Times, they are a-changin’ (inside my handbag, specifically)

When I went away to college at the University of Georgia (Go Dawgs) in 2004, I needed something very specific: a keychain for my brand new dorm key that would hold my new student ID, which I needed to swipe before scanning my hand in order to gain access to the building. The mid-aughts were a big time for wristlets, pouches and small leather goods, and one such accessory was perfect for my needs and widely beloved among my contemporaries: the Coach Mini Skinny. Except I bought a cloth one in a light color, so it didn’t stand much of a chance against the daily use patterns of a newly free young adult, and within a couple months, I needed a new one. While visiting my parents back in Atlanta one weekend, I spied the Marc Jacobs key pouch you see above, discounted to $35 at Bloomingdale’s. I snapped it up and have used it literally every day of my life, ever since.

That was a whole 13 years ago, which is wild, and in that time, I’ve often marveled at how well my little key pouch has held up. It’s a tad battered and dirty, sure, but it’s never sprouted a loose thread or had a scratch I couldn’t rub away, and all of the hardware works as well as it did the day I bought it. For something that is touched and manipulated multiple times per day, every day and that spends its life riding around in the bottoms of questionably tidy handbags next to lint and uncapped pens and melted candy, it feels near-miraculous that the little thing has held up this long.

I’ve dropped it in puddles and underneath gross car seats, not to mention onto my own floor a million times. I regularly toss it in the air or twirl it around as a nervous tick when I’m stuck standing in a place I’m trying to leave. I’ve added and removed innumerable keys in its lifetime, including to eight apartments in two states, two offices, an SUV I’ve long since sold and the house my parents still live in. For much of its 13 years, it’s also been the only wallet I carry, housing loyalty cards and stray cash in addition to my ID and debit card. Twice, when a piece of jewelry I was wearing broke while I was away from home, I’ve tucked it inside for safe keeping.

Last week, though, I noticed that the zipper was starting to separate from the leather just a bit on one side, making the zipper more difficult to open. Every time I open it now, it gets a little worse. I knew eventually I’d have to part with my tiny companion, and I’ve been looking for alternatives here and there for the past couple days. I’m thinking of buying one of the old black Louis Vuitton Monogram Multicolore key pouches from a resale site, because that seems like a fun, slightly irreverent choice. I’ve also seen a couple of key pouches like mine on those sites—apparently I’m not the only one for whom the design held up exceptionally well. It’s not really my style anymore, even though I’d never replace the one I have unless I had to.

So now, we want to hear from you. What’s the most indispensable or long-serving thing in your handbag?

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