Sunday, May 6, 2012

My Life as a Bag Lady

I have only one purse, one size fits all, because I don't want to bother reshuffling my essentials. My purse is my purse; it sits by the door when not in use, always ready to be grabbed. And yet I have turned into a bag lady.

I have a collection of tote bags from various conferences I've attended, causes I've contributed to, promotional gifts, and of course the odd bag my kids decorated in preschool. These tote bags were useful when my kids were little, and we had to carry toys to the beach or snacks to the playground. Then for a while they sat in an useless heap in the linen closet, and I often contemplated getting rid of them. I never did because, after all, they could be useful some time.

These days they are; they have become organizational tools. I have a bag for each one of my jobs. I stuff anything that has to do with my office job into my laptop bag, so it's there when I need it. I have a specific tote bag I take to the creative writing class I teach. Even if that class only meets once a month, that bag sits in my closet, and if I come across a magazine I want to give to my students, I put it in that bag. When I taught at two different community colleges, I had one bag designated for each college, heavy with textbooks, student papers, extra markers, and my course notes. Since I taught at both colleges on the same day, I'd leave the house schlepping two heavy bags, sometimes a third for the creative writing class happening in the evening. More often that not I'd say to myself, "I've turned into a bag lady."

With several different jobs, I have several different bags at the ready. I never have to search around for that book I wanted to bring to class, or that notice I wanted to show a colleague. They'll be in the designated bag. The challenge is to keep the bags out of the entryway (where I like to dump them), so it doesn't look too much like a bag lady lives here.


  1. I'm a bag lady, too. You're idea of different bags for different "me's" is one to remember. However, my bags are an extensive collection of market bags I bring back from France every year. The ones they sell at the checkout stand for one Euro are so lovely. Each store has its own particular design, so I collect them all like trading cards. They make great souvenirs that I can actually use. Back home when I take them to the store everyone is always asking where I got them.

  2. Annette! So happy to find you again (I'm a little slow ...)!

    I love this post! I do the same thing--haul everything around in commemorative canvas bags. I haven't given it the same forethought as you, so accept my thanks for your good ideas!

  3. Hmm...this post gives me an idea...Maybe I need another organizational tool? I'm sure it will be the exact thing to organize me some more.

    Love your post and a sneak peek at your bags.

  4. Oh I am such the bag lady. The bigger the bag the better. I love your idea of using tote bags as organizational tool! That's a very clever idea! Eliminates the need for boxes too, I love stuff I can hang!

  5. Oh my goodness you are a woman after my own heart- I have a tote bag for my class on Tuesday- another tote bag for my Sunday school lessons- another tote bag for when I do counseling and a myriad of other tote bags for who knows what- my hubby says, "WHY DO YOU NEED SO MANY" ha ha!!

  6. Love the bag lady concept. I have this for book club, Girl Scouts, etc. I need to separate out a few more, since Lord knows I have the bags.

    I keep my purse in my car, so it's always ready when I run. The few times I bring it in my house, I forget it. ;-(

  7. Great idea - one i'm going to implement tonight when I get home. I have a briefcase for work, but...a bag for the treasurer's stuff for my chapter and one for the meeting I attend regularly with another group and one for stuff for my grand

  8. I installed a hook rail on the wall behind my office door, and my many bags hang there ... a splash of color, organized, ready to serve! (happy blogathon-ing from jenni at!)

  9. I did the exact same thing when I was working, teaching, teaching an online class, serving on a church committee - all at the same time. A different bag for each one. Keys for the library doors were on a lanyard attached to the work bag, USBs on lanyards connected to almost every bag (this was a few years ago).

    Whenever we visit a National Park whose Friends Association makes a nice sturdy canvas bag, we buy the bag to add to our shopping bag collection and support the Park, too. Julie's idea of getting 'foreign' shopping bags as useful souvenirs is great.

    **Katy M
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