how to organize purse

How to Finally Organize Your Purse So It’s Easy to Maintain

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If you’re always on the go, your purse is the central command station for your life outside the house. 

When your purse contents are always overflowing. And if you lose your keys or phone at the bottom of your bag every single day, it’s possible to find new purse organization ideas that work for you and your life. Without spending a lot of time.   

If you’re ready to have a more organized purse, and one that’s easy to maintain, help is on the way! 

How to organize a purse

The best way to get started is to pull everything out of your purse.

Step 1. Pull everything out of your purse

Pulling everything out of your bag is a good way to see what’s really going on in there. 

You’ll be able to see what’s essential to keep in your purse. 

Plus, all the random things that you picked up during the day. Like the pair of socks you took with you to try on shoes. The tape measure you used to measure a piece of furniture. The gum or protein bar wrappers. The 5 lip balms. The runaway hair bands.  

Step 2. Purge the random stuff that doesn’t need to live in your purse permanently 

Throw out all the trash, old receipts and food wrappers. And pull out anything that doesn’t need a spot in your purse. 

Ask yourself what’s essential to have with you every day? You want to have your most important items with you and within easy reach every day.

Get rid of anything else. Having a lot of stuff makes it harder to find what you need every day. 

Step 3. Categorize similar items

Now that you’ve purged, you can see what’s left and sort the remaining items into categories. Ultimately, your goal is to have a specific place for everything to go. And you’ll store similar items together. 

Here are some categories to consider:

  • First aid: Pain reliever, Band-aids, alcohol wipes
  • Hair supplies: Hair ties, barrettes, scrunchies, a comb
  • Cosmetics: Lipstick, lip balm
  • Lotions: Hand sanitizer, hand lotion, sun block
  • Office supplies: Pens and pencils, notepad
  • Electronics: Earbuds, phone chargers, phone cords
  • Sanitary supplies: Tampons, pantry liners and maxi pads. 
  • Wallet items: Credit cards, debit card, gift cards, driver’s license, loose change and old receipts.

Once you see what you have, can you downsize any full size items to travel size to save space? Can you get a mini pad of paper? Or a small travel size lotion that will live in your purse? 

You can decide on the best storage solution once you see what you need to pack back in your purse.

Step 4. Pick a storage solution and make a place for everything.

Unless your purse has a million pockets, add bags or containers to make a spot for everything. 

Holders not only combine like items, they also protect important items. For example, a glasses case keeps your sunglasses or glasses from getting smushed, scratched or smudged. 

There are a few different ways you can contain items. 

Use a handbag organizer insert 

A handbag organizer insert is a great way to organize a tote bag or diaper bag. The insert has different sections that are different sizes. You can buy a small, medium or large size organizer to fit the size of your bag. As a bonus, it can be pulled out and moved between different bags. That makes it a great option if you change bags often. 

This holder from Amazon has 13 pockets total, with a zippable interior pocket that’s detachable so you can grab it from your purse and go. There’s also a detachable key chain holder.


Read the guidelines for measuring your bag to make sure you’re buying the correct size. There’s an extensive bag brand and style reference sheet to help you determine the right size insert for your bag. 

Here’s another option that zips at the top. And comes in 3 sizes and colors. With an attached key holder. 

Another option is to use containers and zippered bags to organize items in your purse.

Use containers and zipped bags

There are many different containers you may want to include. Think about using: 

  • A coin purse to corral loose change
  • A cosmetic bag for makeup, lipstick, lip balms, a comb, etc.
  • A pencil case for pens and pencils
  • An earbuds case
  • A sunglasses case
  • A snack bag for protein bars, granola bars
  • A first aid bag for tissues, pain reliever, alcohol wipes and bandaids
  • A sanitary supply bag for tampons, panty liners or maxi pads
  • A bag for lotions. Antibacterial hand lotion. Regular hand lotion. Sunscreen.
  • A wallet. Take a moment to see if your wallet is working for you. When my system falls apart, it’s because receipts sit in my wallet forever because I’m afraid of needing them later on. When I started getting receipts emailed to me, it made such a difference.  If you’re ready to set up a more minimalist wallet, start getting all your receipts emailed to you so you don’t collect paper copies. If you save receipts for work, you may even be able to email the receipt to your online accounting system.  If you want to go even further with a minimalist wallet, consider attaching a cardholder to the back of your phone to hold payment cards, your ID and your insurance card. If you’re really ready to go all in, leave your plastic credit cards at home and use Apple Pay to pay through your phone. 

Use small bags of different sizes and different colors to hold similar small items. Your brain recognizes colors before words, so assign a color to a specific type of item. You’ll come to associate a color with the type of item.  Or you can also choose clear bags so you can see what’s inside.

Here are a few zippered bag options.


Make a spot for your phone and keys

Your phone and keys are probably your two most touched items in a day. It’s essential to have a designated spot for each of them.

It’s great if your purse has two exterior pockets. Then you can put your phone in one and your keys in another. If your purse has just one exterior pocket, use it for your phone, and use a keychain you can attach to your bag with a clip. A wrist key holder is another easy way to always know where your keys are. 

Having a spot for everything is the key to maintaining an orderly purse. You’re less likely to have to dig around blindly to find things, which just disrupts everything.  

Step 5. Purge trash and random stuff on an ongoing basis

With everything in its place, you only need to purge the random stuff that builds up in your purse. Take less than a minute every week to pull out trash and items you don’t need. An easy way to do that is to pair it with another cleaning activity you do every week. If there’s another organizing task you do every week, check on your purse at the same time. 

How do I declutter my purse? 

To declutter your purse, pull everything out of it. Sort through and pull out all the trash, old receipts and food wrappers. Remove anything that doesn’t belong in your purse permanently. Create a specific place for everything to go, storing similar items together using a purse insert, or a variety of zippered bags. Make sure you have a designated spot for your phone and keys since these are the 2 most touched items in a day. To maintain a clutter-free space, purge trash and random stuff on a routine basis going forward. 


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Hi, Friend. I'm Marya. I'm so glad you're here!

I’m here to help women feel good inside and out through approachable everyday style inspiration and encouragement for midlife. Once upon a time, I worked as a therapist and coach. Now, I’m a holistic style blogger studying style coaching! Be So You celebrates leaning into who we were meant to be! 

Keep in touch by signing up for my e-newsletter hereRead about my  journey to self-discovery at 40. Follow me on Instagram here and Pinterest here. Send me a quick question through my contact page here.  

Fit Note: I’m midsized at 5’6″, 160 pounds, with size 12 jeans. 

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