To herald the Christmas Period this past year, both my handbag and purse decided to fall to bits, developing large holes due to wear and tear. As well as looking trustworthy, these holes became particularly problematic when my purse fell onto the pavement through said hole and almost became a distant memory.
As sods law dictates the usual role of these items as Christmas presents was not forthcoming. But Lady Luck was not so bitterly disposed as Amazon vouchers were plentiful and so I recently splurged on both a brand new handbag and purse.
But I don’t want the same thing to happen again. I like things nice and a new handbag is a rare luxury for me. Therefore, I will not be permitting myself the liberty of committing these lovely new items to be ‘well loved’ and abused like a rubbish horde.
And this resolve got me thinking – do I really abuse my handbag? Isn’t a women’s tote supposed to be her secret resource? Surely a bag has to work for you, not the other way around?
So join me on my step but step guide to the perfectly organised handbag.
Now for most of us, the handbag is the dumping ground for crumpled up receipts, discarded sticks of gum and lackluster loads of old coppers. Yet, despite this reality, most of us dream to be classy and organised, for the day we can magically pull ourselves together and Mary Poppin’s our bag to fulfill all our needs and wants.
But it never happens.
Well, I’m here to prove that with just a spare half an hour to an hour, you can have that perfectly organised bag to equal your every purpose.
1) Discover your inner bag lady
First things first. Before you begin it is important to determine what you need your bag to do for you.
Now, this may sound simple, even silly, but when you really think about it, there’s a lot more involved in your day to day than you might think.
So for arguments sake, if you’re a mum, then you probably want to rock the nappy bag combo, toting baby-wipes and apple snack packs alongside your chopstick and car keys. For the keen business type, then the FiloFax, iPhone and Extra Strong Mints are centralised around a compact chic clutch that screams stylish professionalism, with its many pockets and zippers for USB’s and spare ballpoints.
The point here is to find your personality and purpose. Then cram it into a bag so you can forever carry it around with you.
For me, I am not yet a parent nor a high driven career type. I am however a creative type. I am an organised sort of person and live for my writing, so my bag reflects that. I like having pen and paper close to hand, I use a dictator and have a planner to keep things in order. And just like every woman, my bag is the main living quarters for my keys, phone and purse.
2) Out with the old – in with the new
Now gather your supplies. And yes I mean everything, from sunglasses to the first aid plasters you hope to never need, collect everything into one place. Believe me, it saves time running around the house looking for things later.
Next empty your current bag and purse of all its contents, whether you have replacement pieces or not. Mine are riddled with holes so there will not be a trip to the charity shop but straight to the bin. If for you, however, this is just a possibility then you might like to donate your pre-loved items as it could make someone else’s day.
Clear through the clutter. Work through every old receipt, pick up every note and card and put to one side to designate a place for it. Found a spare twenty you’d forgotten about, if you haven’t spent it by now why not consider saving it. Old credit cards deserve the chop whilst new loyalty cards need to be registered. Clear away everything you don’t need in your bag and put it elsewhere or trash it. You can’t make space if it’s taken up by clutter.
Now the fun bit. Start designating space. Here’s how I did mine:
I have gone for a pad made out of a sturdy hard wearing material but that also looks stylish. This particular bag comes with twin pockets inside, a small divider which duals as a zip pouch and has another zippable pouch on the outside and a clip pocket on the front. The main reason I love this bag is because it has handles, arm straps and a detachable shoulder strap. I love the multi functions of it.
Because I like to write I like to carry a notebook and pens around with me. I have a lovely matching set of zebra pattern pencil case and notepad that goes with absolutely none of my other writing supplies so I know them at a glance.
In my pencil case, I have a sweet mini stapler, spare staples, highlighter and sticky notes. I also have three different colour pens, black for general writing, red for spelling errors and editing, and green for grammar and paragraph re-writes.
I also have a sweet little dictator phone with its own little case that will live next to my phone.
As a working woman, I like to look my best or as close to as I can for my customers. So naturally carry around a comb and some lip balm is understandable. Because I don’t like to root around looking for small, loose items, I have a little leather purse for all my cosmetic bits and pieces. In here I keep my hand sanitizer (in a cute owl anti-shock case), antiseptic wipes and some plasters, an emery board (and an owl), a couple of spare hair bands and a scrunchy, a comb, lip balm, body fragrance, compact mirror, a glasses repair kit (because there is nothing worse then losing a screw when your at work!)
I also have a glasses cleaning cloth, my forehead balm and my inhaler, which will be stored in compartments in my actual bag.
Now if like me you suffer from any kind of ailments that mean you must carry lotions and potions then this might be a neat little trick for you. I suffer from really bad migraines and asthma. Now with my asthma I want my inhaler to be easily found incase I ever need it in an emergency or someone else has to get it for me. But with the majority of my pills, I don’t need them as urgently.
However, I suffer migraines pretty much every day and so need to carry a variety of varying strength medication to combat it sensibly. But boxes of pills take up a load of room in a handbag. I’ve also found that often the boxes get squashed and you end up having to dig for the fallen pill packet in the depths of your bag.
Now I wouldn’t advise this if its new medication or ones that carry a severe health risk/cure, but with over counter drugs such as ibuprofen and paracetamol. I take the packets out of the box and I put mine into a little coin purse (yes another owl) so they are discreet and people at the bank don’t look at me like I’m some deranged druggie.
Odds and Sods
In my handbag, I also have space for my daily planner, my bible of To-do lists which keep me sane and up to date.
Of course I also keep my purse in my bag, which has had its own little makeover, with important ‘need now’ cards, cash and ID stored neatly and only taking up a single card slot per card. Whilst this purse has a coin pocket, I also keep a small coin purse as change can be quite heavy and bulky, and coincidentally was what killed my last purse. It just makes sense in my mind to keep spare change in its own place.
My loyalty cards and the ones I very rarely use have their own card holder case. As I don’t often need them I would rather they don’t take up slots in my purse but I still want them within reach.
I keep a small pocket torch just because you never know.
My car keys and work keys have their own little pocket on the front of my bag so I can get them in a hurry.
And of course, my phone, stylus and dictator phone share their own side by side pockets inside my handbag.
Together everything fits in neatly and can be easily found.
Tip – Receipts should not be put loosely into a bag as they will then get lost. Instead, designate a pocket or pouch of your purse to put daily receipts in, they can then be filed or deposed of simply at the end of the day.
So there you have it, how to easily organise your bag. Now I invite you all to do the same and share your ‘bags purpose’ in the comments below. Take Care!