A while ago now I put together a post to help busy women save time and money by having an organised handbag. I wanted to revisit this post today for my new readers, and also as a reminder for those of you who have lets this habit slide.
I pride myself on my organised handbag, I’ve found the perfect size, shape, and colour for everyday use, as well as some handy tricks for shifting from one bag to another for weekends and special occasions.
It is easy to carry more than necessary when you think of the items that already live in your handbag; keys, phone, wallet, lists, hair ties, lip balm, lotion, tissues, pens, sunglasses… the list goes on!
If your bag has become a dumping ground and you are having trouble finding items when you need them, here are a few quick organising ideas for you.
Start from scratch. Use a nice clear space on a table or your bed and remove everything from your bag. There will probably be some junk in there that can go straight into the bin (pens that don’t work, old receipts, you know that stuff). Now you need to condense, if you have doubled up on any items choose which will be going back into your bag (no you don’t need 2 lip glosses).
Organise items into smaller bags. The trick I use to making sure I don’t get carried away with being organised (packing 5 pens when 2 will do, forgetting I have lip balm and packing more) is to use smaller zip up bags within my main bag. I have 3 of these that sit happily in my work bag. Not only do these smaller bags help prevent doubling up of items, it’s a lot easier to find what I am after in my handbag – no rummaging around all the junk to find a tissue!
My smaller bags are broken down into 3. My owl bag holds my business cards, USB sticks, and my fitbit charger and toggle. My striped bag which is slightly bigger holds my headphones and ipod, along with some hair ties and clips. My ‘Pink’ bag holds my tissues, band aids, medical bits, makeup, and that sort of thing. In winter I carry an umbrella in case it’s raining when I go for a walk at lunch. Phone, wallet, and water bottle finish it off! All of these items I use every day, some of the extras in my ‘Pink’ bag I’ll use once a week or less, but they are emergency items you don’t want to be caught without.
Knowing exactly what you use on a daily basis will help you decide on the kind of bag you should use. I have a busy schedule and often need to have items for a number of tasks with me on any given day of the week. For this reason I have a decent sized handbag that I use during the week, as well as a larger bag for documents and folders.
Cut things into smaller amounts where possible. You don’t need a huge drink bottle for your water, or a full size umbrella. You don’t need 20 band aids, or an entire box of pain killers. If you can minimise what you keep in your bag it will be lighter and more organised.
This bag took me a while to find and it was worth every penny. It needed to have long enough handles that it would sit on my shoulder, deep enough that nothing would fall out, a wide opening so that I can easily see everything and put things back where they came from, and finally big enough to carry what I need without looking like luggage!
My documents bag (mine is actually black) found here
There were two similar bags in the store when I was looking for this, I chose this one in the end as its handles were bigger and softer. I knew I would be filling this one up with heavy items so a strap that wasn’t going to kill my shoulder was a must.
My next tip is to put things back where they came from! If you have a front pocket that your notepad, pen, and keys stay in, make sure you put them back in that spot, easy right!
When it comes to your car/house keys – be minimalist! Did you know you can actually damage your car’s ignition if your keys are too heavy? This can turn into an expensive exercise so remember to only keep what you need on your keys. I just keep my house key, car key, and work key on there. I also use a light weight strap so that I can always find my keys in my bag.
Lastly I recommend having a basket or plastic tub at home where you keep refills for all of the items you usually keep in your handbag. Things like pens that work, tissue packets, hair ties, anything that you keep in your bag that would run out and need replacing really. This way as soon as you get home you can replace anything you need to and you’ll never be left thinking “I forgot to replace..”.