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  Get rid of anything you haven’t used in the past week, and ditch the nasty half-eaten candy, out-of-date coupons, and multiples of the same item.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

Savvy and Organized

Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending a talk and book signing with Living The Savvy Life authors Melissa Tosetti and Kevin Gibbons.

Living the Savvy LifeThe book is a guide to “Smart Spending and Rich Living” and the whole basis is that you decide what’s important to you, and spend money there, while economizing on areas which are lower priority.

For example, Melissa loves to travel, but is not bothered what car she drives. For me, our home is a major expense but we don’t have cable TV and are quite happy eating out at Fresh Choice. Plus, I love running, libraries and napping, which are all wonderful free hobbies!

During the talk, and subsequently when I devoured most of the book on Sunday afternoon, I realized just how many links there are between being organized and being in control of your finances.
Read on to see the costs of being disorganized

The Five-Minute Meaningful Gesture

This week is Write a Letter of Appreciation Week.  I love this concept for three reasons:

  1. If you’re not already telling friends and family you appreciate them, make a start and see how much pleasure this brings to you, as well as them.
  2. Many of my clients are like me: we can’t resist buying cute thank you cards!  But then they just sit in a dark and lonely drawer.  Where’s the good in that?
  3. A note like this literally takes 5 minutes to write.  That makes it a great way to use spare time, while you’re waiting for something else to happen.

Top row: NiceDay Designs, Inkspot Workshop, 2 Hearts Desire
Bottom row: Paper Sheep, BLJ Graves, PaperMill Designs

Why not keep a couple of notes, with stamps, in your car or purse? And start using your little fragments of time to let someone know you’re thinking of them.

Organizing with Chocolate

Since this is the time of year when many of us are buying chocolates, why not choose some which come in a reusable box?  You, or your gift recipient, can enjoy the cocoa luxuries and then feel virtuous about using the packaging to sort out a few odds and ends.

A couple of years ago, I attended an event sponsored by San Francisco artisan Charles Chocolates, and was as delighted with the leftover packaging as I was with the chocolates themselves.  My make-up now lives happily in these sturdy turquoise boxes, which I’m using as drawer dividers:

Charles Chocolates

Charles Chocolates

As a rule, I don’t tend to buy circular or oval storage containers, as they don’t play nicely with other shapes.  But this hat box might make an attractive feature for a desk or shelf:

Julia Baker

Julia Baker

Read on for more great chocolate boxes…

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