One Bag Nation

Why I’m A One Bag Woman

Posted on: April 9, 2008

Tower of BagsThe Rise of One Bag Nation

Several weeks ago I made the decision to commit to using the same bag, every day. This one new habit has been so amazingly helpful in my quest for order and organization that I couldn’t keep it to myself – the world needed to know! And One Bag Nation – the blog, the movement – was born.

The Backstory

Throughout my lifelong struggle for order and organization, I have bought a LOT of bags, thinking the “perfect bag” would lead to the perfectly organized life. It didn’t work. When my daughter was born, I kind of went over the deep end, bag-wise. I had a pretty good system before I stopped working, but suddenly I needed a diaper bag and a purse; then a bag for sippy cups, toys, snacks, and a purse; then a backpack for swimsuits, sunscreen, lunches and a purse . . . . I don’t even want to think about how many bags I’ve tried in the last 6 years. Only some of them are in the pile in the photo; I’ve given away or consigned a lot. I eventually went back to the Fossil wallet-style purse I had used when I was working full-time.

But I still needed a larger bag for all the other stuff I wanted to carry. I continued my quest, buying more totes and backpacks in various sizes and shapes. One of my many impulse buys was the polka-dotted bag in my avatar (see my About page) – a really simple Dickies bag for $9.99 at Staples I just couldn’t pass up! I added it to my collection. In the meantime, I was still constantly changing bags, which of course led to never knowing where my keys, sunglasses, pens, checkbook, tissues, calendar or phone were – and I spent an awful lot of time transferring stuff from one bag to another.

I Stopped the Madness One day I decided this had to stop. I pulled out the Dickies bag and committed to using it ALL THE TIME. And it worked. I still carry my wallet purse (inside the tote), along with all the other things I need to carry on any given day. I can easily pull out my purse for quick errands, leaving the large bag in the car. I put my bag on the same chair every time I come in the door, drop my keys into the side pocket, my gloves and/or sunglasses into the main compartment and I’m ready to go the next time. This bag isn’t perfect: it only has one small outside pocket and the interior is black, which makes it hard to see inside. But what I love about it far outweighs the flaws: it’s attractive, it has shoulder-bag length handles, the fabric is sturdy and water-resistant – and it was so cheap! It’s large enough to carry a sweater or fleece for my daughter, or several reusable shopping bags, or my idea notebooks and my tickler file; even my large water bottle fits easily inside.

Someday I’ll design the Ultimate Tote Bag (the ideas are already percolating) but of course it’s keeping the commitment to using the same bag every day that has really made the difference; one small step that takes me closer to order, serenity and peace of mind.

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4 Responses to "Why I’m A One Bag Woman"

One bag – that’s a great simplifying trick.

I alternate between two bags and you are right – it is a hassle.

Wow! I finally did something right. I’ve been carrying the same LeSport Sac for years. Well, I’ve replaced it once or twice, but they’re a little pricey, and they don’t wear out often. It’s not a huge bag, but it holds everything I need or may need, and it’s light…thats the key. Inside…a small zip bag for dental floss, eye drops, aspirin, breath mints, etc.; digital camera; ipod; wallet with discount cards, coupons, checks, and medical cards. The inside pocket has tissues and eye glass cleaners and a small brush/comb combo. Another pocket holds a pen, lip gloss and 3×5 cards. The handiest thing, though, is a smallish wristlet (actually I have quite a few). Just big enough to hold a taxi wallet and cell phone. The larger bag goes in the trunk of the car when I leave the house, and 90% of the time I never carry anything other than the wristlet.

Margi, it sounds like you’re very well organized! It also sounds like you’re very disciplined about putting everything back in its place in your bag – makes finding things again so much easier, no? 🙂

I often leave my large bag in the car as well, and just take my wallet purse and a reusable shopping bag if I need that.

I must confess I had to google “taxi wallet” – but what a great little item, perfect for travel.

[…] not have been large enough to contain my purse collection . . . I do still have more than just one bag (true confessions) but the other one or two are for occasions when my big polka dot bag isn’t […]

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