The Wallet Purge

I recently got a new wallet as a Christmas present and I used that as an excuse to tackle a long standing annoying issue …my overly full wallet.  I am almost embarrassed to type this but I was utter shocked how much garbage that I never use that I’ve been carrying around with me for years, yes you read that right, years.

To do the purge I took out everything from the wallet and put it into a stack.  It was a stack about two inches high…no wonder my wallet always felt like it was going to burst open on me.  Then I proceed to create four piles: cards that I have to keep on me (either legally or I use them that often), cards I rarely use, cards/paper that I should throw out and cards that should be stored somewhere else.

Here are some samples that went into each pile:

  1. Cards to Keep – Drivers license, health card, bank card, credit card, business credit card, business bank card and a few copies business card from my day job.
  2. Rarely Used Cards – A library card (which I never use since I have a key chain mini card), Areoplan card, bank card for the bank where my mortgage was at, and a few other points cards I rarely need.
  3. Cards/Paper to Throw Out – Old business contact cards I no longer need, points cards for places I no longer shop and I nearly died of embarrassment to see an old Blockbuster member card in my wallet. Yikes!
  4. Elsewhere Cards – I had a few points cards for gas stations that really should be kept in the car itself so my wife can use them too.

What was interesting was the first three piles were about the same size and I only had a few cards in elsewhere pile.  So in summary my wallet is now about 2/3 thinner than it used to be and I’m so grateful that I finally got to dealing with this issue.  I’m actually thinking I need to do this exercise more regularly to avoid this in the future.

So when was the last time you cleaned out your wallet (and/or purse)?  Any tips for everyone on what to keep or get rid of?

5 thoughts on “The Wallet Purge”

  1. I no longer carry a wallet.

    My phone’s protective holder also allows me slots for 3 cards–my DL, Visa, and bankcard.

    When I go to Costco, Sam’s Club or library, they either type in my DL# or I show them a picture of card (front and back) from my Evernote app.

  2. My problem is every time I purge my wallet I end up needing that EXACT CARD the next day.

    I don’t put any card in my wallet that I can access with a telephone number (e.g. Indigo Plum Rewards card.. just give them your #).

    If they need the actual card to scan, then I keep it in there (gift cards, etc).

  3. I have always carried a separate card pouch for my cards, separate from my wallet. This goes back to my days in college back in the 1980s. On a few occasions in the last 30+ years, I have lost or had stolen from me my wallet but I lost only the cash and not the cards (which were actually more valuable and tougher to repalce).

    I don’t carry that many cards in the card pouch so it rarely has become bloated. Most of the time, I replace one with a newer one upon expiration of the older one such as a bank card or a drivers license. It is the various gift cards I receive from time to time which can fatten the card pouch. I have 3 or 4 of them now although I just learned that one of them appears to be a fraudulent card (invalid card #) so I have asked the giver of that card to investigate – I will return it to her the next time I see her next week.


    You can put 8 reward card bar codes on 1 card. Add some clear packing tape & eliminate carrying 8 plastic cards.

    You won’t be able to slide your rewards card through a scanner, but the hand held scanners will read the codes.

    I am sure there is an app for mobile devices that will do the same.

  5. My phone case holds my DL, Debit card, HSA card. Starbucks card. Car Insurance, my Dental license and my Car registration . A bill of $20(sometimes) Done.
    But my purse, is a different story. In there I have:
    . My phone and vallet combined.
    . Hand lotion (very, very small tin container)
    . My pills
    . Keys
    . Sunglasses
    . 1lipstick 🙂
    . A box of crayon for my kids
    . Breath mint

    I wish I could simplify more. But everything in my purse is important.

    I go through my purse every couple of days or so.
    For all the club cards, my phone number works.

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