Tale of two wallets

Two wallets - one fat one thin
Two wallets – one fat one thin

image description – two wallets sat on a table – one very thin with the words ‘jen’s wallet’ on it and one fat, bulging leather one with ‘Gavin’s wallet’ written on it. Above both of the wallets a caption says ‘two fundamentally different approaches to life’. 

As you can see from the picture above my husband and I have very different approaches to wallets. I am always looking to minimise things, and as you can see my wallet is as about as minimal as you can get.

It does stretch, so you can fit in more cards as you need to, but essentially, it holds very little. It is made of elastic and it was actually originally developed through being funded by Kickstarter.

Gavin’s wallet as you can see is very fat, it has every loyalty card possible in it, as well as every card, LOTS of receipts etc etc. He does like to hoard things in case they are useful, he also has a London bus map and tube map in there as well. There is no possible room for that in mine!

The wallets are very representative of how we live as well, my desk is almost entirely clear, apart from 2 lamps (it gets dark in this house and I need light to draw), a framed photo of us when we were first going out, a jar of my collection of feathers and large glass bottles of water, to save me going up and down stairs every time I want a drink. Oh and my laptop as well – a lovely sleek, silver VIAO.

Gavin’s desk has a great big PC on it (all the better to play games and to render 3D drawings); and LOTS of paperwork; books; and so much more.

We are both very happy with our desks and look at each other’s in mutual incomprehension not knowing how the other can work like that.

But, the tale of two wallets is not yet done.

Gavin has had his wallet years and years and years. He is happy with his wallet and will continue to use it until it falls apart.

Me on the other hand, I am always looking for the PERFECT wallet. The one which will solve all of my wallet needs -and by extension all of my life’s problems – because a wallet has that much power! I have a few wallets which I cycle through at home and when I saw an article on Kickstarter about why wallets are one of the most funded things I had to read it, looked at all of the wallets that were available and chose the one which I thought would most suit me.

And rest assured that people are annoyed. Spend enough time talking about wallets, and you’ll notice a vast, free-floating despair: the wallets of this world satisfy nobody. We spend so much time handling them that the tiniest flaw is as maddening as a pebble in your sock. We all crave the “perfect” wallet, but the perfect wallet is a unicorn — a magical, unobtainable beast, its design perfectly poised between a dozen conflicting qualities. It keeps your things secure, but easy to access. It’s light enough that you don’t notice you’re carrying it, but substantial enough to notice if it’s gone. It’s large enough to hold everything you need, but not a millimeter larger. It’s comfortable, nice-looking, interesting, charming …

So, although they are very different approaches to wallets, mine is definitely the simpler but whose takes up less brain space? Gavin never thinks about his wallet, whether there is a better one, thinner one, bigger one which suits him. He is happy with his choice and that is the end of the matter.

So, the tale of two wallets is one which says do not judge, there might be more going on beneath the surface than you realise! My simple wallet covers a distinctly non simple thought process of looking for perfection, for the perfect thing, which will make my life perfect!

Join the conversation


  1. I am very torn about wallets – and it genuinely is something that I have given a great deal of thought to!

    By inclination I collect things that I associate with memorable or happy moments – pieces of reality, frozen in time to provide a physical connection to my memories of the past. Indeed I LIVE in my memories and to have an actual piece of those moments is a focus both mentally and also magically. A true connection to keep alongside the immaterial, though living images I cannot HELP keeping.

    This is both a curse and a blessing, not only from a psychological standpoint but also a strictly practical one. I have pieces of paper that are 17 years old and so faded I can no longer read them, cinema tickets from 1998 and railways tickets from 1995; small photographs and snippets of handwriting from happier days. All hoarded as jealously as the living record of those times I keep in my head. Unlike memory however, these scraps take up space and at one point I genuinely could not close my wallet because of everything inside it!

    And then one day Armaitus told me how he had lost his own wallet while walking – totally unprovoked and neither pick-pocketed nor carelessly dropped. Totally unpreventable and totally out of the blue.

    I was horrified.

    I can imagine the utter devastation I would feel if I lost my own wallet. All those pieces of the past, all those pieces of ME set aside or given by those I love – gone. Worse still if I WAS pickpocketted and lost my wallet to someone who would paw stickily at my things… This last thought actually affected me more violently than the prospect of a financial loss of cash or bankcards.

    So from that moment forward I determined, despite how I value and enjoy having these ‘knicks, knacks, trifles, fancies and nosegays’ with me at all times I would strip my wallet down to the absolute minimum. I would carry ready cash and my debit card and nothing else. If they went, they went. At worst I would have to go through the tediosity of cancelling my card and ordering a replacement – and no one was going to retire from nabbing my £5 bank balance!!! I would NOT lose my things.

    Nowadays I travel with only a simple, press-stud leather fold, backed with two or three thicknesses of tin-foil to maybe prevent some bastard from attempting to skim my details at a distance via the ‘wonder’ of ‘contactless payments’.

    I don’t even have a mobile telephone!

  2. Hello!

    Yes, I do worry about losing my wallet, hence one of the reasons why I stripped it down, it has enough space for my tiny business cards and that is about it. I don’t really carry cash on me either, it is a great way to avoid spending it on snacks!

    I love this wallet, I’ve just noticed they are working on a second version…

    You could always put your things in a memory box, then there is a pleasure to be had in going through them when you want to, plus they won’t get damaged so much from the wear and tear.

    I have to admit I am not sentimental, I don’t keep things like that at all. I do journal and I stacks of those, but I keep thinking I should read them, glean out what is important and burn the rest. Most of it is tedious anyway!

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