My handbag weighed 7.5 pounds. I bought it a few years ago because it was large enough to hold everything I needed (first mistake) and because I could wear it cross body (second mistake). I use a rolling briefcase for work to carry my laptop and ipad, and the purses I used before always slid down my shoulders. I thought wearing a large cross body purse was a good way to avoid tangling my purse with my briefcase. I was wrong. It was far too heavy and hung across my body in an unflattering way.
I told myself in April I would clean out my purse and find a lighter bag over the summer. April was a really busy time for me. Lots of deadlines, lots of homework related projects, lots of performances and extra curricular activities. I was done and when I’m done, a tangled piece of lint is all the distraction I need to stop what I really should be doing to procrastinate on something less pressing. If you are like me and get caught up thinking about everything on your plate, real or imagined, try scheduling a time in the future to handle each of the tasks taking up room in your mind. In the past, I convinced myself that every problem needed a solution right then. They don’t, but making a plan to come up with a solution is sometimes all your brain needs to feel accomplished. Even better–sometimes by waiting you discover the problem wasn’t a problem after all.
My handbag was a problem. It was big enough to hold everything important, especially Nico’s epi-pens, but it was also big enough to hold everything. I carried far more than I ever needed to carry, including three rosaries, 9 lipsticks/glosses, two packs of post-its, multiple pens and highlighters, an empty bottle of perfume, two bottles of hand sanitizer, motrin, cold medication, and 4 copies of programs for two graduations, two plays, two summer camps, and one graduation dinner.
I wanted to avoid buying something new, but I didn’t think I had something that could work. Nico’s epi-pens, for whatever reason, take up more space and weigh more than I expected. I only noticed this on a day I forgot to put them in my bag. The difference in weight was striking!
The average woman owns seven handbags. I owned far more than that, but after going through everything, I am down to three: a floral LeSportsac tote, a straw clutch, and a black beaded clutch. (Edit: A comment reminded me that I have one more purse, a nylon Longhamp tote.) My mom gave me two small handbags when I told her I was looking to size down, but I might give them back. They’re leather and I’ve discovered that most leather handbags weigh at least two pounds when empty.
Yeah, right. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to get my bag down to two pounds, but I was willing to try. The first thing to go was all the trash and paper. I got rid of five lipglosses, four pens, two rosaries, two eyeglass cases, and an entire pouch of nothing important. I switched out one pouch for one that was far lighter to hold my receipts. Then, I washed my old Lesportsactote (similar), loaded it up, and weighed it.
My handbag now weighs 6 pounds, not including my phone and that bundle of papers I need to deliver to Mikey’s school tomorrow. That’s average!*
From left to right is the above mentioned paperwork, my wallet, Nico’s epi-pens, my makeup/beauty/medication bag, a pouch to hold my checkbook and paper receipts, my eyeglass case, and mints. I was expecting a dramatic improvement, but the biggest change in weight only happened when I switched from leather to fabric. I’m curious to see how much everyone else’s bags weigh, especially if you cleaned our your purses this week.
*I read a few posts online about handbags, and while everyone keeps citing the average weight, number, size, and color of a woman’s handbags, no one has bothered to link to the original source. Was there an actual study of woman’s handbags? Who knows! It made for entertaining reading, nonetheless.