HOW TO | Small Bag in a Big City

To my dearest:

Ah small bags! Soul mates for us petite girls. Let’s talk small bags again! Last week I gave all you ladies, 5 reasons why you should start using small bags. This week, I’m going to tell you tips on how to use a small bag in a big city. I know city life gets tough. You just have so much you feel absolutely must have with you! And with Spring and Summer welcoming us, of course there’s also the bus, trains and malls that has their AC on full blast when we’re wearing relatively light clothing. We need that sweater, that scarf, that water, that laptop, that…. Wow… the list just goes on. And you begin to worry, even if you left the house with a small bag, what if you need a bag to stuff something in later along the way? A big bag is just so much easier to grab and go! You’ll be able to throw everything in later. Mucho convenient. Well let me say, YES. That is true. However, don’t fret. If you want to use a small bag, there is a way!

I’ll be first to admit, there will be days that you do need to lug around a laptop or something heavy and bulky like that. You can choose to grab the big bag on those days. But I’m going to tell you how to solve the problem if you do choose to go with smaller bag.

The solution is simple. Carry a separate canvas bag.

nyc burberry trench

Don’t roll your eyes at me now. It seems simple, but there’s beauty to it all. A canvas bag is much lighter than your average big bag, no matter how light the material of your big bag is. A canvas bag will do your shoulders a big favor!  In the small bag you’re carrying, you can fit all your essentials that you need to grab quickly. In the canvas bag, you can fit all your other things – a bottle of water, laptop, planner, etc. The two bag theory may seem redundant, but it actually makes a lot of sense and creates more convenience than you can imagine. If you’re in school, you should have a clubroom or locker that you can drop off your canvas bag. You can just take that small bag and a couple of things needed for the class. If you’re in an office, even easier! When you’re out meeting people for lunch, you can easily leave that canvas bag in your office and slip out in style with you small bag. You’d look so effortless!

Also, if you live in a city like New York, chances are, you’ll likely own a car as well. I do, and I leave my canvas bag in the car when I don’t need it. Dividing your items in two separate bags seem to have more pros than cons to me. Yes, you’d likely need a place to leave your canvas bag for the ultimate convenience. But hey, don’t neglect how it also saved your shoulders some soreness!

The solution I gave was for if you needed a lot to carry out to begin with and still wanted to use a small bag. Now, I’ll answer your what if’s question. You want to know, “I can manage to carry only essentials when I leave the house, but what if I need more space later?” Well worry not! I have a solution for that too!

The answer is… use a reusable bag

nyc street trench style

I can sense all of you rolling your eyes at me yet again. It’s simple. But it works. Now, you can find reusable bags smaller and lighter than you’ve ever seen before! You can just pop that small foldable bag into your small bag and you’re good to go! You’d look chic with your small bag all day if you never need to bag other items through out your day! And if you do need extra space for storage, just pull out that reusable bag! It’s really not so bad. I believe you should even be admired! I think the idea is genius and more people should use them because it seriously does Mother Earth a huge favor! Let’s love her a little more yeah? You save yourself from having to carry a big bag when you don’t even know if you’ll need that much space. Plus you help out our planet a little. Win-Win! Once again. I see more pros than cons to this.

tulip field burberry trench

So there you have it! Those are my simple tips for you to use a small bag in a big city. It’s also super budget friendly! Canvas totes and reusable bags are super durable and well priced! They can also be very stylish!
Did you find the tips helpful? Is this what you’re doing now to use your small bags? Write back and let me know!

Have a good one!

PS: As you can see in my photos, I used a reusable bag instead of a canvas bag. They are interchangeable so it’s really super simple! Any one of them will do!



Sincerely Ophelia
Latest posts by Sincerely Ophelia (see all)



  1. heybeccablog
    April 17, 2017 / 12:43 PM

    I have large bags and small bags but I love carrying my smaller bags! When I carry a large bag I notice I tote around so many things that I really do not need.

    • Ophelia
      April 17, 2017 / 3:45 PM

      Yes! Essentials = key!

