As a (somewhat) reformed pack rat I know I should only be telling people to live with what they need and what they absolutely love. Everything else should go. That's a major rule, a principle, something to live by, no exceptions! Especially if you are a reformed pack rat who is making a living organizing other people's home.
Every now and then I experience a haunting. Most recently, it was a fire engine red Kipling back pack purchased in the pre-kids era(PKE). If you're not familiar, Kipling bags are a somewhat higher end, expensive (especially by my low end Target brand standards these days) sturdy and slightly trendy brand. I bought it in the PKE when it was ok to to buy things NOT on sale at the Backpack Store in NYC. WHOA.
But after using it a few times, I realized that once I filled it up it was too bulky for my frame. It sagged on my back despite strap adjustments. Then it languished in the closets and I carried it around from 2 Brooklyn apartments to Jersey City house to Jersey City apartment and before I moved again, I decluttered (which means I posted a box of stuff on Craigslist and someone came and was grateful to take it and off it went.)
Lately, as my toddler has grown to need less when we are out I have wanted a big backpack to carry everything. The NYC mom who has to go out every day with a toddler needs on average 2 bags, sometimes 3 to lug all the gear she needs to survive the jungle. Some folks may see a toddler and a father with nothing in his hands but a sippy cup. Well, let me tell you that that dad is in the playground asking me, the mother pack mule, for band aids, towels, snacks, water balloons and an extra diaper.
But I digress.
The haunting began when I started browsing on Amazon for a good strong backpack that could withstand water spillage, subway grime and have a million pockets to hold sippys and snacks and sand box buckets and mommy's fabulous Canon camera with super extra heavy lens so she can capture every beautiful moment. Everything with good reviews, nice design, etc. came out around $100 or more.
My old Kipling was so sturdy and would have worked beautifully. It was easy to spot clean. There were no drink holders on the sides but if I'd kept it I wouldn't have to spend a dime. I would use what I had and I would have been happy. But I gave it away. It's gone and I need it. For a couple of weeks I thought of it often, feeling the muted sting of having gotten rid of it in the last move.
Then I looked in the hall closet and saw my husband's old backback. It has all that I was looking for in a backpack and he has no use for it. And while I still regret not having the Kipling, the haunting has ceased and I am more philosophical about it. The problems I had with it that led to it's banishment to my closets would have probably gotten on my nerves again eventually.
Still, as a person who enjoys weeding out the unnecessary in my home and in other people's homes I have made choices I regretted later. Choices that cost me money because I had to go out and buy another. Or I just missed it because I loved having it and it's gone. In the greater scheme of life, it's a small price to pay for the general pleasure of not having closets bursting with things you don't use.