On Life: Letting Go of The Bag & Baggage...

 “Simplicity is making the journey of this life with just baggage enough.” Charles Dudley Warner 
Model with Huge shoulder bag
I've always loved bags, in all shapes and sizes, and at different periods in my life, the size of my bag determined the weight of my burdens. In my college days, my big satchel book bag symbolized my courses and all the work that came with them. By the time my children came along, only a huge tote for diapers and kiddie things would do, and that carried over into my work life as I added travel totes with wheels and computer/projector holders to the mix. In recent months, I've been inclined to reconsider my attachment to the handbag; a carrying sac that is known by dozens of names.

Do you always carry a handbag? Have you tried not carrying one? Mamakat's Writer's Workshop offered a question that got me thinking about our handbags: What do the contents of your handbag/purse "say" about you? 

My typical bag had my wallet, change purse, makeup, candy, letters, books, ipod, hair ornaments and whatever else crossed my path. This would of course vary when I added work, a special outing, or child related travel to my baggage. One thing that always stood out was that the bigger the bag, the greater the stuff tossed in it. With each additional item, we added more of our history and worries to our bags; our clutch slowly becoming a crutch that we used to clubber ourselves and others. Why carry so much? I believe that we could all benefit and gain some freedom from our baggage by de-cluttering our bag/baggage lives. What do you think?

Don't Let Me Hit You With My PocketBook - By Jennifer Hudson 
More Music? Check out the Monday's Music Moves Me BlogHop

At one point in my life, I could count at least three work related bags that followed me everywhere; of course,  the endless attention one had to pay to each bag to ensure its departure and arrival was hilarious. Each bag I owned had a history; a price, location, and the emotional tie that prompted the purchase. Sometimes, I wondered why women always seemed burdened with these cumbersome, albeit gorgeous, pieces of shoulder and hand held jewelry. Whenever I observed men in motion, especially during my work travel days, I would marvel at their effortless way of entering and exiting a plane without looking for this bag or that, and I imagined what it would feel like to move around without a handbag.

“The things you want are always possible; it is just that the way to get them is not always apparent. The only real obstacle in your path to a fulfilling life is you, and that can be a considerable obstacle because you carry the baggage of insecurities and past experience.”  Les Brown
Vintage Bag

So this year, I started to make a concerted effort to carry less; to simplify my movement. The first day I went out without a bag, I felt naked, like something crucial was missing. I took my wallet and car keys and left the rest at home. Oddly, as the day progressed, I missed it less and enjoyed the freedom I felt of not having an extra piece of  baggage on me.

Gradually, I have come to recognize that the habit of carrying handbags can have a way of becoming a crutch; a way to hide our insecurities. We fill them them with all of our stuff, and schlep them from place to place, wondering why we feel so burdened. We take extras things we don't need "just in case," rather than free ourselves to meet the day and the many opportunities a bag-less outing can bring on the street of life. I still carry bags when absolutely necessary but, preferably, I travel lightly with my wallet and keys. I highly recommend practicing this simple zen approach to stuff,  as we will find that our movement is not constrained, and we are less inclined to buy yet another pack of gum we rarely chew...  Have you tried it? Do share.

This post was prompted by Mamakat's Writers Workshop question: What do the contents of your handbag/purse "say" about you? 
What are your thoughts? What does a handbag/pocketbook mean to you?
I would love to hear from you. Please leave me a comment/question. Thank You!

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PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: Photo of Model with shoulder bag, special vintage bag, via Wikipedia, 

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive.
© Elizabeth Obih-Frank
Mirth and Motivation
Positive Kismet


  1. Totally agree with lots of your comments. I have pared down to a small clutch.

  2. I just found your blog through the over 40 blog hop and I really like it...i will return!! After over 30
    years in journalism, I have always loved a big bag so that I can take everywhere a camera and a notebook!! Love the one in your top picture!!

  3. Hi, I'm visiting from Follow Friday 40+. I enjoyed this post because I wrote one recently about what the things I carry say about me. http://www.justonedonna.com/2011/03/what-do-things-you-carry-say-about-you.html.
    I've gone through large, bag, small bag, no bag phases, each representative of what is goig on in my life at the time.

  4. Hi, I found your blog on the Follow Fridays listing. I'm a new follower.

  5. I'm visiting from Friendly Friday - I blog at Work From Home Star.

  6. Wow...I'm so impressed with your "just wallet and keys" approach! I'm a self-confessed bagaholic, so it's scary to even think of such a thing. But I just might try it...I'm a big fan of simplifying. :)

  7. I have to say I love handbags. I have so many and love to use them. I don't think I could leave them all.


  8. I'm your newest follower :D


  9. I have never been a fan of the hand bag. I consider it a necessary evil. I know women who have closets the size of bedrooms filled with outrageously expensive bags... it's a kind of addiction. Not for me.

    I resent spending much money for one because of my disdain, but I do care about fashion so it's a problem. Why don't men have this problem??

    The one thing I like about winter is having coat pockets. With that I can leave the bag behind and not feel like a pack mule. Now we're coming into warmer weather and I'll have to find a bag I can make do with most every outfit. I don't like switching bags because I always leave something I end up needing in the one I left at home.

    You had no idea this post would bring out my ugly feelings about handbags did you?? Who knew? Thanks for letting me rant though!

  10. I once read that you can tell how secure/insecure a woman is by the size of her handbag. I don't know how true that is for others, but I have found that as I became more comfortable just being me my purses got smaller.

