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The UnPacking List #11: How to Downsize Your Handbag

downsize your handbag

Never date a girl who carries a tiny purse or even worse no purse at all. She doesn’t need you or anything else to survive.

Cletus Van Damme

I’ve come across this quote several times in the past year or so while researching minimalism and downsizing luggage, and every time I see it, I think of my friend Ange.

Angela Corbett lives in Sydney and is a good pal of mine. Due to a variety of circumstances over the past 1.5 years, she has been able to downsize her beloved, slouchy, oversized handbag to a teeny tiny bag… or sometimes no handbag at all!

This chat touches on the why, the how, and what she learned in the process of downsizing her handbag. Dive on in, ladies, and free yourself of the handbag burden once and for all.

What You’ll Learn

  • How an injury has led Ange to living a healthier life with fewer things weighing her down.
  • The things Ange considers essential when leaving the house. Hint – It’s not much!
  • Tips for others who want to be free of the handbag burden once and for all.

Links of Interest

Take Action

Head out without a handbag and let us know how it goes! Leave a comment below.

And don’t forget to

Written by Brooke

I run the show at Her Packing List and love packing ultralight. In fact, I once traveled for 3 entire weeks with just the contents of a well-packed 12L handbag. When I'm not obsessing over luggage weight, I'm producing episodes of The UnPacking List or just snuggling with my pet rabbit, Sherlock Bunz.

Add your voice & leave a comment!

Gear We Use

Organization

Packing Cubes – Organize your luggage with the lightweight, durable and compressible Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Compression Cubes.


Backpacks + Daypacks

Pacsafe – Since they come with extra theft-resisting features, Pacsafe bags make you a more confident traveler. We especially love this bag.

Sea to Summit – Of all the Sea to Summit products, our most recommended is the fits-in-your-palm, super packable Ultra-Sil Daypack.


Personal Care

Nalgene Toiletry Bottles – These leak-free toiletry bottles and tubs come in all sizes – even super tiny, helping minimalists pack it all without bulk.

Turkish Towels – They’re thinner than most travel towels, and they actually cover your body! We can’t get enough of Turkish towels for travel.


Clothing

Speakeasy Supply Co. – They make the awesome hidden pocket infinity scarves that are perfect for stashing secret cash, lip balms, and passports.

Anatomie – Anatomie travel pants come with luxury prices, but they offer many benefits for travelers. See our review of the famous Skyler pants.

Travel Resources

Booking Airfare

Dollar Flight Club – Get flight deal alerts for your preferred departure airport. There is both a free and premium version (recommended for more sweet deals). Members save on average $500 USD per flight!

Skyscanner – Skyscanner is our preferred site for searching flights. They offer unbiased search results and are free from hidden fees. You can also book your hotels and rental cars.


Accommodation

Airbnb – Airbnb is the best place to book out apartments around the world. Sign up using this link to get $37 USD off your first stay booking + $14 USD towards an experience booking!

Booking.com – Search for hotels, hostels, and apartments using this one resource. Use it for flights, car rentals, and airport taxis as well.

Hostelworld – For hostels, Hostelworld remains our number one source for booking stays. Choose from straight up hostels, budget hotels and bed and breakfasts.

Trusted Housesitters – Save money on travel accommodation by becoming a housesitter. Housesitters often have extra duties, like caring for pets and gardens.

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Theresa A Crow says

    I carry a small wristlet when I do carry a bag. There are a few reasons for carrying it, but it usually means that whatever I am wearing does not have pockets. Inside it are my men’s front-pocket wallet (very tiny that when open, has 3 slip pockets for cards on one side and a window pocket on the other with 1 pocket behind each side that I use for bills and insurance cards. I have carried a front pocket wallet for about 15 or 16 years. I started using the wristlet when I had to downsize my “stuff” that I carried everyday to work because I started riding public transportation for my 1-hour commute and due to changing buses as well as walking a few blocks. Since I carry my backpack with laptop and associated items and my breakfast and my lunch bags, my purse was the thing that had to go. Now, I only carrying one bag to work (when I go to the office which has not been since mid-March). When I have pockets, I take out my front-pocket wallet, take my keys off the wristlet, and grab my chap stick out of the zipped pocket. These are dropped into my pockets along with my phone. I love the sense of freedom that comes with this and can do this with my Macabi skirts, all of my shorts and my lighter weight pants. Some of my summer dresses have pockets but they are not very substantial so I do not put my phone in those. Some of you will understand the absolute freedom that comes from this, but if you have not tried it, you may think that you cannot do it. I assure you that you can. I wish that I had done this years and years earlier. Let me know if anyone wants a picture of the wristlet (Vera Bradley) or front pocket wallet (Osgoode Marley) and I will be happy to share..

  2. Diane says

    I have been doing a little empirical psychological research on how I am received in retail settings, comparing carrying a mid-size handbag, just a wallet, and no bag, using my pockets. This has been a fascinating experiment. I have discovered that retailers provide the best customer service while I carry the handbag. In each scenario, I am well-groomed, wearing accessories and dressed in the same type of clothing, watch, jewelry and shoes. It doesn’t seem to matter whether the outfit is elevated sportswear or more professional daywear, the customer experience is improved by including a handbag in the ensemble. I like the idea of downsizing or right-sizing my daily carry, but it’s very nice to wear a handbag. Even though there isn’t much in the bag, the psychological impact of being a lady with her bag makes it worth the effort to carry one.

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