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Lightening the Load–Or Cleaning Out My Purse

on April 14, 2014

Sometimes I refer to myself as a bag lady…as in I leave the house with a handful of bags.  Always.  On school days, I leave with my purse, lunch bag, and work bag–and generally some sort of other bag full of things I am carting to and fro.  My daughter has her backpack and lunch bag and on occasion a bag of other stuff she needs to bring to school.  I swear, it feels like we are going on a long trip every time we leave the house!

And the most troublesome bag of all sometimes is my purse.  Since I became a mom, I have waffled back and forth between large bags and small bags.  I used to carry cute and whimsical purses that I could change on a whim because they only held a few items.  At one point in my life I only carried a man’s wallet in my back pocket.  But, with kids and age comes more stuff.  After trying multiple types and sizes of purses and a variety of ways to organize the things that go inside, I am still in search of a system that really works for me.  To that end, after frustration with things being lost in the depths of a bag I really, really wanted to love, I purchased a purse in a similar style, but with a shorter body and more structured bottom.  This step alone helped me stop wasting time fishing around for things.

But, I knew it wasn’t enough.  There was just too much in there!  Not only was it hard to keep clean and organized, but it was getting heavy.  I certainly don’t need added back pain because I have too much junk crammed into my purse.  So, one Sunday evening, I decided to treat my purse to some of my Top 7 step Organizing Tips

Here is a before picture of the purse contents…

1)  PURGE!  I went through everything and got rid of anything that was trash or didn’t actually belong in my purse.  It’s amazing how many things just get thrown into your purse because it is convenient.  My wallet got the most attention.  Man that little guy was stuffed to the gills!  Some of it was taken out and some moved to my ARC planner.

2) Think about where you will reach for things.  I looked at everything that I wanted to put back in the bag and really thought about where I go to look for said item.  Then I decided what would go into each compartment of the purse and gave everything a specific home.

Empty purse...  Where should everything go?

Empty purse… Where should everything go?

3) Use storage containers that make sense and fit your space.  I keep a small make-up bag of the extra stuff that can float around your purse and cause problems–lip balm, mini sewing kit, mini lint roller, dental floss, etc.  I added a few items to this bag that needed a better home.  I also ditched the little file folder I had been using to hold coupons (white with black details in the picture above).  It was just more added bulk that I didn’t need.  Instead, I added them to my ARC planner in one of the plastic sleeve thingies.  One thing that has made a huge difference for me over the years is adding a small metal clip to my keys which then fits nicely on the metal ring on my purse (I always buy purses with one of these for that reason).  If I always clip the keys to the ring, I will never lose them (which I do about 95% of the time and then kick myself when I don’t.)

5)  Make it visually appealing for you.  Pick a cute purse you will not get tired of quickly (But make sure it is also functional.  Sometimes those two things do not go hand in hand) and add items inside that make you smile.  The make up bag I use has a cute print, the wallet is a perky color, and I like the cover of my ARC planner (though I may pick out a new one someday just for fun).

7)  Realize you will probably make changes.  I know that this purse clean out will definitely help lessen the frustration when looking for items in my purse, but I also know in a few months I may reassess and make changes.  I am totally ok with that–because that is why I did the purse clean out in the first place.  What I was doing wasn’t working the way I needed it to and changes were necessary if I wanted to stop going GRRRR! every time I searched for something in my purse.

TaDa!  Here is my purse with all the contents back in place.  I have very happily been finding things over the last week, and I only think I’ve gone GRRR once or twice.


Everything now has a dedicated pocket in which to reside.


It’s amazing! It will actually close when it’s not stuffed to the gills!



One response to “Lightening the Load–Or Cleaning Out My Purse

  1. […] in front of my habit tracker.  I keep trying to figure out how to fit it my laminated tracker into my small ARC planner I keep in my purse, but the font would be TINY and I like the idea of the list being near my bed so I can look at it […]

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