I didn’t think it was possible–actually, I am not sure it is possible so I am trying hard to make it possible– but I think I have reached my handbag whoredom threshold. I am not sure I can pinpoint when my obsession with handbags (mostly vintage) started but it has reached the “raging out of control” point and I have to stop buying them–NOW.
Vintage handbags enthrall me. If I ever stumble upon a stall in an antique mall that has a few vintage bags, my heart speeds up a bit. It can be a challenge to find one that is still in pristine shape but that is what makes the hunt fun. After finding a few beautiful bags in this manner–I am talking high quality, all-leather inside and out–I became smitten with the vintage bag. Not only do I love the quality of these lovelies, I also love the lines and ladylike appearance of them. Finding the “perfect” one has become a passion of mine.
Enter Etsy and Ebay. My lovers. These two entities have served me well. I have found scores of gorgeous handbags through the pages and searches for vintage purses/vintage handbags/leather vintage bag/quilted leather vintage handbag/etc. As a result of my obsessive compulsive behaviours, I have discovered brands such as Koret, Lesco, Lucille de Paris, Garay, Roberta di Camerino, Meyers, Coblentz…and so many more. I search for deals and have bought the most amazing bags for as low as $5.00. There have been times in my life where I may have over 30 vintage handbags to use taking up scads of room in my closet. When it would get to that point, I would force myself to resell ones that I found I was never using. But slowly (or not so slowly) they would get replaced with more. It has become quite a cycle of beauties coming and going around here.
Enter minimizing. As many of you know, I have spent the last year minimizing my many possessions. Last November I did Project M-31 which got the momentum going. And while it has stalled from time to time, it hasn’t stopped. Once I started minimizing, I started questioning the necessity of everything in my house–except handbags. That dirty little secret has stayed tucked away, safely in my closet. Even Master Bliss knows not to ask about the handbags. I can happily purge half my wardrobe and his but “don’t touch the handbags!”.
Enter Bea. Minimizer/economizer/zero waster extraordinaire. This savvy little French lady was the first to prick my conscience about my handbag hordes. She’s French (this point has great impact on my inner French girl’s psyche) and only has one handbag. ONE! Personally, I feel that is a little extreme (for me) and is never going to happen here, BUT she did get me thinking about the ridiculousness (evidently not a word but I like it) of having so many bags especially when I knew I was only using maybe 5-6 regularly. Sigh. I started (painfully) going through them to eliminate the excess. The listings on Ebay and Etsy started…and have continued.
Enter reality. Even though I have been gradually whittling away at this collection during the past year, I decided to check my handbag purchase history for 2011 on my Etsy and Ebay accounts (I also remembered a few that I have purchased elsewhere). And please know, despite my obvious flaws, some (maybe 5) were purchased for the purpose of reselling in my Etsy store. Nonetheless, here is how it shakes out:
At least 19 handbags purchased to the tune of about $830 (including guesstimates on tax/shipping) or an average of $44 per bag (as I typed that sentence I received an email from Coach advertising a sale–grrr.). I just love a good reality check, don’t you?
Enter resolution. I am making the decision to not buy another handbag for the next year (you would not believe how long it took to type that out). The ONLY exception to this rule will be unless I find something so ridiculously cheap (like at Goodwill or a thrift sale) and know that I can resell it in my Etsy store or on Ebay for good profit. My abstinence from handbags will be those for personal use.
I have edited my personal collection down to 13 handbags–at least 2 of which are on the fence as to whether I will keep them or not. I will share the survivors with you on a future post. And since I knew this day was coming a few weeks ago and I knew I needed to prepare well, both emotionally and mentally, I bought one last bag for the year–also to be revealed later (yes, it is true, I can justify a handbag purchase quite easily–thus the challenge and burden before me).
Do you think I can do it? Gadzooks, I hope so. I also hope Master Bliss never reads this particular post.