. Not sure of the mix. As usual, my cofee lover husband ordered coffee to go with the ice cream. Look at the cute sugar sachet! I love pretty details like these!
    About Michael...
    Remember the wine and coffee station that I created for Hubby's post family birthday party? It was made of a small cart that was used for Christmas parcel, and now I repurposed the cart as a toy for Michael. He pretends that the cart is a train, and the dolls are his passenger. He has such a good time pushing the "train" around the house and made little "choo choo" noises, and collecting payment from the passengers! He really enjoys the game. I don't often buy Michael new toys. He just play with everyday things around the house. Even his dolls are not new, except one Winne The Pooh doll that I got him from grocery store, they are old dolls of mine or gifts that I laundered clean and gave him to play with. The reason is not just about being frugal with money, but also with space. I don't want toys invaded his playing space. Besides, I want him to be creative with whatever resources he has around, and appreciate his things. We don't want him growing up with the notion that he can ask for whatever newest game is out there and we will buy them for him.
    Actually, the main reason I kept the cart is for him to play with. However, over the past year, the little cart had served as his lunch station, cleaning supply container, and wine corner station! The time is just right to turn this little cart into "new toy", since Michael is now way too tall to push his walkers. The cart is the perfect height for him now.
    Michael has also learnt to put trash in the proper place: the trash can.
    Some might be horrified to see this picture of a toddler playing with Johnnie Walker boxes, but let me assure you that they are empty boxes. Hubby loves wine, so we do have a modest wine collection at home, but we don't keep any other alcoholic beverages. However, a part of my job is the Penthouse office, so sometimes I bring home empty beverage boxes for play or storage. The boxes are pretty sturdy because they are used to keep breakable bottles and they are very pretty, as well. Michael plays with them like legos, he organized them like blocks.
    Rrr... then he made them a stool of some sort. ^__^
    Michael is terrified of doctor's visits. That's why I had an idea to get him a doctor toy set so he can familiarize himself with the idea of doctor and immunization. While playing, I can also explain to him in simple words and sentences that doctors are not bad people who like to hurt him, they are there to help him, to heal him, and to avoid him of getting sick. This is the set I bought him. The set is for toddler aged three and above, but it should serve its purpose. I kept most of them in the drawer so we won't be losing them, and just gave Michael the stetoscope, the scissor (Michael thought it was a nail clipper), and the syringe needle. Oh, and the phone. Michael loves the phone, and having an old rotary phone is a new and interesting idea to him, since he only knows click and dial phone, or modern cell phones.
    Michael loves his new toy set! As result, his dolls, Mommy and Daddy, and the childminder are all turned into "patients". Here he is, looking so serious playing with stetoscope as dr. Lung M.D., with his "patients". Well, I'm not sure if our next doctor's visit will be more "peaceful", but it's worth a try. Besides, he's having a good time playing!
    About winding down afterhours...
    Last week was pretty tense, that Hubby had trouble sleeping. To try to induce him to a good night sleep, I tried a simple trick of aromateraphy. I don't like wearing perfume, but I have some body spray that people gave me as gifts. I usually share my gifts with the girls at the office, but I keep some things for myself, like this bodyspray from BodyShop called Pink Grapefruit. I have another one called Japanese Cherry Blossom, but this grape one is Hubby's favorite of the two, so I used this a lot last week. I sprayed our linen and his pillow as well as the curtain, and the subtle sweet scent permeated the bedroom, created peaceful and serene mood in preparation of a good night sleep. I don't know if it's a mental thing, like you were telling yourself "Oh, I'm using this so I will sleep well tonight", but it worked! If you have some trouble sleeping, you should try it. Tell me in the comments if you have tried something like this before and whether or not it worked for you. It worked for me and my husband.
    Hubby's reading all includes his cell phone. He reads e-books and news on tab and Samsung Galaxy Note before bedtime. I prefer to read real books or blogwalking or watching YouTube videos on my laptop before bedtime. My eyes are not keen to small screens like cell phones or even tablets. This kind of companionable time is what we have on most evenings before we go to bed. Sometimes we watch DVD or just talk.
    I know it's not good to snack before bedtime, but sometimes I like to indulge in moderation! These "worms" are cheese sticks with flour, egg and garlics and they are just devilicious! I try to keep my portion small, though.
    About small projects...
    One of my last week's to do list is to organize the top of my main bedroom fridge. I have two baskets there: one white with pink roses that I got at a Daiso store (kind of Japanese style Dollar Store), and the other is a brown box with green birds embroidered on it that used to be... guess what, a parcel container! I keep rolls of wrapping papers and aromateraphy sticks in the first basket, and all sort of junks in the other. I used to have used grocery plastic bags to line the room trash can, papers, odds and ends, my hairdryer and straightener, snacks, my glasses and glasses boxes, and lots of junks. Basically I threw everything that didn't have a home there in the basket! It looks ugly and overflowed!
    One of the small projects that I wanted to tackle last week was organizing this basket. I threw away things that belonged in the trash can, then tidying up a bit. This is the before and after picture. Now I can see everything in the basket without having to dig around! It looks much nicer too, sitting on top of the fridge.
    Small projects like these make me feel accomplished and good about myself. It takes about five to ten minutes, so I don't need to dedicate a big chunk of time to do it, otherwise I will feel overwhelmed and choose not to do it at all! If you need an extra mental boost and motivation to get organized, try doing small projects like these. Tackle one or two each week, and you will get the whole room organized before you realize. I also decoupaged some used cardboard boxes with wrapping papers, which I will share in another post.
    About life at the office...
    One of the ladies was celebrating her birthday last week, and she ordered pizza for us. Here we are, with the birthday girl!
     The pizza went pretty fast!
    About last week's favorite Bible verse...
    An antidote to keep me thinking of positive, beautiful thoughts, despite the ultra stressful week that made me want to scream.
    About whatever is lovely...
    I love being a woman! There are so many lovely little things available for women today. Little things and big things that make us happy. I enjoy blue clear sky, a walk in the park with my son and husband on Saturday mornings, walking fast, cold drink in the middle of a hot day, and many many more. But I want to highlight some girlie stuff that add some sparkle to my week!
    This lovely flower necklace...
    This blue beaded pouch that used to be my coin purse, but now I turned into a cell phone pouch for my phones, because my old one is no longer proper to carry around.
    Inside I keep a lipbalm, my phones of course, a lipgloss, a scrunchie, and a USB. I carry this pouch with me all day, every minute of the day, literally, during my working hours. That's why it contains more than just cell phones!
    Speaking of lipbalm, I started on this SilkyGirl magic pink lip balm last week. I used to wear this for a long time, then I switched to another product from SilkyGirl, but didn't like it. Now I'm back to using magic pink. It's the kind of balm that looks sheer but leaves a fresh pink tint on your lips. It moisturizes as well as beautify. Very practical to wear at the office! I don't need to reapply lipbalm AND lipstick every hour or so.
    Aaaaand.... as if a continuation of His words to think about anything lovely, God gave me this lovely sign on Friday, to close the exhausting week. I was walking around the mall on Friday evening just to unwind for half an hour or so before going home, and I saw this sign. I stopped.
    Bath & Body Works is coming to Jakarta, to the mall close to where I live!!!!! I love the BBW three wicked candles so much, but you cannot get them in Indonesia, so I'm super super excited. I just hope they won't jack up the prices like they did with Payless Shoe Store. Here in Indonesia, Payless is not cheap!
    Last week's to do list:

