Saturday, 19 December 2015

Paring Down the Purse

I've never really used a large purse, but for the past many years I've used a clutch purse, like a large wallet. It is so old that bits of the leather are falling off and sticking to the contents, and I have to scrape sticky bits off my credit card whenever I want to use it. The outside layer has worn away to reveal a thin cloth layer below, and it's only a matter of time before it falls apart all together. I hate spending money on such things, but I knew it was time.

In the spirit of going smaller, I have downsized to a truly tiny wallet that fits in my hand. It's so small I fear for my credit card, which looks like it might snap. It's difficult to pry out, so it will give me a second chance to rethink purchases while I wrestle with it. Maybe it will save me money!

In this process, I have had to go through my old wallet to cull out unnecessary things and decide what was truly vital. Library card, MasterCard, Air Miles card, health card, bookstore points card, driver's license, a card giving my blood type and St. John's Ambulance ID, and my insurance info card. Bus tickets, money, and a few gift cards.

What was in the pile I didn't fit in? Three business cards for the same taxi company. A card for a taxi company that only serves Oakville (where I don't live). The card of a fellow author I met four years ago. The contact information for the lawyer we used when we bought this house fourteen years ago. An ancient coupon for a sandwich place I've never eaten at. A discount card for an Optical place I've never used. My identical insurance info written down on about four other cards. A slip of paper bearing a phone number with no indication to whom it belongs. Old receipts and stubs. And the contact info of my financial advisor, whom I see once a year, which can go into my address box instead of being carted around with me.

All this flotsam and jetsam of a life. We collect bits as we go along, like mud accumulating on our shoes, and until we stop and look, we don't realize how much we've collected. One clutch purse is not a huge beginning, but it's an indication of how much useless stuff I'm going to find tucked into corners and crannies elsewhere.  2016 is going to be my year for setting down burdens, letting go of stuff, cleaning out, and shrinking my life and my belongings down to a manageable size.

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