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What’s in your wallet?

An overstuffed wallet is a common organizing challenge these days. We still need to carry some cash, we have to have plenty of identification and payment plastic, and it seems as if every store wants to hand us a rewards card. Add membership cards and a few photos and you’ve got a fruitcake-sized package weighing down your purse or back pocket.

Not only is it a drag to have to sift through all that to find your identification at airport security or your credit card at the check-out line, it’s bad for your body to lug around so much weight — all those slim little bits of plastic add up. If you carry a heavy purse, you’ll throw your back out of alignment. If you sit day in and day out with one buttock lifted on a hillock of wallet, you’re in for even more skeletal trouble. An observant chiropractor recently told a male client of mine, “Thin out that wallet of yours and your back pain will disappear.”

Since the holidays tend to lighten a wallet considerably anyway, why not also give it a thorough decluttering. Here are some suggestions.

One of my new favorite gadgets is the Real Simple Card Wheel, a low-tech item that corrals all those extra cards that you might like to have with you but that stuff your wallet to the point of bursting. Likely candidates for the card wheel are extra credit cards, rewards cards and membership cards that you use infrequently. You can find the card wheel at Target and other stores or at realsimple.com.

We so rarely need coins anymore that if your wallet has a coin compartment, you might want to empty that and just keep a roll of quarters in the car for the occasional parking meter feeding. You can bank your coins at home or turn them in regularly at the grocery store. If I’m handed coin change, I immediately feed the nearest tip or donation jar and “pay it forward.”

Now that many of us have smartphones to store photographs, carrying a wad of family pictures in yellowed plastic sleeves is a phenomenon of a bygone era for some. The good news: Digital photos are weightless. The bad news: You’ve got to keep the phone charged.

Once you’ve streamlined your wallet, take a look at what’s left. Is the wallet the right size and style for what you’ve decided is a “must carry”? For men, the combination money clip with a pocket for a few credit cards is slim and efficient. Carry it in a front pocket and you eliminate the uneven buns problem that can lead to a sore back of those who sit at a desk all day.

For women, the Lodis wallet is elegant and light (lodis.com). Less expensive versions that are very similar are widely available. For the complete minimalist, Tory Burch has the “Robinson” card holder that can accommodate a few cards and folded bills. It also has a compartment with a clear window for a photo ID that is handy.

Wallets make excellent Christmas gifts and a wallet that’s heavy on style, light on clutter is a nice way to begin a prosperous new year.