Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Purse Clean-up

Being laid up with my right arm in a sling (read all about it here) and mostly home-bound is like a severe level of torture to me.  I am a busy-body and sitting around letting or asking others do stuff for me is very difficult.  Before I get to the meat of my project today - I must give a huge blog land shout out to my Mom (who headed back to Minnesota on Sunday after 4 incredible weeks staying with us), my husband, kids, in-laws and friends for helping me out while I recover from the great roller-skating stupidity incident of 2011!  Special thanks to my friend Keri who delivered a venti java chip frappucino light with whip this morning and enchiladas to feed my family tonight.  You all rock. (And yes, this entire post has been written using the hunt-n-peck method which is gruelling for someone who considers herself a fairly good typer.)

Today I decided I needed to do something so I have started small - cleaning my purse.  As most women know, this can be an adventure.  I will admit, it was not the worst case of junkification I have encountered in my purse, but there was an interesting surprise.

Before I start, I have a couple of confessions to make.  First, I HATE my purse, and I have since the first day I bought it. It hangs open, with all my junk hanging out for the world to see.  Despite its compartments, stuff gets lost and I can't find anything.  Second, I am NOT a purse girl (or a shoe girl) - I know, punch my women card, but I just don't see the point of a purse for every occasion or a shoe for every outfit.  I am a utilitarian and believe a nice purse can do it all and a few key versatile pairs of shoes can get me by. I do have a small, black one for formal events, otherwise, it is a one do-it-all purse. As far as shoes, sneakers, a couple pair of sandals and some basic black slip-ons and I am good to go. So many other wonderful things to spend my money on.  Speaking of money, I don't believe in spending more than say $30 on a purse. I will never have a big-name purse with fancy initials unless I find one at Goodwill and even then it is not likely.  I will spend a bit more on a pair of shoes as I have that makes a difference on so many levels but even then I have to find a bargain.

But, I digress, my purpose today was to clean this slouchy mess. 

Step One:  Empty It Out
I flipped it over and dumped out everything from each compartment.  Yikes!

Not too bad, except for this little surprise that only a mom in the Happy Meal apple dipper club can appreciate...

Yes, that is a leaky caramel container with money, a straw wrapper and a pencil all stuck to the lining of my purse or an ooey, gooey mess!  I pulled it all out and soaked my lining in a small bowl of hot water.  To my joy, the caramel melted away in about 60 seconds and all was well with the world.  yeah me!

Step Two:  Sort and Declutter
This part was fairly easy.  Small pile of trash, 4 containers of lotion (I removed 2 of them), bunch of loose coupons which were returned to my coupon file, paint chips placed in a new baggie to keep them contained, wallet contents returned to their designated spots, loose change removed, etc.

Step Three:  Re-Stock
Finally, I put back the wallet, the paint chips, the toiletry necessities, a few pens, notebook, point-and-shoot camera, my phone and my keys.  Ahhhh, much better.

My purse secrets and tips...

1.  Keys - losing your keys in the bottom of your purse can be an issue.  My lifesaver is a simple caribiner that allows me to clip my keys to my purse strap or even my belt loop so they can't get buried in the bottom of my purse.

2. Key tags - a bonus of the caribiner is to place your store cards and key-tag gift cards on a separate ring which can easily be removed at the Starbucks drive-thru without turning off the car or rummaging in your wallet for money.  Just speaking from experience.

3. Scraggly Ends - You know, those loose threads that make your purse old and worn.  Like this...

Here is my simple solution...burn them off.  I have tried to cut them, but found that a quick flame can clean them up and "melt" the thread so they don't fray again.  Instantly makes the purse look clean and fresh. 

I would have shown you a picture of the method but the wrist in a splint made it difficult to master both flame & camera without burning down my forever house so I am leaving the process up to you!

4.  Decorating Must-Haves -- With a new house that is evolving, I have found a few must-haves to keep in my purse to make that hunt for just the right "thing" easier.  These items included...

      • Paint chips - I have paint chips for every room of our house so I can easily see if a color works or clashes.  So important to save time and money on wrong colors and returns.
      • Notebook - Record measurements for key items or areas in your home.  Save ideas, notes about your wish list, etc.  This is also a great place to record prices, sizes and other critical information about items you see at the store that you are not ready to buy.
     • Tape Measure - I am always checking measurements at stores.
    •  Camera - See something at the store that you think might work in your space but not ready to buy, snap a picture.  At a friends or an office and you see an idea you want to steal, snap a picture.  Cameras can also  help get spousal approval and save an argument.  Just saying!  I keep a point & shoot in my purse all the time.  As a mom I have caught some great spur of the moment events with my kids because I just happened to have my camera with me - if you are a scrapbooker this is a must-have.  You can use your phone in a pinch but the quality is just not there if you want to print the photos.

Hope I inspired you to take look at your purse. 

NOTE:  I have added a new, more utilitarian purse to my shopping list. A new wallet is on the list too because the zipper is broken.


  1. This is awesome, Lori :) I love your idea about carrying a tape measure and paint chips, I already have the camera and notepad. One thing I always carry too is a small monthly planner. Now if I just remember to actually look at it, I'll be so much more organized :)

    I thought I'd share with you my post about purses...maybe it will inspire you!


  2. I just start reading your blog when I came across your paint chip art for the spare bedroom. I thought it was great and am thinking about doing it myself.

    Also, I wanted to tell you about the purse that I got from www.queenbee-creations.com. I have the "truckette" bag and I LOVE it. They look cool and funky, have tons of space including 4 small pockets on the outside, have a super comfortable strap that can be adjusted as long or short as you want it, and are warrantied forever. Yes, they are a bit more than you said you liked to pay for a bag, but seriously worth it. I'm not affiliated with this company in any way, I just love their bags THAT much.


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