Last week, Francisco measured the square footage of our apartment.
The total? 325.36.
That’s a small space. Even in New York City, where postage-stamp sized apartments are in abundance and the people who live in them become expert at storing the stuff they think they need but probably don’t in novel configurations–from the ceiling (seriously; our neighbor hangs his bikes this way), in vertical stacks on walls (books), and in hidden recesses (Murphy bed, anyone?) — there comes a time when you have to admit that the stuff you’ve accumulated needs to be given a ruthless once-over.
We have the same stuff anyone else does: books, piles of CDs that we’ve never transferred to iTunes, stacks of paper that we’re convinced we have to keep for one reason or another.
But we also have baggage. Lots and lots of baggage.
I just did a quick inventory and here’s what I came up with:
- My daily use Baggallini bag. I’ve had this for about three years and it’s as new and sturdy as it was the day I bought it. It’s been with me to Chile, Brazil, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and plenty of points in between.
- A Diesel courier bag. This is Francisco’s, picked up at a thrift shop. He’s had it for years and the only purpose it serves now is to hold some of that paper we’re convinced we need to keep.
- A Leeds courier bag. This is also Francisco’s, company-issue gear he has to use when he leads educational tours for EF Smithsonian in New York and Puerto Rico. As I also lead tours occasionally, we probably have another one of these bags somewhere….
- A no-brand gym bag,
- A leather backpack,
- A Canon camera gear bag,
- A Kenneth Cole carry-on,
- A Baggallini carry-on,
- A North Face backpack,
- Two insulated day packs (one, a gift from a PR rep from the Marriott, another a take-away from the hospital where our daughter was born),
- A couple of small handbags, made by weavers in Oaxaca,
- A duffel for checked luggage, and
- A suitcase for checked luggage (which currently serves as winter clothing storage)
I’m not great with numbers, but that’s roughly 1 bag for every 25 square feet of our apartment.
Did I mention that most of these bags are in a state of utter disrepair? The Kenneth Cole carry on is frayed around the edges and its fake leather hand grip is cracked. The straps of the North Face backpack are ripped and could probably be sewn if either of us took the time to do so. The Diesel courier bag is stained by a permanent marker. The suitcase, though not old, has been put through its paces, especially since our last full backpack–which we normally use for flights–was manhandled by baggage workers at JFK to the point of non-use.
It’s time to clean house. Literally. To deal with our baggage- to give away what’s still usable, to recycle or upcycle what’s not, and to get some new gear.
Today, we’re measuring ourselves for new gear, and we’ll be going all Osprey–not the brand smorgasboard we’ve had to date. We’ll be putting these new packs through the paces, too, giving them heavy use in our daily treks in and around New York City, as well as trips to South Carolina, Cuba, and plenty of other places.