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Cleaning, Organizing, & Time Management

How to Organize the ONE THING You Use the Most

Let’s face it: we can have the entire rest of our world fully streamlined and running smoothly, but if we don’t know how to organize our purse, life will still seem out of control. Am I right?? We use our purses ALL THE TIME.  And it can seem as though every time we need something from them we are like Mary Poppins going into her magic bag — you never know what will come out.

Are you lugging around an overstuffed purse, unable to find what you need when you need it? Knowing how to organize your purse and the things in it can make a difference in your daily life. I've got several ideas that may be new to you -- and a video!Well, I got tired of the purse rat race awhile back. Today I will show you how to go from a big bag to a little wristlet — and never miss anything that you used to carry.

This post is part of a new collaborative series called How to Organize Your Life in 30 Days.  I’m honored to be joining other amazing bloggers to bring ideas and info for organizing all aspects of our lives!  Plus there will be a giveaway!! All of the details are at the end of this post, so read on until you get there! 🙂

When it came to my purse, my mindset used to be that I wanted to carry everything in there that I might possibly need.  You know what I mean.  I wanted a brush and makeup for quick touch-ups.  I might need wipes for my hands or tissues for a kid’s nose.  I had to carry my sunglasses for driving.  Then there were the meds for headaches, a pen and small notebook for jotting down ideas or a shopping list, an extra diaper or two…

And the result was I had to carry a LARGE bag that was more like a suitcase, hello.  It was heavy, and it was bulging; and I had to take a bunch of stuff out and pile it on the counter just to fit my wallet back into it after paying at the register — and then take time to cram all the other stuff back in.  While the next customer was waiting behind me and the kids were dragging at my coat to go to the car…

What is needed is a new organizing strategy, and it means we have to give up the idea that our purse should be the repository of all solutions to all possible problems that may arise while we are away from home.  The fact is that there is another place to store most of these items and still have them available if you need them.

KEEP THEM IN YOUR CAR.  It was a revelation to me when I realized that most of the things I kept in my purse would be just as handy if I found places for them in my car.  Cars these days are built with the on-the-go mom in mind — lotsa storage.  So let’s use it!

For example:  Sunglasses.  Really truly, do you need them IN YOUR PURSE?  Where do you put them on most frequently?  In the car!  You don’t usually need to wear them between leaving the house and getting into the car, and while you’re in the store you can shove them on your head.  Most vehicles have a special spot for them, so they won’t get scratched — like they do in your purse.  When you get home, take them off and store them before going inside.

Let’s talk about makeup.  I know for years I kept extra makeup in my purse so I could look my best at all times.  But guess what?  I NEVER used it.  I was always too busy and thinking of other things.  The only type of makeup I ever use while I am out is lip balm.  So I keep some in the car door pocket, within easy reach when I’m driving.  If you are in the habit of giving yourself a quick touchup, put a spare compact and mascara in a small makeup bag and find a place in your vehicle for it.

Diapers?  Keep an extra diaper bag in the car.  Kleenex?  Don’t we all stash paper napkins in our console?  Meds?  First, buy a sample bottle of your favorite, cuz those bottles are nice and small.  Then add in a few tablets of all the others you might need and put it in the glove compartment.

Gum?  Hand sanitizer?  Multiple pens and paper?  Feminine supplies?  OK, I’ll give you that last one.  🙂 But you truly rarely ever need the rest of those things when you are away from your car.  Or the need can wait until you get back to the car.  You can take notes on your phone now, you know? 🙂

The trick is to limit what you keep in your purse to only what you really need to have in the store.  And that is mostly just your form(s) of payment, your ID, and your phone.  And maybe some coupons, gift cards, or store reward cards.  THAT IS IT.  Find a place in your car or home (or both) for everything else.

If you use more than one car regularly, then get doubles of everything and put some in each car.  It’s all about convenience and efficiency.  It is NOT convenient or efficient to carry around a heavy bag that is so stuffed you can’t find anything when you need it, and you’re giving yourself back problems from having to lug it around.

My streamlined wristlet fits in the drawer of my home management center.  In. the. drawer, y’all.  Before, I had to find a spot on the counter or in a corner somewhere for the piece of luggage I called my purse.

When I leave the house it is easy to grab.  And in my car it fits into the door.  It doesn’t take up the valuable passenger seat or foot room anymore!

Occasionally I may want to carry a larger bag (although this is now rare).  It is easy enough to slip my wristlet into the larger purse and add whatever else I think I might need.  But when I get back home I unpack it all right away.

My purse contains: debit card and ID.  Cash envelopes for Food, Fuel, and Fun.  One more envelope for other forms of payment, reward cards, and current store coupons (not grocery coupons; I don’t do those, and if I did I’d have a separate organizer for them).  There is a zipper pocket for change, and an outside pocket for my phone.

I did carry a “medium-sized” purse for awhile.  But it quickly became just as difficult to use as the larger one.  When you eliminate all the extra, there is no need to carry anything bigger than a slim wristlet, clutch or cross-body.  And the freedom is amazing — but you won’t experience that until you give it a try. 🙂

To give you a visual example of how to organize your purse, I made a video about my own.  Take a look!

