01 May 2013

Paring down the purse situation

Lately, dear readers, I’ve been battling the sense that our home is unbearably cluttered and disorganized. It’s not, not really, but it feels that way. To me and mah crazy brain. It’s sent me into an organizing frame of mind, which at least combats the urge to throw every single thing out of my house and buy only the essentials and organize them neatly. Like this.

Why the crazed organizing? Maybe because it’s springtime, maybe because there’s more daylight so I can see my messes, maybe because we finally hit that point when we’ve lived in a place long enough to know what works for us and what doesn’t. Or maybe because I traveled a bit recently, which means I had to fit my life into a suitcase for a weekend. And that makes my crazy-brain wonder, if I can fit my life into a suitcase, then WHY DO I HAVE THIS WHOLE APARTMENT?

Of course, in order to fit all my needs into a few small bags when I was traveling (heck no, I don’t check bags), I had to be efficient with space. I can’t be as amazing as this guest post at I Heart Organizing, but at the very least, I needed to clean out my existing purse. Which is not large! I downsized last year from this:

That sucker is big enough to hold plenty of books and papers along with my old (LARGE) laptop, which was important when I carried a laptop to and from work. But last year when I started teaching, I commandeered that bag for teaching purposes only, and purchased this more reasonably-sized number for an everyday purse:

It was from Tar-zhay and cost me all of $13. I picked that one because it is just big enough to hold my fancy camera in the zippered part when I need it. I loved it enough at the time that I even took photos of it (see the hardwood floors from the old house?), but I couldn’t think of anything to tell you about it except HERE IS MY NEW PURSE I LOVE IT DON’T YOU LOVE IT YES.

But. I have not been particularly kind to this purse. Or the red purse, which I still use on the rare occasions that I need to bring a laptop to work. See, you know how when you commute, your car gets trashed with the accumulation of everything you might possibly need or once needed between point A and point B? Well, because I commute on foot, all of that junk is instead accumulated in my purse.


Let’s take inventory. From top left, clockwise!

1) an unfinished to-do list on lined lab notebook paper
2) a mostly-empty water bottle from a talk I gave in January
3) a mechanical pencil without any lead
4) a cough drop and a half-opened Mucinex from a cold some indeterminate time ago
5) an early-generation iPod touch I haven’t used since September
6) a dried-out but coveted Eppendorf pen tangled in ponytail holders
7) an intimidating pile of useless receipts, coupons, and tickets mixed with...
8) Very Important Things, like my insurance card and checkbook
9) an umbrella, essential for a walking commuter
10) an old dirty dryer sheet to fight clingy clothes during the winter
11) two opened packets of tissues
12) fabric samples for expensive fabrics I will never purchase, but kept nonetheless because they made me happy
13) two USB drives with goodness knows what on them
14) miscellaneous rubber bands that I keep because I think I’ll need them but never do
15) the power adaptor for my laptop that always seems to be missing
16) a collection of gift cards (iTunes, Starbucks, Panera, and more) that probably totals over $100 in loot, but that I forget I have
17) an empty ibuprofen bottle
18) Mr. P’s car keys, NOT IMPORTANT AT ALL
19) an “I Voted” sticker from, you guessed it, November
20) five-year-old lip gloss that is too old and gross to use but that I couldn’t throw away because it was expensive, and...
21) Trash. Straight-up trash.

Yup. Suddenly my desire to CLEAN EVERYTHING OUT and THROW EVERYTHING AWAY seems a lot more justified, yes? And everything isn’t even shown! Some important things made it out of the pile before I took the photo, and other things are buried under that paper. *hangs head in shame*

I do admit that this is the combined detritus from both purses, but still. That is out of control. So I spent a surprising amount of time sorting and trashing and putting various things in various places around my house, until I was left with this to return to my purse:

Ahh, so much nicer! Down to the absolute essentials, like my keys (and not Mr. P’s), my work badge, my glasses, my super-dumb phone. The splurges are my moleskin with one (1) functioning pen and one (1) functioning pencil, a little packet of Purell, and two chapsticks (yes, two. I told you it was a splurge).

As for the red laptop bag, its contents got very pared down:

One laser pointer, one computer projector adaptor, one USB drive. Add one laptop and I’d be set to give a presentation!

So maybe this is the tiniest little infant of baby steps to tackling what feels like our cluttered and organized home... but a step is a step! Seriously, those old opened kleenex packets were disgusting. And some of those receipts dated to last fall. Outrageous! Now, just looking at that photo of my purse contents organized neatly makes me want to design a new storage system for my closet and start a new Goodwill box. Motivation, y’all! Spring cleanout, commence!


Rachel said...

Ack! I have been feeling the same way lately! Yesterday I was soooo tempted to throw out half the stuff in the house.

Miles said...

Impressive difference!

Janice said...

I threw all caution to the wind and bought a new purse as well. Was amazed, as you were, of the useless contents that the old one contained. Felt great to ditch that mess and start fresh. Gotta love spring!