Empty your bag every day - Storing your things to make your life shine

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing - Marie Kondo 2014

Empty your bag every day
Storing your things to make your life shine

There are some things you need on a daily basis, such as your wallet, your bus or train pass, and your date book. Many people see no point in taking these things out when they come home because they will use them again the next day, but this is a mistake. The purpose of a purse or messenger bag is to carry your things for you when you’re away from home. You fill your bag with the things you need, such as documents, your cell phone, and your wallet, and it carries them all without complaint, even if it is filled to bursting. When you put it down and it scrapes its bottom on the floor, it utters no word of criticism, only doing its best to support you. What a hard worker! It would be cruel not to give it a break at least at home. Being packed all the time, even when not in use, must feel something like going to bed on a full stomach. If you treat your handbags like this, they will soon look tired and worn.

If you do not make a habit of unpacking your bag, you are also quite likely to leave something inside when you decide to use another bag, and before you know it, you will have forgotten what you have in each one. Unable to find a pen or lip balm, you will wind up buying a new one. The most common items found in my clients’ handbags when we tidy up their rooms are tissues, coins, crumpled receipts, and used chewing gum wadded in its wrapper. There is a real danger that important items like accessories, memo pads, or documents may become mixed up with these.

So, empty your bag every day. This is not as bothersome as it sounds. You just need to make a place for the things inside it. Find a box and place your train pass, company ID, and other important items vertically inside it. Then put the box just like that into a drawer or cupboard. Any box will do, but if you can’t find the right size, a shoebox will work fine. Or you can make a space in one corner of a drawer, without using a box at all. Appearance is important, so if you’re using a box, don’t hesitate to look for one that you really like. One of the best places to keep this box is on top of the set of drawers you use for storage, and it is more convenient if that is close to where you keep your bag.

If you can’t empty your bag sometimes, that’s all right. There are times when I come home very late at night that I don’t bother to empty my bag because I plan to use it again for work early the next morning. Just between you and me, while writing this book, there have been times when I came home and fell asleep on the floor without even changing my clothes. The important thing is to create an environment where your bag can have a rest by designating a specific place to store everything you usually carry inside it.