Coasting
How Does Your Garden Grow (and Grow) (and Grow) (oh crap)

Say Bye to the Bag

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. 

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Needed a card for pizza and swag.

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Definitely didn't need to BYOLEGO.

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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. 

 

Comments

Jeanne

I have 3 kids, 10 to 2. When the oldest was a toddler, I took everything. With the third, we maybe bring a couple diapers, pack of wipes and change of clothes in a small bag. I figure anything can become a toy if needed. Normally, short trips only include a debit card in my pocket. Sometimes I wish I were more organized and then I remember I am not lugging around a giant bag filled with junk. It's freeing.

Angela Mott

If I could find pants or shirts with freaking POCKETS this would so be me! I was eyeing those phone cases with wallets, that would be perfect! Any advice about the one you chose? Do you love it? There are so many!

LJ

Hi. Nice new site layout. Do you have other font options? The stoutness of this font is not easy on the eyes :( (it's pretty though) or maybe it's just my screen?

As always, you have a very lovely family <3

Becky

I also freed myself from the "mom purse" about a year ago and it's amazing! I wear a lot of dresses and lack pockets most days, so not completely bagless, but I was able to reduce down to the cutest little baby Coach purse that I love so very much. It fits a coin purse sized wallet, phone, gum, chapstick, and my car key (that I've separated from all other crap keys that do nothing.) Maybe my sunglasses in a pinch. And I felt like I could splurge on a nice purse because I knew I wouldn't be throwing anything gross in there that might ruin it. It's also small enough to just throw into a larger bag on the days where we are going somewhere that requires more packing, or in my laptop bag during the week.

Robin

I remember being so worried about getting rid of the diaper bag. What if the kids get bored and I don't have anything to amuse them with? What if someone gets hungry and needs a snack or a drink? Turns out, the kids get much less snacky when there isn't a snack to be had. Thirsty and there's no sippy cup? Oh look - a water fountain! Bored? If you are lucky and I want to be able to ignore you and have an adult conversation, I'll let you play with my phone. Otherwise, you are going to have to learn to be amused with my witty banter or whatever else you can come up with. I've found that it is all about expectations and it is my job to lower my children's expectations to a level that I am willing to put up with.

Audrey

So I don't have any kids but I despise having to carry around a purse - mainly because my husband seems to think it is his personal Mary Poppins bag and weighs is down with all his nonsense that is normally in his own pockets! I went so far as to put a copy of my license (I had ordered a new one because I thought I lost it) in his wallet so now I don't even need my ID to order cocktails. Winning! #nopurse #carryyourowncrap

Amy

Oh man. We have 2 kids under 3, both still diapers, and I'm sure more to come. We just bought a collapsible wagon for the years ahead of parks, farmers markets, soccer games, etc. The stroller that connects to the car seat lives in my car and I get very po'd when my husband removes it without telling me. We are LIGHTYEARS away from where you are!

Brenda

This is me, since long before it should have been! My kids have been carrying their own backpacks and hydration since they were 3. I have twins, so you get to that no bag status quicker? And, thank you for this timely post. You just reminded me to retrieve my driver's license from the jeans I wore to a concert 3 days ago! oops! But, yeah, Mumford and Sons was good and I took in nothing but ID and enough cash for A beer. And, props to the woman above with a photocopy of ID, but do they accept it? I'm in Utah now and 36, so not trying to be sneaky, but I get the side eye just with my out of state license.

Abesha1

So, I have two little kids, and when I saw
I ❤EC...? I automatically thought Elimination Communication and was so excited! Like, wow, stickers and shirts and wait why are there pictures of Maryland and ohhhhh... glad you're supporting Ellicott City! And yay for elimination communication anyway!

Tiffany

Oh God I am looking forward to this day.

michelle b

What is it with husbands using wives' purses? My husband thinks my purse is a portable garbage can. No, sir, no.

Olivia Enabulele

I ditched the diaper bag as soon as possw, but I am, and will always be, a purse carrier. I keep them on the small side, but I can't go without. Even if my clothing had pockets it wouldn't work for me. I need tissuez, hand lotion, ibuprofen, and a place for my keys and sunglasses, and I hate carrying stuff in my hand.

Lisa

I kind of love this idea, but I'm not sure if I can pull it off! There's nothing more annoying than being out and about somewhere with a huge heavy bag digging into your shoulder. You've given me a lot to think about!

