Monday, June 25, 2012

Bag Hag

Thanks to Joanna for her latest post. You can check out her blog here:

I’m something of an organisation junkie, though the physical evidence particularly offline might not bear me out. I tend to be an organised thinker, planner and communicator more than live in a pristine environment and be able to find the right piece of paper at the right moment. I’ve read and implemented at various times both GTD and FranklinCovey. My newish most expensive shopping weakness after years of it being handbags is now stationary and Howard’s Storage World!

However, as I said, in the bottom of my handbag you are just as likely to still find random receipts for things I don’t need to keep the receipts for, (while losing the ones I meant to file), melted forgotten chocolate and the ever frustrating tangled headphones (while the Bluetooth ones sit around my neck).

Friends of mine also use wheelchairs have in place of handbags; backpacks and/or a thing called a caboose. Now I don’t mean a bottom. In many cases the caboose is integrated into the wheelchair, either as a wire or mesh net or as a secret compartment in an armrest or behind the legs. It was only recently that I discovered the concept. Given I haven’t yet had a custom-built wheelchair I haven’t had one built-in. Also for a long time handbags were the easiest and most independent accessory I could go for. However handling a handbag when you are so short in the torso, low and effectively only have the use of one hand is challenging. Especially when you’re trying to look like you have it together enough so that strangers in supermarkets and taxi drivers don’t feel the need to rush to your defence or protection, regardless of whether you need it.

So, given all the above, it is not surprising that my eyes were drawn a while back to a blog post on the organisation of one’s handbag. I have cut back on the variety of handbags I use and have recently switched from a Tony Barlow that I used over Summer/Autumn that was beginning to slouch to a smart black Guess number.

I seem to have worked in reverse order according to her list of tips.

A while ago, I picked up two inserts and now use one for makeup that I use daily at home. I like the fact they are clear sided and even with the older floppier bag it made finding stuff buried a little easier. Now that I’ve got in the habit of using them it is nice to know that even when I’m at home everything is only in one place.

Of her other tips:

Start From Scratch
Yes, I did empty the bag on to my desk. Because I’m already using a liner, this was easier and neater than it certainly would have been. I admire those like a close friend who have mini-bags compartmentalising everything. My beloved late maternal grandmother did the same. I tried. It looks neat on other people, but too fidley for me in my one-handedness. The liner needs to be the only extra bit. In an ideal world those liners would have many unzipped compartments built to fit my bits and pieces and in a material that balanced flexibility and firmness perfectly.

Make-Up Minimalism
I’m usually a minimalist when I’m out anyway, as I rarely have the energy unless I know that I can see into the mirror, after getting into the bathroom. I used to carry a lot more and as the article suggests, I too rarely get round to using it. A brush, hand sanitiser, mirror and lipstick will do me, unless I’m feeling particularly ugly, guilty or have multiple high-octane events. Oh and chewing gum, because I tend to like raw onion on my salad!

Money, Money, Money
No, I don’t have a separate coin purse. I find because I have the use of one hand and most vendors give me notes, coin and receipt in one hit (and then watch me intently and worried as they wonder how I manage and if it would be rude to serve the next person while I put it all together. It’s too fidley and too slow to play with multiple containers. I dump the coins either in the handbag to go straight in the coin jar at home in the reckoning, or back in the coin section of my purse.

General Electrics
Being a geek, this is perhaps where I predictably come undone. I can’t easily wrap cords around things even at the best of times, not well enough for it to be useful. And I like to keep my options open, so I’d like to carry a charger for my iPad/iPhone, as well as the spare earphones for when the Bluetooth ones that fit me best go flat. But I do make space for both iDevices most days. The tough bit is that I also like and carry notebook and pad for scribbling and tangibleness. And after all that, I still feel under-prepared. I used to try to carry my Kindle too, but now I use the Kindle app on the iPad (strange reading the Steve Jobs bio kindle book on an iPad). Kindle sits on my bed head at home.

Colour Code It
I don’t tend to do this by colour. I tend to do my digging by feel much more than looks. This is where texture comes in for me. Knowing the shape and approx location of items. Keeping my cheque book on the opposite edge to the letter writing stuff is key here. Having a lilac case on my phone and an interestingly shaped wallet are both useful for different reasons.

Key Party
Nope. Just goes in the liner. I find those clip things too awkward. I like having a distinctive key ring though. Heavy and large. Speaking of which I need a new one as I ran over the last one and busted it whilst trying to pick them up. Occupational hazard. Same thing tends to happen with sunglasses and earphones which is why I never spend more than $20 on sunglasses or earphones!

Survival Kit.
Good idea. Some of this in the main liner; medication and personal girl things and $20 in a hidden pocket. Check! I don’t repair my own clothes and going through airport security would be too hard with a needle.
I also carry gloves, 5 taxi subsidy forms (as important as cab money to a chair user in Sydney), stamps, and a cigarette case which ironically seems to stop me from wanting to smoke. Given that works I’ll keep it up.
In addition to the iDevice charger, I wish I could also carry and easily use an umbrella and a water bottle. But alas.

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