Remember when I cleaned out the guest room closet and moved all the clothes and purses I’d been storing in the guest room to my bedroom?  Well, it’s been over a month, and I haven’t been able to face trying to find room for those items, because I’ve known it would involve having to get rid of stuff and refigure the way I currently store things.  Which never sounds like a fun way to spend a lovely spring afternoon.

But yesterday, despite the sunshine, I was in a rotten mood.  And sometimes, being in a rotten mood is an excellent motivator for me to make changes.  So I decided to take advantage of  feeling ruthless and unreckoning and attack the items I was trying to incorporate into my bedroom storage- namely, my handbag collection.

Confession:  I am a bag lady.  I loooooove purses.  When I was making good money, I bought purses on a regular basis – in fact, I cringe a little to think about the amount of income I dropped on purses during that period of time.  I had so many that I appropriated a bookcase to store them all.  I always had the notion that I would be one of those women who switched bags on a regular basis, moving her small neat stash of essential items from one bag to the next.  But I am not that woman – in fact, I’m far from it.  I have a tendency to let paper and random items build up in my bag to the point where changing bags means having to clean my current bag, and because I’m lazy, I usually choose to just keep the junk pile growing rather than switch them.

About a year ago, I cut my collection in half, and attempted to resell some of my more expensive bags at resale stores, but no one was interested.  It’s always a bit crushing to realize that things you spent so much money on have no value whatsoever to the rest of the world–I ended up donating them all to the Goodwill.  It was pretty depressing, but I learned my lesson.  I have only bought one bag since then, and for me, that is a massive improvement.

Even though the purses I was attempting to find storage for in my bedroom were  considerably less than what I used to own, I knew I’d have to pare them down even further if I wanted to find room for them all.  I’ve been procrastinating on dealing with them, and during this time I’ve kept some in the bottom of my closet:

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Klassy.

And some in a big suitcase, which is totally in the way and cluttering up our room:

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So I took all the bags out and spread them on the floor to get a better idea of what I had:

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six everyday bags, two gym bags, four evening bags, one travel bag, one computer bag, one laptop case, and one beach carryall.

I can say I genuinely like all of these, but I only actually use a few of them.  Two of the bags I’ve been storing are gym bags, and I don’t even belong to a gym anymore.  Brilliant.

I edited them down –  if I hadn’t carried it in a year, it had to go. I didn’t actually get rid of all that much, but it made a difference.  Here are the items that didn’t make the cut:

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Three everyday bags, one evening bag, one gym bag

I was left with a definitely manageable collection, but I still wasn’t sure where to put them.  Then I noticed this:Image

We have several of these very cool cubbies built in to our bedroom walls.  The photo is of one of the cubbies emptied out.  This is not typically the case.  Since up to this point I’ve seemed destined to fill every empty space and surface with extraneous crap, the cubbies are usually full of random things – carrier bags from stores with items I might want to return (which I don’t currently have any of, yay for me), clothes that need mending, and piles of clothing I’ve tried on and decided not to wear but am too lazy to hang up.  I realized I could put my pared down bag collection in one of the cubbies – genius!  It would not only solve my storage issue, it would keep me from filling the space with piles of clothing and shopping spree guilt.  A win-win:

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What made the cut: three evening bags, three everyday bags, one computer bag (with a laptop case stored inside it), and a travel bag and beach carryall stashed inside one of the larger everyday bags.

I basically kept three evening bags, three everyday bags, and a computer bag/laptop case.  I did, however, also keep a great travel bag that converts to a little backpack and a beach carryall, which I stuffed inside one of my big empty everyday bags to help it hold it’s shape.  I’ve read you’re supposed to use tissue paper for that purpose, but I needed to store the extra two bags anyway, so I figured what the heck.

I also kept one gym bag (which I actually used while I was living in Florida last fall and joined a gym because it was too hot to exercise outside), and two tote bags (one stored inside the other) that I use all the time.  Those I put back in the bottom of the closet, which is now empty except for those items.

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Classy.

The other benefit to this organizing project?  Finding all the stuff stored in my old purses.  There was definitely a lot of garbage, ancient sticks of gum, the worst brush I’ve ever owned, business cards for people I don’t remember, and expired aspirin, but there was also money, unused gift cards, a new memory stick, a great pocket mirror, still-working pens and highlighters, enough lip balm to last me the next five years, and two sets of opera glasses I thought I’d lost:

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I threw away all the garbage and redistributed anything usable to my current handbag.

I’ve decided that if by December I haven’t switched out my current bag to one of the everyday bags I kept, I’m getting rid of them.  And until I’m out of debt, I won’t be buying any new ones, so I shouldn’t be outgrowing the cubby space anytime soon.

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