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Downsizing Your Handbag Will Change Your Life

Posted by on Jun. 3, 2014 at 10:40 AM
  • 15 Replies

Downsizing Your Handbag Will Change Your Life – Here’s How

by Adriana Velez

little bagLadies, I have accomplished the nearly impossible: I have downsized from a humongous, stuffed-to-the-gills handbag to a wee purse nearly the size of my palm. And I feel so light and free now! After years of lugging around a 2-ton bag and suffering back and shoulder pain -- not to mention, never being able to find anything in it, ever, I have culled my cargo to the bare essentials. I got sick of watching guys run around with nary by their pockets to keep their essentials in and finally thought, why not me, too?

"But what about all your STUFF?" you may be wondering. I was carrying this baby around with me (see below), and it weighs about 5 pounds empty. Well, I'll tell you --here's how I took care of the STUFF issue and made carrying a tiny purse work for me. 

Handbag I love you, but you're bringin' me down

1. Keep supplies in your office desk drawers. Those of you who drive a lot, you could keep a bag of these essentials in your car. Instead of carting things back and forth with me I keep a stash of (almost) everything I might need at work: Emergency makeup and lotion, tampons and panty liners, band aids, books, tights. On the rare occasions that I need something while I'm between home and the office, there are these things called drug stores, and they carry almost everything. So handy!

Here's just a sampling of what I used to carry around with me. Add a paperback or two, three back issues of The New Yorker, you get the picture.

junk in handbag

2. Get a tiny bag that does double-duty. I found a cute cross-body bag that includes little pockets for credit cards and I.D., which means now I don't even have to carry around a wallet.

tiny bag

tiny bag

3. Figure out what you need to get from point A to point B. I need money, my subway card, keys, cash, phone, sunglasses, lip gloss, a bandage, breath strips, a tampon, a mirror, and this friction balm because I do a lot of walking (but even that I could probably keep either at home or the office).

inside bag

4. Use a paper shopping bag for the rest. I have a huge collection of those little paper bags with handles that are the perfect size for bringing my lunch to work with me. After work I can either toss them into recycling or bring them home to re-use. As for reading material (very important!) I use an app for reading novels on my phone. Sometimes I'll carry a magazine or a book with me because I have hands.

5. Keep kids' stuff separate. The me from nine years ago is wondering where I keep all my baby's things (my baby is now a big boy who can carry his own crap around himself). Well, that's what diaper bags are for, and totes. Some people like to keep mom stuff and kid stuff together in one bag. But if there are times when you're on the go without your child, it makes sense to separate worlds. Don't lug around kid stuff unnecessarily. Besides, we've all seen what crackers, splintery sticks, and melted crayons do to the lining of a handbag.

Even if you're not ready to go as small as I have, you still might want to think about going down just a size. Style expert and mom Elycia Rubin says she downsized when her daughter was 2 or 3 years old.

"Women in general tend to over-pack," says Rubin, former StyleWatch contributor to People magazine and author of the children's book No Biggie!. "For first-time moms, it's a scary world out there and you're learning. But once you get your sea legs, it's a good time to get a smaller bag." 

Later, when she changed to a small crossbody bag, she thought, "oh this isn't going to hold anything at all." But she was surprised to find it fits all her necessities: a small, men's-style wallet, big key ring, lip gloss, phone, even a picture her daughter drew.

"I find it very liberating," Rubin says.

Result: It's only been a couple weeks since I swapped a massive purse for a little one, so I'm still in the honeymoon phase. But I LOVE it! I feel so light and free -- and cooler. Suddenly a huge, loaded handbag just feels frumpy, especially in the summer. I like knowing exactly what I have with me, and being able to retrieve it without digging around. And here's the biggest surprise -- I haven't had a single day where I missed my old bag or felt like I forgot something important. So go on. Try it for yourself!

Do you think you could stand to downsize your bag -- or have you already?

by on Jun. 3, 2014 at 10:40 AM
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Replies (1-10):
by on Jun. 3, 2014 at 10:43 AM

Don't need to, don't carry one

by Nancy on Jun. 3, 2014 at 11:16 AM

I used to carry a back pack to work until it got too heavy.  I now have a messanger bag that I will empty out if it starts to feel heavy.  I also used to carry a big bag but it got too heavy so I downsized to something that is half as big.  I don't think that I want to downsize even more.  I did take one of those very small across the body bags when I would go to out of state conferences because there wasn't much that I needed to have with me.

by Lisa on Jun. 3, 2014 at 11:17 AM

I usualy just grab my wallet and go, I rarely carry my entire purse.

by Louann on Jun. 3, 2014 at 11:21 AM

I do have a ton of stuff in my purse and could probably stand to downsize.  Maybe later.  lol

by Becky on Jun. 3, 2014 at 11:56 AM

Yeah, I know I could.

by Group Admin on Jun. 3, 2014 at 12:25 PM

I still have a younger child at home. She just turned ten, so, yeah, I sometimes carry her stuff around when she has a busy day. The other day I had a red octopus puppet she brought for storytime at the library. We rode with someone else so I had to bring a bigger tote bag.

I have a tote bag that I use for a purse. Inside I have a smaller one that has the cash, checkbook, cards, ID, basic stuff for quick trips that I can just grab and go. We do a lot of walking in our small town so the tote bag comes in handy. It does need a weeding though. It has a ton of change I just drop in there that I need to use or put somewhere else for now. 

by Bronze Member on Jun. 3, 2014 at 12:57 PM


  I had to laugh at your post because,   I am so not "small purse" material.    I do have many clutch and micro purses,   however they are always transported in a very large tote with other items.    I know I couldn't pull off just having a small bag.    On a typical day I deal with two large totes.    


by Bronze Member on Jun. 3, 2014 at 1:14 PM

I downsized a few years ago, what a difference. I don't miss anything I used to carry. I remember the days when I used to carry my complete make-up bag, now if I carry a lipstick, that's a lot!  I carry my wallet, cell phone, a couple pens, lipstick or chapstick, a small hand lotion, a small hand cleaner, tictacs, and a small pair of reading glasses. In the inside pocket, a nail file, a couple bandaids, a packet of wet ones, a tube of Tide to Go, and a packet of sinus medication. These all fit into a purse that is about 5x8 inches! What else does anyone else need to carry on a daily basis?

by on Jun. 3, 2014 at 1:34 PM

I already have.  I just carry a wallet and put it in my bra, so I use a bra-let.  Safer than a pocket, stuff falls out of my pocket.

Cafe MichelleP
by Silver Member on Jun. 3, 2014 at 1:50 PM

I could never downsize. All my bags are on the larger size. Not totes but still pretty big. The only time I could go smaller would be to a formal event with a clutch but my regular bag would be in the car...haha

Like someone else said, I am so not small purse material either.

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