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Keep Your Purse Organized and Clean: 10 Tricks All Women Must Learn

A purse is like a portable storage room, but it can quickly turn into a black hole with all the daily clutter that builds up. Follow these tips to stop digging around for items you know you have.

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Keep pockets (mostly) clear

Most purses are decked out with a few inside or outside pockets. But if you stuff a bunch of small, loose items in those, you’ll still end up digging around more than you should. Instead, use cosmetic bags to hold those objects. Designate a different category to each one, like cosmetics, feminine products, and phone accessories to make it even easier to find what you need.

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Use those built-in pockets effectively

Figure out which items you take in and out most often, then assign one to each of those built-in pockets. Don’t overstuff the compartments, and make sure to put the same items in the same ones every time. That way, you won’t hold up a line while digging for your wallet or deal with heavy rays for long while searching for your sunglasses. Don’t miss these classic bags every woman should own.

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Prevent messes

Stop messes before they happen by keeping the wrong items out of your bag. Make sure every pen has a sturdy cap, and throw gum straight in the trash instead of sticking the wrapper in your purse. It’s also another reason to stick makeup in a cosmetics bag—you won’t end up with crushed powder or goops of lotion if a container breaks.

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Nix the junk

A heavy bag can take a toll on your back and neck, and you could end up with spine damage. Keep it light by taking out anything you don’t need daily. Only carry an umbrella if the forecast says it will rain, and leave coins in a jar at home if your wallet is getting stuffed. These are items you should never carry in your purse.

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Clean it out regularly

It’s much easier to keep clutter out of your purse if it doesn’t accumulate in the first place. Make a habit of clearing out receipts and wrappers as soon as you get home, or at least once a week. It takes just two minutes but will save you a major headache in the long run.

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Use a receipt holder

Instead of sticking receipts and coupons in your wallet, use a divided organizer. Label each section with categories like pantry item coupons, cleaning product savings, and merchandise receipts. That way, you won’t have to wade through last week’s dinner receipts when you’re trying to find cereal coupons. Here’s how to keep your purse safe at restaurants and bars.

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Go digital

You probably always have your phone with you anyway, so cut down on clutter by getting as many uses out of it as possible. Record memos and appointments in your phone’s note or calendar app instead of dragging around a notebook or planner, and use store apps instead of loyalty cards when possible. A tablet is also much less bulky than a heavy book, so consider switching to eBooks. Here’s how the most organized people use their smartphones.

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Downsize your beauty products

Leave anything full-sized at home, even makeup. Put lotions and hair products into travel-size containers, and ask for beauty product samples at the makeup counter if you plan to touch up your makeup. Find out how to avoid messes when packing beauty products here.

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Store meds in a pillbox

To avoid finding random pills on the bottom of your purse, put pain medication and other drugs in a small pillbox. Label each compartment so you don’t forget what’s inside.

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Give your bag a deep clean

To clean the inside of a bag, gently pull out the interior lining and use a lint roller to get rid of debris. If the lining isn’t removable, attach a fabric brush to your vacuum and suck away the mess. Wipe down the outside with alcohol-free baby wipes.

Sources: allwomenstalk.com, goodhousekeeping.com, marthastewart.com, quickanddirtytips.com, stylecaster.com

Originally Published in Reader's Digest