FASHION Try these purse-purging methods to lighten your load

By Doug Worgul

McClatchy Newspapers

You'd like to be carrying a cute little Kate Spade bag, wouldn't you? Instead, you're lugging around a big ol' Samsonite, right?

You have no choice really, what with the wallet, cell phone, keys, makeup, kids' snacks, aspirin and first-aid supplies, notes, receipts, gum, breath mints, iPod, feminine products, baby wipes, granola bars and hair-care items you have to tote from place to place.

Like to lighten your load? Try these purse-purging tactics:


Dump it. Empty the contents of your purse on a counter or table. Throw away gum and candy wrappers, used tissues, old receipts and shopping lists. Give your empty purse a good cleaning, inside and out, using a moist cloth.

Sort it. Group items by category, such as fundamentals (keys, wallet, sunglasses and cell phone), cosmetics, gum and snacks, kids' stuff and hygiene.

Contain it. Donna Smallin, author of the books "Organizing Plain &; Simple," "Unclutter Your Home" and "7 Simple Steps to Unclutter Your Life," suggests storing and carrying these categorized items in individual containers, such as matching cosmetics bags or resealable plastic bags. That way you can easily see what's in each smaller bag and put in your purse only those items you'll need for any given outing.

Reduce it. Pare down the items you carry by eliminating duplicates -- one lipstick instead of three, one small notepad for lists and reminders instead of individual notes and scraps.

Risk it. Don't stock your purse for every possible contingency. Chances are you're not going to need snacks and your iPod when lunching with your girlfriends. If you need something you don't happen to have in your purse, buy it, or borrow it from a girlfriend who hasn't yet learned to pack light.

Share it. If your kids want to take snacks along for the ride, give them the responsibility of carrying them in their own pockets or backpacks.

Shrink it. Try carrying a smaller purse. It'll force you to be choosier about what you carry.

Purge it. Empty your purse every night and throw away all trash. Restock with the essentials -- wallet, keys, phone and basic cosmetics. Then, before going out in the morning add whatever else you might need for the day ahead.



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