Robyn

You know what I need? Yoga pants with pockets. I'm all about comfort these days, but still need to bring a bag because no pockets! There has to be a way... :)

Chrissy

Sometimes I wish I could adopt a purse-free lifestyle, but whenever I go out in public with just my cell phone, check card, ID, and maybe a lip gloss, I feel so vulnerable and paranoid. (What if my phone falls out of my pocket and I don't realize it? What if I set it down somewhere and lose everything?) I guess I like the security of having it in my (fully secured) purse, but go you! I'm glad you feel liberated. :)

Julie

Yeah, the perpetual problem of no pockets/small pockets in female clothing is my stumbling block here. I got a new phone at the begining of the summer so had it in purse through skirt season, and am now realizing it is annoyingly big when it comes to trying to fit it in my pockets....

Susan

I also am looking forward to this day. The last time I left the house with just a lip gloss in my coat pocket, my water broke and my twins were born 2 hours later. So now I travel as lightly as possible, but I still use caution!

KImtoo

I have a teeny tiny purse, too, because I don't rely like to carry a big one. But on outings, I tend to use a backpack, because I want to carry a water bottle and sunscreen and sometimes we need jackets. I also had to swap out the teeny tinny purse for a small one, because I found myself needing inhalers and carrying my Kindle with me (I know, I could use my phone, but I like my Kindle better.

Elliesee

Oh I still have quite the back pack... water bottle, blanket, umbrella, eco-bags, the cards of 5 people, and yes, crayons. Soon mittens will replace the water bottle. I couldn't be without a book though and an eyeglasses case, as I have learned the expensive lesson of not using one. I was bag less pre-kids! Just a key and a tiny wallet.

L

I am 38 weeks pregnant with baby #3, so this seems very far to me, but I am so excited for the day it happens!

Myriam

I actually like "a bag". I only have one purse that just big enough for me to put my lunch in to bring to work. I'm a diabetic, so that only means carrying my testing kit, extra glucose tablets, a water bottle. My keys are actually attached to my bag with a long strap. Having "free-floating items" means a risk a forgetting/losing them. So there just the one bag, always that same bag.

Jessica

This post is liberating me to look into smaller bags. I really don't need to haul a giant one around. There's a sweet little Orla Kiely pouch on eBay that is 7x10 and might just be the perfect size for a wallet, phone and keys. I hate carrying lots of stuff in my pockets.

Ellen

My kid is 13 and I still carry the big purse, only now it's weighed down by the big camera and koozies for sporting events. Sometimes a full size towel to wipe down wet or dirty bleachers. A cardigan for when the fall weather gets chilly. My makeup bag is ridiculous and has enough makeup to redo my face completely, plus band aids and other first aid items. I've tried to pare down, but a kid in three sports makes it impossible.

Lynn

I just spontaneously combusted with jealousy. I want to not carry a bag SO DAMN BAD.

Chi

I have twice -- TWICE -- read your title as Say Bye to the Blog and legit panicked. Super glad you're not quitting blogging just yet. :)

Shannon Mateo

A few months ago I was at the post office and this mom with two kids in tow walked up to the counter, slid open the back of her cell phone case, pulled out her debit card, and paid. I shouted "WHAT IS THAT!!!" She showed me. It was a Spigen iPhone case. The back slides down and has enough room for a debit card and an ID. I was on Amazon before I even left the post office.
https://www.amazon.com/Spigen%C2%AE-Gunmetal-Advanced-Absorption-Protective/dp/B00JH88JDQ

I LOVE THIS THING. It's been kind of life altering to just walk out with my phone and keys and NOTHING ELSE. There was a brief moment of panic once a few weeks later when I did carry in my purse and normal wallet to use a business debit card, and lady asked for my ID, which wasn't in my wallet, and then much OMG OMG I LOST MY ID followed, until I remembered that no, you dummy it's in your phone. But after the first massive panic, I got over it.

Anyway I still have a purse, and a wallet with many useless things. I bring it along if I have the kids but usually leave it in the car. It holds stuff like my gum, my work credit cards, my work check books (those still exist), my gift cards, and my ice cream punch card. Oh and my Whole Foods Burrito punch card.

Mostly I still have the purse because I'm from Nevada and we have concealed carry here, and my purse is where I'm able to carry. So, I still carry my purse to malls, movie theaters, and any other scare places here in Reno.

Check out the Spigen case. It changed my life. I can go for a run with just my phone now and I have an ID and debit card. If I want to go to a concert I just tuck my phone in my pocket and I've got all I need.

LIFE ALTERING

Susan

I went to Mumford & Sons last night and just took my phone, my ID (though I didn't drive and am never carded these days - sigh), a credit card and a $5 bill, all stuffed in the back pocket of my jeans.

In Colorado you can't go more than 5 minutes without chapstick and a water bottle, so I usually carry a purse or a backpack when we go out as a family.

Lauren

Wow... this sounds like a magical dream land! We are getting closer but not there yet. Mine are Almost-6 and 3.5yrs. :)

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