Tote bags. Oh how I love them! I have them in lots of colors and upon closer purse inventory, nearly all my handbags are actually tote bags. Some more stylish than others but all chosen for their ability to haul things around.
And haul I did. I carried my laptop, my bullet journal, a wallet, two different accessories pouches, two phones, and earbuds. On some days, I added either an iPad or a Kindle depending on what I was reading at the time. Not to mention tissue packets, a foldable fan, letters I needed to mail, and a riot of receipts.
I carried it all until I injured my hip last year. You never know how much your hips do for you until one of them is hurt and boy, oh boy did I learn a fast lesson. My physical therapist told me to stop carrying so much stuff but my positional therapist told me to ditch my tote bags altogether and get a backpack to carry the things I needed.
See, not only were the heavy totes throwing off my alignment and making it harder for me to walk properly, they were also preventing my arms from swinging naturally, which led to increased tension in my shoulders and rock-hard trapezoids. No bueno, my friend, no bueno!
I lightened my load significantly but I didn’t ditch the bags altogether because…stuff.
Living the Purse Free Life
Fast forward a few months and I came across an article in New York Magazine titled Men Know It’s Better to Carry Nothing. The piece looks at the differences in the way men and women traverse the Earth. Men leave home largely empty-handed and unconcerned while women are loaded down with big bags and feel it necessary to be prepared for any eventuality. Hmm.
This got me to thinking that maybe I wouldn’t go shopping for backpacks as my therapist had suggested. Though I loved the idea of free-swinging arms and having my hands free to stop runaway baby carriages, I didn’t relish the idea of looking like an overgrown teenager with a knapsack. Thus, my Purse-Free Fall was born!
Historically, I’ve only ever gone without a purse for very short excursions and that didn’t happen very often. It was mostly when I lived in midtown Manhattan and was no more than 20 minutes from home no matter where I went. Having no purse was easier then, I felt free but still safe.
And that brings to mind an episode of NYPD Blue where, during the course of a homicide investigation, Detective Sipowicz says to a beat cop “the only woman without a purse is a dead woman.” Gah!
Well Andy, I think a woman without a purse is more alive than anyone. Schlepping is bad for the soul and there’s immeasurable freedom in not having to carry things. Also, the universe will provide!
So today, I invite you to join me in my Purse-Free Fall starting with a 30-Day Purse-Free Challenge. I’m tracking my progress and pitfalls on Instagram using #PurseFreeOct. Look for it in my Stories or my Purse-Free Highlight and share your purse-free journey as well because I’d love to see how you pare down and free yourself up!
Things You Need to Be Purse-Free
Living the purse-free life takes a bit of planning. When you’re accustomed to carrying around everything but the kitchen sink, you need to be really intentional about knowing what each day will require and you must be hyper willing to pare down your belongings.
My intention is to carry only a credit card case, my phone, and my keys. My glasses I’ll wear on my face and I’ll perhaps stuff my earbuds and a couple of tissues in my pockets for good measure. (It’s allergy season after all.) I’ve even taken some keys off my ring to make them easier to carry. Basically, if it can’t fit in my pockets, I’m not taking it with me.
Freedom freedom, where are you? I need freedom too!
Full disclosure: my first day out during the challenge was a miserable failure because I didn’t plan ahead. I didn’t have time to unpack and transfer my essentials and I didn’t wear pants with big enough pockets. SMH! Watch word for the challenge going forward? Preparedness.
Be Prepared: Shop for card cases
To ensure your success in this challenge, you’ll want to get a case with enough capacity to hold your essentials and also small enough to slide into the pocket of your sexiest jeans. I noticed a few of my friends carrying small aluminum cases with clasps like these.
Fortuitously, I got this great croc-embossed leather card holder (below) in the Fall Box of Style and I’ll be using it until I get this one that I ordered from Amazon. I prefer leather over the aluminum.
Bloomingdale’s also has a great selection of small cases that slip easily into a back or front pocket. These mini RFID credit card holders are a great option too. They hold several cards, come with cute designs, and added protection against information theft.
The Purse-Free Challenge
Well lovely, I wish us luck on this purse-free journey and once we get used to the inevitable naked-in-public feeling, I’m sure our bodies will thank us. Cheerio!
PIN ME FOR LATER
READ THIS NEXT: