As a certified stylista, you must be used to hearing the words, ‘Fabulous bag!’ everywhere you go. Louise Brooks once said, “A well-dressed woman, even though her purse is painfully empty, can conquer the world.” On the contrary, we sure are conquering the world (Girl Power!) but our handbags are usually anything but empty. Despite our best intentions, handbags can easily become a dumping ground for unnecessary items such as old receipts, crumpled up tissue, three different shades of lipstick…you name it! Raise your hand if you have ever spent what seems like a lifetime, looking for your house keys. Raise two hands if you have had to dump out the contents of your bag to find your headphones (which always ends up tangled around your eyeliner). If you raised a hand (or two), this article was created just for you.
Less is More
First off, bag to basics: Let’s make a case for lightening your load. Lugging around heavy purses, as cute and luxe as they are, can take a toll on your body––contributing to muscle ache in the neck and shoulders. In addition, too many items rolling around in a bag can stretch out the material and bring about early wear and tear. Finally, an overstuffed handbag can actually cause anxiety from having to dig around to find your debit card in the checkout line. Things don’t have to be this way, I’ll show you how you can neatly arrange your chic handbag and cut out unnecessary clutter.
Here are 5 no-stress steps to get rid of handbag clutter…
1. Take it all out
As always, the first thing you need to do when organizing is to declutter. Take everything out of all the compartments in your handbag and lay them out on a flat surface. Turn the purse inside out (over a trash can) to empty out the pesky little odds and ends you find in the bottom. You can wipe down stains if you notice any but be sure to follow the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions.
2. Separate items by category
Everyone has their own style of organizing, so how you sort your items is entirely up to you. The easiest way is to group similar items together. Your different groupings can include makeup, feminine products, electronics, miscellaneous and trash piles.
3. Trash, then curate
The next step is to trash the trash pile (you’re probably never going to use those 4 month-old coupons, anyway). Now, go through the remaining piles and edit, taking out things that you do not need to carry with you everywhere. These, you can leave at home.
To stay organized, compartmentalize, compartmentalize, compartmentalize! Arrange the remaining items into your handbag’s pockets or in different pouches and containers (the cuter, the better). If you do not wish to splurge on a handbag organizer, you can go ahead and use what you already own to put your things in order.
Here’s how to organize items by type in your handbag…
Paper: Consider storing your non-essential paper goods and cards in a mini file holder. Take this a step further by organizing them alphabetically, by category (clothing, beauty or grocery) or by type (coupon, receipt, loyalty card, gift receipt). Doing this will ensure you find exactly what you need when you need it.
Added bonus: Your besties will think you are the most organized person they know. Make sure to go through the folder frequently to get rid of expired cards and receipts. Also, consider switching your loyalty cards to app form to avoid you having to carry them everywhere.
Business Cards: To keep your load light, store only the necessary business cards in a card holder and leave the rest at home. You can also do this for other non-essential cards you need to carry around – store them in a hard case (a mint tin works) so they remain undamaged. A good idea is to scan and upload business cards as soon as you receive them and get rid of the paper version.
Loose Change: Get that coin girl, but store them in your wallet or in a coin purse. If the coins are beginning to get heavy, take a few and leave the rest at home or in your car.
IDs and Debit Cards: For your essential and frequently used cards such as IDs, license and debit cards, consider organizing these in a wallet so you can find them easily every single time. You can choose a clear, easy-to view, sectioned wallet so anytime you need to pull out a card, you can see everything at a glance.
Quick tip: Make copies of your IDs and keep these at home in case your purse gets lost or stolen. P
Makeup: Store your makeup and hair accessories in separate pouches and only carry the essentials. Keeping all of your makeup in one place will keep the inside of your purse stain-free and of course, make things easier to find.
Cords: All tangled up? Put those headphones and chargers in a sturdy case or pouch. Wrap a hair tie or elastic band around the cords to keep them from getting in knots, and you are good to go.
Miscallaneous Items: You will likely have miscellaneous items that need to be in your purse (think hand lotion, little notebooks etc). Consider putting these items in a compartmentalized pouch with a zipper instead of letting them roll around in your handbag.
Quick tip: Make little switches that make your life easier such as decanting your lotions and fragrances into travel sized bottles.
Frequently Used Items: Last but not the least, frequently used items such as your sunglasses, keys, cellphone and hand sanitizer can occupy designated and easy to reach spots in the interior or exterior pockets of your purse so that you won’t have to wonder where the heck you put them ever again.
If you plan on making a quick trip to the store or just taking a walk, place your wallet, phones and keys in a small wrist pouch. This way, you won’t have to take your entire purse along and you can have your hands free to do other things.
5. Maintenance – keep up the good work!
Now that your bag contents are organized, you can keep it that way! To avoid the mess accumulating, put things in their designated pockets or pouches as soon as you are done with them and clear out all the junk at the end of the day when you get home. Routinely clear your purse as you prep for the week ahead to keep not only your things but also your mind in order. Finally, resist the temptation to pick up store samples (you can do it!). Those little packets end up at the bottom of your bag, creating a mess and ruining your hard work. Now that you are a pro purse organizer, go ahead and practice these tips every time you switch a bag. Go ahead… strut around with that purse that looks fabulous – both inside and out.