I am a bag lady. No shame. I have always carried lots of stuff. I like to have things with me in case I need them.
As a child I always carried 3 books with me at all times. To the grocery store, to church, on the drive to a baseball game, everywhere. For long car trips I usually multiplied that number using a variety of factors including how long the drive was, how interested in the book I was, how long the duration of the trip would be, who I would be with on the trip, etc.
3 books was the standard though. Because I was always reading one, but I had a strong fear that if I finished the book then I would be left with nothing to read. Hence bringing a second book that I had not started yet. But then I was worried, what if I didn’t like the book? Or what if we got stuck in traffic and I finished that book also? Then what would I do? So I brought a third book just in case. I was confident that I would either get home or get to a library before I finished the third book.
In high school when we would go do things I always had the most stuff. If we went to the movies I had a book, a snack, some kind of treat, a bottle of water, and a jacket in case it got chilly. My friends scoffed at my large purse until they got hungry and had to spend $17 on snacks. When we would go to Kings Dominion I got made fun of for bringing so much stuff. But no one complained when I shared sunscreen, snacks, water, and had a dry towel for them to borrow.
I like to be prepared. I thought maybe my obsessive need to always have a bottle of water with me when commuting was silly until the smoke incident at L’Enfant a few months ago. The people on the train who had bottles of water shared their water and used it to wet scarves and jackets for people to put over their faces. And then suddenly my obsession didn’t seem so silly.
The thing is though, lots of time I carry more stuff than I need. And since I’m frugal and I pack a lunch every day I have a lunch bag with me too. I notice it when I go places with people after work. My co-workers each have a purse and there I am with my large purse, my empty travel mug, and a lunch bag. In the winter you can add a coat and scarf to that as well.
I feel like a dork. Nothing makes me feel more like a homeschooler than when I go out for drinks after work with people and I have a giant ass purse and a lunch bag and my purse is too large to tuck under the table and where the heck do I put my lunch bag?
I hate feeling like a dork.
I hate hesitating to go places with people because I have too much stuff with me and that will inhibit me from enjoying the experience. That’s not okay.
So one of my goals for the year is to carry less stuff. I bought what I refer to as my “purse water bottle”. It’s a small stainless steel 12 oz bottle. It fits nicely in my purse and it has definitely come in handy, but it also doesn’t take up too much of my bag.
I want an all-purpose bag that fits the things I actually need with room for my water bottle and maybe a small book. I have actually had one picked out for over a year, but I couldn’t bring myself to pull the plug. I checked last weekend and it was 50% off. I still hesitated to buy it (because of my other issues that I don’t deserve nice things and shouldn’t spend money on myself). Finally on Friday I decided this is stupid. I can return it for a full refund but I have wanted the bag for over a year so I just need to order it.
I sat down with my credit card and computer only to discover that after selling the purse for 2-3 years (that I’m certain of) it’s gone. No longer for sale, the entire line is gone off the website.
I felt a bit let down by that. I have been working on carrying less stuff, and I have actually been doing a good job. I felt like committing to a purse that would allow me to carry the things I need, but also limit me to only the things I need and that I could still carry while biking would really solidify the habit of carrying less stuff.
I’m not exactly sure what my game plan is now, other than continuing to evaluate everything that I put into my giant ass purse before I leave. Still, I’ve made progress and I need to focus on that.