Have you weighed your purse lately? Do you have any concept of just how many pounds you're carrying on your shoulder every day? The American Chiropractic Association suggests keeping the weight of your purse less than three pounds (1.4 kg) to prevent improper balance and help you maintain healthy posture [source: American Chiropractic Association]. If you have to dig through a dozen lipsticks, a mountain of loose change, two rings of keys, receipts and an overstuffed wallet to get to that debit card, it's quite likely your purse weighs more than three pounds. And it's even more certain that you need a bit of organizational magic applied to your handbag [source: Good Housekeeping].
In addition to having good posture, organizing your handbag can have other health benefits -- and not just because you'll be able to find your aspirin quicker. An organized life is a good way to keep your overall stress level down -- you'll feel more in control and spend less time and energy trying to find things [source: Tips for Panic Attacks]. Stress, in turn, can cause a number of health problems including headaches, neck and back pain and immune system problems [source: WebMD].
Just imagine all the time and energy you spend each day digging around in your purse in search of items. Now multiply that by 365. How many minutes, or even days, do you spend per year searching through your purse? Now compare that with the hour or so you'll spend organizing your purse.
Read on to learn how to organize your purse and the many organizational products available to help you.
Methods for Organizing Your Purse
Before you even think about organizing your purse, there's one step that's essential to all methods: getting rid of the stuff you don't need. This goes double for anything heavy like loose change or extra sets of keys. Try dumping everything out on a table and placing only those items you really need back in your purse.
Keep your wallet, a pen, keys, phone and any essential personal items. You may think it's important to have sunglasses, a camera, sewing kit or other items, but be selective. Credit cards you don't often use, receipts that should be filed and trash that should be in the wastebasket don't need to be in your purse. Another source of unnecessary clutter is makeup and cosmetic items like packs of tissue, tubes of lip balm and bottles of hand lotion. You probably need only one lip balm and one pack of tissues. In regard to makeup, just keep the essentials and stick to travel-size lotions and hand sanitizers [source: Good Housekeeping, Chica and Jo].
The next step is deciding how you'd like your purse to be arranged. Ideally, you want those things you need often to be easily accessible, while those you rarely use can reside in the harder-to-reach parts of your purse. If your purse has a variety of pockets, rings and fasteners, you'll find the reloading of your belongings to be quite easy.
However, if everything needs to go into one large area, this will be a little more difficult. In any case, try to group similar items together. All your makeup and personal items, such as hand sanitizer, aspirin and lip balm, can be combined in one pocket of your purse. If you don't have pockets, a small resealable plastic bag or an inexpensive cosmetic bag will do. Pens and pencils should stay together -- maybe near a small notebook or your checkbook.
There are a number of products on the market that are meant to make organizing your purse a little easier. Keep reading to learn more.
Purse Organizing Accessories
Of course, you could go out and buy a new purse -- one with pockets and clips galore, but what if you really love your purse, or if you frequently change purses to go with different outfits? In this case, you need some purse-organizing accessories.
When it comes to purse-organizing accessories, it doesn't take long to find a large number of products on the market. Clearly, there is enough demand for organized purses to support a diversity of products.
There are two main types of organizers. One is the full-insert organizer, which is either a fabric or plastic insert that fits into your existing purse. They come in several sizes and models, but they have similar advantages. For one thing, they can be easily transferred between purses, as long as your purses are basically the same size. You just lift the purse organizer out of one purse and drop it into the other. Some of these organizers go with specific handbags, while others are meant to be used with whatever bag you already have [sources: Purse Pleaser, Kangaroo Keeper, Pouchee].
There are also purse organizer bags, which are generally small bags that are a step up from using resealable bags to group your items together. Some are more discreet, relying on a symbol or picture to tell what's in the bag, while some are made of see-through fabric to help you find your items more easily [sources: Organize, Ice Red Bags].
Whatever method or accessories you choose, you'll feel better both physically and mentally if you get your purse organized. For more information on organizing your purse, see the links on the next page.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- American Chiropractic Association. "Today's Fashion Can Be Tomorrow's Pain." (Accessed 1/13/10) http://www.acatoday.org/content_css.cfm?CID=73
- Chica and Jo. "How to Organize Your Purse." (Accessed 1/13/10) http://www.chicaandjo.com/2009/03/26/organize-your-purse/
- Good Housekeeping. "Easy Organizing: Your Purse." (Accessed 1/13/10) http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/beauty/fashion/easy-organizing-purse
- Ice Red Bags. Mesh Organizer Bag -- Mesha. (Accessed 1/13/10) http://www.iceredbags.com/womens-bags/womens-mesh-organizer-bags/mesha.html
- Kangaroo Keeper. (Accessed 1/13/10) https://www.kangarookeeper.com/?MID=606491
- Kimball, Angela. "How to Organize Your Purse." Associated Content. (Accessed 1/13/10) http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/642599/how_to_organize_your_purse.html
- Organize.com. "Purse Essentials Organizer Bags." (Accessed 1/13/10) http://www.organize.com/purse-essentials-organizer-bags-set-4.html
- Pouchee. (Accessed 1/13/10) http://shop.pouchee.com/
- Purse Pleaser. "The Ultimate Purse Organizer." (Accessed 1/13/10) http://www.pursepleaser.com/organizer_handbag_purse.html
- Tips for Panic Attacks. "10 Best Ways to Relieve Stress." (Accessed 1/13/10) http://www.tipsforpanicattacks.net/waystorelievestress.html
- WebMD. "Stress Management -- Effects of Stress." (Accessed 1/13/10) http://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/stress-management-effects-of-stress