The Joy of One: Handbag

Okay, everyone…are we ready to talk about One Handbag? This should be a good one.

I don’t know if I’ve ever told you before, but I’m a “bag person”—not a designer bag or novelty bag person, but a utilitarian one. I get excited about zippered compartments and adjustable straps and water bottle holders (be still, my heart!).

And to be clear, I’m not a bag person who wants a different carryall for every occasion or day of the week. I’m far too lazy for that. Not only can’t I be bothered to make such a decision in the morning, there’s no way I’m going to shuffle the contents around from one bag to another. Rather, I want to use the same one, day in and day out, so it’s one less thing to think about.

{Do you see a pattern emerging in this series? The more I write about the Joy of One, the more I realize I’m just trying to make my life as easy as possible.}

Anyway, given this lofty expectation for my One Handbag—the ability to use it for anything and everything—I feel like I’ve been on the hunt for it most of my adult life.

In fact, whittling down my collection of almost-perfect bags was a major part of my decluttering. At some point, I realized that when I found a better one, I didn’t need to keep the runner-ups—I could let them out into the world, where they might be the perfect bag for someone else.

The One Handbag challenge isn’t all that difficult—the hardest part, really, is finding it. Five years ago I found mine, and I wrote about it here. And you know what happened next? I went and had a baby, and had to start the search all over again.

Why? Because it was too small to carry all those little-person things we moms must lug around. At first I resisted, and simply didn’t bother to carry them. But after a few episodes of not having snacks, or a sippy cup, or an extra change of clothes at the playground—plus an unhappy child and plenty of parent-shaming gazes—I retired my beloved seatbelt bag (ie. gave it to a friend) in favor of something more child-friendly.

The first thing I did was revisit the Etsy shop from which I’d purchased it, in hopes of getting a larger one. Unfortunately, however, it had closed. So I kicked back, poured a glass of wine, and leisurely clicked through Etsy’s handbag category in search of an alternative. (This is about the only way I shop these days.)

And I guess my handbag stars were aligned that night, because I found the little beauty pictured above. And here is where I tell you why I love it so:

• The gray color is neutral, sophisticated, and doesn’t heat up as much as black in the summer sun (important when taking long walks or hanging out on playgrounds).

• The nylon material is super-lightweight, and the bag folds down to almost nothing for storage and/or transport (like in a suitcase).

• The material is water-resistant—perfect for my rainy climate.

• The material is vegan, so no harm done there.

• The material appears to be durable and stain-resistant so far (and it’s taken quite a bit of abuse in daily wear).

• The strap adjusts from shoulder length to cross-body length, for a variety of carrying options.

• It’s handmade, not mass-produced; and even better, made to the exact size I requested.

• How sweet is that bow? If I’m only going to have One Handbag, it has to make me smile. :)

I’m happy to report that it’s performed beautifully as a daily bag. It’s roomy enough for outings with my daughter, tailored enough for professional meetings (it even fits a file folder), and nice enough for a night out. Since I’ve owned it, I’ve never felt need for anything else.

So that’s my One Handbag for now (and hopefully, far into the future). I’d love to hear your thoughts on this challenge. Could you do it? If not, why not? And if so, tell us all about your bag!

(Edit: here’s a link to the bag for everyone who’s asked for it.)

{And just a little reminder: only six days left to pre-order The Joy of Less, and receive a pretty bouquet of decluttering printables. There’s a dozen in all, one for every area of the house and some (frameable) quotes for inspiration. I made them myself, as a special thank you for your support!}

69 comments to The Joy of One: Handbag

  • I love the fact that you have let go of your previous one and not kept it. Even though you could have, I don’t know, for going out on your own and all that stuff ;) Living light is fantastic and you’re right, certain things don’t need any variety. If I had to change my stuff from bag to bag it would drive me crazy!

  • Barb

    It looks lovely but we need a link to the Etsy store! ? I struggle with trying to have as few bags as possible and I admit I have more than one, although fewer than I’ve ever owned. Currently I carry a fabric bag (washable) but the fabric gets worn and faded and I ended up replacing it at least yearly. The idea of microfiber is very appealing….

