Is your handbag full of too much 'stuff'?
Can you never find what you're looking for in there?
Do you sometimes find yourself in a situation when you don't have what you need on hand? Your child's nose is running but you don't have any tissues. You're at a parking metre but have no change. You're running late but can't find your keys in your purse. You have to fill out a form or card on the spot but don't have a pen. Can you relate?
Our handbags are something we carry around with us everyday, like our own personal little dumping ground that no-one else has access to. Which means they often get filled with all sorts of junk!
In my opinion, there are a few essentials that every Mum should have in her handbag - especially if you've got young kids. And by that, I don't mean lugging around 100 different items for any possible 'emergency' situation. I'm talking about getting back to the basics and getting your bag organised so it only holds the things you use and need.
The priorities for a well-organised handbag should be that you know where everything is, you've got the essentials on hand, and it should be easy to quickly find and grab what you need. So, if your handbag is full of 'stuff', here are some tips for getting it cleared out and organised to make life that little bit easier when you're out and about .
1 | CUT DOWN ON HANDBAG CLUTTER
First up, it's always a good idea to do a good declutter before you set up any new organised system, and it's no different with your handbag!
Start by completely emptying out the contents of your bag and assessing what you actually need and use on a regular basis.
Be honest and realistic about what you actually keep in your handbag - is that potential 'emergency situation' really an emergency?!
Possible overpacking or clutter categories might include:
- A huge supply of kids snacks
- Medicine for any situation
- Loyalty cards for different stores - many stores [but not all] keep your name on their system anyway so you may not need to carry every card around with you
- Coupons - if it's too hard to sift through them all to find the one you need, it's not worth carrying them all around
2 | ONLY PACK THE ESSENTIALS
There are a number of items you probably find yourself constantly reaching for when you're out and about, some more often than others. It's beneficial to have these things easily accessible inside your handbag so you can feel more prepared for different situations (i.e. runny noses, sticky fingers, broken straps, forms to be filled!). Want to know my handbag essentials? Get your free checklist by clicking on the button below, and keep the list right in your bag so you can always make sure you have what you need.
You may have a few other essentials that you want to add to the list, but before you go loading up the bag, make sure you consider whether they're an essential item for you to be constantly carrying around.
3 | ORGANISE INTO CATEGORIES
I like to organise my handbag using colourful pouches. They contain all those smaller items so they're not floating around the bottom of the bag. Plus they make life that little bit easier as I know what belongs where, and exactly where to find the item I need. No more stressful rummaging through every pocket!
Consider ways you could organise the contents of your bags into easy-to-find categories. Whether you use pouches, zip-lock bags, or even small pencil-cases, they'll be so much easier to find different items.
4 | DO REGULAR CLEAR-OUTS
A regular handbag clear-out is the best way to keep the clutter from building - just like a child's school bag needs to be unpacked and refilled each day, so does a handbag!
Literally, it should only take a minute or two to clear out anything that doesn't belong and restock any items that are running low (i.e. tissues, band-aids, wipes). You can use my free checklist to either keep directly in your handbag, or in a safe place near where you do the bag clear-outs, so you know exactly what should be in there.
The key to a good handbag organise is having a place to put all the different items that you're clearing out, such as receipts, mail, notes etc.
As I've talked about before, I like to organise this daily paper clutter into a divided box within my command centre, and I designate one day of the week (Friday) to deal with any paper-related tasks. You can read more about that paper sorting process here, and see my command centre set up here.
5 | CONSIDER THE BAG SWAP
You may also want to consider using different bags for different occasions to prevent your regular handbag always getting cluttered and needing so many clean outs.
For example, when we go on 'an adventure' (as my 5 year old likes to call it) i.e. a day-trip to the zoo, museum, aquarium, city etc, we take a backpack so we can easily carry water bottles, a packed lunch, snacks etc without me having to store everything in my handbag. This one actually took us a long time to figure out - really wish we'd thought of it sooner!
When you go out with friends in the evenings, you could take a smaller bag rather than your handbag as you will probably only need a few essentials - keys, cards, cash, lip balm/lipstick and phone.
You may also want a separate work bag that doesn't need to have all those extra items. The great thing about using pouches for organising is that you can just remove the ones you don't need for the day so you're not lugging around all that extra stuff.
And if you've got a baby or toddler and are still in the nappy/diaper bag stage, you may want to consider carrying it all around in a separate bag. I always tried to have everything stuffed into the one bag, and it made it so hard to find my daily essentials!