I am an elementary school media specialist (librarian) and a new mom. My daughters (born 12/27/2010 and 6/27/2013) are teaching me all kinds of new things every day. One thing they have taught me is that sometimes, there just isn't room for much else besides learning. If you're not sleeping, eating, talking, blogging, or whatever, it might just be because you're TOO BUSY LEARNING!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Is that a purse or a duffle bag?

There is no doubt in my mind that physical space is at more of a premium now than ever. Airline luggage is just one example. It used to be nothing for my grandparents to seriously over-pack and end up with their two carry-on items each, plus two checked bags each, every time they came to visit. Now, they'll be paying out the wazoo to do such a thing. Since my post today is more about everyday space-saving, I'll direct you to this post from Unclutterer for avoiding bag check fees at airports by packing more efficiently. I'm a pretty good packer already (winner for smallest/lightest baggage on church trip to London two years ago), but a lot of the pointers at Unclutterer are specifically for newer airport regulations and restrictions, so it is quite helpful.

As far as day-to-day packing, I do have a few favorites.

1. Space-Saving Items: If you must carry it with you, at least try to find it in a compact size. Some of my space-saving items:
  • fold-up shopping bag from Target -- For 99 cents, I get a reusable shopping bag that folds to the size of a check book. The bag isn't huge, but it works for quick trips, and I don't forget to bring it into the store because it's already in my purse.
  • fold-up hair brush with compact mirror -- Gotta have it, and it would be completely impractical to carry around a full-size hairbrush.
  • teeny tiny flat Bible -- Not completely necessary to carry around everywhere, but nice to have at times. I got this as a gift. It is the thinnest one I have ever seen, and it's leather bound, so it holds together well. I think it would make a great backpacking Bible also, for my outdoor-adventure-seeking friends.
2. One item I wish I had: iPhone. In another great post by Unclutterer, Erin posts about iPhone apps that reduce clutter.
  • planner: Instead of carrying a calendar or planner, use the iPhone to access your Google Calendar.
  • wallet: Instead of carrying around huge amounts of store membership cards, take digital pictures of them, and put them in your iPhone. Sonja gave me a great demo of this on her iPhone. It really is snazzy.
  • address book: Duh, you don't need one if all your contact info is accessible by iPhone.
3. Other stuff to remember:
  • If you don't use it, don't bring it. I used to carry around one of those little tiny stuffed-in-a-bag rain slickers in my purse, but I never ever used it. Too much trouble. I keep it in my glove compartment now, and that pretty much does the trick. By way of another example, I don't carry Advil anymore. I only rarely need it, and it's usually at work, so I keep a bottle in a locked desk drawer at work. No more rattly purse.
  • Empty spare change periodically. For as much as I do not use cash, spare change weighs a lot for little benefit. Put it in a jar at home, and buy something when the jar gets full.
  • Carry in pockets when practical. The last thing I want to do at a concert is lug a purse. I'll put my driver's license and my debit card and maybe some cash in my pocket and lock my purse in the trunk. This would work well for movie theaters too if I could remember. Theater floors are gross and not really somewhere I want to put my purse.
  • Carry a smaller purse. Instead of using a huge purse because you have all kinds of crap to put in it, try using a smaller purse so you'll be forced to take only the essentials. You'll be surprised by how well you can live off a small one in most cases.
Leave some reader tips on reducing carried clutter in the comments!


Sonja Foust said...

I've found another space-saving use for the iPhone: Now that there is an eReader application, I buy books and read them from my iPhone. No more having to buy purses big enough to fit a paperback in. The future is here.

Kimberly said...

Target is an excellent source of tiny bags that eliminate the need for a wallet, if you are (like me) a must-have-bag person. (I always like to have my cellphone, migraine meds, and tummy meds with me.) I have a beige square one and a black rectangle one. Both tiny, with long straps. Plenty of slots for cards, clear plastic spot for ID, and zippered spots for change/spare keys.

tanya said...

Great post!

When it comes to movie theaters, I've developed a habit of hanging my purse on the chair arm. Of course, I'm almost never in a completely-full theatre, and my purse is not terribly large, so that helps. If the arm has built-in cupholders, that helps immensely.

jennybear said...

I love pockets!
They are the biggest factor of the criteria I use when shopping for clothes. A co-worker protested that things in pockets spoil the line of the pants/skirt/other item of clothing. So when I'm on the runway modeling (not on a ladder trying to restart my wireless system or under a computer desk trying to figure out if a cable is damaged...) I will make sure I don't put my keys, etc. in my pockets!