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Declutter Your Purse in 15 Minutes

Declutter your Purse in 15 Minutes

What I keep in My Purse, and How I Keep it Decluttered!

For today’s challenge, we are going to declutter our purses or personal bags in 15 minutes or less!

I need to preface this article by saying, I do not keep much in my purse to begin with. I’m low maintenance when it comes to make-up… I wear a minimal amount and I never reapply once I leave the house. My kids are older so I’m not toting around a bunch of little kid emergency items like I used to. And, while I like to be prepared, I keep my purse decluttered so that I’m not spending time rummaging around trying to find things. There’s a fine line between prepared and cluttered for me, so over the years I’ve tailored my purse to the essentials. So join me for this challenge, as we declutter our purses in 15 minutes!

What I Keep In My Purse

Declutter Your Purse in 15 Minutes: What I Keep in My Purse!

I keep my purse fairly simple: wallet, keys, phone, snack, notebook and pens. But, like everything, without a little maintenance from time to time it can definitely get cluttered. So today, I’m going to take 15 minutes and clean out my purse and wallet. If you want to see me do this in real time you can watch it here: Instagram Reel: How To Declutter Your Purse in 15 Minutes.

Steps to Declutter Your Purse

Steps to Declutter your Purse in 15 Minutes!

The steps to decluttering any space are essentially the same. Remember the acronym S.P.A.C.E. and apply it accordingly. It’s no different for your purse or personal bag. The very first step is that you need to completely take EVERYTHING out of your bag. Find a clear spot and take (or in my case DUMP 😀) everything out. Then start to apply S.P.A.C.E. to the process:

  • S is for SORT:
    • Sort like items together. This is a great way to see if you have extra items. For me, I tend to collect pens and pencils. I think I must have really needed one once and couldn’t find one so now I always grab a couple on my way out. By the end of the week I have 10-12 pens in there! What items do you tend to collect throughout your week?
  • P is for PURGE:
    • Decide what items DO NOT belong in your purse. Be super discriminating! Edit the heck out of your bag. You carry this thing around all day and it is a tool to keep your things organized. Really think about what you need and what you don’t need. Could you keep that item in your car instead? Will that item be available at the place you are going? You don’t want a huge, overstuffed bag. It’s harder to find things, and it can be a (literal) pain in the neck!
  • A is for ASSIGN:
    • Decide specifically in which pockets or spaces your things will live. For example: my phone has a perfect zipper pocket on the front of my purse. I can access it quickly and I know exactly where it goes every time. Bonus: my kids know where it is too so they are not rummaging through my purse if I ask them to grab my phone. Same goes for my keys and my wallet. They have a specific home and I always put them back where they belong. My brain does not have to work hard, because I already know where it is!
  • C is for CONTAIN:
    • Is your purse the right size for your things? Do you need a bigger or smaller purse? Do you have the right size pockets or containers inside of you bag? Is it worth it to invest in some new pouches or clear bags so that you are able to see and access everything quickly? If you find yourself buying a bunch of containers, maybe ask yourself if another purse might be the answer. Here’s the purse (below) that I use and it works perfectly for my stuff (note: I AM NOT an Amazon affiliate, but I wouldn’t recommend this if I didn’t love it. I’ve had it for a while, it’s held up, and it’s under $40!)
  • E is for EVALUATE:
    • In the last step, you are simply thinking about whether or not your current system is working for you. Are you spending TOO much time searching for things in your bag? Are you not prepared enough? Do you need to change what bag you are using or purchase new containers so that everything has a spot? Take this time to really think about if your current system is working or if you need to make a change. For me, I needed to go UP in size of purse because my previous purse was a frustration. The handle was too small so I’d always have to set it down to find something.
This purse has the perfect pockets for my stuff! (I am not an affiliate!)

