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Your Old Wallet: Less is Best

For the longest time I used a wallet I had found in a kitchen drawer.  I must havebeen about 17 when I found it, and it had belonged to my grandfather.  It was made from smart and sturdy leather. There was nothing in it but two old guitar picks.  I loved the wallet—used it until I was almost 30.

Something that I can admit in retrospect—don’t tell 17-year-old me—is that the wallet was a big.  It was a tri-fold design and full of little pockets and nooks and crannies.  There was even a place to put your spare key.

And so, on into my twenties, if you were to pick up my wallet at any given time, you might be able to find, in no particular order: my bank cards, license, a business card or two, various frequent customer stamp cards, misshapen cash (tri-folds bend your cash, and other papers in an unseemly way, I’ve found), anywhere from .75 to $1.75 in change, and worst of all, receipts.  Receipts for anything and everything, receipts that are weeks old, receipts that are completely illegible from getting wadded and rubbed away.

Now I’m not the most organized person, but I like to think that I wasn’t completely at fault.  That wide-mouthed bill fold, all the slots and hidden areas: it was like the wallet was bragging, saying, “Try me. I’ll hold your entire life, if you let me.”  And it did, for a while. The wallet often resembled aHo-Ho,one of those Hostess roll cakes.  What’s more surprising to you—that I often had almost two dollars in change, or that my wallet could hold it comfortably?

At any rate, all things come to an end.  It was my wife that took the plunge for me, giving me the calculated gift of a trim black leather bi-fold wallet with just enough room for some cash and the essential cards.  I found I had to sort out the receipts at the end of the day.  I was obligated to keep change in my pocket until I got home and put it in a jar.  I was severely limited in what I could take with me.

Do you think I felt pangs of regret?  Was I a traitor for switching over so easily?  Did I miss my receipts?  Well, my honest answer is no.  I loved my old wallet.  And it was still useable, if worn around the edges a little.  But from a design perspective, the time had come for me to limit my stuff-holding capacity.  And it felt great.

Technology is streamlining our lives in many ways.  A lot of people pay for things with their phone using app services.  We need less and less to get around town.  And I think our wallets definitely reflect this.

That is, if you’re not holding on to one of those big, comfortable wallets for sentimental reasons.  Less is best.

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