Something We Do Without: A Purse

I used to carry a purse. In fact, I used to get a new purse every year, when I shopped for my new, up-to-date wardrobe additions. Then, when that wasn’t enough, I collected multiple purses, so that my bag would match my outfit.

I had a large, green purse that could hold anything I brought with me. I had a sleek, “wallet on a string” that just held the basics.

And, if I needed to find something in the purse, that wasn’t in my wallet, watch out! It was the biggest collection of clutter I have ever seen.

The big purse filled with receipts, make-up (that I never actually reapplied during the day), half eaten candy (it was really bad when this involved chocolate), random keys, and so on. I finally decided that this was ridiculous, and that the cause was the large purse.

I was on the right track.

The small bag held less than the larger one, but it still filled up. Also, I found that I left it places quite frequently. Luckily, the world is filled with good Samaritans, who called me or turned it in to customer service. Carrying the purse was downright stressful.

Then the Bean was born, and my purse was replaced by a diaper bag. Eventually, I realized I didn’t need this horrid, clutter-trap. (Really, I breastfed, and diapers could be kept in the car). I took my wallet, which was a large clutch, out of the bag and started carrying it around. I still left it places. It filled with receipts, to the point that I had trouble closing it.

It was actually Rob who suggested a smaller wallet.

I found a billfold, and it fit nicely in my coat pocket. Which is where I kept it, all last winter. There was no leaving it, because I always had my coat. Sometimes, it became too stuffed to fold, but it was a major improvement.

The next improvement came when an aunt bought me a Vera Bradley change purse. I didn’t realize that Vera Bradley was a big deal (one of my students has since informed me), but I loved the wallet. I didn’t have to fold it, it held just what I needed, and it easily fit into my coat pocket. If I refrained from putting receipts in it (I usually request not to have a receipt, or I throw them away right at the store). All was well with the world.

Then it got warm out. Suddenly, I was carrying–and forgetting–the wallet again. It got scary last summer, when we were anchored off of Beaver Island. I had all of our cash in the wallet, and I had to row to shore. One slip, and we would suddenly become extreme minimalists, until the next pay day. My solution was to wear the wallet around my neck, tied with extra rigging rope. This worked well all summer. The wallet was attractive, and the rigging rope was fun.

This fall, I put the wallet back in my coat pocket, keeping the rigging rope on for old time’s sake. I happily wore it around my neck when we went to Ludington, which led to me losing it. After it was returned, I kept the rope off. I’ll have to find a lanyard for next summer.

So, here we are, with me having to carry one less thing. As a result, I deal with less clutter and have one last thing to remember (and forget!). Simplicity is making life simpler once more.

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