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:
And some in a big suitcase, which is totally in the way and cluttering up our room:
So I took all the bags out and spread them on the floor to get a better idea of what I had:
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:
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:
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.
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:
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.
Whenever I get a new friend on Facebook, one of the first things I do is scroll through all their photos. You can learn a lot about someone from their photos–their partner, friends, favorite activities, pets, family, what they do for work, etc. I was just doing the picture scroll for a recently added friend, when suddenly it occurred to me to look at my own pictures – what story would they tell? What would someone learn about me? I went to my photos, and here are the themes that emerged:
- I’m married
- I love my dog, but she looks like she is only tolerating me in almost every picture
- I have a core group of girlfriends that I spend a lot of time with
- I travel
- I do theatre
- I am always stuffing my face
The last one came as a slight surprise – I mean, I know I love food, but at some point I thought, “Jeez, why are people always taking pictures of me when I’m trying to eat or drink something?” And then it occurred to me, that maybe it was because I am always eating, and people just get sick of waiting for me to stop and take the picture anyway.
Here are just a few examples of what I’m talking about:
And trust me, there are many, many more.
But I do notice how happy I look in all these pictures. And why wouldn’t I? I am about to devour something delicious. I love food, and will happily add extra cardio to my workout to compensate for eating all the treats I want – especially desserts.
I just finished doing a show where I had to be in my underwear during part of the performance. I was no more exposed than I would be in a bikini, and while I was in Florida this fall I walked around in a bikini on the beach several times a week and never thought twice about it. But I will tell you, it feels very different exposing a lot of skin on the beach where pretty much no one is looking at you, than it does on a brightly lit stage where everyone is SUPPOSED to look at you. Doing it onstage is a lot more vulnerable. A lot.
So needless to say, while working on this show, I was paying attention to my eating and exercise habits. But maintaining a hardcore of a level of fitness? Not lagom for me. I could probably stand to keep up the extra exercise since it’s good for me, but I definitely am looking forward to eating with gusto again. And I realized that my current weight/fitness level is probably the most I’m willing to strive for and maintain.
Which means anything in my closet that doesn’t fit me now, never will. If I put a pair of jeans on and feel like a sausage about to bust out of its casing, then those jeans have to go. Because I am not willing to diet or work out any harder than I already do.
So I went through my clothes and kicked out anything that proved unattainable. I won’t miss those items.
They will never make me happier than stuffing my face: