You reach into your purse for a pen, but come up with loose coins, tangled cords … everything but the kitchen sink. Not only is it hard to find what you’re looking for, but it’s also a hassle to transfer things to other purses — not to mention the wear and tear your purse is accruing from being a mess. Have no fear: Here are some easy ways to tidy up your tote and keep your purse organized.
Tangled cords? Corral them in a case.
Somehow the charging cords you keep in your bag always twist themselves into an intricate knot. Rather than painstakingly untangling them, just tuck them into a hard sunglasses case, recommends organizer Leslie Jacobs. “The case prevents tangles by keeping cords from getting jostled.”
Also smart: To avoid earbud tangles, grab a wine cork: Poke a hole in one end with a nail, then use a knife to cut a narrow sliver out of the other end. Insert the earbud plug into the hole, wrap the wires around the middle of the cork and slide the ends through the sliver. The cork will easily keep the cord in place.
Wallet overflowing? Divide and conquer.
If you’re like us, your wallet is bursting at the seams and its contents are tumbling into your bag. Rather than let your wallet (and purse!) become a catchall, try this trick from organizer Mary Cornetta: Ditch your wallet completely and store must-haves in other spots. For example, stash cash and cards in a money clip, and slide coupons into a zip-top bag. “And place spare change in an old pill bottle with the label removed,” she suggests. “It’ll hold coins securely and allow you to easily see how much you have at a glance.”
Spills and crumbs? Grab a water bottle.
To prevent a mess if your hand sanitizer spills or your moisturizer explodes, keep liquid bottles sealed in a reusable screw-cap water bottle inside of your bag, suggests Marissa Hagmeyer, co-founder of Neat Method. “It’s a really easy way to keep your cosmetics and hand lotion contained and prevent any leaks from staining your bag’s lining.”
Also smart: To get rid of any debris, consider a purse cleaning ball (like Sauberkugel – The Clean Ball, Buy from Amazon, $12.99). It’s all the rage with organizers and social media influencers alike. Made of a tiny sticky ball in a plastic cage that rolls around the bottom of your purse, it easily picks up dust, lint, and crumbs.
Now that your purse is organized, you want to make sure it stays mess-free. Here are ways to keep your purse clean, no matter what material it is made from.
Suede? Try white vinegar.
Using a suede or nail brush, gently brush the outside of your purse, says Toby Schulz, founder of Maid2Match cleaning company. “Then dampen a cloth in white vinegar and wipe the surface until all the dirt is removed.”
Vinyl? “Baby” it in detergent.
Vinyl looks durable, but cleaning it is tricky since harsh cleansers can crack it, says Schulz. The fix: “Mix a bit of gentle baby laundry detergent and some water, and use a soft cloth or toothbrush to gently lift stains.”
Canvas? Give it a cold bath.
This material tends to be strong and can typically survive a run through the washing machine — with one caveat: If your bag has a bold color or pattern, run it on the cold water cycle to prevent colors from bleeding. Let it air-dry once the wash cycle is done.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.
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