    • Start to read and contemplate on Hebrews part of the Bible.
    • Start to read one new book. I read a comic book and finished it, haha!
    • Read Chapter 8 of Kitami Masao's "The Swordless Samurai: Friends and Family", a historical story of how a Japanese "warrior" who could not fight rose into power and unified all of Japan with his power of mind, interpersonal skills, and shrewdness.
    • Renovation project week 10: putting concrete for the 2,5th floor, putting in plumbing system and door frames.
    • Updating iTunes on my laptop, so I can upload files from my iPhone.
    • Fix the broken dining chair and Michael's nursery window latch.
    • Laundry old dolls.
    • Grocery shopping.
    • Organize the main bedroom fridge and top of the fridge.
    • Organize the coffee station corner.
    • Organize my personal facebook pictures.
    • DIY: decoupage two book cases from used A4 paper cardboard boxes.
    • Saskia's wedding.
    • Visit next neighborhood park with Michael and Hubby on Saturday.

    This week's to do list:

    • Read and contemplate on Hebrews 2.
    • Start reading Gary Thomas: Sacred Marriage.
    • Read Chapter 8 of Kitami Masao's "The Swordless Samurai: Friends and Family", a historical story of how a Japanese "warrior" who could not fight rose into power and unified all of Japan with his power of mind, interpersonal skills, and shrewdness.
    • Renovation project week 11: finishing walls, looking for gate maker, start buying floor tiles, looking for other stores to buy building materials; just in case.
    • Updating iTunes on my laptop, so I can upload files from my iPhone.
    • Organize the china closet.
    • Organize our book shelves.
    • Continue organizing my personal facebook pictures.
    • Buy, wrap and send wedding gift for Hubby's cousin.
    • Send caregiver care package to Bandung.
    • Looking for new childminder. Our current one is pregnant.
    • Write one fashion post.
    I'm linking up to these wonderful Ladies:


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