Tuesday, May 31, 2011

How To Have a Highly Functional Handbag

Today Pauline from the English Organizer shares her expert advice on how to organize your purse, and I'm listening! Follow her simple steps below and no longer will you find yourself frantically searching into the deeps of your bag to find that elusive item you're looking for:

When Professional Organizers give classes or workshops, like the one I did last week for Deborah’s Palm, one of our favorite ice-breaking activities is a handbag scavenger hunt. Participants work in pairs to discover how many weird and wonderful items from a list are lurking within their purses.


The point, of course, is to show how easily clutter can build up in all areas of our lives, with the handbag representing just one small part. Take a peek in your purse. Do you even know what’s in there, or is there room for improvement? Here are some tips to create a more functional handbag:

1. Turn everything out (yep, you knew that was coming, didn’t you?). Get rid of anything you haven’t used in the past week. Ditch the nasty half-eaten candy, out-of-date coupons and any multiples of the same item.  One of my recent workshop attendees had 6 pairs of glasses in her bag… you get my drift.


2. Don’t keep anything in your purse which you don’t honestly need while you’re on the move. Could heavier items live in the car or maybe in your desk at the office? Do you need to carry an umbrella at this time of year? How many make-up items will you realistically use during the day?

3. Are you carrying around certain keys, with no idea any more what they do? Remove those from your key ring and keep an orphaned key collection somewhere at home, until you feel brave enough to toss them. Handbags can get really heavy: you don’t want to be weighed down by excess metal.


4. What’s missing from your bag that you really do need? I’m always amazed how many people go through life without a pen and something to write on within easy reach. Ideally, you should carry your calendar (paper or electronic) in your bag. For me, must-haves also include chapstick, a snack and a mini bottle of water, but your personal essentials will be different.

5. Choose your purse carefully. Mine is just a tiny bit too small, and it really disciplines me to keep reviewing what’s taking up precious space. When buying a new bag, always check to see if your must-haves fit in.


6. To enable you to transfer things easily from one purse to another, check out products like Purse Perfector, which is essentially a simple inner-purse to hold everything. Or, do what I did a few years ago, and get yourself a Miche bag. I don’t get paid to recommend Miche, but I wish I did. Everyone who compliments the style of my bag gets wide-eyed when I show them the magnetic cover, which makes changing your purse a five second job. Now available in three sizes and design-your-own options, Miche could seriously reduce the space taken up by bags in your closet, and speed you out the door each morning.

How many handbags do you own? And what’s the strangest thing in there?


Thanks Pauline! I'm going to take a look at my key ring, I suspect there are a few keys there that are indeed a mystery as to what they open. And if you haven't already done so, take a moment to read Pauline's article written for the Summer issue of House of Fifty, Creating a Family Command Center, beginning on page 66.

And what is my favorite bag of the moment?

This little Coach Wristlet bag in navy patent leather...just big enough to hold essentials when heading out for an evening event!


Sally J said...

Huge challenge for me! I usually keep a second bag in the car with all the stuff I don't want to carry but might need! I call it my car purse! I think having an uncluttered purse is a bit like having uncluttered house...and I'm not there yet! Thanks for the tips!

The English Organizer said...

Thank you for posting this! It's a huge honor to collaborate with House of Fifty.