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How To Declutter Your Purse

Rethink the way you store your necessities and you might be on track to a healthier lifestyle.

The Home Edit

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a close up of three high-end purses hanging from metal hooks in front of white background

Quick question: Are you by your purse? If not, please grab it. We are about to get honest with ourselves, y’all.

Alright. Open it and take a look inside. Your purse will likely fall into one of the categories below:

Purse #1- It’s clean and holds what you need (and only what you need). There’s a system involved, so every item has a specific home. You can see the bottom of it, and if put to the test, you could find your Sephora VIB Rouge card at a moment’s notice.

Purse #2- It’s a disaster zone filled with crumpled receipts, spare change, sunglasses out of their case, mints from a restaurant you went to three weeks ago, ponytail holders, a broken pen, tangled headphones, a lipstick that you forgot you had, a wallet (and credit cards that aren’t in the wallet), the list goes on and on. Oh, wait. Is that the field trip form you were supposed to sign last week? 

Here’s the thing: Your purse can be the gateway drug to a full-blown junk drawer addiction. Think of this as your intervention to start a healthy habit that will spill over into other areas of your life. The good news is that your purse is a project that’s quick to tackle and easy to maintain. It’s also life-changing considering we take it everywhere with us. Read on for our tips on how to declutter your purse and actually maintain it.

Edit Thoroughly

Like any project, the first step is to remove everything from your purse and lay the items in front of you. Start by throwing what is obviously trash away (receipts, wrappers, etc.) and group the rest of the items into broad categories (wallet items, technology, cosmetics, etc.)

Go Digital

Definitely rethink what you carry on a regular basis. It’s not just obvious junk that causes the clutter. Thanks to technological advances, we’re now able to leave certain things at home or forget about them altogether. So take advantage of that!

  • Loose change: Save space by converting bulky coins into bills at the bank…or don’t carry cash at all
  • Reward cards: Download the Key Ring app to keep all of your cards in the same place, including all of your coupons. Many stores also have separate phone apps to help you keep track of memberships and savings, such as Sephora, Target’s Cartwheel app, and Whole Foods through Amazon Prime. The same goes for boarding passes, insurance cards, etc.
  • Credit/debit cards: Apple Pay is accepted at more places than you would think. Finding out if a store or restaurant takes it is just a Google search away. *If you’d rather play it safe, we suggest only carrying your everyday cards and ID and ditching your large wallet for a simple cardholder or phone case that includes individual slots


A purse isn’t that different from a shelf or drawer. In order to maintain an organized system, you need to contain loose items. It will keep everything categorized and easily accessible, which is important when you’re needing to grab things at a quick glance.

The type of system you create depends on your items and how often you use them. Even though many purses come with inner and outer compartments, if they didn’t work for you before, they won’t work now. Utilizing a removable purse organizer is a way to customize the pockets you need, add structure to a floppy bag, and also allows you to switch to a new purse without losing your system.

Use Pouches

Loose items like medicines, cosmetics, etc. can easily get lost in the mix. Using clear or color-coded pouches to contain these items allows you to grab the category you need without having to dig within a dark purse.

If you change purses often or switch out your items regularly, store pre-made pouch kits for various occasions—such as travel or workday—and switch out when necessary.

Tame Your Cords

If you’re like us then you’ll never leave the house without a phone charger and a pair of earbuds. The issue is how easily the cords turn into a tangled mess, especially in a small space. To avoid this, use a cord wrap or carrying case and store in a separate pouch or compartment.

A pocket pouch or portfolio also will help keep your chargers, headphones, and devices in the same place, and prevent the cords from tangling.

Accessorize Your Keys

A colorful keychain with a long tassel makes your keys easy to spot in your bag. If you’d rather keep it minimal, go for a keychain with a clip and attach it on a handle or an inside compartment.

Practice Daily Maintenance

No, not weekly. Daily. Make a habit of spending 5 minutes each day to reorganize and remove the items you don’t need anymore. Do it at home, in the carpool line, or as an activity when you don’t want to make awkward small talk with a stranger.

Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin started The Home Edit to reinvent traditional organizing and merge it with design and interior styling.

How was it? Save stories you love and never lose them.

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This post originally appeared on The Home Edit and was published April 11, 2019. This article is republished here with permission.

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