The Incredible Shrinking Wallet

· Paper Organizing
Prada Wallet

To purchase this wallet, contact

When friends and clients pull out their wallets in my presence, I often gasp when I see the receipts and papers coming out in every direction, money crumpled in various compartments, and membership cards by the dozen. Generally, I ignore the pleas not to look and insist on cleaning it out on the spot. I immediately throw away the useless Starbucks receipts, consolidate the frequent flyer and membership cards, and arrange the money in order by denomination. By the time I’m finished, the wallet is slim and neat with only the bare minimum carried inside.

Over the past several years, my own wallet has become smaller and smaller. I no longer carry a wallet the shape of a checkbook with a zipper closure. Since I never carried checks with me, I finally realized the large size was unnecessary. Then, last year, I injured my back and stopped carrying a large tote bag. This in turn, compelled me to use a smaller wallet, a trifold with a change purse and eight spaces for credit and identification cards. By eliminating a few cards that weren’t crucial, everything fit perfectly.

Last week, I received the ultimate challenge: a gift of an even smaller wallet (from my physical therapist who is vested in lightening the load I carry). At first, I didn’t think the size would be adequate. But then I pared down, and didn’t miss a thing. Here’s what made the cut:

  • Driver’s license,
  • 3 Credit Cards: a personal American Express, a business American Express, and a Visa (for the rare instances when American Express isn’t accepted),
  • Insurance Card, and
  • Frequent visitor card from my local nail salon.

Technology helped me pare down as well.

  • I use ride-sharing apps on my phone that eliminate the need to keep paper taxi receipts; all transportation receipts are sent via email.
  • I use a password-protected program on my phone (1Password) that stores membership information such as frequent flyer numbers, passwords, and other important data.
  • I use Apple Pay so I don’t have to carry excess credit cards.

What does your wallet look like? Is it time for you to pare down? The good news is that it only takes about 15 minutes to feel better and lighter.

And, remember to take a picture of each card you keep in your wallet. If your wallet is ever stolen, it’s helpful to know exactly what was lost.

Written by Barbara Reich · · Paper Organizing
NextWhen Everything Is Special