What’s In Your Bag?

Today my purse felt extraordinarily heavy – want to know why? There was $7.78 in loose sliding around the bottom of my purse!

To make sure I got it all I dumped my purse. That led to spending the next 20 minutes sorting stuff.

In the pile of stuff, I found:

  • A stack of receipts
  • Two pens without any ink and one pen with some ink
  • A single serve packet of black pepper
  • A tiny tube of hand lotion with (if I’m lucky) one application left

The one thing I didn’t find – my wallet. No, it is not missing, I don’t use one.

For years, I tried- unsuccessfully- to make wallets work. The long checkbook style, the smaller more compact style and the slimmer card only style, none of them worked. I’d end up tossing cards, money and papers in my purse instead of taking a moment to put them away.

I thought I was lazy or distracted. But no, I was just trying to force something to work when it is not my style. I use a mini wristlet as a wallet. It has two main sections with a zipper on the outside. I can easily toss stuff in and I can grab it to run into the store or take it to walk to the library.

So today, if ten dollars in loose change is weighing you down or you have a mini filing cabinet worth of papers in your wallet join me as we organize:


  • On a flat surface dump the contents of your bag or wallet
  • Group things together like make-up, money, papers and so on


  • Pare down to the basics, like a few coins instead of all the coins
  • Recycle receipts you don’t need, file the rest
  • Go through all the papers, tissue pouches with one tissue left and so on
  • Contain the groups into mini bags – these can be small make-up cases, hard sunglass cases or even small, clear, zip-top baggies (clear let’s you easily see what’s inside at a glance)
  • One with mints and gum, one with a pen and paper, one with the basic make-up and so on
  • These small bags/pouches make it easy to grab what you need and if you swap bags you can grab just what you need


  • Use all the pouches and pockets – give each item or category of items a home
  • Make the home easy! The slip pocket for sunglasses makes more sense than the side zipper pocket that you would have to unzip every time you need your glasses
  • Try carrying just the basics, leave other items in your glove box or at home – try it for a week and see if you miss anything

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never used that tiny sewing kit to sew on a button!

The last and most important step is a new HABIT to keep up your newly organized bag (or wallet)

This is not a one-time situation; you have to maintain the bag or wallet.

  • Dump coins in a jar every time you come home or leave them in the car as toll money
  • Keep holiday shopping receipts in a single spot or special envelope
  • Cords – like the phone charger and headphones stay safe and tangle-free in a hard sunglass case
  • Give your keys one pocket, pouch, or spot then always put them there
Lots of times at the cashier I feel rushed to wrap up my purchase so the person behind me in line can get started. Which had me tossing change, receipts and coupons into my purse in random order.

I now take an extra moment, off to the side, before I exit the store, to put things away. It makes all the difference!

But no matter how hard I try by the end of the week I always need a quick touch-up. The key is to go through your bag before the straps start to break because you are lugging around everything but the kitchen sink!

Final note: make a photocopy of the cards you carry – then store that safely at home. If your bag or wallet ever goes missing, you’ll have your information and card numbers to call.

So are you ready to get your bag in shape. It will take a moment but I bet it will save you time and frustration! Plus you just might find enough loose change to buy lunch in dimes and nickles!

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