Holy handbags!

By: Melanie

Up until a couple of years ago, my handbag collection had been growing steadily and without any apparent limits for several years. I have a bit of a love affair with handbags (and shoes) and have a very hard time parting with either. Even when I know that the rest of the world sees a ripped, stained, faded memory of the beauty it once was, I still see it the way it looked when it was brand new, twinkling under the department store's gaze, or enshrined in beautiful tissue paper wrapping. But when we embarked on our new nomadic lifestyle four years ago I did a major purge, and have managed to get rid of another one or two every time we move. And, as the debt piles up and frivolous spending gets whittled down to a shadow of its former self, I haven't added to my collection in quite some time. Well, except for the odd spectacular stoop sale find.

When I took inventory this week I was a bit surprised to learn that I still have 13 handbags in the rotation, not counting diaper bags and straw purses. Should I count those? Fine, 16 handbags. But that includes everything, from everyday handbags to evening clutches to...diaper bags and straw purses. I found one to get rid of. Yes, just one. So now it's 15. I will allow that that still seems a bit exorbitant to me right now, as a mom who generally goes out with a diaper bag, a couple of canvas tote bags and a handful of poop bags for the dog, leaving my selection of Coach and Cole Haan at home to snuggle up with the KitchenAid stand mixer on the shelf. But when I do get my heel-wearing, clutch-clutching life back, I know they'll be there for me.

On to the organization of said purses. Well, the good thing about having lots of purses you don't use is the fact that they're empty and need no further organization than stuffing them into a larger container. I have a lovely leather overnight bag that serves just that purpose. Done.

The Challenge: Diaper bag

Contents: Toys, chalk, stray Cheerios and raisins, twigs and rocks that my daughter insists on collecting, kleenex - unused and otherwise, wipes, diapers, bib, spoons - clean and otherwise, a pencil, mittens, hats, glasses (3 pairs), cell phone, wallet, lip balm x3, lipstick (who am I kidding?), graham crackers, granola bar, keys (sometimes)

Conspicuously absent: organizer, pen and paper, receipt file, changing pad, Metrocard, YMCA membership card

Those last two, the Metrocard and the Y card, I added because I insist on keeping them in the outer cell phone pocket for convenience, even though Elle insists on continuing to extract them every chance she gets in an effort to find new and wonderful hiding spots for them. I have already had several Metrocards damaged beyond use and paid $10 for a replacement Y card. Doesn't sound very convenient after all.

Okay. All loose organic matter has been removed from the bag, along with used kleenex and dirty utensils. One pair of glasses remains, one lip balm and no lipstick. Following this purging, I have added my daily organizer, a receipt file with pad of paper and pen attached, a portable changing pad, and have placed the Metrocard and the Y card in my wallet. I now have one complete, functional, ready-to-g0 diaper bag.

My next goal is to root through all of the other bags to find the lip balms, coins and other paraphernalia that lurk in their depths, and to choose one bag as my go-to handbag when I'm not taking the diaper bag. In that bag I'll put a few things that I have extras of (lip balm, kleenex, pen) so that I can just transfer a few essentials from the diaper bag when necessary and go. I'm going to take a break before doing that though, because it will involve picking favorites...and as you can imagine, I have a hard time with that.

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