A few months ago, we went to a baseball game with some friends. As we snaked through the arrival crush, our friends made a bee-line for the much shorter bagless entry line, at which point I gestured to my over-sized tote and apologized. "You know, so much crap because KIDS."
The kids were...not there. They were home with a babysitter. And yet I was there, lugging around a giant bag that was maybe 1/4 full of crayons and tissues and old receipts and random Legos and a ton of other stuff I 100% did not, would not use at a baseball game.
Handbags long ceased to be must-have fashion accessories for me...the bag I was carrying at the time was just a free canvas tote from Mom2.0 because YAY IT'S MACHINE WASHABLE...but after sooooo many years of diaper-bagging it, that moment in line was a weird, freeing moment of revelation.
I don't need to carry all this shit anymore.
It's been years since anyone's been in diapers, or even been a moderate-to-high accident risk requiring a backup change of clothes. I don't carry snacks or sippy cups or plastic stacking toys anymore. We keep sunscreen and bug spray and hand wipes in the car. We arrive at restaurants primarily armed with screen-based entertainment, which I insist the boys pack up and bring themselves in someone's backpack. (Lest I forget a specific old cracked iPhone or the charging cable for the Kindle and NOOOO MOOOOOM ALL IS LOST.)
My wallet is billfold-sized and packed with dozens of useless cards, old receipts, a nail file (?) and of course, absolutely zero cash. I have been carting around a small makeup bag (travel brush, hair clip, lip pencil, powder compact) that I have zero recollections of ever, not even once, using to touch up my hair or makeup while we're out. I leave the house and what's done is done. No more, no less.
Quoth the raven, Nevermore.
I stopped carrying a bag -- big OR small -- a couple months ago. It shouldn't feel as revolutionary as it does, but as someone who has rarely succeeded in any attempt at downsizing or minimalism, there's still a feeling of recklessness every time I leave the house with just my license and one credit card hidden in the back of my phone case.
I did recently cave and buy a proper wallet case for days when I need to bring along a few extra cards or cash (HAHAHAHA as if), and I also attacked my key chain and broke them up so I'm only bringing what I need instead of the full ring of I Don't Even Know What Door That Opens. I'm officially out-mimimalism-ing Jason, who isn't quite as jazzed by all this as I am, as I'm no longer responsible for stocking his favorite breath strips and sometimes don't bother with anything other than my ID so every time the check comes I'm like, "thanks, honey."
We went to the Main Street Music Fest this weekend -- the sort of ambitious outdoor day trip that I used to pack up the night before for, working out every possible scenario where someone needed clean clothes extra socks snacks water bottles allergy medicine bug spray sunscreen itch stick tissues TIMES THREE.
I brought nothing. I had everything.
Needed a card for pizza and swag.
Definitely didn't need to BYOLEGO.
And of course, the camera-formerly-known-as-a-phone for lots of picture taking.
I did the same thing at Hersheypark, save for the one small addition of a pocket-sized stick of sunblock. Both days, I spent zero time complaining about a bag strap digging into my shoulder or looking for a place to stash it. I could snap photos without it sliding down to my elbow and screwing up my shot, and no one ever complained about being bored because they were really secretly hoping there was a tablet or other device in my bag that they could play with instead.
We're out there now with big kids. No stroller, no diaper bag, no bottomless pit of just-in-cases and what-ifs, flying by the seat of our pants with very very few items in our pockets. It's a surprisingly amazing feeling.