  2. April 17, 2017 / 12:57 PM

    This is a very useful post. I have both big and small bags but yes the smaller ones are much easier and comfortable 😊

    • Ophelia
      April 17, 2017 / 3:46 PM

      Yes! Small bags are more comfortable. Glad you’re have fun with both big and small!

  3. April 17, 2017 / 4:11 PM

    I tend to gravitate to bigger bags, but I may start using smaller ones. They seem so much easier to carry!

    • Ophelia
      April 17, 2017 / 5:36 PM

      Yes. It’s good for your shoulders!

  4. April 17, 2017 / 5:36 PM

    I also really like keeping a small tote with me in case I end up shopping while I am out (which usually happens lol) great post!

    • Ophelia
      April 19, 2017 / 2:59 AM

      Yes! A small tote is perfect!

  5. diybutterflyblog
    April 17, 2017 / 8:30 PM

    Great post! I have recently shifted my bag carrying behavior and now carry a small bag along with a large bag for my laptop and other work-related essentials. The small bag is convenient for when I need to run out of the office during lunch or if I don’t need/want to bring home my work gear that evening. I think women need to realize they do not need to always carry a large “luggage size” bag for all of their things they carry with them on a daily basis.

    • Ophelia
      April 19, 2017 / 2:59 AM

      Yes I agree. Sometimes, we just feel like we need everything… but do we, really? 🙂

  6. April 18, 2017 / 7:43 AM

    Love your bag! Your look is so pretty and stylish!

    • Ophelia
      April 19, 2017 / 3:00 AM

      Thank you dear! If you’d like to know where it’s from, it’s on the bottom credits 🙂

  7. April 18, 2017 / 9:30 AM

    I tend to use a bigger bag. I have a toddler and somehow my purse becomes the place that everything goes! LOL.

    • Ophelia
      April 19, 2017 / 3:01 AM

      Mary Poppins bag! That’s what you need! I understand how it feels to have to lug another person’s belongings. I have a pup and I lug a lot for him. So I can imagine it’d be even more for a toddler!

  8. April 18, 2017 / 1:46 PM

    I like smaller bags when I’m going out for fun, otherwise this would be hard. I still want this bag though. It’s too fine.

    • Ophelia
      April 19, 2017 / 3:01 AM

      Yes. There’s ways to work around it! TRY TRY and TRY!

  9. April 18, 2017 / 5:10 PM

    I’ve been having to use a small handbag since my surgery. My back doctor weighed my big one to explain to me how it could hurt my back by continuing to use it. I was surprised by the weight. I need to invest in a cute canvas bag to take along as well.

    • Ophelia
      April 19, 2017 / 3:02 AM

      Ah I see. If that’s the case, you shoulder really take it easy with the weight of your bags! Definitely worth the investment! Hope you find the perfect one!

  10. April 18, 2017 / 7:59 PM

    Yes, I love this – I always prefer to use smaller bags, especially when I’m traveling or plan on walking around a lot. Also, loving your style girl 🙂

    Kristen |

    • Ophelia
      April 19, 2017 / 3:03 AM

      Awesome! I also prefer smaller bags. Thank you again 😀

  11. Robin Rue
    April 19, 2017 / 7:42 AM

    That is a super cute bag! I love that whole outfit on you!

  12. April 19, 2017 / 11:39 AM

    This was an useful article. I love all your looks!

  13. April 19, 2017 / 12:52 PM

    I love a small bag! Your mini satchels are gorg! I usually opt for mini crossbody bags.

  14. April 19, 2017 / 1:04 PM

    My bag seems to be the catch all bag for my family. I would love to be able to condense and go smaller, but i fear then my pockets would be overflowing and It would be a huge mess!

  15. April 19, 2017 / 1:06 PM

    Why have I never thought of that? Awesome idea. Keeping your canvas bag at work and just bringing your small bag to lunch is an extra bonus!

  16. April 19, 2017 / 1:21 PM

    I love your advice! I totally get having all my essentials in one small bag and putting bigger things like a water bottle or notebook in another bag. It makes me feel more organized and it’s quicker to find what I’m looking for!

