Digging around for a pen, desperate for some lip gloss or in need of a tissue? Having a hard time finding what you need in that abyss on your shoulder commonly known as a purse? Being organized doesn’t stop at the filing cabinet or the closet. In fact, if you have several daunting tasks ahead of you in an effort to be more organized in your life, tackling your disheveled purse may be a good way to ease yourself into the process.
Narrow Down the Contents
Start by dumping out everything you currently have in your purse—it’s time to sort what stays and what should probably reside in the bathroom junk drawer (That’s a whole other article!). After all, you only need one pack of gum, not three, and carrying around earmuffs in June is likely unnecessary.
Misuse of space isn’t the only problem associated with a disorganized purse. “If you want to solve the mystery of your aching back and sore shoulders, you might want to upend your bag and take inventory of all those small items, whose cumulative weight adds up,” says the Martha Stewart website. The American Chiropractic Association recommends that your purse and its contents not be more than 10 percent of your body weight, and that you alternate which shoulder you carry it on throughout the day.
Downsize Regularly Used Items
You’ll find there are several things you carry in your purse that you can adjust to lighten the load. For example, instead of lugging around those two books you’re currently reading, download an e-reader app to your phone or tablet and read the book from there.
Speaking of electronics, there really is no need to carry a luggage-sized purse just to keep your laptop with you (and talk about exceeding that recommended purse weight). “A phone and a tablet can serve most of the same purposes as a laptop without weighing you down,” says the Martha Stewart website.
Good Housekeeping recommends that you only carry a few essential cosmetics for touch-ups, rather than your entire makeup supply. “On-the-go beauty supplies will be much handier to grab if they fit into a single pouch or baggie,” the website says. “Opt for travel-size products, or decant your favorite lotion or hairspray into travel containers.”
Many purses contain a slew of miscellaneous small items ladies like to have on hand, but they often get lost at the bottom. To avoid the incessant digging, there are a few ways to group and organize those items.
Consider using a handbag or purse that has several pockets and pouches built into it already. Many purses come with a cell phone pocket—utilize it so your phone is always in the same place. Put essential small items, like lip balm and nail clippers, in closable pockets on the outside of the purse. Built-in pouches or dividers inside your purse can help you designate the same spot for specific items every time.
Professional designer Arianna Belle utilizes small zipper pouches within her larger hand bag and groups like items together for easy access. “For the essentials like money, driver’s license, keys, tinted lip balm and my cell phone, I use a wristlet that easily fits in my bag and I can pull [it] out when I’m making a quick trip and don’t really need much else,” she says.
Belle keeps her debit card, credit card and license in a wallet that fits in the wristlet and makes sure to leave enough room for her keys to fit as well. Her coupons are in a separate, small expanding file case, which also contains her shopping list and pen. Another pouch houses her personal care items like lotion, hair ties and tweezers, while yet another carries those miscellaneous items like a notebook and measuring tape.
If you’d rather not have to sort through pouches either, or remember which items are in each one, there are several purse organizers available on the market that can help eliminate the rummaging problem:
If you like to use several different purses, a purse organizer will give you a quick way to switch from one purse to another. If your purse collection and other fashion items are taking over your house, you may want to consider renting a storage unit to free up space.