Skip to main content

5 Steps for Perfect Purse Organization

Cartoon-style drawing of blue handbag with gold zippers and lock.

For many of us, our purse is much like our closet—the place where we stash all the things we’ll get to later. Hidden from view is the mess that lies within: free-floating makeup, old sticks of gum, rogue mints, and crumpled receipts from the last year, plus a whole lot more. With any luck, we’ll find what we’re actually looking for when we reach down into the abyss of our purse. Organizing that space will lighten your load and make it easier for you to find the things you need when you need them. Here are five steps to perfect purse organization

Step 1: Clean out.

To prepare your purse for organization, start by dumping out everything inside to see what you’re toting around. Pick out and remove the garbage—old wrappers, crumbs, and anything else that no longer works, like dried-out pens. Once you can confirm there’s nothing left in your purse, give the inside a once-over with a handheld vacuum or turn it inside out and shake out excess dirt. Now, you can start fresh, reloading it with what counts.

Step 2: Edit down.

With a visual of everything you’ve had stored in your purse, you can then start the process of editing. Edit down your items to the things that’ll be useful while you’re out and about.

Keep the essentials:

  • Credit cards
  • Cash and coins 
  • A form of ID
  • Medication
  • Pens
  • Any other personal, can’t-leave-the-home-without items

Reconsider how many of the nonessential items, like makeup, snacks, and entertainment devices, are necessary for your day-to-day outings and pare down. Remind yourself of the plastic you’re carrying by going through your credit cards, loyalty cards, and gift cards. Make sure they’re not only useful, but also up to date. Dispose of expired ones and leave cards that aren’t immediately required at home. It may even be time to switch purses altogether, properly disposing of what you're currently using in favor of something that fits your needs. This is an especially crucial tip if you're trying to figure out how to organize a purse without pockets. 

Need to pitch stuff from your purse? Believe it or not, you may be able to recycle some of it. Check out how to recycle almost anything for a list of common household goods that can, in fact, be recycled. 

Step 3: Group together.

Now that you’ve edited down your load, group similar items together. Groups might look something like this:

  • Hair: Hair tie, scrunchie, hair clip, small brush
  • Money: Cash, cards, coins, gift cards
  • Makeup: Lipstick, lip liner, mascara, blush, tweezers
  • Toiletries: Hygiene products, hand sanitizer, tissues
  • Medication: OTC pain relievers, prescriptions, vitamins, supplements 
  • Most-used: Keys, phone, lip balm

Separating like items together will allow you to get a better idea of what you’re carrying around, furthering the editing process by removing or replacing items. If you want to take it to the next level, consider holding similar items together in an in-purse organizer

dumped out purse with lipstick, sunglasses, nail polish, and makeup

Step 4: Go mini.

For items that take up a lot of space, consider finding a mini version of them for purse organization. Is there a mini or trial-sized version of your favorite hand cream? Swap it out. Is there a mini mascara you can use in a pinch? Switch to the small stuff. Going tiny will save valuable room in your purse and your shoulders and back from carrying all that extra bag weight.

Step 5: Compartmentalize and contain.

This last step in learning how to organize your purse is all about giving your grouped things a room in the house that is your purse—compartmentalize and contain. Put groups of similar items into individual pockets or compartments of your purse. Contain the remaining groups in separate pouches. Think of using see-through pouches or labeling each one to quickly and easily identify what’s inside. Most importantly, place the things you use most in an accessible pocket or pouch, so you’re not scrambling or rushing to find them.

Beyond Purse Organization Tips: Keep On Keeping Things Clean

Ta-da! With your purse organization in order, you’ll feel lighter on your feet and in spirit. From cleaning out and editing down to going mini and compartmentalizing and containing, these five purse organization tips will ensure everything stays in tip-top shape for weeks to come. 

However, keeping even more key things tidy and organized brings a sense of ease and convenience wherever you go. Inspired to clean up and refresh an even bigger space? Download our ultimate spring-cleaning checklist to get cranking on your home. Happy cleaning!