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Christina’s Magical Bag Makeover

At the top of the summer I had the pleasure of spending two delightful two days in Wicker Park, Chicago. I was in Chicago to connect with Coach Megan and to lead our Making Space for Baby workshop at Mr. Dave Music. My time spent was lovely, with a highlight being the private bag coaching session Megan and I gifted to our gracious event host, Christina Hamilton co-owner of Mr. Dave MusicWe had so much fun, check it out!

One Item at a Time

Christina is a busy small business owner who splits her time between her home and her retail space. She bikes to and from work each day using a backpack to carry her things. I began by checking in with Christina on how she felt about her backpack. She said she liked it but it wasn’t as good as ‘her other bag’ from her corporate life, which it turns out had lots of user-friendly pockets.

Making Space for Business

I began by pulling an umbrella from Christina’s backpack and asking, “So, tell me about this?” Christina told me that she carries it just in case it rains, and because it fits nicely inside her backpack’s side pocket. Maeve’s Method is about using our things to identify common themes or categories in our lives, so we labeled the umbrella just in case and placed it to the side.

As we worked, more categories emerged. Christina found everyday items, like chapstick, lotion and notebooks, work items, like Mr. Dave postcards and her laptop, and memorabilia, like a recent concert ticket. She also found more just in case items, like deodorant, bandaids and tampons. She also gathered up things to toss, including receipts, gum wrappers and loose candy.

With her bag emptied and sorted into categories, Christina began to clearly see just how much she was lugging around with her each day. Most surprising were the just in case, including a heavy umbrella she never used, and almost an entire box of loose tampons. After a good chuckle, Christina shared that the tampons were mostly for her friends, as by nature she’s a helpful person who likes to be prepared. Her insight showed her sweet and compassionate nature, while the sheer volume helped her to accept they are rarely used and she could leave a box at the store for her female employees instead.

Tiny Wallets Work

Coach Megan stepped in to take Christina through her wallet, and as they settled down I heard Christina say, “I don’t like change”. The behaviorist in me heard I don’t like change, as in I don’t like things in life to shift from what they are.

For kicks I mirrored back to Christina what I heard and her lightbulb went off. The process of going through her backpack had unexpectedly shed light on how significant of a lifestyle shift it had been to leave her corporate career. The truth was, she wasn’t super comfortable with change. She was talking about tiny currency floating around her bag, but life is a metaphor, so loose change was also a symbol of resistance to change.

As we reconstructed Christina’s bag, she placed back inside only items that supported her day to day, dwindling down her basics to Chapstick, lotion, her laptop, water bottle and notebooks. Megan shared her own rubber band wallet, and Christina gained confidence with her own minimalist wallet style. I showed her my go bag–a tiny inner tote that carries my just in case stuff–and inspiration struck again. Christina ran to grab her own perfect go bag to hold her now dramatically reduced collection of just in case and everyday use items.  

When all was said and done all that was left behind on the floor was one tiny dime. The door of the studio was flung open to the gorgeous summer air, and Christina decided with great intent to plunk that dime down on the sideway for someone else to discover.

Well done Christina, you did great!

The Maeve’s Method bag coaching session took Christina on a mini journey of self discovery. In less than an hour she got to the bottom of why her friendly little backpack felt just a bit less supportive than her former corporate bag. She also got physically to the bottom of her bag, allowing her carry just a little less burden on her back. As we wrapped Christina shared, “Now that I know what I need to carry I’m excited to keep a eye out for a new backpack that might be even better than this one.” You go girl!

Editor’s Note: This blog was originally published in August 2017. It has been updated to include new content.

Photo Credits: Maeve Richmond, Megan Wright

Maeve Richmond is the founder and head coach of Maeve's Method, a home organization system based in New York City. She specializes in parents & kids, couples, small space solutions, space planning and decorative elements for the home. Contact her at [email protected] or @MaeveRichmond.

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