Monday, February 14, 2011

Organizing Pick Me Up - Purge the Purse

Over the last few days I've lost my enthusiasm for this organization project. I've tackled my calendarpaperwork, and am working on my filing system (more on this soon) but I have yet to get going on the clutter. I just dread opening those closet and cabinet doors and dealing with all the icky junk that lurks there.

But I have vowed to free myself of all unnecessary, irrelevant items this month, and damn it I will! So I started with a very small container of junk - my handbag.

A purse is a very personal expression and every woman has different requirements of the bag she carries. Some women change their bag as often as they change shoes, but I am not a switcher. I carry the same bag day in and day out for an entire season. I like my purse to have the following characteristics:
Even a small mess can cause big stress.

1. Big enough straps so I can swing it over my shoulder with one arm.
2. A neutral, go-with-everything color.
3. Main compartment opens with a single zipper, buckle or snap - no multiple fasteners.
4. Opens wide so I can see all the contents without rummaging around.

I am very happy with my current purse - a black Hobo brand shoulder bag that I bought at Nordstom Rack for about $140. I think my style is discontinued, but it's similar to the Hobo Paulina line which is part of their current collection. Excellent handles!

I'm getting off track here - back to organization. You can see from the above picture that even my compact purse contained way too much junk. I had old receipts, about nine bucks in loose change, expired coupons, tattered business cards, candy wrappers, two bottles of nail polish, three pens, four lipsticks, and an unopened bottle of eyedrops - all of which were either unnecessary or duplicates. It was a mess in there!

After a mere 11 industrious minutes I had pared my purse down to the following contents -

  • Wallet with ID, credit cards, debit card, health insurance card, business cards, and grocery store member cards.
  • $60 in cash + 8 quarters for parking meters.
  • One lipstick (okay, two)
  • Reading glasses, mini flashlight (I can't see!)
  • iPhone + headphones
  • Notepad and pen
  • Keys

I assigned each object a specific (and hopefully permanent) place. Then I did a little online research and found this helpful article on Squawkfox which told me I was missing a few critical items. So I added -

  • My son's allergy medication (He's allergic to walnuts, my benadryl had expired.)
  • Emergency contact information - my husband's work and cell phone number
  • Roadside assistance card - in case I get locked out of car!
Other items I think are practical to carry are address labels (so you don't have to hand write personal information on forms) and a travelers cheque for emergency cash. Also, if your purse is large enough, carrying a light scarf is handy - it's a versatile extra layer that allows you to adapt to changing temps, disguise a stain, or switch up your look. 

With my newly organized purse, I feel lighter and more efficient already - and ready to tackle the bigger projects. I CAN get organized, I know I can!

What other things do you think are essential to carry in your bag? Please share. 

1 comment:

Kimberly said...

Thanks for sharing. I keep so much stuff in my purse I often wonder what others keep. Thanks for being honest. The 3 must for me are lotion, gloss and a mini first aid kit. I have a toddler.