Extra Travel bags- to declutter/recycle/throw or to keep?

Over the years, we may have amassed quite a number of travel bags of various sizes and shapes. With the popularity of decluttering and minimalist lifestyle, don’t you wonder if you should just throw out or donate the bags?

In this article, I would explain on my experience, and why sometimes you should not just throw useful things away for the sake of decluttering or being a minimalist.

Should you just get rid of your extra travel bags and keep just the minimal amount?

I grew up during the years that trolley bags were not yet invented…or at least I do not recall seeing anyone using them.

The first two bags were from my childhood which mainly consisted of carry-ons without wheels. The top one was a gift from a company.

Travel bags- to keep or declutter

During a few times while decluttering my home, I have been tempted to either donate, dispose or give away most of these bags. After all, I already have another 2 trolley bags and a large backpack which are the only ones I frequently use.

I did however got rid of a couple of some travel bags that are of poor condition and a bulkier trolley bag that I know I would not use. Even though I have not used those carry on bags for years, I decided to keep them.

Here are my two reasons on why you should not just get rid of stuff just because you do not use them:

1. You might have use for them one day
Okie, I know this is the excuse that most hoarders give when questioned about the mess in their home. Here, I am not encouraging you to hoard. And yes, I agree, too much of stuff will create a lot of stagnate energy. I did dispose bulkier trolley bags and those of poor condition and kept those that are of good condition.

But it does not mean that just because you want to be a minimalist or follow the Kon Mari method, you wanna throw away/donate/get rid of most of your stuff.

I have been so grateful that I did not throw away those bags. I have been involved in voluntary work where we need to bring over large amount of homemade biscuits to another country. A group of us is travelling together hence we have about 108 of small containers which must be hand carried to the airport cabin as the biscuits are quite fragile and would crack if we checked in as cargo.

The best bags type of bags to use to store and hand carry such biscuits are the carry-on bags which I had thought I had no use for.

2. Some older items have excellent quality that you need to pay a high price for today
I find some of the older bags are more sturdy and do not get damaged easily. They are able to support a lot of weight and can be reuse again and again. The 2 bottom bags that you saw in the photo above have been around for as long as I can remember and they are still in excellent condition.

From experience, I have learnt that cheap trolley bags would break down sometimes after one use- which can potentially leave you in a sticky situation especially when it breaks down at the airport. A trolley bag would be unusable if the wheel is broken and it would be very difficult to cart the bag when that happens.

I would rather pay more for a better quality one which I can use many times.

How to store your unused travel bags

Unused bags stored openly would either gather dust or become breeding nests for bugs. Sorry if I gross you out by admitting that I have actually seen hatched lizard eggs inside the confines of some of the bags.

What I did during one of the past house cleaning project was that I took out all these bags, soaked them with soap and washed them. Then I let these bags out to dry on a hot sunny day.

After the bags dried, I folded them up, compress them a little and stored them in ……none other than my plastic storage boxes. I took them out to use them after a few years and they are still in good condition….no bugs and eggs.

For trolley bags, I wrapped them using 2 layers of huge clear plastic bags. When need be like when it gets a little dusty, I would change the first layer with a new bag. I would then take the dusty plastic bag and go to my garden and fill it up with dried leaves and garden refuse.

Striking a balance

Lastly, I want to emphasize that I am not encouraging you to hoard things because I do not believe in being a hoarder as well. Material objects are meant to serve their purpose, not something that we should attach too much to or that we allow it to define us. Expired, damaged or items that simply don’t make you feel good should be disposed off.

Storing things nicely help to minimize the buildup of stagnant energy that often comes with long neglected clutter.

Yes, sometimes the advice out there is that ‘Just get rid of it. If at all you need it one day, you can always buy a new one.’ I used to think it makes sense but now I kinda don’t totally agree with this.

The truth is that the economic condition now is not getting any better. There is the emergence of AI (artificial intelligence) that would soon be able to replace humans in many types of jobs. It is a fact as my previous company have already gone on to implement this leaving some departments redundant. Situation in life may change.

Some people I know have not been able to find jobs for months after they have resigned. They were too burnt out from their jobs to look for another job while they were still working. They figured they could take a short break first before they go and look for a new job. Months have passed and they still could not find a job. A friend of mine was forced to be a Grab driver to be able to have money to pay the bills and put food on the table.

It is the same for me. I used to have a job with quite a good pay. But I resigned to be a caregiver for my mom full time. I never saw this coming while I was working. Obviously I had to scale down considerably on my expenses. If I had thrown away my bags, then when the existing ones I had got spoilt, it would be a little painful to fork out money to buy another quality bag.

Sometimes life throws a totally unexpected turn. So, don’t just simply throw away stuff that are of good quality.

This is my sincere advise to you as this has been a hard lesson that I have learnt.


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