  • I have several bags, and would LOVE to replace them with one that worked for all occasions. This is such a female problem which I find quite irritating but with more clothing options come more shoes and bags to match. The answer may be starting with my clothes and once I have a ‘look’ tied down I can accessories appropriately and minimally. Thanks Francine :)

  • Alix

    Your handbag is pretty much perfection, Francine! But — I could never, EVER, have just one bag. I’m trying to downsize, but — just ONE? Oh no. No no no no no.

  • Bette

    The bag I use every day is a black Longchamp Planetes crossbody. Although it’s no longer made, you can see it here, and then search for it on eBay if you like it.

    http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/longchamp-planetes-crossbody-bag/2941050

    This is a great bag because of the crossbody strap and the exterior pocket. Although I have an assortment of other bags, including a brief case, backpack, tote, and several clutches, this is the bag I currently have my stuff in and I can’t be bothered to change, LOL.

  • Susan M

    We need the link for the purse. The Etsy owner will thank you for sharing. BTW I have only used one purse for years. Sometimes I change what I use in the winter sometimes I don’t:) I need a purse that is large enough to carry all my regular “stuff” plus an EpiPen for me and Glucagon (Type 1 diabetic) for my son.

  • AnnaInga

    I had ONE nylon canvas handbag all through college, university and my fist years working. Then the handbag literally fell to pieces (11 years old!). It happend to happen right inside a huge mall in Hong Kong, so I walked to the handbag departement, choosed the first one I liked; a lilac nylon handbag in just the right size. Now 5 years later it still looks new!

  • denise

    i break out in a cold sweat just thinking about only using one bag! congratulations on making it to one bag (and i love the big bow!) i do find myself using the same big bag for schlepping to work everyday (with a smaller cross-body inside for night out or shopping) and then on the weekend i switch to a fancier pink “shopper” bag that gets me everywhere my weekend brings me. so in essence i am down to 3 bags which is HUGE progress for a crazy bag lady. i just can’t give up all of the bags that were “almost perfect”. i will work on it….really i will!

    thanks for being a great role model Francine!

    denise

  • kathie

    I’m a bag addict. I don’t have the hordes of purses but I waste money buying purses at the thrift store and then donating them. I like going purse less but because of my daughter’s allergies and my medical stuff, I have to carry a bag. Lately, I have been using a canvas tote but it is not secure. I might need to go back to having a purse ?

    • kathie

      I forgot to mention- I normally only carry 1 small wallet, my phone and sunglasses if I’m sans children. I guess you can call my totebag my big kid “diaper” bag. ?

  • HokieKate

    My second daughter just potty trained, so we’re coming out of the diaper bag days.

    I have: a tote for work (carries lunch and exercise clothes), a tote for church (carries a binder for my Sunday School class and religious books for my children during the service), my awesome large purse for “purse” occasions, and a small zippered clutch made by women in Central America that holds my wallet/keys/phone and moves between the other bags. All the bags except for my good purse are kept packed and I like knowing that they are ready to go.

  • Dimond

    I only own one small black 8×6 purse that I bring with me into places. I also usually have a separate cooler tote to hold smoothies, water, etc. that I leave in the car. As much as I’d prefer to have only one item, I don’t want to carry all that extra stuff with me everywhere I go. I’ve had my purse for over 12 yrs. I’d just stopped carrying a really small wallet. Realized I’d barely carry anything in it that can’t easily fit into my purse. Now I can actually go even smaller. I have a good amount of stuff in the purse, but only useful things & everything is miniature. I would love to go completely without a purse, but it’s almost impossible to do except on a rare occasion.

  • Brenda

    I love having only one purse. Mine looks very similar to yours, roomy enough to carry what I need, small enough to pack in a suitcase, and the perfect neutral shade of grey. I decided the same thing a few years ago and bought this bag and a matching wallet. Both have held up beautifully and been taken to every type of occasion. Life is definitely simpler and I always feel stylish. I also love having a pocket for my one pen!

