Much like Ally Sheedy’s character in The Breakfast Club, I tend to carry too much in my bag. There are days when I pack not one but two hardcover books, an extra pair of shoes, and no fewer than five different lip colors (last minute invites, anyone?). Unfortunately, my pack rat habits aren’t too healthy.
When you regularly tote that much around, “you’re setting the stage for dysfunction, which leads to pain,” warns Rolland Nemirovsky, doctor of Chiropractics at Manhattan Sports Therapy. Carrying an overloaded bag rolls the shoulders forward, followed by the neck, which over time can cause negative long term effects like numbness and carpal-tunnel like symptoms, he explains.
Though it depends on your build and fitness level, Dr. Nemirovsky recommends women keep their bags under five pounds—seven pounds, max. Curious to see how my coworkers stacked up, I went around the Birchbox office armed with a scale to weigh my fellow staffers’ bags. Together, we brainstormed for how to literally lighten up.
Bene, Director of Editorial Operations
The Things She Carries: A wallet, iPad mini, sunglasses, headphones, a pen, phone charger, four lip products, and a hair clip.
Bag Weight: 3.8 lbs
How to Lighten Up : As the staffer with the lightest bag, Bene was quick to admit that she had failed to include one of her most common items of cargo: her laptop. In an effort to ease the persistent pain of lugging her machine between her apartment and the office, she’s in the market for a stylish backpack, which Dr. Nemirovsky recommends for even weight distribution between shoulders.
Melissa, Men’s and Women’s Content Intern
The Things She Carries: Let’s just say that just Melissa’s makeup bag alone contains Tylenol hand sanitizer, hand cream, deodorant, face water, tissues and eye drops—nevermind the book, sunglasses, lunch, wallet, and umbrella she throws in there.
Bag Weight: 9.2 lbs
How to Lighten Up: “I forget to take them out,” says Melissa of the nine lip colors she totes around with her daily. Double-duty makeup products like Vasanti’s Lip and Cheek Colour Pod and Manna Kadar’s Sheer Glo Shimmer Lotion (perfect for brightening eyes, cheeks, and décolletage) are one way to slim down her carryall.
Deepica, Brand Campaign Strategy Senior Manager
The Things She Carries: A Birchbox Man box, a banana, and a ton of products: shampoo, hand cream, blow-out spray, perfume, primer, brush, eye drops, six foundations, two cheek stains, and two lip glosses to test.
Bag Weight: 8.9 lbs.
How to Lighten Up: It’s hard to blame Deepica for all of the cosmetics she lugs around. As a Campaign Strategist in Brand Development, she has quite a few products to test for work. But one of the best ways for Deepica to downsize is to carry a smaller bag, which will force her to pare down what she packs. Travel-sized products, like Oribe’s purse-sized Dry Texturizing Spray, are another quick fix.
Cristina, Senior Editor
The Things She Carries: Makeup, wallet, a book, and a pair of flip flops.
Bag Weight: 4.8 lbs.
How to Lighten Up: After assessing her overflowing makeup bag, Cristina resolved to start carrying all-in-one products like W3LL People’s Universalist Multiuse Color Stick, which can be used on your eyes, cheeks and lips. She also resolved to clean out her overstuffed wallet, and consider carrying around thinner books.