Tips for Keeping Your Purse Decluttered

Tips for Keeping your Purse Decluttered after the Challenge

Phew! Now that you have decluttered your purse, here are a few tips to keep it decluttered:

  • Choose the right size of bag! 
    • I just recently switched to a BIGGER bag. I was trying to fit everything into this tiny purse, and I was so frustrated. However, if you find that you a bigger bag is just causing you to carry around more stuff, then maybe try a smaller bag with just the essentials so you prevent the tendency for things to collect. The goal is to NOT be thinking about your bag. Then you know you have the right size!
  • Make sure your purse or bag has the right amount of pockets.
    • This seems simple enough, but having the right amount of pockets is key to knowing where everything is. For example, I know that my phone goes in the front pocket, my keys have a home in an inside pocket, and my wallet always goes back to the same section. I am not a huge fan of the big totes with no pockets. I feel like everything gets lost and jumbled together, but I know some people love them and it works for them. If you do have a big tote, make sure you have some great pouches that are the right size for your things.
  • Tell your kids (and significant others!) no.
    • When my Kids were little, they would bring me all sorts of treasures. Sometimes these were rocks, or shells, or trash and they would ask me to hold on to if for them. I would and by the end of the week I would have amassed a huge trove of these “treasures”! Now that they are older, I just refuse to hold it. They don’t bring me rocks and trash, but now they want me to hold their phone or their headphones or really anything they don’t want to carry. I now just tell them no because I will end up with a ginormous bag (and back pain!) if I don’t. I’m trying to instill in them the need to carry their own bag, but it’s a slow process! 🤣
  • Declutter every week
    • I normally go through my bag every 1-2 weeks. This really helps me to keep it decluttered, and the mess never gets to be too overwhelming. It usually only takes about 5 minutes and I’m good to go. I didn’t always do this, but now that I’ve started I’ve naturally kept up with it. How about you? How often do you declutter your purse? Did it take longer than 15 minutes? What do you seem to “collect” the most of?

I hope you enjoyed this challenge, and please leave me comments on how the challenge worked for you! I’ll be adding more 15 minute challenges along the way, but for now you can start in on the 7 day digital declutter challenge to jumpstart decluttering your digital life. Happy decluttering!

4 Responses

  1. I used to carry a large tote bag as my purse. There was plenty of room to have organizing pouches and sections within it, which made it very easy to keep ‘clear.’ However, fast forward to the pandemic, and I no longer carry a large bag. It’s SO small that it has only the essentials: wallet, pen, hand sanitizer, keys, breath mints, and a mask. My phone goes in my pocket. If I need more things (like tissues, glasses, water bottle, snacks or lip color), I will take my tiny bag and put it along with the other things in my backpack.

    I love carrying less!

  2. I love your acronym and suggestions. Cleaning out and organizing your purse is a great project because it doesn’t take a ton of time and effort, and there is little, if anything, of sentimental value to fret over, but it leaves you feeling accomplished. What’s more, every time you open your purse, you get a sense of satisfaction.

  3. Yep, I have found that Julie Morgenstern’s S.P.A.C.E. acronym works for everything! That last E (she says Equalize, meaning, essentially, to put things away once you’ve used them, and maintain your system) has always required some explanation. But to periodically (re)Evaluate is crucial to the success of any system!

    1. Oh that is so good to know the source of the SPACE acronym. I’ll make sure to go back and give her credit. I don’t remember where I saw it, but I love it and use it all the time. Thank you so much.

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Jana Arevalo- Declutter Coach, The Organized Military Life

Hello! I'm Jana

Hi! I’m Jana! I have been a military spouse for 18 years, and I am experienced when it comes to PCS moves, organizing new spaces, and creating more efficient systems for my family. I understand the feeling of anxiety and overwhelm that can come with clutter, and that’s why I love helping military spouses, busy moms and small business owners declutter and organize their homes, digital lives and paperwork!

I am an Amazon Associate as well as an affiliate with Share-a-Sale and List & File, Military Life Binders. I receive a small commission (at no cost to you!) if you purchase through my links. Thank you!


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