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How to Organize a Messy Purse Tips

By Catalogs Editorial Staff

messy purseContributed by Info Guru Lindsay Shugerman

My husband always called my purse the black hole. And he was right. Oh, I tried to make excuses, or to pass it off as a joke. (“Mary Poppins had nothing on me!”) But the truth was, I hated it, too.

I could never find the my lip gloss. And my cell phone was always M.I.A when I needed it (don’t you hate it when you can hear it ring, but can’t find it?) So one day I decided enough was enough and I turned my pocketbook disaster into a tidy handbag. And it was easy!

Here are ten simple ways to organize a messy purse once and for all.

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10. The make-up you must have

POP Makeup compact at Beauty Bridge

How much make-up is in your purse right now? Go ahead. Dump it all out. If you’re like most women, you have more than ten cosmetics in there at any one time. And to make it worse, it wasn’t even together, which means you would have to search for each and every item. A couple of things might have even come open. (Is there anything worse than a lipstick covered in purse lint?!)

Instead of carrying all that makeup with you, pick five items. Just five. A lip color. Mascara. Something for foundation touch ups. A bottle of your current nail color. And an all purpose moisturizer.

9. Little bags for the big bag

tapestry cosmetic bag from Great Lookz

Once you have your makeup under control, look for a small cosmetic bag to keep it all together. No more one thing here, one thing there. An inexpensive zipper bag will keep it all easy to reach, easy to put away.

You’ll also need three more little bags. More about those in a minute.

8. Tame the paper dragon

Pink coupon holder

Our purses can become dumping grounds for paper. Don’t believe me? Look in your purse right now. How many different kinds of papers are in there? Just off the top of my head, I would guess there are receipts, coupons, wrappers, flyers, business cards, appointment reminders… Am I right? But all you need to tame this mess is a simple coupon holder, available at any variety or dollar store.

Instead of labeling the sections for produce, canned goods and dairy, label them for receipts, business cards, events, appointments and coupons. Then get in the habit of putting papers into the right section, right away. Every couple of days, take it out and home and file those papers where they need to go. No more piles of paper in your purse!

7. Ready to write

clear zipper pouches

How many times have you dug through your purse to find SOMETHING to write a number or name upon? And then you dig again, looking for a pen or pencil, right? No more. Pick up a tiny notebook, select a couple of retractable pens or pens with caps (who needs leaks?) and tuck them into a clear accessory bag like these. No more digging, no more ink stains!

6. The wallet you have or the wallet you need?

business card albums

Wallets are tricky things. Or at least, women’s wallets are. They tempt us with good looks and designer logos. But once we start to add our credit cards and money and ID and business cards, we find out it just doesn’t all fit. Or those overstuffed wallets don’t fit in our purses.

Instead of going for looks, you can organize a messy purse with one or two simple items to take the place of that pretty-but-useless wallet. First, find a small business card album that will fit in a purse. This will become the new home for all your store loyalty cards, insurance cards, frequently used business cards (like your doctor or insurance agent.) If you have room, you might want to add your credit cards, bank cards and IDs, too. A front pocket can work for cash.Use stick-on divider tabs to mark the different sections, and you have a slim, functional replacement for your wallet.

You can also use a separate small, slender wallet for just your ID, frequently used credit cards, some cash and one or two other items.

5. Find that phone

Dog and fence cell phone case

Instead of letting that phone slip to the bottom of your purse, protect it and make it easier to find with a colorful case or soft phone pouch. The lighter and brighter color will make it much easier to spot, and the pouch will save your screen from ugly scratches. Even better, pick a pocket or section of your purse that’s just for your phone.

4. Power up

charger kit

Keep all your mobile electronics charged and running by buying an extra set of chargers just for your purse. That way, you’ll never have to face that dreaded red line on the cell phone just when you need it most.

3. Take care of your hair


You know those extra little bags I mentioned earlier? Here’s where you’ll need another one. Stash a small brush, a couple of hair ties, a Bobby pin or two, a small folding mirror and maybe a tiny spray can of hair spray (if you use it) in a zipper pouch. No more stray hairs in the bottom of your bag… and no more hair emergencies after a windy car ride.

2. Emergencies? No problem!

blue print cosmetic bag

You can be ready for almost anything with a little emergency kit for your purse. Grab another one of those cosmetic bags, and put your most needed “oh no” items in it. Some common needs include:

  • Bandaid or two
  • Tampon
  • Hand wipes
  • Pain reliever tablets
  • Tiny sewing kit
  • Tweezers
  • Rubber band
  • Paper clip
  • Eyeglass repair kit (they come in tiny tubes!)
  • Extra keys
  • Tiny scissors
  • Contact lens case w/ saline
  • Spot remover packet
  • Mints

1. The right purse


Now that you know what needs to go into your organized purse, it’s time to find the right handbag. Look for one that will hold all of your needs without straining at the seams. Ideally, buy a purse with multiple compartments inside, and pockets outside for cell phone and keys. There are many beautiful purses that will work to carry what you need, without compromising your style.

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