by Susan McCarthy
Everyday practice: Get in the habit of tidying your purse each time you come home for the day. When done regularly, it will just take a moment.
Decluttering your purse can be a quick task that you can think of as self-care. Consider the number of times you go into your purse over the course of your day, your week. Even when (especially when) you know something is in your purse, if you can’t easily find it, your stress level shoots up. Wouldn’t remaining calm help both yourself and those around you?
How to Clean out Your Handbag
Declutter Just-in-Case Items
Before you pop everything back in your handbag, question how many items you carry with you that you never use. Maybe you think you should carry a comb with you but usually you just run your fingers through your hair. You carry an umbrella with you, but you never remember to use it for the few steps between car and building. You probably carry a lot of practical things with you because you feel that it’s the right thing to do. If someone ever needs a safety pin, you’ll be a hero!
Funny story. I joined my husband for a doctor’s appointment and the doctor commented that he was going to step out of the exam room for a moment to get a measuring tape, so he could measure my husband’s neck. I immediately pulled a measuring tape from my purse and handed it to the doctor, who stared at me with a quizzical look. “I crochet,” I explained, “I need to measure things.”
Then, I was recounting this story to a coworker the next day and she pulled a tape measure out of her purse! “For furniture shopping.”
The point is, even if it’s an unusual item to carry around, if you use it, then it’s earned its place in your handbag. Otherwise, why lug around items you don’t use?
Take all those items that you are convinced that you need and pop them into a zippered pouch or even a plastic food storage bag that you can seal shut. When you use one of these items, remove it from the pouch and store it in your handbag. At the end of a month, look at the items you’ve yet to use and consider that you don’t need to carry them with you.
Do you need a larger bag or a smaller bag now that you see what you choose to carry with you?
Make Having a Tidy Handbag a Habit
If you regularly change your handbag so it coordinates with what you are wearing, instead of having duplicates of basic things in each purse, sort these items into zippered pouches that you can move from bag-to-bag.
Make a point of decluttering your purse regularly. Either empty it every evening or once a week. If you sort through it regularly, then it won’t take much time. Tie this new habit to something you already do. For example, after you put away the groceries, immediately declutter your purse.
Remember, something that is important to carry with you right now might not be important to have on hand in a few months. And, something you didn’t need, may become a necessity. The items in your handbag should serve you and make your day easier.
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Susan, chief (and only) organized squirrel at A Less Cluttered Life, loves learning and sharing information about organizing, productivity, and habits. She also likes reading young adult novels, crocheting, and spending time with her cat and husband in their riverside home in Massachusetts.