  • Lana

    I found my perfect bag at Steinmart. It is a pretty tote style in cream with black leather trim. It goes in any season and I get lots of compliments. It is by London Fog. I love it and shall use it daily until it falls apart. I have been using it for almost a year already and it looks brand new so I have a feeling it will have a long life. Luckily I have never been a bag person who needs a different pocketbook for every outfit. Now if only I could do the same with my clothes!

  • Amy

    When I was carrying a diaper bag I didn’t want to have to lug a purse too. My mother gave me the greatest wallet…it’s about 3×3, leather (yeah, but it was over 30 years ago, the cost of leather on the environment wasn’t on my radar then)it folds in half and has a zipper on the other 3 sides. It’s perfect! It’s big enough for cash, some change, my id, my cc card and most importantly-my library card. I could toss it in the diaper bag without worrying about what would fall out:)
    I still use the same wallet (still no purse-I’d probably leave it somewhere)which I can throw in my tote for work, the console of my car, a coat pocket or a backpack when hiking.
    The last purse I used has been sitting on the shelf in my coat closet for years…hmmm…time to get rid of it I think!

  • tina

    I have spent my life searching for the perfect purse. I must have 30 bags…sometimes I get so frustrated I just want to carry my stuff in a paper grocery bag. Right now I am carrying a baggalini hobo of some kind..I love kiplings, ameribag healthy back bags, ebags, etc. I would love a longchamp tote but I don’t buy leather and they don’t make a vegan one. I go from wanting to be practical and organized to waning to be stylish..such a problem. I always carry a purse or two in my car just in case I need to change mid-day. Nuts I know. Anyway, I too would like the link to the purse above.

  • Ali

    So if your bag is made of nylon it’s made of plastic and plastic is made from petroleum so there is harm done just in a different way.

    Nothing wrong with picking a non leather option but please don’t pretend a choice of plastic “does no harm”.

    I have 2 bags I use. One leather messenger bag, heavier weight and roomy. I love it but it’s too wintery for speing/summer. For summer I have a canvas messenger bag. It’s not as structured as I’d like and it doesn’t have an outside clasp so I’m looking for a better one. Preferably a Lily Bloom bag. Mass produced but made from recycled materials.

    • Trish

      I agree. I respect anyone who choses to not harm animals, but I can’t justify (to myself, I don’t judge anyone’s considered choices) plastic over alternatives.
      I have a winter bag and a summer bag. I had just one, but I found one I really liked last fall and just got it out for this spring/summer. I use the off season one to store that season’s accessories, so now my winter one has my mitts, scarf and hat in it.

    • MelD

      I agree. I think this talk of “vegan” leather and so on is rather ridiculous – why not just say it’s plastic?! Or whatever other material. As for “vegan” shoes, any kind of plastic shoe sounds rather odious to me, the only alternative I can think of is cotton or hemp fabric/rubber. A silly trend, really, but then I like to call things what they are!

      Fortunately, I don’t have a problem with leather. My one handbag is about 9×7″, flat, natural-coloured thick leather, zipped, removable strap (makes a clutch) with one outside pocket (zipped) and a couple of small inside ones. I don’t carry much and this is perfectly adequate. I can put it inside my foldable medium Longchamp bag along with a few garments if I want to go away anywhere or take my knitting with me or if there is a “one bag” limit at the airport. Perfect.

      • tina

        I don’t use leather when I can avoid it since thinking about the skin of animal makes me very sad. I don’t say vegan leather, I say fake leather, just like I say fake meat. The reason I don’t say plastic is that fake leather (or vegan leather) explains that the item “looks” like leather. I may like that look for shoes say, but I don’t want real animal skins. When I think of plastic shoes I think of Croc’s or Jelly’s…when I say vegan leather or fake leather I think of loafers, or oxfords..or even pumps… I hope this clarify’s it for you.

