Tired of searching through your purse for what you need? Here are five essential items you’ll need to master purse organization.

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Ladies, let’s admit it. Our purses are our lifelines. The purse is the holder of useful things (tissues, wallets), the holder of precious things (photos, the tooth waiting for the tooth fairy), and the holder of strange things (toy dinosaurs, half-eaten boxes of raisins). The purse also serves as the catchall for used tissues, empty gum wrappers, spare socks, expired coupons and crumpled receipts. No wonder we can’t find things and our purses weigh so much!

4 Tips For a Cleaner, More Organized Purse.

  • Dump everything out of your purse. Be sure to get all of those small pockets on the inside and outside too. Grab a damp cloth (or whatever the manufacturer suggests) and give the inside and outside of your purse a quick cleaning. If nothing else, shake out those crumbs lining the bottom.
  • Throw away the trash and set aside anything that does not belong in your purse, such as your daughter’s headband or the handful of paperclips you’ve been meaning to put away in your desk.
  • Group the remaining items into categories—such as medicine, hygiene products, makeup. Now evaluate whether you really need to carry all of this with you on a daily basis or if things have just accumulated. Keep the items you need and set aside the others.
  • When you put the items back into your purse, do so thoughtfully. Items you need frequently, like your wallet, should be easy to get to, while items you use only occasionally, like the antacids, can go in a pocket.

A decluttered and organized purse is a beauty to behold. You also should be sure you have some basics so it stays that way and that you stay organized and productive when you are out and about.

5 Items That are Vital to Purse Organization

  • A Purse Organizer

Unless your purse is a tiny clutch that only fits a tube of lipstick and a twenty-dollar bill, you need something to keep your bag from becoming a giant black hole. Most purses we carry are large and become jumbled messes very quickly as items jostle around. Using either a purse organizer—I prefer the Pouchee for smaller purses and the Purse Perfector for larger bags—or a series of small bags will give your items a home within your bag. Just like the cupboards in your house, when you assign a home to each item in your purse, you’ll know where to find your favorite lipstick and you’ll know where to return it to when you’re done.

  • A Good Pen

If you don’t have some kind of writing utensil in your purse, you will be scrambling to sign the check when the waitress forgets to leave a pen and you won’t be able to jot down the e-mail of the cute guy you met at the party. If pens seem to disappear out of your purse like they do from mine, hide a couple extras in a pocket.

  • A Small Notebook

I know, I know; today we can capture everything on our cell phones. We snap a picture of a business card or set a reminder to look up information on the upcoming school carnival. But sometimes you need to go old school and write on a piece of paper. (Tip #2 comes in handy here.) Maybe you need to write down some thoughts for your next blog post or perhaps you need to exchange contact information with your new neighbor. Having an actual piece of paper can be very handy.

  • An Envelope  

What do you do with your receipts, coupons and assorted other slips of paper in your purse? More than likely they’re just floating around in the black hole. Get an envelope to corral all of these slips of paper into one place until you can get home and go through them. You can use any kind of envelope, but I suggest a check-sized polyvinyl envelope. These envelopes are small enough to fit in most purses and sturdy enough to last for a very long time.

  • The Right-Sized Wallet  

When was the last time you cleaned out your wallet? Do you have a bunch of receipts in there you don’t need? What about credit cards you never use? Are you carrying around a checkbook even though you rarely use it? Now is the time to reevaluate your wallet. Could you get by with a smaller one? What about separating wallet and checkbook? This might also be a good time to empty that excessive (and heavy) extra change.

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It is inevitable that our purses will continue to collect gum wrappers and old receipts. If you can plan to clean out your bag on a regular basis and make sure you have the five essentials, you will love your super cute purse even more.

Want more purse organization tips? Check out Purse Organization: Find What You Need When You Need It.

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Purse organization skills essential for decluttering your handbag.

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About the Author

Andi Willis

Andi Willis is a Professional Organizer, Certified Personal Photo Organizer, author and video host. Passionate about helping people organize their homes and preserve their precious photos, Andi can be found at goodlifeorganizing.net.

  • I like purses with small pockets on the outside where I can tuck receipts without worrying about them getting destroyed or lost in the main section, but I can see that with a large bag (I like them small), a polyvinyl envelope would be a great solution!

    • I agree, Janet. I love it when smaller, over the shoulder purses have front pockets.

  • Autumn Leopold

    Great idea about the envelope Andi. I’m going to use a cute pouch because when I stuff receipts into my wallet it gets too fat. My problem is I usually end up hating the purse I picked out after a week or so. I’m trying to get better about it!

    • Thanks for commenting, Autumn! Variety is the spice of life. As long as your pouch fits in most of your purses, remaining organized will be easy.

  • Jill Robson

    I think limiting the size of your purse helps to eliminate a lot of stuff you don’t need but carry anyway, because the purse is too big

    • Great point, Jill! Only carry items that are essential, and get a purse that fits those appropriately.

  • Liana George

    I’m a big fan of having my own pen – call me a germ freak but I usually have several (nicely organized!) so I can sign receipts, take notes, etc. Thanks for including that as a necessity 🙂 Purses can become bottom-less pits, so great advice for keeping it clean and organized!

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