  17. April 19, 2017 / 1:44 PM

    This was a great post, and a great reminder of how we can be more mindful of what we really need while still being careful to plan ahead for unexpected needs. I did like the idea of carrying a small reusable bag inside your little bag though, just in case, but I can’t imagine carrying a purse AND a tote at the same time. I have a service dog for PTSD, and he goes pretty much wherever I go. It would be pretty challenging to manage his leash, my purse, AND a separate tote full of work items.

    Then again, this sort of conflict usually ends up being why I choose to stay home. No bags needed.

  18. April 19, 2017 / 3:15 PM

    I totally need to do this! My poor medium sized bag gets stuffed to the brim. Great idea!

  19. munakenny
    April 19, 2017 / 5:38 PM

    I love small bags and often use them, but after having my son big bags became my best friends!

  20. April 19, 2017 / 6:53 PM

    I used to do this at uni because it was convenient for me at the time. Your right that a smaller canvas bag is lighter on the shoulders too x

  21. natalielovesbeauty
    April 19, 2017 / 9:36 PM

    I am all about using reusable bags! I usually have them in my car trunk, so great to have when shopping!

  22. April 19, 2017 / 10:25 PM

    What a great post and tip, I love using a small bag before but when I’m already have a baby I use Big bag always

  23. April 20, 2017 / 6:04 AM

    I think carrying the extra bag defeats the purpose of having a ‘bag’. I’ll just have one bag than two and if I carry a small one I make sure I never need more than what’s in it

  24. Straight A Style
    April 20, 2017 / 11:13 AM

    How smart!! I don’t live in a big city like you, but I can see how useful that would be!

    Amy Ann
    Straight A Style

  25. April 20, 2017 / 11:28 AM

    Your outfit is so beautiful. I really like your bag!

  26. April 20, 2017 / 3:14 PM

    I’m all for small bags! I use different sized bags for different occasions. The one you have here is beautiful.

  27. April 20, 2017 / 10:47 PM

    I remember when big bags were the latest trend. I personally like the use of small bags as they are easier to carry around and your can’t stuff as much crap as you want in there!

  28. Michelle
    April 21, 2017 / 1:24 AM

    Looking forward to seeing what your top 5 small bags are this season (or classic small bags/must haves/small bag styles) XD Need to grow my collection. Still new to this small bag world :3

  29. April 21, 2017 / 5:49 AM

    I always have a light-weight foldable mesh bag in all my handbags. Because its for my surprise purchases or any emergency cases 🙂

  30. Elizabeth O.
    April 21, 2017 / 7:24 AM

    Now that my kids are grown ups I can switch to using smaller bags and I’m really happy about it. I love that I don’t have to carry a big bag and just go out with the things that I need without the extra weight.

  31. April 21, 2017 / 7:26 AM

    I love bringing smaller bags especially when I travel. It’s convenient to carry around because it’s light! I love how you styled your outfit.

  32. Shane Prather
    April 21, 2017 / 12:04 PM

    I love the chic look of this bag. Such a classic color too!

  33. April 21, 2017 / 12:42 PM

    I hate carrying large purses, but I agree that once in a while you need some extra space. I think the reusable bags are a great solution. They fold up so tiny that they fit great in a small bag until you need them. Great tips.

  34. April 21, 2017 / 12:43 PM

    I prefer carrying small bags, too. I agree, though, that sometimes you need something bigger. I think carrying a reusable bag for extras is a perfect solution!

  35. April 21, 2017 / 5:58 PM

    We always have a reusable bag on hand. They are so much more practical. I used to always get caught with stuff to carry and nothing to put it in.

  36. April 21, 2017 / 9:41 PM

    Canvas bags are great. I don’t see anything wrong about carrying one whenever you go, but I opted smaller sizes.

  37. April 26, 2017 / 7:07 AM

    That was a fun and nice idea you incorporated!

  38. April 27, 2017 / 4:29 AM

    That its a great idea! Thanks for sharing

  39. Nicole Anderson
    April 30, 2017 / 8:57 PM

    Very cool as well as super practical! It really works for thinking about the various scenarios and examples you used. And us girls need all the flexibility we can get these days!

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