How to Create a Highly Functional Handbag

When Professional Organizers give classes or workshops, like the one I did last week for Deborah’s Palm, one of our favorite ice-breaking activities is a handbag scavenger hunt.  Participants work in pairs to discover how many weird and wonderful items from a list are lurking within their purses.


The point, of course, is to show how easily clutter can build up in all areas of our lives, with the handbag representing just one small part.  Take a peek in your purse.  Do you even know what’s in there, or is there room for improvement? Here are some tips to create a more functional handbag:

1. Turn everything out (yep, you knew that was coming, didn’t you?).  Get rid of anything you haven’t used in the past week, and ditch the nasty half-eaten candy, out-of-date coupons, and multiples of the same item.  One of my recent workshop attendees had 6 pairs of glasses in her bag… you get my drift.


Read on for more handbag tips

A Day in the Life

Following the noble example set by others like Postmodern Hostess, and ignoring the fact that no two days as a Professional Organizer are alike, I decided to share an example of my daily meanderings. Here are my goings-on from last Friday:

6:00AM The alarm clock has the desired effect by about 6:10.  Breakfast, as always, is cereal with blueberries, which I confess I eat in front of the computer as I check emails and catch up with “vital” news via Facebook and Twitter – and the BBC, of course.  I also review a great guest blog post which has arrived from the very talented Bromeliad – here’s a sneak peak, and look for the full scoop on Thursday.


Photo: Matchbook

7:30 Today I’m hosting a small pow-wow of Professional Organizers, so naturally I spend a bit of time putting the house in order.  The downstairs bathroom and kitchen are prime targets.  You didn’t think I lived in pristine perfection when guests are not expected, did you? :)

8:30 Off out for a run – only a short one, but relatively speedy by my standards. I’ve no plans for further marathon attempts, but I would like to get a bit faster over short distances.   You’ll be pleased to hear I followed this sweatiness with a shower. Read more…

House of Fabulous

I could write a thousand words about the visual feast which designer Janell Beals has achieved with the launch issue of House of Fifty.

I could attempt to describe the innovative features, gorgeous interiors, inspiring interviews and picture-perfect layout…

House of Fifty

House of Fifty, Issue One

…But I couldn’t do it justice and you’d still have to click through to read the magazine for yourself.  So go on, what are you waiting for?  Make yourself some tea, and hop on over there.

And if, after all that luscious eye candy, you remember to come back here, you might like to read this interview with Janell to find out the story behind the scenes.

If you would like friendly, confidential Professional Organizing help to turn chaos into calm, contact me to take the first step toward a sorted, stylish space.

Cash from Clutter, Part 2

Following on from De-cluttering for Profit Part 1, here is the second batch of Tanya’s  tips for turning your excess baggage into clean, crisp cash.  If you enjoy this guest post, you can catch up with Tanya regularly at her blog, Dans Le Townhouse.

Selling Online

There are many online marketplaces to sell your goods. Ebay is an excellent way to sell valuable or unusual goods—especially if your target market is small (like collectors of rare Bakelite combs, for example). Other items, like electronics or furniture, can easily be sold using free and local online classifieds. Try Kijiji (Canada) or Craigslist (international) and implement these tips:

1. Take a good picture.   A picture is worth a thousand words. Take clear photos, in natural light. Take close ups of any important details (like markings/brand names). Try to style your items because, like any retailer, you want your buyer to desire you item. Dress up a piece of furniture and put clothes on a dummy, if you can.

The photo on the left makes my bed look much more desirable than the one on the right. This would be a better choice were I to list my headboard for sale.

2. Provide a thorough description.
Give potential buyers key information: size, colour, condition, etc. The more information, the better. When you come up with a title for your ad, use key descriptive phrases so people using a search feature can find your ad easily: “Brand new purple size L cashmere sweater” or “Pair of mid-century teak side tables”. You don’t want buyers interested in what you are selling to miss your ad.
Read on for the rest of Tanya’s selling tips…

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