One of the things that would drive me absolutely crazy before I started focusing on simplifying my life and focusing purely on the essentials was searching endlessly in my every day bag for whatever it was that I needed. I felt like a hot mess, and probably looked like one, too.
It was absolutley unnecessary to have three books, 10 pens, my entire makeup bag, empty ginger chew wrappers, two empty plastic water bottles and receipts crumpled up in every corner. It felt like a real reflection of my life at the time, and something had to give.
Tote | Leather Wallet (on sale) | iPhone External Charger | Water Bottle | SPF Chapstick | Mints | Touch Up Concealer | Lavender Oil Roller | Rose Water Spray | Zipper Pouch (on sale) | iPad Mini | Moleskin Planner
- The first thing I did was purchase a solid everyday bag. I’m not a huge purse girl (as in I don’t usually spend a whole lot of money on bags since I’ll admit it, I beat them up pretty bad) but this one from Madewell is gorgeous, clean and simple. I love that the material is forgiving and goes with everything I wear (because lets be real – it’s either black, white, gray or olive green)
- A few beauty essentials that I keep on hand are: chapstick with SPF (crucial here in South Florida – this one is my absolute favorite), rose water spray for those hot and humid mid-day touchups (seriously nothing feels better – especially after a workout), my lavender essential oil roller which I apply throughout the day (the scent immediately calms me down and keeps me relaxed throughout my day), touchup concealer for my under eyes (this stuff makes a night and day difference. The first time I saw it was at a wedding – a girl was touching up her makeup and was using it, and she immediately looked like she woke up from a 24 hour rest. I had to try it for myself and now I’m hooked. A tiny bit goes a long, long way), and lastly, though this isn’t technically a “beauty” product, I love having mints with me to curb my appetite. It’s easy to grab something out of convenience when I’m out, but usually it’s unnecessary, so popping a strong mint helps distract me from feeling like I’m hungry, and allows me to wait until I’m home to eat. I keep all of these things in a zipper pouch for easy access, and to ensure things don’t get too chaotic at the bottom of my bag. It takes all of two seconds to put it right back where I found it, rather than tossing it aimlessly into the tote and having to dig around for it later.
- Instead of having iPhone charger cords which would always get tangled up with everything else, I came up with another solution: I never, ever leave the house without having my external iPhone charger with me. My phone has died on me one too many times when I’m out walking around town or with friends, and it always makes me feel a bit uneasy. While I try to not be too connected on social media throughout the day, I have a big family as well as a pup-baby, so I always want to make sure I’m available just in case. This little gadget is a lifesaver and I can’t recommend it enough.
- My wallet situation would also get so out of hand, too. With this lifestyle comes financial responsibility as well, since it’s not just about my closet or how much clutter I have in my home. It’s about spending wisely, and so I prefer to have a wallet that doesn’t hold much. I take photos of my receipts using this app and forego the paper (good for me and the environment) and have started leaving my credit cards at home – only taking my debit card which makes spending way less tempting. Unless of course I’m doing grocery shopping or something of that nature. Choosing a thin, lightweight wallet also does wonders for the weight of my bag. (loose change is immediately dropped into a jar on our kitchen island for fun savings)
- I’ve gotten so much better at drinking water as I’ve gotten older. It used to be something I just wouldn’t do unless I was working out, but now I’d say I drink about 128 ounces of water A DAY. I know, that’s crazy. But I feel SO much better and my skin has never been kinder to me. Though I’ll admit, when I’m out and about all day whether it’s running errands or out on a photoshoot, it’s way more appealing to grab an iced coffee. But we all know that it’s dehydrating, which is the last thing my body needs during a busy day. Instead, I always keep my S’well water bottle with me that was gifted to me from Trent’s parents last Christmas. I can’t say enough good things about it. If you aren’t familiar, it keeps cold liquids cold (and I mean cold) for 24 hours (I’ve tested this – it’s true!) and hot liquids hot for 12 hours. I’m completely addicted. Now, I’m always drinking water wherever I go, and get an iced coffee because I want one – not because I’m thirsty.
- Remember how I mentioned I used to have multiple books in my bag at one time? Why, you might ask? Oh you know – just in case I find myself at the car wash, a doctors office waiting room, the hair salon, etc. I always wanted something to read. Well, I realized way late in the game that I could avoid clutter of piled up books and the weight of them in my bag by simply purchasing them on my iPad mini. I love having it with me since I can hop from reading a book to checking my email, to FaceTime with my sister and her kids to paroozing Pinterest on a larger scale than my iPhone. The bonus? iPad minis are super lightweight.
- Lastly, I never leave home without my favorite planner in the entire world: the Moleskin Planner. This thing is a god send and keeps me so insanely organized. I keep my top prioritized tasks in this journal, as well as any important documents that I may need for the day. Once I’ve accomplished a task, I highlight it and move on. I love how sleek and simple they are, and that they leave room for you to make lists in the weekly section.
So there you have it! That’s what’s in my minimal everyday tote. I swear to you, taking the time to organize my bag once and for all has been such a game changer in my day to day tasks, as well as my mental state. That’s been the most beautiful part of this process – finding the beauty and the calming force that comes when you take the steps towards simplifying your life. You realize how silly it once was that you felt like you needed “all of the things,” and how much richer your life is now that you can actually see and appreciate and value the things you do have.
I hope this helps any of you who understand the struggle of gum wrappers and half eaten granola bars and open tubes of lipstick ruining the liner of your pricey everyday purse. I hope this inspires you to pour it all out on the counter and ask yourself if what you’re lugging around every day is essential to your well being.
You just may find that you don’t need much at all to be happy.
* Main image taken by Claire Anderson1