P.S.  You may be interested in the how-to for the cash envelopes you see in the video — you can read it here: How to Make and Use Cash Envelopes for Budgeting

And here’s the article about the home management center that I talk about on the video: Start Getting Organized with a Home Management Center

Now you know how to organize your purse, how to give up the large “suitcase” and live lighter.  Are you going to give it a try?

How to Organize your Life in 30 Days

PinterestI am so excited to be partnering together with some amazing bloggers to bring you a 30-day challenge that will change your life! There are some great posts in this series with lots of helpful information about organizing every area of life.

This is my third post in the series.  My first one, which incidentally kicked off the entire challenge, was Start Getting Organized with a Home Management Center.  The second was about Organizing Your Finances for Tax Season.

And you can head on over to the Hip Homeschooling blog to see the entire list of everyone’s posts.  Click HERE!

All you need to do to join the challenge is check out the main page (click here: Hip Homeschooling Blog 30-Day Organizing Challenge) and start working through the challenges. You can join in at any point; there are no rules! Share your before/after pictures on Instagram and use the hashtag ‪#‎30dayorganize‬ for a chance to win a $10 gift card to Hobby Lobby (3 winners)! The more you engage on social media, share the image at the left, etc., the more entries you’ll have!

This is a great series, so don’t miss a single day! 🙂



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  • Hey Annie,

    I love this post! I used to be the tomboy girl with a wallet and nothing else. Then I became an adult and carried a small purse for extras. Now I’m a mother and my purse is heavy. I’d love to go back to those light days!

  • Ha, ha, Crystal. I guess I am still a tomboy. I cannot stand carrying a purse. I don’t really wear makeup (see, tomboy) so that was never an issue. As Ann said, I use my car for many items (even the feminine ones – they just go in a small, zippered make-up bag that I keep in the door). I have a small wallet, about 3 x 4.5 inches. I carry license, credit card, atm card, insurance card, AAA card, and a small amount of cash. In the winter, I put the wallet in one breast pocket in my jacket and my phone in the other. My key ring carries most of the store cards for CVS, TruValue, Staples, etc. and my library card. Sometimes the key ring seems too big, so I grab the spare and just carry that. When spring and summer roll around, it is a little more of an issue because I don’t have my coat. The wallet and phone are flat enough to go in the front pockets of my shorts or pants. They keys are more of an issue.

    Anyway, I guess I never grew up, but I’m okay with that!

    Ann, I really like those envelopes you have in your purse. It looks like you made them with duct tape? Great idea.


    • I like your streamlined style, Sarah! Yikes, I should have put a link to how to make those cash envelopes in the article. I’ll do that now. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  • I always have a medium sized cross-body bag so I can have what I need and be hands free. A ton of stuff can definitely be stored in the car. But I don’t see myself downsizing anytime soon because I keep my purse in my desk drawer at work and there are a few things I like to have at work with me. I’m glad you mentioned where you keep your bag because I think it’s important to put it in the same spot EVERY time you get home. I can’t stand trying to leave the house and having to search for purse or keys! Drives me nuts!

    • Hi Christine! Do you share your desk at work? Cuz I’m thinking if not, it sure would be easy enough to just store those things you want at work… um, at work. 🙂 I agree with you about putting things in the same place — this has been a game-changer in our house!

  • These are some great tips. I carry my wallet, phone, keys, lip gloss, sunglasses, kleenex. Then, in what is actually pencil case, I carry some bandaids, ibuprofen, etc. That way when I switch purses I can easily throw everything in and out AND when I’m looking for things it’s easy to find them. Happy Easter and thanks for sharing at Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop!

  • I love this idea! I don’t like carrying a big purse either. Just a hassle. I have a Vera Bradley wristlet I am using and that works perfect for me. Fits my phone, ID, medical cards, and cash. That’s all I need.
    As far as makeup and some meds, I am going to take your advice and just keep a small cosmetic bag in the car and I have everything I need.
    Thank you for sharing!
    P.S. I love the Home Management Center too. I already made one for myself. 🙂

  • Hello,

    Can you share what the name/brand of your wallet is on this video?
    I have tried so many but I have issues (LOL)
    I am determined to go small, and have been for a few years but I struggle finding just the right one. I have several cards that I need to have, then I have dental picks & mints I have to carry due to dental issues/dry mouth, along with keys, phone.
    Just curious which one of these you are using. Thanks 🙂

    • Yikes, I am so sorry I did not answer you before now, Wanda! My wallet is a Tignanello. I found it at TJ Maxx, so I have no idea what “real” store you might need to look in. It was also somewhat pricey — $25 — but I knew it would do the job, unlike others that I have tried. Stay away from ones that snap; you can barely put anything in them before they get to full for the snaps to match up. My wallet has held up really well. 🙂

Hi! I’m glad you’re here!

I’m Ann (aka Annie), a veteran homeschool mom of five who HATES complicated!
more about me >>

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