From an early age I never, ever liked carrying quotidian things in my hands –
- that jumper for “just in case”;
- a pack of travel tissues because “you never know”;
- snacks to “keep you on the go”.
If you’re a kid going out with your parents or on excursion, the last thing you are bothering about is keeping an eye on anything because hey, running around with arms flailing is so much better when your little velcro wallet purse isn’t bumping awkwardly at your side (this was the 90s when everything was secured by velcro).
I’ll freely admit, once we moved to Tasmania and I started going to school on my own (yay for public transport) a little wallet/purse was essential for the two sole items I ever carried – the house key and my bus ticket (remember the little plastic orange and white ones with the magnetic strip? Yes I know that was 20 years ago, hush).
When I came of the age where I could sign up for loyalty cards, I had to upgrade the wallet every year to accommodate the plastic I was accumulating. Eventually the only way to take my wallet anywhere was to cart it round in a handbag of some description.
Let me note here that I am not a handbag carrier.
I abhor tote bags, I mock the ever crooked arm with a bag hanging off the elbow and the wrist limply turned out, and I cannot abide short handles on anything other than a briefcase.
Oh. Dear. Lord. No!
I want to be able to carry everything essential in my pockets and leave my hands free.
My wallet contained so much redundant nonsense. Old receipts. Coffee cards (I don’t even drink coffee). Dozens of loyalty cards of places that I barely frequented.
What was I doing lugging all this useless stuff around?
Like how I design my capsule wardrobes, I took everything out of my wallet and separated everything into piles – bank cards, membership cards, health cards, key cards, frequent shopper cards etc. Some would come with me on a daily basis, the cards that I actually needed to operate and function in the world. The rest would be kept in a box in my closet – gone but not forgotten.
Separating my cards out this way also helped me curb my spending enthusiasm because I wouldn’t be able to just go into a favourite store and use my membership/loyalty card on the spot.
This meant I had to intentionally want something in order to remember to bring my card to make the purchase.
While handbags do have their uses (bashing would be muggers around the head) and come in many stylish forms, altogether I find them too much hassle and too tempting to just fill up with.
I have seen friends carry the entire contents of their house except the kitchen sink in their handbags, sometimes leaving them with bad backs and pulled muscles because of the extraneous weight they carry unevenly.
The above is exactly what I carry with me at bare minimum – 4 items for the 4 pockets of my jeans. Nothing to juggle in my hands, balance, sling across my body. It’s efficient, minimal, and practical.
I thought I would be caught out and suddenly realise that I needed that travel size packet of tissues for my over reactive nose, or I would be struck down with immediate hunger pangs and not be able to get to the baggy of stale food that had sat at the bottom of the bag for months on end.
You know what though, none of those ‘what if’ situations have ever occurred, and I’m so glad to be able to operate while carrying so little. It just proves that what we think we need is not necessarily what we actually need.
Do you think you could slim the contents of your wallet down to the bare necessities?