  • Janice

    Thanks, Francine! I’ve been anxiously awaiting this post! It’s taken a lot of trial and error over the years to determine what type of handbag fits my lifestyle.

    Here is my handbag wishlist: I must have easily accessible pockets on the outside of the bag: one for car keys and the other for my cell phone. The bag must have a shoulder strap so it can be slung over the shoulder when hands are needed for grocery shopping, carrying grandchildren, etc. It also needs to be lightweight and easy to wipe down if necessary. One other feature I find convenient is for the handbag to have two straps so the purse opens wide to view the inside. After reading all of the above now you understand why this has been a challenge for me. LOL

    I went to the link provided and purchased the Tracy bag (https://www.etsy.com/transaction/1134949686) I ordered it in black exterior with gray lining (lightest color to find items easily.) I requested to have the stitching in black to blend in with the bag. So nice to have the custom option! I won’t use the attachable shoulder strap since the straps are long enough to wear up on the shoulder. I don’t like too many things in the way. ;)

    Thanks so much for the research you perform for your “The Joy of One” series! It helps me tremendously!

  • Margaret

    I have one black medium sized handbag that I use constantly, and one small handbag for really dressed up occasions. When our kids arrived, I didn’t want my bag to be the kid bag too, so we created a separate kid bag. Not too bad carrying both, the kid bag was usually in the stroller, and now the kids are older, we don’t need a kid bag any more. When we handed off kids from one parent to another, the kid bag was simply handed off with them. My husband even created a second kid bag for the rare occasions we were handling the kids separately.

    • Margaret

      Actually, anyone succeeded with carrying no bag at all?

      • Dimond

        When I was younger & use to go dancing at clubs, I never brought a purse. Just had my ID, car key if driving & maybe occasionally a lip stick/gloss. I would either have pockets or give it to a friend/boyfriend to hold. I loved how freeing it was! If only we could store things easily on our body. lol. There’s been times I’ve carried a small pouch to hold items above along with money.

      • Idgy

        Hi Margaret,

        During jacket season (fall through spring), I put everything in jacket pockets. I have a Capsul wallet (very small and holds cards and folded bills) and switch out the wallet contents depending on where I am going. Also in jacket pockets: iPhone, keys, lip balm, handkerchief and asthma inhaler. In summer, I use a small tote bag or have husband carry things that do not fit in pant/short pockets. The iPhone case has a small place that holds 1-2 cards. I work full time and travel for work. This has not been an issue and no purse snatching to worry about. My kids are in school so no longer need the big bag.

  • Janice

    Sorry! I see the link I provided in my post isn’t working. Hopefully this one will: https://www.etsy.com/listing/77379299/sale-chocolate-brown-water-resistant-bag?ref=shop_home_listings

  • Ane

    My dream would be to not have a purse, but I only wear dresses so that’s not an option. For the past decade I’ve been using a wristlet that contains keys, money, cards, a cell phone, and the occasional lip balm or lipstick. When I need to be hands free I simple slide the wristlet up my arm (this makes it so I can carry bags, push my children on the swing, eat food, etc.). When I’m going places with the kids I either wear a backpack or use a canvas grocery bag I always keep in the trunk of my car.

  • Kathie

    When I first read THE JOY OF LESS and MISS MINIMALIST, I switched to a crossover bag with a very thin wallet inside, which I love. I would never go back to anything larger, although I do love Francine’s new bag with the super-cute bow. Maybe tippythai will sew me a smaller version when my One Bag wears out. I do use a computer bag on business trips and slide in the very thin wallet inside it. Other than that, I have a light-colored bag I use twice a year and a clutch I use once every other year.

  • Jessica

    I love Miche bags! One bag (base) with different covers for different styles. You get to switch your look without having to load and unload all your stuff.

    https://www.miche.com/

  • gail

    I use a fairly large seatbelt bag that does not wear out ever almost all the time, but I also have a small and plain shoulder purse for weddings, etc. I succumbed to the second pocketbook after annoying my husband once too often to carry my essentials in his pockets.

