Makeover Monday: Handbag Re-do

(Written Sunday, October 26)

My left shoulder was killing me last week, and I blamed Trainer Wayne. I told him those weights were too heavy! As usual, I got no sympathy, but that’s a complaint for another day.

As it turns out, today I discovered that the problem wasn’t necessarily from training. It’s possible the culprit was an overloaded handbag. Silly me. I knew the bag was a teensy bit crowded, given that it was taking me five minutes to find anything in it, but I had no idea just how heavy it was until I lifted my purse and my shoulder screamed.

You know the drill. What I must suffer through, you will eventually experience via the Monday Makeover. Today, I’m cleaning out my purse, in hopes of lightening it up a bit, and also of getting it into an orderly state. As you know, I’m a student of the theory that general disorganization contributes to disordered eating for some of us (that would be me.) Gaining control of this one small area that might just reap big benefits.

Besides, my shoulder really hurts.

Handbag Makeover
(People of the male persuasion might want to play along by cleaning out their wallets or gym bags.)

– First, find a large, clear space in which you can empty the entire contents of your purse, every nook and cranny.
– Discard any little bits and pieces of paper you don’t need. – Now, group like things together. All your pens and pencils in one group, makeup items all together in a separate group, medical-type stuff in another pile. And so on.

Easy, schmeasy so far, right?

An organized person would now place all the like items into separate small cosmetic bags, zippered pouches, or even Ziploc bags, but I’m thinking that the next step should be to decide how many of these items we really need to carry around with us.

For example, as a semi-creative person, I like to have pens in lots of different colors, but I honestly don’t think it’s necessary to carry 6-8 pens with me everywhere I go. These days, I travel with my computer bag in the trunk, so I’m going to move most of my pens to the computer bag. I’m also going to take a few minutes to jettison the full-size bottle of Advil in favor of a travel-sized container. And I suppose I can move my book and magazines to a tote bag.

I don’t carry a hairbrush, comb, hairspray, makeup, or things like that with me. I have a kit with extras in the office and a surplus hairbrush in my glove box. If I find myself needing to carry those things around, I’ll use a tote bag or maybe my foldaway backpack, which looks something like this.

The messiest aspect of my purse has to be the receipts and coupons I regularly shove into it. A friend gave me a good tip just a few weeks ago. She carries a simple envelope with the month and year written on the front. She puts all receipts in the envelope and changes it out for a new one at the end of the month. The old envelope is sorted through and any necessary receipts are filed away. (She’s orderly that way.) I’m starting the envelope thing today.

Another tip I read about eons ago (I’m sorry, I don’t remember where) is to leave the checkbook at home and to carry a single check with a posty note in your wallet. When you use the check, write the amount and other info on the posty note and keep in your wallet until you get home. I’m starting this one today, too.

So, here’s what I’m left with:
my wallet
a small makeup bag with lip gloss, hair clippies, and travel-sized perfume, aspirin, nail clipper, a few Q-tips, a couple of Band-aids, and contact solution
2 pens and a small notepad
cell phone (goes in an outside pocket of the purse)
work ID
network pc card, flash drive, iPod shuffle (all of this will be getting it’s own little bag as soon as I can get to Target again—for now, it’s in a side pocket of my purse.)
an envelope for receipts and coupons

I’m adding a carbiner clip Morgan included in my birthday box for clipping my keys to my bag. I am waaay past digging for those things.

My purse looks very neat. (If I hadn’t waited until nighttime to finish, I could’ve taken a picture that would turn out well enough for you to see.) I’ll work with this for a while and see how it “fits”. I may need to adjust. That’s what life is about. For now, I’m going to focus on maintaining this neat and orderly bag, which will require that I clean it out once a week (I’m thinking Sunday nights will be good, while I’m getting my clothes ready for the week.)

Later, I may try some of the “helpful” products on the market for organizing handbags:
-fold-out cloth or plastic pocket organizers that you sort all your items into.
-small, brightly colored mesh bags
-a foldaway extra bag for when you have extra stuff
(I may just have to make at least one of these a “reward” for maintaining all this neatness. :) )

So what about you? Is your handbag a trainwreck like mine was? Or are you one of those organized types who might have even more tips to share? Let us know, if you do!