Alison Goulding: Tips for bag ladies

Bag lady
Bag lady
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I HAVE a proper job and a real home, yet I am a bag lady.

It dawned on me on Friday night, while organising my kit for a weekend up at my boyfriend’s house.

I was heading up to his via the stables so my luggage consisted of a) bag full of carrots for Cady b) smart clothes, makeup and hair straighteners c) all-weather ensemble for planned bike ride and d) a spare pair of joggers and hoodie for Sunday night lounge-a-thon.

Oh, and a tin of the trial-run cookies I’d made the night before.

Which meant tons and tons of bags, all stuffed to overflowing.

It made getting out of my flat pretty interesting, and even though I did two trips to the car, it was still an impressive balancing feat which ended with me jamming the tin of cookies under my chin, hanging one of the bags around my neck like a St Bernard dog with a brandy flask, and scooping up the remainder with my protesting arms.

Am I complaining? Not even a little bit.

I secretly love being a bag lady, and I think I’m getting pretty good at it, having figured out the main rules.

Number one is this: When it comes to being a good bag lady, more is more.

There is no room for minimalist nonsense, you’ve just got to shove as much stuff as you can into as many bags as possible, and then hope for the best.

It is a waste of valuable time to ponder which dress you’ll need, as clearly you’ll need both.

Number two: Folding things is futile. I used to put everything in neatly, but the trip in the car tends to smush everything together like spaghetti with a life of its own.

Number three: The more bags the better. To create an authentic look you need at least six. Extra points if they’re bulging.

Number four: In my case, being a bag lady comes from my wish to spend proper weekend time with my delicious boyfriend.

Inevitably, he has to help me lug all those bags around. Which means somewhere in the bottom of one of them there is always a little treat for him.

Which is the gist of rule number four.

When you turn up at someone’s house covered in bags, they tend to think, by the law of odds, that you might have got them something.

No one likes to be a disappointing guest, so if you know what’s good for you, you’ll plan for this event (see tin of cookies, above.)

Number five: Don’t skimp on bags. Sainsbury’s are quite reliable and those cloth ones from posh sport shops are very useful.

This avoids the awful ‘exploding all over the pavement’ scenario. On the flipside, a proper holdall that will fit everything in is unacceptable. Buy one if you must, but be warned, you will look like a dodgy drug dealer from an ITV drama.

Now all I have to do is find a wonky shopping trolley and I’m all set ...