  • laura m.

    I always use cross the body compact bags or purses with several compartments. I have a small tote kept behind the seat in back for items seldom used like clippers, file, small scissors, maps. etc. I keep loyalty cards in a pouch in the console. When bags go on clearance with a store coupon knocking the price lower, I get several usually black or brown to replace when one gets ratty looking over time. If bag strap breaks or lining rips, I junk it and have new one ready. I get them reduced cost, and they take up little space. I use antibacterial wipe to clean outside every few days.

  • Julie Caouette

    I used to carry a huge bag around, until I realised that I’d manage to fill it no matter how big it was. I think it’s the first area of my life I minimized a couple of years ago. I’ve been down to just one bag for quite some time now. For the last two years I was using one of these https://www.etsy.com/transaction/1033711966 but I switched to this one http://mattandnat.com/shop/sari-black because I wanted a bag that was more structured.

  • samantha

    Francine, how does it coordinate with your “one coat?” I remember that your coat is grey as well….do the grey’s work well together?

  • Bette

    I have to add a postscript to my earlier comment. It is fascinating to read everyone’s ideas and suggestions on what to carry. What jumps out at me is the difference between those who drive (and can keep items in their car) vs. those who use public transportation. As a subway rider, I need to carry everything with me — but still find a crossbody bag with a thin wallet inside (and a lunchbox!) fits my needs perfectly.

  • Carolyn

    Oh, Francine, I was looking forward to this one, but unfortunately it’s feeding my “habit” and I’m obsessed with your one bag! I’ve been struggling– no, let’s say experimenting — with this again lately. Your first few paragraphs sound just like me…until it comes to unloading previous also-rans! Since I never find the Holy Grail, the perfect bag, I’m always cycling through those I have. I’ve cut down my essentials but they still are a fair amount, so tiny doesn’t work. I’ve been looking for something lightweight, big enough but not too big, shoulder-or-cross body adjustable…I think it IS your bag. (Just curious, how big is yours?) I’ve got a purse organizer to change from one tote bag to another, but it tends to tip over in the bottom of the bag. I also like to have a small “Sunday” bag that doesn’t take up too much room, sitting in the choir loft. Maybe I need 2 perfect bags. I’ve lately been thinking about making my oen!

  • I have one bag for a purse – I hate carrying one, but with 4 little ones (thankfully out of diapers), one needing Benadryl and Epi-Pens, it’s just a fact of life. I have been carrying my current bag, which is a grey Pampered Chef one, for over a year and I really really like it, but sadly it’s starting to show quite a bit of wear and tear (I’m not too gentle with it, I admit). It carried my stuff, and advertised my business – double win! I am all for one bag, I can’t be bothered to switch out purses. It just takes me a while to find one that I like well enough – this one has stood the test of time for me more so than any others. I think it’s about time to shop around for another one though (the one I currently have has been discontinued). I like the looks of some of the ones on the Etsy sites linked!

    Oh, and to make the whole 1 bag thing easier I stick with black or grey since that is quite literally 99% of my wardrobe (I still have one brown based skirt left, but I think that’s it, everything else is black or coordinates with black).

  • Rhiannon

    I have one purse that I love. But I made the choice I keep that as just my stuff. So I do carry a separate diaper bag. It is a more functional option for me because my husband often takes the kids or we occasionally drop the kids off at a friend’s house. After a long and embarrassingly expensive quest to find the right diaper bag, I found it! It was the little travel backpack that I bought from R.E.I. Years ago. It is absolutely perfect! After a long hunt for my purse, I found the absolute perfect one on Amazon, my husband surprised me with it for x-mas.

  • Patty

    I have always been a ‘one bagger’ lady. Current iteration is black leather w/black suede side panels w/lovely bold gold zippers on each side of the outside. I am mother to two disabled adult children whose money I am responsible for. I have their checkbooks in one of the side pockets which keeps them from getting mixed w/mine & hubs’ money and therefore easy to retrieve. I keep lipstick, fingernail file & thieves oil spray (anti-germies) in the other outside side pocket.

