I was strolling through a retail store recently, and saw a handbag which most airlines would classify as checked luggage. It was beautiful, but it was huge! I thought about buying it, but realized I may not be able to justify it (my husband already thinks I my handbag resembles a suitcase), and I’ll end up lugging around too much stuff. Many women carry a mid sized to large handbag because it's on trend, and it's also so convenient to throw everything in there you may (or may not) need for the day. But before you go throwing the kitchen sink in there, use these tips to at least keep it organized.
I carry a mid sized to large tote most days because I just like having everything on hand. I also use my handbag to carry supplies for my toddler because I don’t like to pack or carry another bag for her. Fortunately she is old enough that I can cut back on some of the items I need to pack and carry out for her.
So how can you get your handbag organized?
Tip #1: Size down on your handbag.
So the handbag I saw in the retail store that I mentioned earlier was gorgeous, but to be honest I have found the larger the handbag, the more likely it will be disorganized. The more space you have, the more you think you can fit in there. The more you stuff in there, the more it will be crowded with things you really don't need. It will also get too heavy to schlep around, causing discomfort for you and possible damage to the handbag itself.
Mid sized handbags, like totes or mini duffel bags, are a great place to start. If you do get a larger handbag don’t pack it with more than you would a smaller bag. That will mean a lot of empty space in your large handbag, but it will enhance the function and beauty of the bag.
Tip #2: Buy a handbag insert.
The best way to organize your handbag is to compartmentalize it. Most bags don't come with many compartments, and the pockets that are provided aren't enough. You could opt to buy a handbag insert which will give extra pockets which you can use to organize your wares.
Tip #3: Put like items together
You can choose to create your own compartments. This is my personal preference for organizing my handbag, and I use makeup bags or travel purses to separate items in my handbag by category. It makes it easy to switch out items based on your needs for the day. For example, if my daughter is not coming out with me for the day, I can leave her supplies (which are all in one bag) at home.
Tip #4: Just the bare necessities
Carrying toddler supplies in my handbag may sound like a lot but it does not have to be. Once you become familiar with your child's needs and their ‘schedule’ it becomes easier. If your child is under 2 years, it is definitely a good idea to still carry a diaper bag, because life at that stage can be unpredictable. However at around 18 months you may be able to leave the diaper bag in the car, taking only a few items into the store while you shop.
Here are some of the items I carry on a typical day:
Essentials: Keys, Wallet/Purse, Smartphone
Travel size hand sanitizer - germs are real!
Travel size hand lotion
Toddler supplies: Wipes, training pants, change of clothes if it will fit, mini tube of sunscreen, napkins
Makeup bag: Items needs for touch ups
Umbrella - Florida weather is very unpredictable.
Granola/snack/water for the little one
There may be more items added depending on my need for the day, but this is usually my basics.
Tip #5: Weekly clean out
Clean out your handbag at least once per week, or as the need arises. Take everything out and put back only what is needed. Toss garbage and replace items which are empty. If there are receipts, get rid of those too. If you need to keep your receipts for your records scan them to your computer, keeping the hard copy only if you need it for returns or exchanges.