How to Reduce the Clutter in Your Handbag


Do you carry a handbag? What’s in yours? Do you know? Are we all carrying too much in our bags?

As a light traveller, I extend my Planepack light travel principles to other aspects of my life – my wardrobe, my house, my car, and especially my handbag – to carry as little as possible!

Why Organise Your Bag?

I like to be prepared and organised, particularly if I’m attending a business meeting – or travelling by bus – as I’ve started to do recently.

I’m far less stressed in the morning if I don’t have to worry about the contents of my bag. I value having less to carry, which is particularly useful on the bus – as it is on the plane, boat or train.

I like to leave the house knowing I have everything I need with me; no need to worry I might have left an important item – like a wallet – behind.

Use a Bag Within a Bag

For the past few years, I’ve used a handbag organiser. This is essentially a bag within a bag – and there are many of these bags to choose from on the market. My handbag organiser is a little bit gorgeous: it’s fabric and red leather, made by hand in the States and bought on Etsy.

My handbag organiser is a little bag in its own right: with handles, compartments and outer pockets. The trick is that I lift it out of one handbag and put it straight into another.

It’s so easy to swap my handbags with my organiser. Today I might use a beige bag, tomorrow a black bag – without worrying I’ve left out an essential item. The handbag organiser keeps me organised.

One of the things I’ve learnt is to always keep the same items in the same place. My wallet and toiletries go into the central compartment; my pens, phone, business cards and more go into the outside pockets. That way I know exactly what to grab in a hurry.

Separate Toiletries from Technologies

Grabbing in a hurry is particularly important when you’re attending an event, giving a presentation, going to the movies or anywhere you need a specific item quickly.

I no longer scrabble around in my bag, nor do I have to turn upside down the contents of my bag to find my keys. I simply slip in my hand and pull out the right object!

Separating your toiletries from your tech items is essential: never embarrass yourself by pulling out the lipstick instead of the thumb drive.

These days I keep my toiletries in a small pouch, quite separate from my techie stuff which I keep in another pouch. The two pouches have different textures; I know to grab the right pouch even in the dark.

Need to Have, Not Nice to Have

As I use a handbag organiser, it’s easy to keep my essentials always ready and packed. I don’t exchange the items individually when I change handbags; I just lift my organiser out of one bag and straight into another bag.

I don’t carry with me items that I imagine might be nice to have. These days, I know exactly what I’ll need to use in any situation.

My Planepack handbag essentials are:

  • pens (I carry a writing pen, a drawing pen and a stylus)
  • Glasses (reading and sunglasses in different cases, differentiated by texture)
  • Wallet (with the bare minimum cards and cash)
  • iPhone
  • Keys (house and car only)
  • Business cards (I have different sets, each one in its own separate card holder – so I know which one to grab)
  • Cord roll (this is essential for rolling up my headphones and charger wires to prevent them from getting tangled up with everything else)
  • Tissues
  • Lipstick and mirror
  • Comb, toothbrush and toothpaste (optional)
  • Lightweight, rollable shopping bag (optional)
  • iPad and Apple Pencil (optional, depending upon meetings)

These items fit mostly in my handbag organiser, and if they don’t (like glasses cases), I simply slip them down the side of my handbag, between the organiser and the larger handbag.

What’s in your handbag? And how do you organise it? I’d love to hear more. Let’s have a conversation about light handbags.

Let\’s Have a Conversation!

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