Simple Saturday ~ Before/After Handbag

No matter how organised I am the good old handbag always ends up with bits and pieces, mostly receipts, building up to outrageous proportions. This week it was time for a clean out and here is the result. There wasn’t that much removed aside from those receipts I mentioned, but a good tidy up certainly put things back into order

Handbag contents BEFORE


Handbag Contents AFTER

The items decluttered


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About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.


  1. A friend of mine came across the best thing to use in a purse for receipts and other loose bits of paper or business cards. She can’t remember where she got it but it was online. It is about 1/3 of an inch thick and about the size of the smaller of the index cards. It is a hard case about like the one in the top of your after picture. Inside it has a clip on one side (the inside front) and a thin pad of lined paper on the other. She says it is just right for short grocery or errand lists and storing receipts and stuff. If I carried a purse I would get one.

    • Hi Deb,
      I like the sound of that little folder although a second one like the one I have would do the job. The one I have is actually a cigarette case but I use it as a wallet to hold my cash and cards.

  2. this is such amazing timing! just two days ago, in an effort to downsize and declutter and ‘find out who i truly am without a designer label’, i sold my designer handbag and accessories that went with it.

    all the contents that came out of the bag prior to the sale i went through and decluttered, organized, cleaned up and set aside until i could find another purse (believe it or not, i only had the one!). then just today i found a lovely vintage black leather pocketbook at a resale shop. the unique-ness of it and the quality (even has a MIRROR literally BUILT into it directly under the top flap) are amazing and fun! and the price? pennies, absolute pennies, literally, compared to the designer piece (HELLO INCREASE IN MY BANK ACCOUNT!). the pocketbook is so tailored and lovely and i’m really trying to keep the contents in-check because it is so much lighter to carry. why on earth i had all that extra stuff in my bag was and still is a mystery to me, half of it really never got used! the weight that has been lifted off my ‘shoulder’ makes me feel like i’m walking on a cloud!

    • Good job Annabelle! If I’m recalling right, you loved her bag, and you were always filling it with junk your kids would hand you. Way to reduce!

      • Cindy, EXACTLY!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

        • Good job Annabelle,
          No more designer bags, wow that will certainly be a load lifted off your shoulder and a strain lifted off your bank account. I never could understand the attraction of designer bags but them I am a little (lot) thrifty. I also don’t like designer t-shirts, if some company wants me to be a walking billboard for them they can bloody well pay me for it not the other way around.

  3. I’m quite fastidious when it comes to my purse. My friends joke that I have the cleanest purse they’ve ever seen ๐Ÿ˜‰ . I just can’t stand “junk” accumulating in my purse and not being able to find anything. I own only one purse and it’s quite small. This way, there’s not a lot of room for clutter.

    • Hi Marnie,
      that is my theory too the problem came when I needed to start wearing glasses and I had to keep the case somewhere and my little bag was no longer big enough. The one in the picture isn’t all that big either but I would prefer it to be smaller. Unfortunately $300 pairs of glasses need protecting when they aren’t on your face.

  4. I try to clean mine out once a week, usually on a Friday so I can get rid of the week’ s clutter. I use small make-up bags to group items inside my bag, clear plastic ones mean that I can then see the contents easily

  5. When I went shopping on a whim, my purse would clutter up with receipts and fliers, and I’d also carry extra things like a mini tape measure, fabric swatches, paint color strips, lists of books to keep an eye out for, notebook and pens, you get the idea.

    Now I’m on a shopping moratorium (18 months and counting) and only go out once per week for groceries, plus monthly trips to the drugstore. Nothing like it for keeping the purse under control! I still use my gorgeous classic black Vera Wang tote because it doesn’t scream “designer” and it is made really well. It is also roomy enough for library books and my net book, which is nice because I walk to the library and sometimes to a local coffee shop to write when I get stir-crazy. Good for the farmer’s market, too.

    • Hi Meg,
      it sounds like your roomy bag is perfect for you and that is how it should be. I can relate to the receipts piling up, mine still do and I don’t shop on a whim, it amazes me how manyI seem to accumulate. I do tend to go out for coffee with friends on a regular basis and I grocery shop more often these days in order shop fresh so I suppose that is the cause.

  6. It’s always good to re-evaluate things, isn’t it? I recently started using a slightly larger purse when my old one wore out. It’s amazing the things that have ended up there, even though I could have sworn I was firmly in the habit of keeping it to a minimum.

    Never-ending vigilance is necessary, I guess!

    • Hi Jo,
      I have found the same problem myself ~ The bigger the bag the more crap that accumulates in it no matter how careful you think you are.