PurseBlog Asks

Is There Ever a Good Time to Let Go?

The age-old question of what to do...

Perhaps it’s simply human of me, but I’ve always been enamored by the things I can’t have, or tend to fall out of love with the things I do. Sometimes, it’s that one Mr. Big that’s emotionally unavailable, in a sea of the countless Aidan Shaws who are; or the one bag that got away, over the several (and sometimes many) that didn’t.

Our purse-collecting journey, therefore, really is a culmination of our life’s pursuits: the highs of the landmark buys, the lows and the stress-splurges that follow, and the regrets – sometimes for things you did acquire, or sometimes for things you didn’t.

And it is this rather confusing category of remorseful acquisitions that baffle us. 

Perhaps we love it in theory, not so much in practice. Perhaps we simply own too many purses for us to love them all equally. Yet, neither do we always feel ready enough to part ways with them, out of the fond memories they hold, if nothing else.So, when do you know if it’s time to let go? Or would you rather simply keep holding on to them until the universe decides to send more signs your way?

Out of Love, Out of Sight, Out of Mind?

As much as we’d love to KonMari our way out of closet chaos, like Eden Pritikin, avid connoisseur of Nicolas Ghesquiére-era Balenciaga, can attest, “There’s never going to be a good time to let go,” you simply gotta do it nevertheless.

Now, that’s easiest to do when you’ve simply fallen out of love with said purse, or in Marie Condo lingo, they don’t spark joy for you anymore.

And high up in this list would be the bracket of once-trending it-bags that have now gone passé. To varying degrees, in fact, we’re all prone to being influenced (as much as we hate to admit). So, it’s not entirely unusual for a hyper-trendy micro-mini (or two) with quiet luxury undertones in celeb-approved burgundy to sneak its way into our closets (you know *exactly* which bag I’m talking about).

The danger with trends, however, is that they cycle far too fast, and sometimes, return far too late (perhaps, not well until the next generation gets to pick it up).

So, as tough as it might be to realize that the style may now look dated on you, or you simply don’t like it enough to wear it anymore, it can make the tough call of letting go somewhat easier. And the thought that something you once loved may eventually be equally loved by someone else – it’s comforting, to say the least.

Louis Vuitton Multi Pochette Review 11
The multi-pochette is one of the bags that has had its minute under the sun.

Is It Really a Keeper?

In theory, we may be ascribing to minimalist TikTok en masse. But it’s only reality that we all own too much stuff these days. In her seminal “A Guide to Getting Rid of Almost Everything” for the New Yorker, therefore, Patricia Marx writes:

“In my apartment, it’s got so cluttered that sometimes, when I leave — usually to acquire more stuff — it crosses my mind that I should leave a ‘Dear Burglar’ note, urging the intruder to help herself.”

So, the motivation to deaccession an item – “by whatever means feasible: selling, donating, recycling, giving them away, losing them on the subway, or reserving a spot for them on the next Mars Explorer” as Marx notes with a pang of guilty humor – may simply be to free up premium closet real estate, perhaps for yet more stuff.

LV Ski Collection FW23
Shearling purses can be gorgeous to look at but difficult to take care of.

But it is also in such cases that the feels of ownership can manifest itself in ways stronger than it otherwise would, especially since you might still actively be in love with said bag, even one that’s merely cluttering up your space at the moment.

Or it could be one you’ve rarely worn, maybe out of fear of ruining a delicate buy, because at the end of the day, the sticker shock of a luxury purchase is undeniably high for most people. And it can creep up on you at the worst possible times. 

Hence, when undecided, ask yourself this: when did you last use this purse? Is it worth holding onto, even if you don’t remember the last time using it?

And there, dear reader, you’ll have your answer.

Factor in the Other Factors

Excruciatingly enough, however, all this back and forth in finally making up your mind is merely the very first step of letting go – the actual process of saying goodbye, and rehoming your relegated receptacles, being an entirely different ballgame.

In fact, it might be a dream to have a closet full of luxuries, but those are also dollars collecting dust that you could put towards something you might actually use. Some you may not have worn in so long, you’ve forgotten they exist!

And yet, other considerations jump to mind too.

How much has a similar item sold for previously? Are you likely to recoup a greater amount of your buying price (if not strictly turn up a profit) by holding onto it for longer? Were you collecting to actually use them, or is it simply the ownership and the sentimentalities tied to the item that gives you satisfaction?

Setting realistic expectations of the sale normally helps, as selling fast and selling for dollars can, at times, be mutually exclusive. Other times, taking the effort of actually listing the sale might have you falling in love yet again. And as complicated as that is (it was, after all, your would-be ex), you’ll at least know you still love it.

