My wife and I recently downsized the amount of stuff we carry with us on a daily basis. I’ve been thinking about all the stuff we carry each and every day, and I realized that we don’t need most of that stuff each and every day.
A Minimalist Purse
On a cruise last year, I noticed some small purses that were really cute in the ship store. I was thinking about buying one for my daughter, but talked myself out of it because we had already spent so much on that vacation. The thought of a small purse stuck with me after we returned, and I mentioned the idea to my wife. After some encouragement, my wife warmed to the idea.
Her purse wasn’t overly huge like some of the duffle-bag sized purses I see some carrying. It was an average sized purse, but I had a feeling that a smaller purse would have some benefits that would suit her. Primarily it would be much lighter and easier to carry. It would also be easier to find items in it, since theres not much room to keep unnecessary stuff.
Then the catch… it’s really hard to find a small purse. We found a few that would almost work, except they had a wrist strap instead of an over the shoulder strap. It took us a couple months of searching local stores (looking whenever we happened to be in a store, not a full time search). Finally she found one that was perfect.
Here is a picture of the old purse and new purse side by side. I should have used something for scale so you could get an idea of the size, but the wallet is slightly wider than a dollar bill if that helps.
As a bonus she was able to get rid of her wallet and simply use a pocket inside the small purse instead. The new purse hold her money, cards, id, and phone. Just the things she needs to carry with her. The strap is long, and can fit across her body, instead of just on the shoulder, making it more secure. And it’s stylish and professional, as opposed to some of the other small purses we saw that looked more like kids’ purses.
A Minimalist Wallet
She downsized her purse and meanwhile (many months later) I still had a somewhat thick wallet in my pocket every day. An itch developed in the back of my mind that I should downsize my wallet.
The problem in my mind was that I needed everything in my wallet – most in a just in case sort of way. Aside from money, ID, and credit cards, I had a AAA card, health insurance cards, a community ID card to use the local parks, 2 movie rewards cards, and our science center pass.
One day last month it finally clicked. I don’t need most of those things on a daily basis. Instead of carrying them in my wallet, I decided to take a picture of the items with my phone. The I created an album in my phone called “Wallet” so that I can access them easily if I need them.
That should suffice for most of the cards I removed, as I typically just need an account number or phone number from the card. I removed everything except my cash, my debit card, one credit card, and my drivers license.
Then I remove the wallet entirely. I did this after recalling an incident at the father daughter dance this year. They gave away some door prizes to people that had certain things in their pockets. One was a photograph of their daughter in their wallet. Most people keep photos on phones, so it’s increasingly rare to have a photo in your wallet. Another prize was for someone that had their money wrapped in a rubber band. Aha… that could work.
I vowed to give that a try with the intent of seeing how it worked without all the extra stuff in my wallet. The plan was to test it out and then to find a money clip or slim wallet as my eventual solution. I decided to use a hair tie instead of a rubber band, figuring they last longer, are more durable, and as a bonus I would always have a hair tie if my wife or daughter needed one while we’re out.
After using it for a month, I am really happy with my new minimalist wallet. It’s so thin I hardly notice it in my pocket. I like it so much that I decided to keep it and not look for a money clip or slim wallet. Even a slim wallet would be thicker than my current setup, and most reviews on money clips showed they all had some shortcomings.
I have found two minor downsides. It gets a little bit loose if I don’t keep enough cash. If need be, I can double up the hair tie, but I’ve only needed to do that once when I was down to just a couple of bills. We have passes to Sea World and Legoland, and I have to remember to bring them since they no longer live in my wallet.
I fold the money in half, put the bigger bills to the inside to hide them a little, and slide in my two cards and my driver’s license. It’s perfect for me.
If you are carrying around a large purse or an overstuffed wallet, take some time and consider what you really need to carry on a daily basis. Like when you decluttered your home, you’ll likely find that you don’t need most of that just-in-case stuff.