After nearly a year of use our Skip Hop diaper bag has held up well. (Have you noticed that I start every new year writing about a bag? Oh well.) I don't take the bag with me every time I leave the house with Natalie because sometimes it just feels so big and we're not going to be gone very long. The bag is great because of its many compartments, which, when I originally put it on our registry and gratefully received it from a good friend, seemed like they would be helpful way for organizing my keys, phone, wallet, and sunglasses. Over time, though, I would be in a rush to leave the house without Natalie, so I'd grab my phone and wallet but forget my keys and sunglasses, yadda yadda.
Over the summer, tired of running in and out of the house, up and down the stairs, I decided this system was no longer working. The diaper bag is great and gets lots of use, but shoving all my possessions into various pockets was making me less organized. I decided using a clutch purse that I could easily pull in and out of the diaper bag would be the best option.
The search for the perfect clutch began, and it took me a couple months to find it. The winner was this Cole Haan brown leather clutch in a basket-weave pattern that I found at DSW. It's a little more narrow than the width of the diaper bag, so it easily fits inside, but it's still wide enough to carry my essentials. It also fits easily in the basket underneath our relatively small umbrella stroller.
The best part of this is that I never leave anything I need at home anymore. The worst part? By its nature a clutch doesn't have a handle or strap. But, what matters most to me is its size, so I went in knowing I'd be sacrificing a handle.
If you're looking for a way to make your diaper-bag life mesh with your baby-free life, I'd recommend the clutch route.