The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing - Marie Kondo 2014
The best way to store bags is in another bag
Storing your things to make your life shine
Handbags, purses, and other bags that are not in use are empty. At one point in this business, it struck me that this was a great waste of space, especially as they are often kept in prime storage locations. Not only do they take up more room because they can’t be folded, but also they are often stuffed with tissue paper to keep their shape. In Japanese homes where storage is extremely limited, this seemed like an unpardonably extravagant use of space. The fact that the tissue paper often starts to shred just adds insult to injury.
Determined to find a solution, I began to experiment. First, I decided to do away with the tissue paper. After all, getting rid of things that don’t spark joy is key to the KonMari Method. Instead, I tried stuffing the bag with small off-season items. In summer, I used scarves and mittens, and in winter, I used items such as bathing suits. The bags not only kept their shape but also doubled as storage space. I was delighted to find a solution that seemed to kill two birds with one stone. But within a year, I had abandoned this approach. Although in theory it seemed like a great idea, in practice, having to remove the items every time I wanted to use a handbag was a pain, and once removed, those items cluttered up the closet.
Of course, I did not give up. I kept looking for some kind of stuffing that would not shred. My next idea was to put small items in a thin cloth bag first before filling the purse. Removal was easy and the cloth bag actually looked nice even when exposed in the cupboard. I was pleased to have discovered yet another groundbreaking solution. But this method, too, had a hidden drawback. I could not see the off-season items inside, and when their season came around, I completely forgot to empty two of the inner bags. It wasn’t until a year later that I finally noticed them, and by then, their contents were looking very forlorn. This made me pause for thought. Despite the fact that my policy for clothes and other items is to keep off-season things in sight, I had foolishly believed that I would remember to take out what I could not see.
I emptied out the cloth bags and freed the items inside, but the handbags they had been supporting now looked wilted. I needed something to help them keep their shape, but I certainly didn’t want to fill them with off-season clothes that I would likely forget. Not knowing what to do, I decided to place one bag inside another just for the time being. This, in fact, turned out to be the perfect solution. By storing bags inside each other, I halved the amount of storage space needed, and I could keep track of their contents by letting the straps dangle outside.
The key is to put the same type of bags together. Sets should consist of handbags made from similar material, such as stiff leather or thickly woven cloth, or of purses for special occasions, such as weddings and funerals. Dividing by material and/or by type of use means that you only need to take out one set whenever you need a handbag. This is much easier. Keep in mind, however, that you should not store too many handbags in one. My rule of thumb is to keep no more than two in any one bag and to make sure that I store them so that I won’t forget what’s inside. In the case of knapsacks, which fold up surprisingly small, I recommend storing them all inside a single knapsack.
To summarize, the best way to store purses, handbags, and other bags is to make sets according to the material, size, and frequency of use and to store them one inside the other, like nested boxes. All straps and handles should be left in plain view. If the handbag used for storage came in a bag, you can store the set in that. Line up these sets in your closet or wardrobe where you can see them. I stand them on the top shelf. The process of storing bags inside another bag, of finding the right combinations, is a lot of fun, much like making a jigsaw puzzle. When you find just the right pair, where the outer and inner bags fit so well together that they support one another, it is like witnessing a meeting that was destined to be.