Here’s Why It’s So Hard To Declutter Your Stash Of Bags (and How To Finally Do It)

They’re corralled on a closet shelf, clustered under the sink, maybe even stuffed into the trunk of your car. Do you really need so many totes, clutches, and carryalls? Probably not. Here are the step-by-steps to letting go.


Change Your Mindset

Photo by Justin Fantl

The way you think about your possessions is part of what makes it so hard to give them up. Ever find yourself thinking, “I should keep this tote just in case” or “I can always use this clutch” (even though you haven’t in ages)? Or feel guilty getting rid of an evening bag because “it was pricey” or “it’s so pristine”? Experts suggest swapping out that train of thought for more of a cut-and-dry guideline: If you haven’t used it in the last year, get rid of it.


Give Them a Defined Space

Start by setting a limit on the amount of bags you’ll own. One bin or basket to store them in gives you a reasonable amount of room.


Start Sorting

Place your clear favorites in the bin (at least one for each category: everyday bag, work bag, evening bag, weekend bag, giant tote). Then spread out all the remaining ones on the floor or bed so you can look them over at once and start paring down.


Take Care of the Clear Castoffs

Immediately toss any bags that are junky. Look up similar versions of your priciest barely-used bags on eBay to see if they’re worth posting or bringing to a consignment shop. Box up the rest to donate. (Remember: check every compartment for cash before you get rid of any bags.)


Handle the Maybes

Over the next two weeks, test-drive the iffy bags that remain. Some may make it back into your regular rotation (those can go in the bin). Most bags won’t—but after giving them a final chance, you’ll feel better about passing them along.