Last week Ron and I celebrated nine years of marriage.  I still can’t believe it’s been that long!  For the first time this year, we exchanged gifts to celebrate an occasion.  As usual, Ron’s gift was easy- I gave him wine for his collection.  This time, however, it was an extra special bottle, because we got it while wine tasting in Napa Valley at Groth, his favorite winery, and the owner happened to walk by while we were there and not only did Ron get a chance to chat him up and take a photo with him, but he signed the bottle.  I have a feeling that’s one bottle of wine that will never get opened.

Also as usual, I picked out my own gift, which I really have no shame about.  I would much prefer to get something I really want or need than be surprised with something that I would potentially end up returning.  And this year, I did specifically have my eye on something I needed – a new wallet.  I’ve been window shopping wallets for months – my old one was getting pretty worn, and I was interested in experimenting with a new style.

My old wallet was a traditional trifold style:

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with a coin purse on the outside:

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I initially bought it because I loved how much stuff it held.  Look at all the credit card slots inside:

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there were even two pockets behind the credit card slots where you could stuff even MORE cards, and believe me, I did:

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Which adds up to a fat little wallet that weighs a ton, especially when I have a lot of pennies in the coin purse.

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The new ones I was considering would require me to manage my wallet very differently, and I have to admit that made me nervous.  I had it narrowed down to two styles, both of which were zipper enclosed all the way around.  One had a center coin purse with a fair amount of slots for cards flanking the coin section on both sides, and the other wallet opened like a little book, with a TINY amount of slots for cards and a small coin/currency section on one side, and then a compartment to hold a cell phone on the other side.

For months I had been vacillating between the two styles mentally, and then it was suddenly the day before our anniversary and Ron said, “Uh…were you going to go pick out your gift?”  Both wallets were at Nordstrom, so that afternoon I decided to go in and try to fit some of my actual crap into them and see which one might work best.

When I arrived I headed over to where I had seen them on display, but on my way I passed a discount table and the saleslady chirped, “We just marked down a ton of stuff so you might want to take a look!”  And lo and behold, both wallets, in the exact colors I wanted, were on the markdown table.  Fate.

I took the wallets over to some free counter space and began fitting my various cards into the slots and comparing the two.  The wallet with the middle coin purse and the larger amount of card slots definitely fit my stuff better.  But…I hated the way it functioned and how I would have to dig around in it.  The wallet with the phone holder was a much better, much sleeker design, and I knew in my gut I loved it more.  But it didn’t hold even a quarter of what I was used to carrying.

I started to sort my cards out on the counter, trying to figure out which ones were essential, and which ones weren’t.  I was able to immediately put aside about five cards that were expired or for businesses I no longer frequented, but that was about it.  It’s not like I use a ton of cards on a regular basis, but there were things that I knew I would want on me if were to need them – things like my library cards, a couple store credit cards, member/rewards cards from various stores, and some partially filled punch cards.  As much as I often WANT to live a sleeker, pared down lifestyle, I am frequently faced with having to honestly admit that some of my clutter is useful to me.  And the thought of buying a new wallet in a style I didn’t love that would help me continue to haul a bunch of crap around was…depressing.

I was dejectedly stuffing my cards back into my old wallet, starting to wonder if I should even bother with a new wallet until I learned how to travel a little more lightly, when the saleslady came over to see if she could help.  I gestured helplessly at the mess of cards and coins all over her counters and explained that I while I loved the smaller phone wallet, I didn’t think it would go with my lifestyle.

She regarded my scattered items and then suggested kindly, “You know what some people do?  They just keep their most important, most frequently used cards in their wallet, and then they buy something like a little business card holder for all their extra, less frequently used cards.  You can keep that in your purse as well so you always have it, but it will allow you to have a much smaller and tidier wallet that you use every day.”

Why.  Didn’t.  I.  Think.  Of.  THAT?????

So thanks to the nice saleslady and her excellent suggestion, I bought the sleek phone wallet that I really wanted.  It’s lovely!  Look:

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The other side is silver – it’s like jewelry for my purse!

 

And here is the inside:

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A lot less room than I’m used to, but I’m actually looking forward to the change and seeing how I do with it.  Not to mention, I love that it holds my phone, and because of the little wrist strap, I could even carry it as an evening purse.  And it makes a PERFECT travel wallet.  Lovelovelove it.

I had to go through all my cards and figure out what would make the cut.  Truth be told, it was not that hard to isolate what my most frequently used cards were:  driver’s license, personal debit card, personal credit card, household debit card, household credit card, a rewards card for the grocery store I shop at most often, and two health insurance cards.  The money compartment on this wallet is also pretty small, but since I almost never have cash anyway, it shouldn’t be a problem. I will have to carry much fewer coins, but I am totally fine with that – I decided to start a penny jar with Ron and we’ll both unload our pennies into it every day, and use what we accumulate to go to the movies or do something fun.

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The remaining cards I tucked into a little pouch which I used to use to carry my foreign money when I was touring a lot, and it’s the perfect size for them:

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I’ll reassess how often I use some of them after a few months, and will pare down accordingly.  I just made the transfer, so I’m still unsure how the new system will actually work for me, but I really hope it does.  Much in the way I initially never thought I could live without all the clothes I’ve gotten rid of over the past year, I have a feeling once I’m used to it, traveling with a smaller wallet will feel totally lagom.*

*And if it doesn’t, I’m returning the damn thing.  If you look close you can see I’ve left the tags on it for now.

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