I’m delighted to welcome Sara Wolff, from The Mind Sanctuary to Green and Tidy’s blog, telling us about her recent 30-day challenge to declutter her handbags.

Image: maureen lunn

I owned in the region of 35 handbags of varying shapes, sizes, colours, textures, and for all occasions and outfits. Some expensive, some vintage, some charity shop, some Primark – a right mixed bag…ahem.

For years, I have grappled with where to store them. I’ve tried plastic containers under my bed on wheels. I’ve tried displaying them on shelves, I’ve tried stuffing them into a cupboard – all absolutely terrible for my Feng Shui by the way.

And then when I moved house earlier this year from a two-bed flat to one room in a house share, my downsizing circumstances left me with a very upsized problem: a disproportionate bags vs storage issue.

It dawned on me that I actually only ever used about five of the 35 bags in any one year. The same five. The others were just taking up space, in my room, in the recesses of my mind (that frankly I could use for more fruitful endeavours like dating, or building my business).

So I gave myself a challenge: use as many bags in the next 30 days as possible, or send them onto a new home via a charity shop or clothing exchange.

I’m not going to lie. It was not easy to find outfits to match green snakeskin at a moment’s notice, or reasons to take off for a weekend to use one of many overnight bags. Perhaps the hardest was attempting to use the variety of “gym” bags I had bought with good intentions.

The result? It became very obvious very quickly that I can make those same favourite five bags as versatile as can be. I realised that hanging on to bags “just in case” they’d go with an outfit for the next wedding, just created greater problems later: having to go out and buy an outfit to match the bag.

I was totally closing off my absolute need for creativity and spontaneity in my wardrobe.

So I marched down to the charity shop at the end of the 30 days, with around 25 bags (I threw away five which were broken and “awaiting repair” but were actually beyond repair).

How do I feel? Remarkably, ¬†lighter! I no longer waste time transferring stuff from one bag to another, losing lip balms, keys and loyalty cards along the way. My room is emptier, in a calm minimalist way – a bit like one of those Zen gardens, where there’s nothing to bump into as you walk around it! It feels like it can breathe again without bags “in my face” or poking out of cupboards! One aspect of my life has been simplified beyond belief, and I have actually since taken on the same exercise with shoes! And yes, a little corner of my mind is now freed up to focus on the things that really matter to me…and I will continue with belts, then scarves, then CDs until there’s a whole lot more space for my spontaneous streak to flourish.

So I urge you, if your closet is full to bursting with accessories, ask yourself if you’ve used them all in the last year. Chances are you haven’t, and you won’t use them in the year to come either.

Lose your excess baggage!!! Choose just one thing to streamline, and you’ll be dying to get cracking on all the rest!

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