Ever since I read this article by one of my favourite style reporters and tweeters, Elizabeth Holmes of the Wall Street Journal, I have been flirting with the idea of swapping my daily holdall for something more compact. Not only because I needed to actually conquer my fear of carrying a small bag that would mean leaving half my life behind, but also because she makes a big case for the small stuff, in a manner of speaking. But, as an addict of holdalls, this challenge was no mean feat.
I am the woman with EVERYTHING in her handbag- iPad, iPhone, chargers, book, a pouch that doubles as a wallet and sort of make up bag for the five or six lip glosses that I can never seem to let go of, flats for when I can’t take another step in my heels, a wool scarf because the weather here is a real piss take, a sturdy brolly, again- weather, sunglasses because…well because. A can of diet coke, a bottle of water which I never get round to drinking but have every good intention to, my calendar diary, a notebook, at least three chapters of my book which I always hope to edit between tube journeys but never seem to be able to, extra lip pots because you just never know, or simply because I’m nuts…its that mentality of needing to have stuff with me because I fear I’d be lost without them, but half the stuff that goes in my bag never get used.
One evening, getting ready for a day of meetings, I decided to give this challenge a whirl.
I was strategically ruthless in downsizing my handbag, I bought this shoulder bag in the Zara sale with the sole purpose of testing out this theory. I dumped the iPad, took my iPhone and charger, I made use of the notes function on my iPhone so I didn’t need my Cath Kidston notebook, instead of my Mulberry pouch/wallet I opted for a small coin purse for my cards and for the first time ever I made proper use of the pockets in a handbag for my cash, just one tube of lipgloss and a small tub of hand cream- I scooped a little from a big pot into one of the empty lip pots I have. My copy of Game of Thrones was left on my bedside table and I picked up Daisy’s Back In Town- a very good read. Knowing I wouldn’t get round to actually editing whilst I was hoofing it from one meeting to another, I left my chapters at home. I didn’t need sunglasses because of the rain, and I was happy to carry my brolly in my hand. There, perfectly compact and all the things I actually needed. I have never felt so free and the best part, I wasn’t getting caught up in a cross hairs of wires and my braids.
I’ll admit it felt strange at first, and I kept panicking because I thought I’d forgotten something but all I needed was with me, everything else was just extra… so much extra weight phew!
Whilst I haven’t let go of my larger bags, being able to mix things up is something I find very appealing. Even when I carry a holdall I only take what I absolutely need and leave the rest behind. Besides that pleasant feeling of lightness this brings, it helps with my posture and I am quicker getting from place to place.
In the words of Baloo and Mowgli “…the bare necessities, the simple bare necessities.” Because less really is more.