Big Purse Clutter Cleanout

My grandma loved big purses. In fact, I remember during one our family famous post-Christmas marathon shopping experiences, she found a purse that was actually three purses sewn together into one! She, of course, had to buy that purse. I laughed and poked and prodded my grandma for years about that purse.

Fast forward a couple of decades later, here I am with four kiddos and a very similar love that has evolved for large purses. Extra pair of shoes in there? Sure! Diapers for both of the youngest kids and a full size container of wipes? Why not? Chapstick, makeup, chocolate, a protein bar, pacifiers, a bib, receipts, random baby socks and a pulverized pop tart still in the package? Check! My kid’s dirty tissues and soggy remainders of their lollipop sticks? Psh, come on! Where ELSE would I stash those?!  

Big Purse Mama Cleanout 2 1-13-2016

But while I love ditching the diaper bag and carrying my life with me inside that bottomless abyss, my back and shoulders do not. And neither does the person behind me in the checkout lane while I’m busy digging through all that trying to find my wallet or that coupon I stashed in there a moment ago…
So what’s a big purse lovin mama to do? Compartmentalize, of course! I found these cute, transparent, pink zipper pouches in the cosmetic section at Walmart for just a couple of bucks, but you could use any kind of small pouch. I like the clear ones because you can easily see what’s in each pouch without needing to unzip each one and peer inside, or dig around hoping to find what you’re after. 
When cleaning out your purse, it helps to have a small trash receptacle nearby and to tackle this task either during the littles’ nap time or in the evening after they’ve gone to bed. That way, you don’t have extra hands grabbing your stuff, deeming it their own new treasure and trailing it all through the house. Then take that bag and just dump it all out. I mean everything. Turn that thing over and give it a good shake! 
Next, start grabbing all the obvious trash (lollipop sticks, anyone?) and receipts. If you save receipts, clip them together with a paper clip or binder clip for filing. Otherwise, delegate them to the trash bag. Then start separating out items that really don’t belong in your purse, like baby socks and whatnot. You could put those items away right then and there, but if it will distract you too much from your purse task, save it for afterward.
Now take notice of the remaining items. If there is anything that you don’t use or really need in your purse (like 4 tubes of lip balm), remove those items also. Then begin separating your remaining items into like piles. These are the items that you want a pouch for or organize in your purse’s built in pockets and compartments. I have 3 zipper pouches, one for makeup and hair, one for baby extras, and the other for emergency and preparedness, such as feminine needs, a nail file, floss, deodorant, etc.  Some other great pouch categories could include:
*Techy Items: Ear buds, iPod, thumbdrive, external phone charging cell
*Toiletries: Deodorant, small lotion, eye drops, chapstick, floss, feminine needs
*Extras: Sunscreen stick for spontaneous outings, small bubbles wand, stickers and a couple lollypops for unexpected long waits to occupy irritable kiddos, band-aids or a simple first aid kit
*Shopping: Checkbook, pen, a few stamps, receipts to file later, your key ring of store rewards cards you don’t use frequently enough to bulk up your keychain.
*Snacks: A protein bar, squeezable applesauce pouches, gum, hard candies
Big Purse Mama 1-13-2016 Big Purse Mama Cleanout 3 1-13-16
Big Purse Mama Cleanout 4 1-13-16
Much better, yes?


  1. Grandma/Nana Stevens February 12, 2016, 3:17 PM

    What a great idea! You are very creative. That may be easier than the purse organizer I have, or in tandem with it.

    1. Absolutely! Perhaps just a single zipper pouch for all the random loose stuff at the bottom of your purse that accumulates during the week…along with your current purse organizer :0)

  2. I find that I like to work backwards. First I make a list of everything I need, then I dump the purse find all the needed items, put the purse away and then put all the items away. In my purse I keep my cellphone, wallet, keys, water bottle, snack, chewing gum, balm (I use shea butter because it is cheap and works on everything, chapped lips, chaffed nipples, diaper rash, scrapes, burns and dry skin. etc) and a full sized scarf or sarong for each of my girls, they use them as wraps, blankets, tie it into a dress, use it as a nursing cover up or baby swaddle or even as an emergency diaper. And that is it. The rest gets filled with things the kids bring along that I told them to leave home and my emergency purse toy (its a lot like the 1990 Polly pocket dolls). But when it is just me all I bring is the 1st 4 items.


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