Is Your Purse or Wallet Becoming a Pain?

I’ve been spending more time than I care to at the chiropractor’s office lately. Turns out the nagging pain in my right shoulder is linked to the weight of my purse.  And it appears I’m not the only one; women carry a purse that can weight over 20 lbs or more according to Dr. Lisa K. Cannada, M.D., an orthopaedic trauma surgeon.  My problems started when I bought an over-sized purse which was all the rage at the time.  Without realizing it, I began to put more and more items in it because there was space.  Can you relate? For some women, it’s not just the weight of the purse that’s an issue, it’s the jumbled mess inside.  Have you ever dumped out the contents of your bag on the counter at the cash register because you couldn’t find what you needed quickly? How frustrating! And it’s not just women that are lugging around too many belongings; how many times have you seen men sitting lopsided on their bulging wallets? They even made a Seinfeld episode about it! If you are ready to put a stop to the madness and save your sanity and your body, try these tips to get your purse and/or wallet organized quickly and easily.

Top 5 Tips to Organize Your Purse

1.  Purge your purse. Pare down to essentials. Carry only what you need; you can always keep non-essentials in your car or in your desk at work.

2.  Lighten the load by carrying a smaller purse. Choose a wider purse over a deep one to avoid archaeological digs.  Look for one that has pockets for your cell phone, your glasses, etc.

3.  Break items down into categories like grooming (lip balm, comb, powder), health (aspirin, antacid, tissues), and office (notepad, pen). Store each category in its own small, clear, zippered bag which can quickly be transferred from purse to purse.

4.  Conserve space by carrying travel sizes of items like hand cream and aspirin.

5.  Maintain your system.  At least once a week, clean out your purse by emptying out scraps of paper, abandoned mints, and used tissues.  You can do this effortlessly while waiting for appointments or watching TV.

Post It Notes Purse Dispenser

Post It Notes Purse Dispenser

Just for fun, here is a photo of my purse-shaped Post-it® Pop-up Note dispenser.  Mine was a gift but if you want one you can find it at office supply stores.

Top 5 Tips  to Organize Your Wallet

1.  Purge the excess.  Pare down to essentials.  Carry some cash, a debit card, a credit card, driver’s license, and perhaps a health card (often, just having the number is enough).

2.  Store it elsewhere.  Keep discount cards, coupons and gift cards in the glove compartment of your car instead of your wallet.  Keep seldom-used credit cards in a secure place at home.  Limit the amount of photos you carry; there’s no need to lug around every picture of your children/grandchildren you’ve had since they were born.

3.  Lighten the load by carrying a smaller wallet.  Once you edit out the excess, a smaller wallet will prevent the temptation to accumulate months’ worth of receipts and  scraps of paper.

4.  Be prepared. Photocopy  all of the cards you carry in your wallet and keep a copy at home in case your wallet is ever stolen.

5.  Maintain your system. At least once a week, clean out your wallet by emptying out scraps of paper, business cards and other odds and ends. You can do this effortlessly while waiting for appointments or watching TV.  Use a mini accordion file case, a basket or a box to organize and store receipts at home.

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This post has 5 comments

  • Much needed article Hellen. Thank you! I started carrying a messager bag which was even a bigger clutter (paper) magnet than my purse. Too many little areas where paper can hide.

    Besides photocopying cards, etc., I also scan them so I have electronic copies that I can send to banks, etc. (password protected so they’re safe when being emailed).


  • Kim Oser says:

    Great tips. Everyone asks how I carry such a small purse. I have to carry a small purse otherwise I get anxiety that I won’t be able to find everything. Everything in my purse has it’s place like you suggest so I have major panic when I realize I didn’t but something back where it belonged. {{knock on wood}} I have never ‘lost my keys or cell phone only temporarily misplaced them a few times.

    Taking Linda’s suggestion of scanning cards further, I recommend clients email themselves a copy of their passport, major credit cards (both sides) and insurance card before traveling. They can get online almost anywhere to retrieve the information should it get lost or stolen. Thanks again for the great tips!

    • dea says:

      About emailing copies of your credit cards and passports to yourself. That sounds like a great idea but I wonder is it safe? Is there someone at yahoo or at google or the government that can “get into” your emails? I’ve always been kind of afraid of “the cloud” storage and would appreciate your return-comment.

  • Cathryn Lewien says:

    I just read your post re: large purses. I just found a product (No association with the company) which I LOVE and have purchased four of the items as gifts. The item is called Purse Perfector ( I’ve used many ‘purse organizers’ and even made my own but this one suits all my needs. I love the product. It’s lightweight, sturdy and attractive and stays upright in my travel luggage, purse, or backpack. Check it out
    Just wanted to share my ‘find’.