How to Organize a Messy Purse

How to Organize a Messy Purse

I used to carry tiny little purses. Then I had kids.

Now I just can’t leave the security of a big purse behind.  It holds the necessities – like my money and my phone – but it also holds numerous niceties that make traveling with children easier.

---------- Continues after advertisement ----------

I’ve had more than one friend and family member hand me my purse and comment on its heft.  It really is packed to the gills.  And on more than one frustrating occasion, I’ve had to dump the whole thing out to find the one little thing I needed.

The embarrassment of clutter in my purse has been weighing on me. Literally.

There seems to be a fine line between having important, useful things in your purse and having so much stuff in your purse that none of it is useful.  (Shredded tissue, anyone?)

I can’t use that awesome special coupon if I can’t find it.  It doesn’t matter if I have a couple of hard candies in my purse to pacify a cranky kid if they’re melted to the fabric in the bottom of my purse.

Clutter is a great thief of resources.  You can easily lose a lot of time looking for things and trying to organize things.  It can also cost you money, when you’re compelled to buy new things because you can’t find the things you already own or they’re in an unusable condition because of the mess.

So, as part of my theme of “Less is More,” I cleaned out my messy purse.  I decluttered my handbag and gained some peace of mind.

How to Organize a Messy Purse

Organizing a Messy PurseDump out the entire purse.  Empty every single pocket and nook and cranny.  Once the purse is empty, you can take a some double stick-tape and get the little bits of lint out of it, or use a vaccuum with a crevice tool to suck out the debris.

Wipe down the outside of your purse.  Depending on the fabric, you may choose to use a damp cloth or leather conditioner.  Just give it a good cleaning.

Throw away any wrappers, tissues, or other garbage you shouldn’t have in your purse.

Go through all the papers.  File any important things (like receipts for major purchases).  Shred items with sensitive personal info that you don’t need anymore.  Then recycle whatever paper remains.

Dump the loose change into a change jar.  I had one of my 6-year-olds sort and count it first for practice.  Can you believe there was $8.66 worth of change in my purse just floating around in there?  (I did let the boy keep some of the change!)

Find a home for all of the little do-dads and trinkets you’ve accumulated in your purse that don’t need to be in your purse.

Sort the things that need to stay in your purse.  For example, I have my wallet, my phone, a pile of health/beauty products, and a couple of items for the kids.  I have a small cosmetic bag for all the health and beauty products. I put the phone in an inside pocket where I can find it easily.  Use the pockets inside your bag and any freebie cosmetic bags to help you organize your stuff into easy to find groups.

Declutter your wallet, too.

My wallet can easily get out of hand when it comes to clutter.  It always gets shoved full of receipts, spare change and store loyalty cards.  Dump out all the contents and repeat the sorting process with your wallet.  If space is at a premium, remove all the store loyalty cards and put them in their own card keeper with your coupons.  Keep spare change to a minimum.

I was a little embarrassed to share photos of my messy purse with all of you.  I mean, I was kind of a hoarder.  I had 8 pens, 2 mini tape measures, and handful of little finish nails from a Lowe’s kids’ project, a super ball, and many, unidentifiable objects in my purse.  I also had store loyalty cards from stores that closed in 2010. How loyal could I possibly be?

I’m also proud to say that I lightened the weight of my purse by a whopping 1.5 pounds!

A clean purse does wonders for your mood, and it’s good for your budget, too.  You make much smarter money decisions when you aren’t hastily digging through an embarrassing pile of junk.

About Christina Brown

Christina is a wife and mother dedicated to figuring out how to live a simpler, happier life on a budget.


  1. Marta says

    Nice. I got a new wallet for Christmas and didn’t want to make the changeover, but once I did, I ended up removing about 1/3 of what was originally in the old wallet. That crap really accumulates.

  2. Amy says

    I do a quick clean about every week or so…usually when I pay bills. I still use a checkbook. I’ve accumulated tons of loyalty cards and gift cards over the past few years – too many to keep in a wallet or even a purse. I keep items for stores I shop at on a regular basis in my wallet. Everything else goes in a heavy duty ziplock bag and then into a tote bag that contains a binder with schedules & restaurant coupons. I also keep my coupon organizer in the tote bag as well. Basically essentials are in my purse, but “extras” are in the tote bag that is usually kept in the car until I need them, like for an out of town shopping trip. I’ve also starting using a purse that has just a few extra pockets. It’s easier for me to find the items that I do keep in my purse.

  3. Mary says

    Another great idea is I found an app called stocard and u can put all your loyalty card numbers in there so its at your finger tips and no more card clutter!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *