How To Organize Your Purse

I am always on the lookout for “clutter creep,” when we slowly accumulate stuff after decluttering. Purging has to become a part of your routine. If not, the creep sets in and we have just as much clutter as before.

For me, the creep is a constant concern. And the hardest place to control the creep is in my purse. Too often, I stand at the door digging in my purse for my house keys. It is also embarrassing to sit your purse on a counter when it has a ton of stuff in it. The fact that my purse sometimes weighs as much as a small child is a problem in itself.

Keeping your purse organized is a struggle, but it’s better if you have a strategy. Here are some things to consider when taming the beast in your bag:

  • Wallet – Do you use your wallet for storing business cards, receipts, and other things? It’s ok to put important things in your wallet. However, a wallet can only hold so much. Set a regular time (weekly, monthly, etc.) to go through your wallet and clean out all the extra stuff.
    • Also consider dumping change every week. Change is heavy and it takes up space. Collecting change is also a good way to save some extra money.
  • Keys – Do you need all they keys on your key ring? If there are some that you don’t use, or some that you only use occasionally, consider taking them off and putting them in a safe place until they are needed.
  • Makeup – Do you need a full makeup collection everywhere you go? Most of us can get away with just lip products. Usually lipstick is all we need. One signature look and a spare is good enough.
  • Pockets – Most purses have a zipper pocket. It tends to collect receipts, business cards, reward cards (those that aren’t important enough to be kept in the wallet) and all other manner of junk.
    • Consider taking a different approach with reward cards and gift cards. Keep a wallet in the house for all these cards. This will cut down on unplanned trips to the stores (good for our minimalist goals!).
  • Miscellaneous –  There are a ton of other things we carry in our purses: pens, combs, hand sanitizer, hand lotion, books, iPods, iPads, cell phones… Evaluate what you really need on a daily basis and carry only those things.
  • Repeat! Go through your purse periodically to make sure that the clutter doesn’t creep back in.

What are your purse management tips?

Have vs. Have Not

Sometimes I get focused on what I don’t have. With advertisements extolling the virtues of products we don’t have, sometimes it’s easy to lose focus on what we do have.

In order to focus on one thing, we must exclude everything else.

Renowned life coach Anthony Robbins calls this “deleting.” In one of his talks he asks the audience to look around the room and find everything that was blue and then close their eyes. With eyes closed, he asked the audience to think of something that was green. As expected, the audience was so focused on blue things that they failed to notice things that were green. When focused on blue, the brain automatically deleted all other colors.

We do the same thing in our lives. Sometimes we are so consumed with what we don’t have that we miss what we do have. Every commercial presents us with something to buy; something that will improve our lives exponentially if only we would purchase it. Every store is filled with new things that will makes us happier, sexier, and more productive; or so they would have us believe. With images of what we don’t have constantly before us, it’s easy to delete all the good that’s present in our lives.

Trust me, I fall into the trap all the time. I spend far too much time lamenting all the things in life I don’t have. It’s depressing and it leads to unhealthy thoughts and behaviors. It is almost always a result of deleting all the good in my life and focusing on all the bad. That is no way to live.

My life is not perfect. I have plenty of problems, but I have plenty of blessings, too.

I do not have a full-time job, but I have a part time job that provides some income.

I do not have a BMW, but I have a car that runs well.

I do not have a sprawling 5 bedroom home but I have a place to sleep that is safe and comfortable.

I have food.

I have friends and family that love me.

I have a sense of destiny and purpose.

I have am in good health.

When I focus on these things it makes me feel full. Content. I don’t feel this sense of longing that I have so often tried to fill by buying more things. I don’t need more things. I only need to realize that I already have enough.

Strong and Courageous

I’m not feeling particularly courageous. Yes, I’ve done some courageous things, but when presented with a new challenge, sometimes I panic.

In the next couple of weeks I will be taking on some new roles in my church. These will take me way out of my comfort zone. I’m not sure if I’m ready. I feel so messed up, so unsure, so inadequate. I feel downright scared.

But why am I so scared? I’m scared because I will be doing things I’ve never done before. What if I’m not good at what I do? What if I mess up? What if I look like an idiot?

My fears reveal the real problem: I am worried about me — worried about how I’ll feel and how I’ll look. I seek to save myself embarrassment and discomfort. I seek to avoid difficult situations.

Note that my fear is not about whether or not this is what God wants. These next steps are consistent with what I know God wants me to do. I’m pretty sure he is behind this. But I’m so caught up in how I feel, that what God wants has actually become an afterthought.

My thought process should be something like this: I believe this is what God wants. He promises to be with me. Let his will be done.

In Exodus 3:12, God commissions Moses to go to Pharaoh to demand freedom for the Israelites. He promises to be with him. When Moses hesitates, God tells Moses that he will be with his mouth and that he would teach Moses what he should speak (Exodus 4:12).

As I discussed in my last post, God promised to be with Joshua, just as he was with Moses. Joshua was to be strong and courageous, knowing that God was with him.

Should I not do the same? As I take prepare to take on greater responsibility, should I not go forward with courage, knowing that God is with me? Is than not enough to calm my fears?

The only way for me to move forward is to shift the focus from myself and my own discomfort, to doing what God wants. This is the only way that I can be strong and courageous.

When I picked up and moved across the country for seminary, I wasn’t focused on myself. I was focused on the fact that if I didn’t go, I could miss out of God’s will. I wasn’t about to let that happen, and I really wasn’t going to let fear be the cause. My fear of regret was stronger than my fear of failure, so I went.

That required courage – more than I knew I had. I think that we all have more courage than we realize. But sometimes self-centered fear threatens to deactivate that courage.

In those times, remember that God is with you . He is bigger. He is greater. He is stronger. And just as he was with Moses, he will be with you.