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!}

70 comments to The Joy of One: Handbag

  • Cindy

    Hi Francine! I just found this post and I’m wondering how your bag has been holding up and if it has truly suited your needs after a year and a half.

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