  11. While I've simplified the contents, my bag has gotten bigger so I have room to carry Princess Nagger's toy dinosaurs. Maybe I should rethink that. ;)

    I'm your newest follower! :)

    Be Lazy or Live a Little - MMMM

  12. Yeah - not ready to do that every day. I pare back for times I can, but I take my lunch to work - and in the winter I don't care about fashion. I wear WARM comfortable boots to the office and put on shoes when I get there. Plus I usually bring an extra sweater because my office can be FREEZING cold or just fine. I never know which.

    But cool idea.

  13. I love bags too! Can't live without them :D Thanks for dropping by in my nook and for following. I can't find your follow widget, but I added your blog to my sidebar so I can visit back easily.

  14. Ooh I like this song. I want to see the video!

    Oh I know the bag story! I'm still trying to go down!


  15. I have never carried a 'purse!' In the last year I have started to carry a bag with me, but still can't call it a purse! I like to have a medium size bag that is nearly empty. That way I can carry extra things only when I need to!

  16. Love Jennifer Hudson she is an all time fave! My bag is pretty minimal wallet, calendar, glasses, phone and keys never carry makeup or anything like that guess I am boring LOL!

  17. I learned to down-size my purse years ago. It's no where as cumbersome as it was in the early 80s. On the rare occasion my DH & I have date night, then I like to ditch my purse to feel totally carefree. It's truly wonderful. You'll be surprise just how good it feels. Considering doing this every now and again to see how liberating it is. =D

  18. I love that video, I never heard it before, fun to listen to.

    Thanks for your visit today.

  19. I totally love Jennifer Hudson and she's so gorgeous now. Great choice. This a new song. I never heard it before. Thanks for playing along with us today, and hope to see you next week too! I'm your newest follower. Nice to meet you.

  20. I have been carrying big bags almost all my life. Not handbags, though. But, backpacks. Only a few years now, I have switched to something smaller and it feels great.

    Thanks for sharing this song. I love Jennifer's remarkable voice. I'm returning your love by following you through GFC. Have a blessed week :)

  21. You know, this is quite an interesting blog post-I honestly don't think I've come across one like it before.

    That being said, it's so amazing how something simple as the bags and contents we carry everyday can weight us down! It's SO very true!

    I'm definitely going to have to check out this writing workshop because it seems really fun :)

  22. I've noticed that the amount of stuff I carry is determined by how large my bag is and not the other way around. When I have a smaller bag, I discover that I simply don't need to carry most of the things I inevitably end up carrying when my bag is bigger.

  23. I had never been a purse or handbag girl. When I had classes and coursework I went the backpack route. There were the diaper bag years. I was far more inclined to carry a camera bag or duffle for my leisure pursuits. Only recently have I gone back to carrying a handbag, mainly to carry a phone and coupons and things other people ask me to bring along. The bag I chose? Looks like a miniature backpack. More often than not I will leave it in a vehicle and only take the minimum (like a few dollars or my library card) with me in my pocket.

  24. Fascinating. Part of my personality is that I carry a very tiny handbag. The smaller the better. I can't even carry a wallet because my purse is too small!

  25. Interesting post! I have never related a purse to any event or time. But interesting post! Personally I have just started to go out with a purse occassionally. How liberating! Also a break on the old shoulder! Especially if yours weights as much as mine does. So silly, half of the stuff in my purse I never use... Thanks for stopping by my blog. I'm your newest follower :)

  26. I almost did this prompt...my handbag is neat and clean on the outside and a jumble of things on the inside - describes me perfectly!

  27. Was stopping in to follow your blog, but I'm already a follower :)

    Happy Easter!

  28. I've always used and loved purses, but I must admit that even though I need them to put my things in, the other reason I use them is that I see them as accessories. That's why they have to match what I'm wearing. I was able to get rid of that addiction. I started last year. Instead of having many purses of different colors and styles, I decided two purses I would alternate using would have to suffice. And they do. In fact, sometimes, I carry just a wallet and keys, without feeling naked.

  29. Good Afternoon Eliz,

    No big bags for me!! I carry and own only one small-middle size purse extremely well organized inside with only the most important I really need. No heavy laptops, no PC tablets and no heavy stuff inside. I can locate anything inside in seconds. Sometimes, I test it to see how well I am organized and just reach for the desired thing without looking. If I can reach my phone or keys in seconds with closed eyes, this means my bag is super well organized and I love it. When I want to feel carefree I carry a “kangaroo” a belt with pockets attached to it which goes under the shirt and perfect with jeans. Put inside only ID and cash and one credit card and I am ready to go.

    Great article I really enjoyed it!


  30. Elizabeth, thanks for stopping by :) Your posts are all inspiring and if you haven't joined us yet at the Creative BLoggers' Party & Hop, I'll be honored if you would.

  31. Hi,

    I'd like to inquire about doing a sponsored blog post - about 150-300 words that talks a little bit about fashion and links back to our site http://swaychic.com. We sell womens casual clothing in Berkeley and Los Angeles, Califonia and are looking for more exposure on http://positivekismet.blogspot.com/

    Here's a list of some blog post titles we've done in the past:
    - What is Indie fashion?
    - The Latest Styles In Vegan Purses
    - Cute Indie Dress Styles For the Perfect Occassion
    Our budget is around $15 for the post. Is this something you'd be open to?

    Also we might be interested in a small banner ad if the price is right. Our budget is $40/year - something like this:

    Let me know if you'd be open to either or both of these.

    Also if you have some other sites just send them over and we might be interested in doing a sponsored post on there as well!




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