Purse Essentials: What You Need & How to Stay Organized

My purse can easily become a dumping ground rather than a well-ordered carry-all. Here are my purse essentials for making life easier and a few tools to keep everything organized.

Welcome to my 14 Days of Organization series where I’m sharing tips, tools, and strategies to help you organize your home, your family, and your personal life!

Does this situation sound familiar? You’re at the grocery store, and your phone starts ringing. You reach with one hand into your purse for the phone while keeping the other hand on your toddler who has outsmarted the shopping cart seatbelt. You dig furiously through your purse with your free hand while your toddler laughs hysterically as you hold onto the back of his pants. Normally you’d ignore the phone but you’re waiting for a call from the pediatrician. Finally your fingers grasp the phone just as the pediatrician’s number lights up as a “missed call.”

My purse can easily become a dumping ground rather than a well-ordered carry-all. I want to be able to find the phone when I need it. I want to know exactly where to find a receipt when at the dry-cleaner or returning an item at the store.

So ladies, today we’re getting down to the nitty-gritty about what to keep you in your bag and how to keep it in order.

Purse Essentials that Make Life Easier

I keep some basic items handy for the day-to-day: purse essentials you could call them. Aside from my phone and wallet, these are things that I use most frequently.

1 | Chapstick/Lip Balm

I can’t handle dry lips. So I always have a good chapstick in my bag (with sunscreen because I live in San Diego where we get a lot of sun.) My favorite right now is coconut Sun Bum Sunscreen Lip Balm. It smells like a tropical vacation!

2 | Feminine Products

You don’t want to get caught without these on hand right?! I keep tampons & bandaids in a separate pouch so they stay in their packaging and don’t get dirty. Even though the packaging helps, I find that over time they get gross when they’re loose in my bag. Plus I don’t want to pull out my wallet and have a tampon fly out at the grocery store 😉

3 | Bandaids

Because I have younger children, I like to have bandaids handy in case of the minor scrapes that happen. Keeping them in a separate pouch makes them easy to find and keeps them clean and ready to use.

4 | Headphones

I’m a podcast addict so headphones give me the opportunity to catch up on episodes I’ve missed. I can pop in my headphones and listen to something interesting while watching my kids’ karate class. Check out some of my fave podcasts here.

5 | Hand Sanitizer/Wipes

Kids touch everything. Even now that mine are a little older, they can’t keep their hands off surfaces at the store, the post office, or pretty much anywhere. Especially during flu season, I like to have hand sanitizer available to deal with those dirty hands when we’re out and about.

6 | Sunscreen

Another key item for those of us that live in the land of perpetual sunshine! I like to keep a roll-on stick (like this one) for those times when we didn’t apply sunblock at home. I love to be tan, but I hate to be burned.

7 | Emergency Info Card

I laminated a small card that has our doctors’ names & numbers, our insurance info, and emergency contact numbers all in one place. It’s no big deal to find that info in a normal situation, but having it all in one spot seems like it would be really helpful in the event of an emergency.

2 Tools to Keep Your Purse Organized

Small Pouches/Cases

Have a couple small bags to store your purse essentials serves two purposes. First, it keeps small items corralled in one place so you don’t have to go on a treasure hunt every time you need something.

Second, it makes it easy to switch bags. You just grab the extra pouches and throw them in a different bag, and you’re good to go. No more worrying if you have what you need!

Receipt organizer 

One of the biggest reasons my purse gets disorganized is paper. I put coupons, receipts, and other papers in my bag and then forget to take them out. With a receipt organizer, those papers are all in one place.

One slot is for coupons, one for receipts, another for miscellaneous papers you need, etc. Instead of digging through slips of paper to find your keys, the papers are contained.

Another option is to use a simple envelope as a catch-all for receipts. Clean out the envelope weekly and either file or toss receipts.

One final tip for keeping your purse in order is to take a few minutes each week to go through your bag. Empty out any extra stuff and either toss it or put it where it belongs. With regular maintenance, the dumping ground can be avoided.

How do you prevent your purse from becoming a disaster??

Check out all 14 Days of Organization!

*This post includes affiliate links. Please see my full disclosure here.

Share with a friend:

14 Days of Organization

We're talking about all things organization for 14 days.

Today I’m kicking off a 14-day series all about organization! For a busy mama, organizational skills can be literally life-changing. I’m not exaggerating.

When my life is organized, my stress level is dramatically lower. I feel more relaxed when I know that I’m prepared and that nothing is slipping through the cracks.

So, for the next couple weeks, I’ll be sharing the tips and strategies I use to keep my home, family, and personal life in order.

My goal is not perfection. Honestly, organization doesn’t come easily to me. It takes effort to keep my life in order, and sometimes I fail miserably.

But I do want to be thoughtful and purposeful about how I manage our home so that our family can live in a more peaceful environment. With organization comes order, and with order comes peace.

Before we launch into the first area of organization tomorrow, I want to point out a few possible challenges.

1 | You don’t have a system

Unless you’re already fairly organized, conquering problem areas without a strategy can be daunting. Without a plan of action, it’s hard to know where to start.

If clutter is your main issue, for example, you can’t expect to clear out all the clutter in the entire house in one day. For one thing, you most likely have other responsibilities that can’t fall by the wayside.

Instead of trying to tackle a monstrous project all at once, break it into manageable pieces so that you can make progress while also handling other tasks, like feeding your kids 😉

2 | You have too much stuff

I’ll admit that I’m guilty of this one. We simply accumulate too much stuff. Instead of ever feeling truly organized, I end up moving things around to make room for the stuff that feels most important at the time.

My husband calls this process “s#@t shuffling” and it’s pretty accurate. I have a hard time getting rid of things that I think I might use one day so I try to make room for new stuff by shuffling the existing things around.

The best way to solve this problem is to start limiting the amount of stuff you own. For example, when new toys come in, get rid of the old toys that the kids no longer use. New clothes replace old items in the closet. An updated kitchen tool takes the place of the old version.

I’m prone to buying home decor items without having an immediate need for them just because they’re pretty. I would serve our home organization better by only buying what I will actually use.

If there’s not an immediate use (a seasonal item is a good example) then I need to get rid of something I no longer want to make room for the new item.

3 | You spend more time planning than doing

In our Pinterest-driven world, it’s so easy to scroll through hours of inspiration for any project on your to-do list. And let’s be honest, sometimes that’s much easier than actually doing what you need to do.

It can be a lot more fun looking at other peoples’ beautifully organized pantries than doing the hard work of organizing our own, am I right?!

The problem is that we spend so much time acquiring information, we can get stuck. This is called “analysis paralysis,” which basically means you’re so focused on forming the perfect strategy that you never move into the execution phase of the project. #guilty

Reading about how to use your day planner effectively is not helpful if you never start using your day planner. You have to move from strategizing to implementing if you want to accomplish your goals.

I’m really excited for this next couple of weeks to reinvigorate my own systems of organization and to encourage you to do the same!


Check out all the 14 days of Organization posts!

4 Easy Steps to Get Your Bedroom Closet Organized

3 Steps for Simple Linen Cabinet Organization

3 Tips for Organizing Kid’s Rooms

How to Keep Your Car Organized

Purse Essentials: What You Need & How to Stay Organized

Use Your Phone to Stay Organized

5 Easy Ways to Protect Your Home When You Travel

How to Pack for a Family Vacation

How to Plan an Effective Schedule

Share with a friend: