When people first read The Lifechanging Magic of Tidying Up (affiliate link*) it seems one of the first objections is to Marie Kondo’s suggestion to empty your purse every day. “I’m way too busy!” “Who has time?” “I have kids!” “That’s just way too anal-retentive for me!” I think almost everyone has some variation of those thoughts. Early, on, I also thought, where would I even set up a place to empty out my purse? I can barely breathe in all of this clutter, let alone find a bare spot to put my purse!
Then the magic happened. When I removed all of my clothes from the shelves where I kept them, sorted them with the criterion of whether they sparked joy, I ended up donating more than half of my clothes. That meant the rest could fit comfortably into my closet and into my fabric bins, leaving extra shelves free for other things– like a purse-emptying station!
(Before Konmari, this set of shelves was crammed full of clothes!)
I’m not really a “purse” person. I do have about five purses that I use when I dress up, but for EDC (every day carry), I have three bags I alternate between, all by Tom Bihn (not an affiliate link– I’m just a huge fan.) The smallest is a Side Effect, which carries my wallet, phone, car key, a tiny notebook, and a sonic screwdriver. The medium Cafe Bag and the Imago (now discontinued) can carry all that plus my Filofax, a library book or two, my combination lock and other stuff I need for work.
The three bags fit nicely into a generic fabric cube acquired from Target ages ago.
And the fabric bin fits nicely on a shelf, with my planner, library books, and a picture of my grandson.
But what about all that stuff I put inside? Doesn’t it seem weird to take it all out and then put it back in the next day? Actually, not really. I keep my stuff in pouches (also by Tom Bihn), that can clip into D-rings inside each of the bags. One pouch contains earplugs, earbuds, a nail file, lip gloss, mints, gum, and a lint-free cloth for cleaning my glasses. It also holds my code for a discount on Tough Mudder, which I can’t use this year because I’m injured and can’t train. Another pouch contains coins for the vending machine. Another is currently drying after being washed, but it will hold my badge, combination lock, and hand lotion. I like my little pouches because each day, I can decide to carry only what I need that day.
My purse also usually contains my phone and a medium Leuchtturm 1917 notebook that I am using as a planner and as a diary/journal. (I am collecting pictures for a later post on this if it works. I’m planning my first post about that to go around the middle to end of October, after I’ve used it as a planner for a full month.)
I’ve been emptying my bag every day since mid-February and it has made a huge difference in how smoothly my morning goes. It takes about a minute to grab the stuff I need for the day and fit it into the chosen bag (which I can choose based on what I need to carry that day.) Unpacking is also very quick– because everything I carry has its own place in these shelves. I usually wear a bun, clipped up with the clips that sit on top of my purse station, but as soon as I finish work, I unclip my hair. Emptying my purse means the clip goes right back where it belongs, immediately. If I have dance classes, the jewelry I wore to work will also be in my purse and definitely needs to go back into its home before I lose it. I also process the mail and receipts as soon as I finish emptying out my purse, so this keeps me on top of things. (How many purses have a layer of receipts, change, and gum wrappers at the bottom?)
A lot of people think it’s unrealistic to empty your bag every day if you have small children, but I would say that it would be even more necessary then. I cringe now at the condition of the diaper bags I carried. How often would a favorite shirt sneak down to the bottom of the diaper bag, not to be found until the baby outgrew it? And let’s not even talk about baggies half-full of stale snacks. It’s easier, too, to make sure you have a sufficient stock of diapers and clean clothes and wipes and snacks every day. The bag does not have to be left empty overnight, of course. You can always unpack it and repack it with what you need the next day.
It might seem crazy to unpack your bag every night, but give it a fair try and see if it removes some irritation from your daily routine.
Do you unpack your bag every night? If so, have you noticed positive changes?