As they distributed quart-size Ziplock bags, I contemplated just what I would put in mine. It was a telling exercise and part of my training as a Certified Relocation and Transition Specialist. I emptied my purse and began to make choices about what I would "keep" (in the bag), and what I would "let go of."
On a very small scale, it helped me identify with my clients who are downsizing from 2,000+ square foot homes to small apartments or assisted living spaces. Fortunately, my choices didn't have to be permanent, until recently. Succumbing to the pain of carrying too heavy a purse, I chose to scale down.
If you're a client with whom I've organized, you probably know I'm not too familiar with designer names when it comes to handbags.
Me, "That's a cute purse."
Client, "Yeah, I don't know why I never use it."
Me, "Shall I move it to the donate pile?"
Client, "Um, no. It's a Hermes."
Regardless of the looks, price, or name, a handbag is a much better accessory when it's functioning well and not causing back and shoulder pain. If your purse is a black hole, or simply needs some fine tuning, check out the Timely Tips to get it, and keep it, in perfect working order.
TIMELY TIPS - Purse Perfection
1. Sort - Empty the contents of your purse. Make three piles:
- Trash (old tissues, loose breath mints, obsolete business cards, etc)
- Re-locate (kids' report cards, paint brush, or other random things that might have landed in your purse)
- Keep (things you frequently need and use while out with your purse)
- Distribute the trash/re-locate piles to their final destinations and then re-visit the keep pile. Are there things in the keep pile that could be stored in the glove compartment or in a trunk container rather than your purse-- still handy, but lightening your load? Once you have your keep items down to the essentials, you're ready for the next step.
2. Containerize - If it's worth having, it's worth being able to find, right? Especially if it's your keys or phone!
- Assign a home to everything you store in your purse. I always look for a purse that has at least two outer pockets-- one for my keys and one for my phone. A third is handy for sunglasses. Easy access is key for things you use the most. I also recommend sections and pockets inside the purse so there's an assigned place for your wallet, lipstick, business cards, pens, etc.
- If the inside of the purse is just one open space (a.k.a. black hole) consider purchasing an interior purse organizer.
- These also make it super simple to change purses, because you have one, instead of fifteen things, to switch to the other purse. Here are some links to some choice products: The Container StoreEtsy.com, Purseket.com, Pouchee.com, PursePerfector.com.
3. Paper Clutter - Create a home for the paper in your purse.
- Yes, even the trash - use one of the small, plastic cosmetic bags you received free when purchasing make up. (Don't try to deny having a collection of these.) Or, you can use a sandwich-size Ziplock bag and toss it when full. Keep it unzipped for easy access. Whenever possible avoid putting trash in your purse and place your trash in a nearby trashcan. But, when necessary this will be a temporary holding place for your used tissues, receipts you don't need, etc.
- Use a small, wallet-size accordion file to store coupons, receipts to save, business cards, etc. Check Target's dollar section for a deal on these.
4. Reduce some more
- Replace your full-size brush with a pop-up hair brush/mirror combination (ContainerStore.com).
- If you need to carry water, use a junior size bottle and refill as necessary.
- Replace your membership/rewards cards with the Key Ring App on your smart phone.
5. Maintain your newly organized purse
- Link your purse maintenance plan with another regular routine, like bill paying. Re-locate random items that have landed in your handbag, empty the trash, and do a quick purge of your paper file.
- Use the time while waiting at, or driving through, the car wash to purge your coupons, receipts, etc.
I got my purse down to 3.5 pounds! Your shoulders and back will thank you, and you'll find yourself less stressed when using your purse!
What does your purse say about you?
I can't vouch for its accuracy, except that the assessment was spot on for me!
"Let your heart feel for the afflictions and distress of everyone, and let your hand give in proportion to your purse." -George Washington (before you downsize)