Some Tips On Cleaning Out Wallets And Purses

Question: Could you please get my husband to clean out his wallet? He thinks he needs all that stuff in there.

Answer: Well those that know me, know that I love to look into a wallet and see what interesting stuff is in there. But I must say “No, I will not clean out your husband’s wallet, but I will offer some advice.” But be careful, if you clean out his wallet, you must clean out your purse. This advice applies to both men and women. I am always amazed at how much stuff people can put into that small container called “a wallet.”

First, I advise, cleaning off a spot on the table and dump or take out everything from your wallet. Next sort out the things you must have in there; your driver’s license or ID; your insurance cards; your cash; your credit cards that you are currently using; your emergency contacts (ideally Health Care Proxy) and your list of current medications. These items should be placed back in your wallet. But before you put them back in your wallet, look at them, are they current or have they expired? Check your medication list. Is it what you are actually taking right now, or does it need to be updated? For your emergency contact, are their numbers/addresses still accurate?

Now onto the rest of the stuff still laying there on your table. Those little pieces of paper with phone numbers, addresses, and names on it. Is there a better way of organizing this information? Could you use a small notebook with this information, or a list of these numbers on a bigger piece of paper, that would be easier to keep track of? Or do you not even remember who these people are and why they are in there? Do you have your appointment cards dates written on a calendar so you remember to go? Keeping your credit card receipts on the table probably isn’t the safest place to keep them. Put them in your files, after you match them to your credit card bill.

Next there are those membership cards, you know to the Eagles, The Legion, the NRA, AARP, Library cards, etc. How many of each of those do you have? Do you really need four AARP cards in your wallet? I know they send you that many, but you don’t have to carry them all with you. Sort those out, keep the most current, put an extra one in your files so you have a back-up, and destroy the rest.

Now I bet that pile of stuff on the table is much smaller. The rest is maybe stuff that at one time you needed in your wallet, but you probably don’t need it there all the time. Put it in your files or the kitchen junk drawer or throw it away. There, doesn’t that feel better? Now when you go to find a card in your wallet, you will be able to. We all put stuff in there and then never remove it. We should make this a semi-annual event don’t you think?

Another few tips I would offer. Get a photocopy of the front and back of all your credit cards. That way if they get lost you know what credit cards you have and how to contact the companies if you lose them. Put this photocopy in a lockbox in your home or in your files.

Now, ladies, do you think we should do the same thing with our purses? Well maybe save that for after lunch, that is a pretty big project. But the advice there holds to the same process as the wallet. We stick things in our purses and seldom clean them out. You probably don’t need the list of Christmas cards you sent last year in your purse everyday. When we have so much in our purse, it makes it hard to find the things we need when we have to look for them.

I recently knew someone who kept all their credit cards bound with a rubber band. Wow, that made me crazy. Every time they tried to find the one they wanted to use, they had to get out the bound pile and sort through them. This could lead to you leaving one or more on the counter or the floor around you. I advised that person get a credit card holder, which would keep them more secure in your purse, and while at a cash register using them. This credit card holder could be a very good way of keeping them organized, safe, and accessible to you. Now that cute purple, zippered holder keeps them all together and visible when you unzipper it to find the one you want.

I also want to say this new smaller wallet, and lighter purse will be helpful to your back, hips, and shoulders. The added weight and bulk of those items is hard on your body.

So celebrate the easy to enact weight loss. If only all the weight we needed to loose came off that quickly.

Good luck and enjoy the lightened load.

To contact Janell Sluga, GCMC with questions or concerns, please call 720-9797 or e-mail her at janells@lutheran-jamestown.org.