Flowchart 01 scaled 1
The RealReal provides a handy decision map for indecisive consignors.

But again, yet others have found solace in simply keeping a picture of past purchases.

So really, the key is to enjoy yourself, to use what you have to the fullest extent, and indulge in the heartbreak of letting the rest go. Both are equally beautiful feelings; they make your collection all the more special.

guest

13 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Ruby
Ruby
19 days ago

Fun article. Too bad the decision tree only has options to consign a vintage bag. My vintage bags are some of my favorites and always get comments when I wear them.

Susie
Susie
15 days ago
Reply to  Ruby

With great collector’s bags in my closet (Chanel’s manly); I do have a smattering of older Bals and one benign Chloe. I haven’t bought a bag in YEARS. BUT when I saw an Chèvre Ocean Brief that was it. The bag I wanted 15 years ago was now in my possession, I honestly could care less about trends!

Mel
Mel
18 days ago
Reply to  Ruby

I agree. Also it’s much harder for vintage bags to fetch any money worth having on the resale market, a lot of the time it’s not worth the bother – plus I feel like vintage is more likely to be unique/storied/special and therefore I’m more likely to hold on to them!

Amy
Amy
15 days ago

I moved recently and did a huge purge of everything I own, including bags. It’s 100% freeing. You think you might miss the stuff, you absolutely don’t. I’m way up there in years, senior citizen status, trust me – you’ll get to the point where you’ll realize all those things that were important for so long, such as the neverending bag hunt/it’s never enough, just aren’t anymore.

Shelby33
Shelby33
15 days ago

I love my older bags, I really don’t care if they look dated. Most are from 2005-2009. The quality was just so much better than it is now. The leathers are so much nicer.
Any bags I do find myself no longer loving are given away to family or friends, but only after I make myself use the bag for a few days-sometimes I fall back in love, other times I know it’s just not doing it for me anymore, so it goes. I am no longer interested in listing things to sell (or deal with the headaches that go with selling) although I have done it in the past.
Sometimes I will take about 10 bags and put them out of sight for maybe 6 months or longer. When I rediscover them it’s almost as fun as buying a new bag

Paris
Paris
18 days ago

I have been selling off my bags, both vintage and new, for the past couple of years. I had 60 bags and now I’m down to a more manageable 15 bags. I love bags, and it doesn’t help to read PB, because I keep getting introduced to more delectable bags; however, I’ve realized I would rather travel the world than have a ton of bags.

Slim
Slim
15 days ago
Reply to  Paris

Agree!!

Pjhm
Pjhm
15 days ago

Started purchasing Chanel bags in 1993 in different colors and designs, mainly flaps, would never sell any of them. I am a small collector. I like to pull out a bag I haven’t worn in years and use it. Feels like I bought I new one.
About ten years ago, began buying LV and Gucci as wardrobe bags and still use them. No intention of selling them either as they are part of my collection. Have purchased very few brand new ones in last four years as I don’t need them. Have gotten to the point that I don’t like changing bags that frequently,
maybe lazy, maybe life style change, but my bags are not going anywhere except in my will!
Never know when I’ll need to wear that “red one” so it’s staying put in the gun safe.

J H
J H
14 days ago

In 2018, I bought a inexpensive piece of investment property using some money had saved up for a bag fund as the deposit. That decision was a revelation and I slowed down my bag purchases. This year, I realized that having 71 bags and 2 walfk-in closets of clothes is way too much. I want to be a streamlined person and not a person with an archive filled with bags that she has not carried in years and clothes that are unworn or not worn in years. The question now is exactly how many I keep. I am trying to get to 25.

Passerine
Passerine
18 days ago

I never sell my bags that have fallen out of favor. I just can’t deal with the palaver. Instead, I give them to friends or to charity. For example, I bought two Nodde bags from Polene months ago but still have not used them. I asked two friends if they or their daughters want them. (Said they can buy me dinner at a nice restaurant in exchange.)

Terri
Terri
17 days ago

I recently sold a bunch of bags I no longer use at a fraction of their original price. The new owner can even make a profit from them! But overall, I’m happy that they are being appreciated by their new owner.

Anonymous
Anonymous
18 days ago

This is the question i ask myself: will i still reach for this bag even when i have already acquired the bags on my wishlist?
If my answer is maybe or no then i let them go (exception is classic bags for me)

I cleaned out my closet during the last 3 years and i have sold 20 bags and let go of 20 damaged ones too. But still 50 bags left hahaha

Slim
Slim
15 days ago

I have many designer bags, a few very high end, like Chanel! The problem, I have is “seller’s remorse”. I plan on “willing” my bags to my daughter and granddaughter. They’re all stored in their dust covers and in pristine condition!