Life in the Boomer Lane recently read a cry for help that a woman posted on Vibrant Nation.. Her life was being ruined by the size of her purse and the amount of stuff in it. The weight of the purse was creating a physical problem, and her husband refused to stick his hand in it to help her find anything. She routinely had to dump the entire contents of her purse onto the seat beside her in the car, to find whatever she was looking for.
After having watched enough episodes of "Hoarding: Buried Alive," LBL knows that she wouldn't be good at this kind of thing on a large scale. When faced with mountains of crap that people have collected, and kitchens filled with half-eaten TV dinners and extended families of roaches and rodents, she would not, like the Professional Hoarder Organizer, pick up one item and chirpily ask the homeowner, "Would you like to save this commemorative Styrofoam cup from the 1987 grand opening of the Thrifty Mart or can we throw it out?"
On the other hand, she has had lots of experience with purse contents hoarding. LBL's close friend and college roommate carried a purse the size of Citation's feedbag and deliberately kept all of her money loose at the bottom, so that "no one could steal it." Her purse became a dumping ground of money and a lot more, and I refused to go shopping with her, because she would stand at the checkout with her head totally inside her purse, rooting around for money, as irate customers spewed epithets at her.
Because she saw other women do versions of dumpster diving into their purses, LBL deliberately downsized her own purse and discovered ways to carry everything she needed in the most efficient way possible. She now offers purse interventions, free-of-charge to friends and random people in checkout lines. Some people, after listening to her, have actually had Come-to-Jesus moments and totally changed the way they tote personal items. Others have reported her to store managers.
LBL now provides you, her devoted readers (as well as people who leave spam comments like "I have come across few sites that explain concepts in such a brilliantly understood way. I will return again and again for the wisdom that is imparted. I am looking forward for your next post, I'll try to get the hang of it!"), tips on how to downsize your purse and, in-the-process, change your life:
1. Wallets are the #1 culprit. Most wallets are as large as purses. Know this: Each of your credit cards, etc, do not need to be in their own little plastic house. And many of the cards you carry aren't even necessary. Do you really need to carry your voter registration card? Your college ID? Store credits that expired during the Clinton administration? Divest yourself of all cards except what you really need on a day-by-day basis. Buy a two-zipper change purse. Keep bills and cards in one compartment, change in the other. If you have way too much cash to fit into it, send the excess to LBL.
2. Checkbooks. Aargh. Do you really need that checkbook? Seriously. LBL sees very few people paying by check in stores. If she sees you, she will get into another line.
3. Eyeglass case. If you wear your glasses all the time or need to carry sunglasses around with you, can you use a smaller case, not one made of some giant piece of molded space-age material? If, on the other hand, you routinely run over your glasses case with your car, ignore this section.
4. Medication/feminine products. If you take meds on a daily basis or like to carry Advil/aspirin, use a tiny pill box for a day's supply. You don't need a bunch of bottles, vials and boxes. You also don't need an entire first aid kit, unless you are a physician and you live in a war zone.
5. Cosmetics. If you live in LA and can't get through the day without a full reapplication of makeup every 15 minutes, this is an issue. If you are like LBL, you will only need a lipstick, which you will never use anyway.
6. Cell phone. Yes, of course.
7. Keys, of course, BUT please first get rid of keys you really don't need. Unless your job is that of apartment building custodian or prison warden, you probably don't need a ring of 100 keys.
8. Memo book/Daytimer We all need reminders and we all need to jot things down as the day goes on, but it is entirely possible to either put the information on your cell phone or use a tiny pad to write on. There is little reason to carry your entire year around with you each day.
9. Snacks/Gum/Drinks. There is a 7-11 at every corner. Trust LBL on this one. A lot of personal research has gone into that statement.
10. Book. This is a toughie. When LBL needs to carry her book around, she carries it separately. But if you use a Kindle, you can probably fit it into a small purse.
11. iPad. Why do you have to carry it around with you all the time? Forget that question. I expect to get actual answers.
12.Extra pair underwear/vibrator/cigarettes/handgun/a long-haired Chihuahua with a Swarovski crystal collar: You need more help than LBL can provide.
Here is what to do: Go out and buy the most fabulous purse you can find that is half the size of the one you have now AND light weight. In the zippered compartment, put meds, pen, tiny notepad. In the main part, put your new change purse, cell, keys, tissues. LBL promises you will have room left over for items she may not have thought of. Just don't tell her what they are.
If you have an issues with any of this, LBL offers a money back guarantee.