I grow insanely, irrationally attached to inanimate objects, y’all.
Like, it’s kind of ridiculous… and potentially an early warning sign that I may become one of those super scary-trainwreck-but-you-can’t-look-away hoarders later in life. Fingers crossed that’s not the case, everybody!
But really, it’s just with a few specific things that somehow end up going everywhere with me: my stuffed bear, Mr. Barry, who I’ve had since kindergarten (I’ve seriously never gone anywhere without him); a pair of 6 year-old Sperry top-siders that have seen MUCH better days but still get thrown on any chance I get; some seriously ancient Texas football t-shirts that I stole from my parents. They all have little stories behind them that remind me of good times and great people, making them that much harder to part with.
Now it’s looking like I’m adding a new item to my list of oddly sentimental junk I own: my Texas orange Longchamp bag. I haven’t had it as long as some of the other stuff in this hallowed collection but it’s something I’ve dragged along on my adventures almost constantly since it came into my possession 2 years ago.
My momma bought me a navy Longchamp bag my freshman year of college since aside from a few small satchels I didn’t have a real purse yet – I always used a backpack or gym bag during high school and kind of scoffed at the idea of carrying a bag – uh, tomboy much, y’all? I used the navy Longchamp here and there but I was still pretty content with sticking with a backpack or maybe a canvas tote most of the time, especially since it seemed like every other girl I saw around campus had my exact. same. bag.
Fast forward 2 years and I was in the middle of my internship and decided it was time to clean up my act a little so I strolled into Bloomingdale’s and started browsing… And promptly stopped browsing when I saw the four, five, and six hundred dollar price tags attached to the bags I was looking at. I was about to head upstairs to look at the clothing before I saw a Longchamp section out of the corner of my eye. Drifting over I noticed a burnt orange bag all folded up and hanging on the display, seemingly calling my name.
I checked the price – well within my budget – and carried it right over to the register where I was so excited that I even bought it with my own money, foregoing the use of my mother’s Bloomie’s card. I thought that was the ultimate sign of maturity and independence since up until this point basically all of my clothes and shoes and well, everything was always purchased for me by my parents – plus I wasn’t so sure Momma would be happy I spent her money on such a garishly hued bag.
But I’ve used this bag for just about EVERYTHING in the two years since that fateful trip to Bloomingdale’s. It’s been a beach bag, a weekend bag, a carry-on bag (many, many, many times a carry-on bag), a school bag, a gym bag – It’s been across the country and to three different continents at this point. And boy, oh boy, is this poor guy is FILTHY. It’s literally coated with my blood, sweat, and tears… Plus mud, pen ink, sweet tea, toothpaste, and mustard. Yikes, y’all.
After doing a little online research I found out you can clean Longchamp’s Le Pliage bags super easily at home, no pricey trip to the dry cleaners necessary! So feel free to follow along and replicate it at home if you have a similarly abused bag.
Here is my bag before I got started, in all its ratty glory. You’ll notice it’s nice and smudged up, especially on the bottom, and the corners are starting to fray due to all the wear and tear this bad boy has seen. But the best part? The inside. I’m pretty sure there are slaughterhouse floors cleaner than this.
To get started you’ll need a few things, most of which you should have lying around your house already.
Now let’s get down to business. Get your sponge all soapy and wet and go to town on your bag! I had to put a little bit of elbow grease into some of the parts that had a little more wear and tear – the corners and bottom mostly – but after 5 or ten minutes of work I noticed a HUGE improvement in the general griminess of the exterior. Hooray!
After all that hard work comes the easy part: wipe up all the loosened grime and soap suds off your bag with a paper towel dampened in warm water. You’ll be able to see if there are any parts you need to give another once-over to at this point or you can simply take a moment to marvel at your own DIY-ingenuity. Basking aside, you can then rinse the bag carefully to ensure all the soap residue is gone and pat it dry with a new paper towel.
Since my bag was a little damp (I ended up getting the leather trim wet but it was no big deal), I improvised a little and hung it up on a hanger to dry in my shower because I am a DOMESTIC GODDESS, obvi.
It was totally dry by the next morning and was looking much better, I might add. There will be some stains that will never be totally gone (looking at you, felt tip pen!) but for the most part I was really pleased with the results – especially since I haven’t cleaned this bad boy one iota in the two years and change that I’ve owned it… Whoops!
And the best part: the bottom of my purse no longer looks like it was bathed in toxic waste!
Now go forth and clean! The time is ripe to seize the day: throw out those old Chipotle and Starbucks receipts; peel that half dissolved mint of the bottom of your bag; removed that smelly old gym sock whose partner you lost long ago yet continue to hold on to just in case you run into it again somehow. Oh… Just me on that last one then? Either way, I hope this is at least vaguely helpful if you get a hankering to clean up your act like I did!
A Lean, Mean, Cleaning Machine,