We all know that feeling. You reach into your purse for your phone, and all you can feel are layers of clutter.
Your purse is so stuffed full of random things – receipts from 3 years ago and coins that are no longer in circulation – that you can’t even find what you’re looking for. And when it comes to finding something specific, like your car keys, good luck! They’re probably buried somewhere at the bottom of the pile.
If your purse is a cluttered mess, it’s time to declutter it. By following my system, you can declutter your purse in no time and never have to do it again. Now, I know that’s a bold statement. But here’s the proof…
I decluttered my purse in February of 2020 and haven’t had to do it since!
Reasons to declutter your purse
A purse is like a black hole: it’s small, but it has the ability to swallow up an astonishing amount of stuff. Of course, there are some things that are essential to carry around, but chances are good that your purse also contains a jumble of old receipts, gum wrappers, and half-used lipsticks.
Is this really the best way to organise our belongings?
Here are a few good reasons to declutter your purse and never have to do it again:
- A cluttered purse is difficult to dig through when you’re looking for something specific. If you can’t find your keys or your sunglasses, it’s definitely time to do some spring cleaning.
- A heavy purse can cause neck and shoulder pain. If you find yourself constantly adjusting your purse straps, it’s time to lighten the load.
- A messy purse is a magnet for dirt and dust. By decluttering your purse regularly, you can help keep your belongings clean and organised.
- A overloaded purse can damage the straps and handles. If you’ve ever had a strap break or a handle come loose, you know how frustrating it can be. Avoid this problem by decluttering your purse on a regular basis.
- Decluttering your purse will save you time. How many minutes have you wasted rummaging through your purse looking for your phone or your sunglasses?
- It can help you reduce stress. A cluttered purse can be a source of anxiety, but an organised one can be a source of comfort.
How to declutter your purse
Empty it out
Everything must come out of your purse. Every. single. thing. This includes everything in the pockets, too. Even the little ball of lint fluff in the corner. The inside of your purse should look brand new at this stage. If it doesn’t, turn it inside out and give it a clean.
Sort through everything
Once everything is out, sort it into three piles:
Pile 1: Things that belong in your purse (e.g., your wallet, lip balm, sunglasses)
Pile 2: Things that don’t belong in your purse but you want to keep (e.g., receipts, loose change)
Pile 3: Things that you don’t want and can throw away (e.g., old gum wrappers, used tissues)
Take a good look at everything that you’ve taken out. What do you actually need in your purse? Be brutal and get rid of anything that doesn’t serve a purpose or that you don’t use on a regular basis. For example, I got rid of my makeup bag because I almost never wear makeup anymore, and if I do I put it on before I leave the house.
If you’re not sure whether to keep something or not, ask yourself this question: “If I lost this tomorrow, would I replace it?” If the answer is no, get rid of it.
You should now have a much smaller pile of things left. But we’re not done yet…
Declutter your wallet
Don’t forget, your wallet sitting inside your purse has also more than likely picked up its fair share of junk. Follow the same process as above and declutter your wallet, too.
Throw away anything that’s expired – this includes things like coupons, gift cards, and loyalty cards. Old credit cards that have expired need to be disposed of too – you can send these to a shredder or cut them up and separate the pieces into various bins.
If you tend to pick up loose change every time you go out, empty it out into a jar and start collecting for a ‘rainy day’. This way, the loose change doesn’t end up making your wallet burst at its seems or scattered around the inside of your purse. Plus you’ll be able to save up for something special.
Declutter your keyrings
We’ve all seen those keyrings that have just two keys but 20 keyrings attached. If this sounds like you, it’s time to declutter them! Do you need all of those keyrings, or are they just adding unnecessary weight to your purse?
Only keep the keys that you actually use on a regular basis on this set – for example, your house keys, car keys, and office keys. If you have other keys which you need to keep but which aren’t used on a daily basis, put them away in a safe place.
If you don’t already have a ton of keyrings, you could store other small items such as a USB drive or earphones on your keyring. This keeps them from getting lost at the bottom of your purse, and means you’ll always know where they are when you need them.
Choose your essentials
Now that you’ve sorted everything into piles and decluttered your wallet and keyrings, it’s time to choose your essentials. These are the things that you need in your purse on a daily basis. For me, this includes my wallet, phone, hand sanitiser, tissues, reusable shopping bag, keys and sunglasses. Nothing else.
Your essentials will be different from mine, but that’s okay. You’ll know what’s essential for you.
The System: Put everything away
Here’s where my system really takes its form.
You would assume that the next step after decluttering your purse would be to pop everything back into said purse. WRONG! That’s where my system is different from many others.
Here’s what I want you to do:
- Find a pot, a vase, a basket that you’re not using for anything in particular. This is now going to have it’s very own purpose.
- Let’s say you’ve chosen a basket. The next step is to locate a home for this basket either close to your front door or near where you store your purses and handbags.
- Put your essentials in the basket. This means your wallet, keys, sunglasses – anything you defined as one of your essentials in the previous step. This is where they will live from now on. Not inside a purse. Your purse will only be used for carrying your essential items, not storing them.
There are a few reasons I use this system:
Firstly, by storing my essential items in a basket, I am forced to make a conscious decision about which purse to use on a daily basis. This means no purse gets left behind.
Previously, I would use the same purse over and over again because it was too much of a hassle to change. This resulted in me using the same purse until it literally fell apart and not using my other lovely purses.
With this system, I have a decision to make every time I need a purse. And when I find that I’m not using one particular purse, I know the reason is because I’ve made the decision to choose another instead. This makes it easier when it comes around to decluttering and getting rid of unused purses.
The second reason this system works so well is because I am no longer searching through multiple purses to find my essentials. By storing them all in the one place, I know exactly where they are and can grab them quickly and easily when I need them.
The third reason this system keeps my purse decluttered is because I only carry the essentials with me. I find with this system that my ‘essentials’ list doesn’t grow like it used to. I have the same items that fit perfectly into my basket. I rarely go out and think ‘oh, I wish I’d brought….’.
Every time I walk back through my front door, I take my essentials out and put them back in the basket; I throw out or immediately store receipts, I pop any spare change into my little ‘rainy day’ jar and I put my purse back in its place with the other purses.
By following these simple steps you too can declutter your purse without ever having to do it again.
Your purses will feel loved because you’re making conscious decisions to choose them (or declutter them if you find you’re not using them) and your essentials will always have a home.
You’ll be able to grab what you need, when you need it without having to search through a pile of things and you’ll never forget your sunglasses again!
I hope this has inspired you to think about how you can declutter your purse once and for all! Let me know in the comments below how you get on!
For more decluttering and organising tips, check out some of these articles:
- Is there a difference between decluttering and organising?
- How to Declutter Your Garage in 4 Simple Steps
- Overwhelmed by Clutter? Getting to the Root of Your Clutter Problem
- What to do when you feel like you have too many clothes
- How I Use a Monthly Checklist to Organise My Life (FREE Printable)
- Decluttering Rules: 13 Important Things To Do When Decluttering Your Home