In this post, I wanted to give some tips on how to declutter your handbag. But first of all, let me tell you that if your handbag is bulging at the seams, then you’re definitely alone. Before decluttering my own handbag, it was full of clutter, too. Anyone with kids won’t be surprised when I list some of the contents that were lurking in my oversized bag:

  • Purses (three – mine, my daughter’s and my son’s)
  • Mascara and lip balm
  • Receipts (numerous) and 11 store loyalty cards
  • Items my kids had given me to carry (three socks, a painted shark ornament – below, a wind-up torch, a half-eaten bag of Midget Gems, 11 mint imperials (loose) and a rather large pinecone).
  • Loose medication packs (empty)
  • 6 coffee sachets
  • Spare change
  • Shopping lists, invitations and dental appointment cards
  • A diary

declutter your handbag

It’s so easy to collect so much stuff in our handbags, isn’t it? Especially if you have kids. No wonder we have bad backs from carrying so many items around with us. So many of which aren’t necessary. Not to mention the stress of trying to find what you need in a hurry…

So, time to start afresh! Here are my tips on how to declutter your handbag. Doing this meant I could switch to a lovely small handbag and do away with my large, carry all bag. So much prettier!

To begin with – completely empty your bag. Like me, you might be astounded at what you find!

  1. Get rid of the obvious rubbish first – the receipts, the notes, the items your kids/family members have given you to carry.
  2. Consider whether you really need all those loyalty cards? Keep cards that you use regularly and shred those you are never going to redeem. They’re just taking up space.I just kept three….the rest were binned.
  3. How heavy is your purse? Is it stuffed with coins? Could you start a “loose change jar” or use it up regularly in those self-service tills where you can just shove all your coins in?
  4. Don’t bring so many receipts home. If you’re purchasing a large item, it’s getting more common for stores to email you the receipt. Buying bread and milk? Think about whether you really need to hang on to that receipt.
  5. Are you hoarding appointment cards and invitations? Enter important dates into your phone’s calendar instead – you’re less likely to forget them that way, too. No smartphone? Think about buying a small diary to record all your important information.
  6. Important letters lurking in your handbag? Take a photo of them and recycle them. Again, this way you’ll always have important information to hand.
  7. Do you have a large diary? Think about getting a smaller one or using the notepad feature on your phone for notes, lists etc.
  8. If you have a smartphone, take advantage of its other features, too. The torch; ebooks; games to entertain the kids; your camera. How did we live without them?
  9. Reduce multiples…do you really need three pens?
  10. Finally, before putting anything back…carefully consider whether you really need that item and whether it deserves to take up room in your bag….Do you really need to be carrying it around all day with you?

I’d love to hear if you’ve managed to down-size your handbag…or are there other essentials that you just can’t leave home without? Please comment below, I’d enjoy reading about your ideas!

Interested in learning more about minimalist living? Check out my book reviews here:

The Joy of Less by Francine Jay – Book Review
Goodbye, things by Fumio Sasaki – Book Review


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33 comments on “Minimalist Living – Declutter your Handbag”

    • That made me smile!! Us mums do end up carrying a wonderful collection of things in our handbags, don’t we?

  1. I now carry a small crossbody bag — a little bigger than a wallet. Only the essentials… credit card, debit card, license, lipstick, blistex, keys, cash…and a couple loyalty cards. I LOVE that I no longer have to struggle with a huge purse!! Minimalism all the way!!

  2. I only carry a few things. My purse is almost empty, but I haven’t downsized for two reasons. My purse is holding up nicely, no need to get rid of it. And I purposely got one big enough to tuck in a book. You never know when you’ll be broken down on the side of the road, bored, and want something to read (or in a long queue, or at a restaurant and your friend texts to say she’ll be 20 minutes late). All those things have happened to me, so I always keep a book (“my errand book”) in my purse.

    Haha, a shark and a pinecone! Those made me laugh!

  3. Gosh my handbag is shameful! Sometimes I put my hand in there and pull out all sorts of sticky, gunky sweets and melted chocolate! I really need to declutter my handbag, and child proof it too!

  4. I completely reorganized my bag earlier this year and love how I set it up. First, I downsized the size of my bag. Now I have everything organized between a small wallet with only the essential cards; a leather pouch that holds the small things like lip gloss, hair ties, a pen, etc; and my iPhone. If there’s anything else that I’m carrying in my purse temporarily, it’s the only thing not properly stored, so it’s easy to remember to remove it later.

  5. This made me smile, in mine ( I have a massive one to keep Fred entertained) I had a sticker book, a pack of top trumps, and colouring pencils. Hardly anything for myself! I might start carrying a handbag just for me!! Love the tip on taking a photo of important letters, I lose stuff all the time!

  6. I think we all need this from time to time, especially as mums as we end up carrying around so much. I just got a new handbag and it’s genius due to the different compartments so hopefully, I will have to do this less in the future. x

  7. I never was the fit-your-whole-house-in-your-bag kind of girl, so I really have only what I need in it, except the receipts and the daily snacks. That’s it~

  8. I end up with all sorts in my bag..I think because we don’t get free bags with shopping anymore, and I rarely remember a bag for life, it all goes in the handbag..it’s a receipt graveyard.

  9. I love this post! Don’t forget those half-eaten lollies sticking somewhere deeper and felt pens with no lids marking the inside of the bag! I am the one who maintains receipts at home and it was overwhelming really! I go for the email receipts now! I was doing exactly what you said – saving the important dates in the calendar – but the huge mistake I made was, not being aware of losing everything when my phone stopped charging one day. It took 3 weeks to repair, the worst thing was it was during the high time when DD1 was having loads of programs as she was the leavers in primary! My advice – share the calendar (if possible) with your partner! 🙂

  10. I love that you mention receipts. I always have a good forty floating around my purses, bags, room. It’s such a waste of paper, and I end up finding them after a couple of months like “Why did I feel the need to save this receipt that reminds me how I wasted money on unhealthy food?” I also have about seven pens on me at all times. Different types, colours, etc. And two pencils for good measure. Minimalism is not my strong suit, ahaha.

    • Oh, receipts seem to get everywhere, don’t they! I like that they don’t always give them to you nowadays and that you can decline them at the till. That helps a little 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

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