How best to organise the contents of your handbag

How best to organise the contents of your handbag

Nothing is more annoying than coming to a check-out or hearing your phone ring and rummaging in your bag, but you can't find what you're looking for, or worse, you've switched bags, and you don't have the things you need. 

If this is you, it's time to organise the contents of your handbags. But where to start? If getting organised isn’t your forte, take a look at our simple 5-step method to handbag organisation and win at life! 

Table of contents

  1. Empty your handbags
  2. Clean and reset your handbags
  3. Organise your bag contents
  4. How to organise your bag using pouches
  5. Create an organisational system
  6. Which bag is best for travelling

1. Empty your handbags

The first step in organising your handbags is to start at the beginning by emptying out the entire contents of your bags. Yes, all of them so that you can start afresh. Don't forget to empty the tiny compartments in the interior and exterior of your bags.

2. Clean and reset your handbags

It might help to clean your handbags before you put your stuff back in. You can use a lint roller or a hoover with the appropriate attachments to purge the bits and lint. You can turn the lining inside out and shake it over a bin or in the garden to ensure no dirt remains.

To clean any sticky spots, use baby wipes or non-alcoholic cleaners. Always follow the manufacturer's advice on cleaning, especially if you have a leather bag.

Organise your bag contents

3. Organise your bag contents

Next, separate the handbag contents into categories and remove any rubbish or things that don't belong there. This might include

  • Things to throw away, like tissues, wrappers, old receipts and out-of-date gift cards.
  • Items that shouldn't be in your bag. For example, your entire make-up bag, things from work, the kid's stuff or gym kits. 

Then, set aside the essential items you want to put in your handbag, for example,

  • Only necessary make-up, including lip balm.
  • The things to go in your wallet, like credit and debit cards, unused gift cards, money, ID and coins.
  • Hair items, like hair ties or bobby pins.
  • Feminine hygiene products.
  • Medication.
  • Hand cream and hand sanitiser.
  • Keys.
  • Electronics. 
  • Water bottle.
  • Notepad and pen.

The list above is not complete. Every woman is different when it comes to the contents of her bag. So, your list will naturally be different to the one we have. 

How to organise your handbag using pouches

4. How to organise your handbag using pouches

By slightly altering how you store the items in your handbag, you can significantly improve your mental well-being, confidence and time management. One way of accomplishing this is using pouches or small zipped bags to compartmentalise your possessions instead of having them all rummaged together. 

You may have little zipped bags hanging around the house that you've never used. If not, you can purchase brightly coloured or colour-coordinated ones to organise your bag contents. Check out our purses collection for some secure zipped pouches.

Split out your essential items into categories and put them in the handy baggies, so you can easily find them in a rush. For example, put all your feminine hygiene products, make-up and hair items in separate pouches. If you haven't got room for receipts in your wallet, get one for your shopping receipts.

You can stack these pouches however you want, horizontally or vertically. Just ensure you can get to them with ease. The key is knowing where everything is and ensuring everything has a place. 

Don't forget to use any inbuilt pouches your handbag might already have. Some have inner pockets, and others have small interior and exterior compartments. These are perfect for keeping essential items like keys and your phone or things you need to readily access. 

Using pouches also makes it easy to switch between all your bags. You only need to grab the necessary pouches to be on your way. For example, you might want to change from a workday bag to a going-out bag. You won't need everything in your work bag, so only take your wallet, cards, some spare cash, lipstick, a compact mirror and your phone and keys.

Create an organisational system in your handbag

5. Create an organisational system

Creating an organisational system means you won't fall back into bad habits once you've spent ages organising your handbag. Here are a few system ideas you can put in place to help your future self stay organised.

  • Colour coordinate your pouches to know which one to grab when you need something. For example, medicine could be red for the red cross. Or, your hair items pouch could be tan or cream, depending on your hair colour.
  • Clear out your handbag once a week. Get into the habit of having a clear-out once a week, which will help keep rubbish to a minimum. 
  • If you're constantly rummaging for your keys, get a clip-on clasp to attach them to your bag handle so you can always grab them when you need them. 
  • Why not keep all your essential items near the top of your handbag or where you can easily access them?
  • If you're a receipt hoarder, try organising them once a week. Throw away the ones you don't use and file the ones you need to keep for business expenses or if you have to return any clothing items.
  • Keep copies of your IDs and credit/ debit cards at home. If your handbag is ever stolen, you can immediately see what was in your wallet and call the appropriate numbers to cancel your cards. 
  •  Keep non-essential items out of your handbag. If you go to the gym, keep your gym kit in a separate gym kit bag. The same goes for kid's and toddler's items. If you need emergency items, keep an emergency item kit in your car, like spare clothes for the kids, a pocket knife, matches, a first aid kit etc.
  • Another thing you can do without in your bag is heavy coins. Remove them from your handbag regularly. Then, put them in a piggy bank at home to cash later or create a handy coin collection in your car if you ever have to pay for parking. 
  • Get travel-sized everything. When it comes to make-up and hair brushes, you don't need to carry around an entire beauty case of full-sized products. Instead, pack the things you need to touch up your make-up throughout the day, like concealer or a mini eyebrow pencil, and you've just taken a weight off your back. You can also get mini foldaway hair brushes for mid-day touch-ups without wasting space in your handbag.

Which bag is best for travelling

The best bag for travelling needs to be comfortable, have enough space for all your crucial travel documents and provide you with hands-free carrying. 

Which bag is best for travelling

We recommend that if you're doing a lot of walking, opt for a handbag that doubles as a backpack. A backpack will be comfortable as it distributes weight across your shoulders and provides easy hands-free carrying.

cross-body bag fro travelling

Another great option is to opt for the cross-body bag. These will give you hands-free carrying and easy access to your essential items when you need them along your journey. Why not choose a small cross-body bag for your essentials if you're flying or a larger one to store travel documents?

How to organise your handbag for travel

Organise your travel handbag the same as you would your everyday bag. Use pouches to separate your smaller items and find your essential bits easier. However, there are some differences in organising a travel handbag. For example, you might want to keep all your travel documents in a plastic wallet to grab them quickly. Or, you might want to keep your passport in a secure pocket for safety. And you might want to place different currencies in separate purses to make buying things a breeze. Make sure you have travel-sized make-up and toiletries to carry more weight than you need.

Final thoughts

Following the 5-step model to organise your handbags is a great way to declutter, save time, keep organised and improve your mental well-being. The key is to ensure everything has a place so you can find it easily in a rush and only carry what you need to prevent your back and shoulder from aching. If you get into a good habit of regularly clearing out your handbag of things you don't need, you'll find you can easily find your items. Now you have one less thing to worry about. 

Why not browse our gorgeous range of brightly coloured handbags at Tilley & Grace? Find the perfect size that works for you in your favourite colour! Happy organising!