    To this I’ll add I’ve got only one fantastic wallet as well. Big enough to carry two checkbooks – mine & household. Yes, I still write checks. Not always, have automated most everything but am old school enough to like carrying checks with me ‘in case’. This wallet is a nice ‘evening out’ bag as well. I too shopped for HOURS to find the right wallet.

  • Sara

    When I read your post yesterday, your bag brought to mind Tippythai’s bags on Etsy! This was before you added the info. :) I was thinking of buying one of their purple bags last year, then went another way, but they’re lovely. Like yours. :)

    During the week I need a bag to carry my work clothes and stuff; usually I have a shoulder bag and a canvas tote bag with me, plus an extra tote bag if I go and buy groceries after work. I’ve got three handbags and five shoulder bags. The handbags I mostly use on weekends and when I go out. I used to be like you and carried just one bag, but when I bought a organizer – a bag-in-bag – I feel like ‘rotating’ different bags. The bag-in-bag lets me keep all the small stuff in one place and it fits most my bags easily, so I simply move it to another bag when I want to switch. :)

  • May

    I currently have 2 bags, one black and one blue/white stripped. I’d love to find a way to reduce to one. I find my black purse doesn’t work well with my summer clothes and my blue & white bag is the opposite. My black purse works for everyday and dressier occasions. However, I often leave my purse in the car when I go places. I don’t typically carry much stuff with me…. A bit of make up to retouch, my small wallet and my phone. So often I just grab some cash out or my card and leave the rest. Does anyone have a recommendation of a color that’d work well with black but also khaki/summer clothes? I think your bag is darling! But a couple things probably wouldn’t work well for me…..I feel grey would clash with my summer outfits. I don’t need a large purse at this point…. My daughter is 5 and has been potty trained for a long time so accidents aren’t an issue. That being said though, I’d really love to get down to one bag!

    • I think a cognac bag looks as beautiful with black or grey as it does with white/browns/denim. I used to think brown and black could never go well together but I’ve recently changed my mind on that and now love cognac with black (I have a mostly black/grey wardrobe). I still think a tan or chocolate is difficult with black but cognac works IMHO. Cognac also works well with different brown accessories (belt/shoes). I don’t feel it’s necessary to have the exact match of brown if wearing two brown accessories if one is cognac. Or pick a color that you like (for me I like dark purple, which also works great with all neutrals). Since you are wearing mainly neutrals, you could have a non-neutral color bag that would go with everything.

  • I have carried my handbag for three years now…? I held onto two other handbags until a few months ago, because I would try and switch things up a bit. However, it would only last a day or so, and I was back in my faithful gorgeous handbag! Now I am a one handbag kind of gal! After all this time, it is in great shape, and I could probably carry it for another three years without repairing it!

    Erin | http://www.awelderswife.com

  • Erin Mills

    So…where did you get the ONE BAG? :) Don’t think of it as advertising, think of it as sharing details with a friend!

  • I love this bag! I would absolutely get it in black though :-)

    I only have one hand bag and a couple of purses but none of them have been getting much use because I have been taking the nappy bag just about everywhere lately. I’m not sure if your bag would be able to replace my nappy bag. I tend to carry alot of stuff – perhaps that is the next area I need to streamline.

    Thank you for this series Francine. I have been following your lead and counting my belongings (there is a few more than one of everything) and posting about them on my blog. It has been very motivational. I look forward to seeing what is next.

  • Alison

    This is a great option for one bag and it’s heartening that there is a real person who makes it and customizes it. It works for a range of situations except for the most informal (e.g., the beach) and formal — and you could always rent something for a really formal event. Great pick!

  • Kay

    I’ve been using one bag for years – almost 20. A black seat belt bag. Makes life so much easier. I do have one other dressy bag I use for weddings, etc.

