Hang around this planet long enough and you will amass two things: (1) too much stuff, and (2) the knowledge that you really don’t need all this stuff. The flip side to all that unintentional hoarding, though, is the freeing realization that there are certain items—like the seven listed below—that you’ll never need to go out and buy ever again:
1. Lip Balm
An unscientific poll of my female friends reveals that each of us have somehow stockpiled enough tubes, sticks, and pots of lip goop to last a lifetime. (Most of mine, I will sheepishly admit, came into my life during my brief extreme couponing phase, when Rite Aid had a sick deal going on Nivea.) I now have lip balms stashed in my desk drawer, nightstand, makeup bag, gym bag, coat pockets, glove compartment, and the three purses I use most often. (See also: handbags and purses.)
2. Handbags and Purses
I have soooo many handbags and purses. They’re the lip balm of fashion accessories. I have cotton totes from Target and beaded clutches passed down from my grandmother; I have a red patent-leather pocketbook with a chain-link strap that goes with only one outfit; I have a teensy woven wristlet that can hold exactly one credit card and a golf pencil; I have so many interchangeable brown leather purses (nine) that even I have problems telling them apart.
Over Christmas, my mom gave me two antique clutches because she couldn’t think of what else I might want. She warned me that one of them, a hard-shell number with a coin-purse-type clasp, was so old it may contain lead. When the only purses left on God’s green earth for you to own are poisonous purses, it is time to quit it with the purses already. (It, is however, always okay to buy more shoes.)
For years, I purchased no-name-brand tweezers that cost about $5. They either had a terrible grip or would bend after several months. Then I finally sprung for the $25 Tweezerman. Life lesson learned, chin hairs expertly obliterated.
4. Concert Tickets
Because I spent my 20s as the friend who always volunteered to buy all the tickets for the whole gang, only to spend weeks begging my friends to pay me back. (And there was always—ALWAYS—one person who bailed two hours before showtime.) Also because once you hit your 40s, it’s okay to admit that going to see live music is a dreadful, disappointing experience that everyone just pretends to enjoy.
5. Plastic Hangers
No! Plastic! Hangers! Ever! I don’t know why I spent so many years believing wooden hangers were too much of an extravagance for my penny-pinching ways. You can buy them in packs at Home Depot or Ikea for like $1.25 a pop. And seriously, nothing lulls me into the belief that I’ve got my shit together like a closet full of orderly, handsome, grown-up wooden hangers.
6. Post-Its and Stationery
Thanks to myriad conferences and job-fair-type dealies, I’ve got enough of the former to last until the end of days. And I’ll never use up my supply of the latter because, sadly, when was the last time anyone hand-wrote a letter?
7. Crewnecks for Me (Whatever Neck Doesn’t Look Good on You for You)
The older I get, the more I embrace the idea of having a sort of uniform and just buying and re-buying the types of clothes I know I look and feel good in. It’s liberating and stylish as hell. Just ask Anna Wintour.