, Research Paper
How I Handled My Handbag HabitYou might think that a woman chooses the size of her purse to accommodate all of the things she will need to have near her that day. The opposite of that is true. The size of a woman’s hand bag determines how many items she simply cannot live without by her side at all times.When I was in high school I always carried a purse. In the late seventies we liked big, squishy, cloth shoulder bags that would accommodate enough of our belongings for an overnight with a friend. My best friend, however, did not carry a purse. At the time five- pocket jeans were also “in”, and my friend was able to stuff everything she needed for the day into her pockets.I’ll never forget the time I heard a male teacher shout across the quad, “Cassie, get a purse. Your pockets are bulging.” Cassie explained to me that this was an ongoing complaint of his; he thought it was unattractive for her to stuff stuff into her pockets. But, she said, she didn’t like having to worry about a purse, and she liked having her hands free. That was when I first began to question the idea of always having a purse.As a young adult, first in school and then in the workplace, I noticed that my purse was a catch all. Every imaginable item that I had in my hand eventually made it into my purse. Paper work, receipts, jewelry make-up, pens, pencils, notepads, sanitary pads, candy, candy wrappers, the list goes on. I’ll admit that I am a clutter collector, but look in most handbags and you’ll find clutter to be a universal problem.After I had my first child the problem was even worse. Add toys, and diapers, and pacifiers and more to the list above. Sure we had a diaper bag, one more parcel to carry, and one more bag to load up with “necessary” items.
At last there was a breaking point. I was no longer going to lug around all this unnecessary baggage. I was going to shift my purse paradigm and come up with a plan to release the hold my handbag had on me.The gradual process began by changing purses often. I would transfer only those items that I was sure I would need. If I used only one purse for longer than a week, I took time to organize it at least once a week.Using a purse just big enough to hold the few items I needed, was also helpful. I divided my purse-junk into categories. When I worked, I needed more stuff than when I ran out for milk from the grocery store. When out for the evening, I needed lipstick, breathmints, and a hairbrush, but not a Day-timer and five colors of pens.I used another tactic: I avoided those handbags with all the fancy compartments. “Info-mercials” advertise such purses as a great way to have everything we need at our fingertips. Plain clutches and totes with one compartment and a small zipper side pocket proved best for me. Getting in the habit of using wallets and smaller bags inside of totes aided further in the purse weaning process. Being able to extract the smallest possible bag in a hurry insured the least baggage handling.My youngest child never had a diaper bag. I did keep a child-sized back pack prepared with a few wipies and diapers. As needed, I would add a bottle or a toy. As soon as he was big enough, he carried it himself. Babies really don’t need ten diapers, two bottles, six toys, Desitin, and a nasal extractor whenever we take them out.Finally, I removed the bauble from my keychain, purchased a man’s wallet (before the current fashion of wallets on a string) and used my jeans and coat pockets whenever possible.