  • MelD

    I’ve been using one bag for a number of years, now. Unlike some other readers, I am not a great fan of black and my clothing tends to be colourful. My first one bag was a pretty, small, flat, round, bright orange bag that worked brilliantly for a long time and actually went with every colour in my wardrobe. When it got shabby, I switched to a natural-coloured leather (obviously also available as imitation leather for those whe don’t “do” leather!) as that goes with everything I own, too (grey with tan leather looks very chic!).
    Maybe this helps some other women who are not fans of black!

  • I have been a fan of having “ONE” handbag for ages. I currently have a Saddleback long strap bag with matching wallet that I’ve been greatly enjoying for the past year. Before that my “ONE” was a LV neverfull in medium with matching wallet (this sold very nicely on ebay when I was ready for a change). Before that, I don’t quite remember, but I believe I had a Betsy Johnson tan leather bag followed by a mustard yellow Italian leather number. When I lived in NYC, I started having “ONE” as I found the time it takes to switch bags annoying, my wardrobe and budget were small, so I simply selected a bag and wardrobe that all complemented one-another. I still enjoy the ease of doing this, despite living a simpler life with more space available. It certainly eliminates decision fatigue.

  • Fairy8i8

    Francine, you mentioned in your post that they made it to the exact size you requested. What size did you request? I am possibly going to need a bag big enough to fit little person stuff soon.

  • I have one large black tote. It was perfect because it had THREE pockets in it, which is very unusual. Totes normally have only one gaping hole. I put everything I need in it from lunch to a laptop. It is good for casual and dressy. Perfect!

  • This is a problem area for me. All areas of wardrobe but particularly the accessories. Shoes & bags are something that can give a shopper personality a quick (but not lasting) thrill even if one’s weight is not comfortable. I’ve also gotten caught up in the past with loving the design and look of a bag without determining whether it fits me and my lifestyle and whether or not I already have a bag in a similar category. I don’t think I’ll ever get to one but I’m hoping to streamline to a one or two in each major category (work tote/mini bag/clutch). But if I had to pick just one, I’d pick a Longchamp nylon tote and use pouches inside to organize. I’m currently downsizing my handbags. I have a degenerative disc and found many of my older designer bags simply weigh too much and are no longer my taste either (I prefer simpler more streamlined designs now vs. the studs and bows of my past). Although I still like a large work tote to bring my lunch/shoes/gym clothes, etc to/from the office, I now prefer a mini satchel or clutch for all other occasions or lunch hour. I’m still working on what my ideal final bag count will be (it won’t be one in total but one/two per category of bag – i.e. one work tote, one clutch, one mini crossbody).

  • Janice

    My Tracy handbag from TippiThai arrived today (fast service!) It is now holding all my belongings that are easy to access…I love it! It is attractive and lightweight. I’m looking forward to using this as my one hand bag! Thanks again for your post, Francine!

  • Alex

    I don’t own even one handbag. I just use my phone wallet. I take my lunch to work in a plastic bag or my daughters old backpack. In the past I’ve ever only owned one handbag at a time. That goes for shoes in a way too. At the moment I own one pair of sneakers and one pair of stilletos. When you’re broke it forces you to me a minimalist.

  • Jenny

    The shop where you bought your original “one bag” is back in existence after the owner took a break to go to design school. https://www.etsy.com/shop/interrobang?ref=shop_sugg (No I’m not the owner.) I bought one of the bags several years ago and it is still going strong.

  • Bibi

    I love this idea of one single bag.
    It simplify s my life so much.
    No need to think which bag to take if you have only one,but the perfect one.😀
    I found my perfect bag. Its from Kipling ,a black Alvar bag.
    I have it since long time,and it is my loyal companion,wherever i go.
    Its very light ( very important ) and discreet and resistant.
    So easy to save time and space with only one bag.

  • […] Francine Jay, author of the blog Miss Minimalist and the book The Joy of Less: A Minimalist Guide to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify. I strongly recommend you the whole articles series The Joy of One on her blog. […]

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