Monday, July 13, 2015

Simplifying the Handbag Collection

Handbags and purses should be reviewed and pared down periodically, just like any material items that accumulate in everyday life.

My personal style, maintenance habits, and income are in very different categories than they were 10 years ago, so it's time for me to gradually edit through my belongings to reflect that change. Today I took some time to go through my assortment of handbags. I've been keeping a storage tote on a shelf in my closet where I toss all of my handbags and purses*. Every few months, I will rotate through my collection and select a new bag to use for daily wear. (It's like going shopping in my own closet!) I've noticed that I seem to alternate between the same two or three handbags, depending on the season, but I also saw that, paradoxically, the storage tote was overflowing as it tottered on my closet shelf. Clearly, I had forgotten just how much stuff I had.

I made it my mission of the day to sort through this tote and immediately eliminate any unnecessary purses and/or bags. Decluttering and editing unnecessary stuff from my life is important to me; I like for things to be simpler and more streamlined in my home and in my life. It cuts down on so much wasted space, time, and energy. I wouldn't yet consider myself a minimalist, by any means, but I am gradually attempting to adopt a minimalist attitude as I try to simplify where (and what) I can. Although I must have had 20 different bags in my storage tote, I decided right away that I wasn't going to agonize or second-guess any decisions, but I would just get rid of what I could quickly and easily eliminate.

Some of the choices were obvious: two small totes that were actually part of the gift packaging for a set of lotions or bath products; a mint-colored handbag that I bought at a boutique near my old job nearly 10 years ago, the exterior and interior fabrics of which have since start to rip and peel; an ugly cream-colored clutch that I mistakenly bought for one-time use to bring to a family member's wedding reception. Only one choice made me hesitate, where I thought, Oh, this is cute, but I did eventually realize that I had really outgrown the $15 hounds-tooth hobo bag that I bought from from Payless a few years ago. What made that choice easier was only the fact that I had recently been given a similarly colored and structured handbag that was of a much better quality and of a more fashionable pattern.

It had been more than three or four years since I last used any of these bags, and some of them I had never used. So why had I kept them for so long? The two reasons why I kept these particular bags were: 1.) At one time, I did like some of these handbags very much; and 2.) Some were hardly (or never) used, so they were "still good" and to get rid of them would be wasteful. Here's how I processed those feelings.