Jeni Marinucci: Panic Button Years


How to Take Your Purse from Black Hole Where Dreams Die to Bag of Pleasure

It doesn't need to be a blackhole

Cleaning and organizing your purse

We need to talk about your purse. 

I don't even need to see it to tell you it's too heavy, it needs a good purge, and it's missing crucial items. It's weighing you down literally and figuratively. Today things change. 

A purse is important; it's our port in the storm and our portable emergency preparedness kit. That can mean different things to different people and almost nothing surprises me when it comes to what I've seen on an "emergency supplies" shortlist. As for your purse, it doesn't matter if the one you choose is a huge satchel or a hippie mailbag or a wallet on a string or a handkerchief bundle tied to the end of a long stick- a purse is your home away from home. It serves immediate needs (wallet, keys, lollipops (aka "Be Quiet Sticks) and I have strong feelings about purses. 

Let's get started.  

Dump it ALL Out 

Dump your purse, the pockets, the bags inside, AND your wallet on a table in good light, preferably with no one around to see your secret shame. 

Cleaning and organizing your purse


Throw it Away

This is not the time for finesse. Pick up  a piece of whatever and make a decision. Throw out all immediate garbage and old make up. Go through all 334 of your loyalty and points cards. Pitch the ones you never use, and cull the ones you want to keep. Put them in a separate pile because before any of them go back in your wallet you need to see if they make an app for them, eliminating the need to carry them around. Check gift card balances and throw out spent ones. Please; there is no way you are reloading that Tims Card. You'll buy a new one and you know it. Better yet, get the electronic version and save the planet the plastic and you the headache. Check your key ring while you're at it. You're not a building super - you don't need to carry those all with you everywhere. 

Tip: Now is the time to have an extra key cut for friend or neighbour before you have to ask them to help you kick in your basement window. ASK ME HOW I KNOW. 

Eliminate clutter

Look at your keep pile. It should be at least 25% smaller than what you started with. It isn't? KEEP GOING.   

Divide and conquer 

Sort like with like. Take your keep pile and divide into piles like this: 

  • wallet  - cards, cheque book if you still use one and seriously why are you still using one?
  • coins - keep a few of each variety in a small separate coin purse and leave the rest at home in a jar 
  • make up and personal care - anything related to your body or that helps with sticky children
  • sunglasses and lens cleaning cloth 
  • paper and pens, business cards 
  • miscellany - I carry a lighter even though I don't smoke because a world without the possibility of emergency S'mores campfire parties is a world I don't care to be part of.
While your purse is empty, clean it. It's disgusting. Think about where we put our purses and all the surfaces they come into contact with in a given week. If it was a dog, you'd make it sleep outside. Wash it by hand and hang to dry inside out if fabric, wipe it down with wet cloth and light cleanser if vinyl, oil or treat according to manufacturer if it is made from leather. Sew up any holes or rips and mend zippers. If the thought of all this gives you a headache, you don't love it enough. Throw it out if it's a piece of shit or give it away if someone would like it and buy a new one you love enough to care for. Now, let it air out and breathe for a day. It works hard - let it rest, you monster. 

Now pack things back up. By keeping things in smaller sections and bags, you can more easily change purses since it's just a matter of swapping out bags rather than emptying 100 pockets. Aim for light, solid mesh or clear bags so you can see what's inside. What is inside? I'm glad you asked. 
  • Wallet - small as possible and no coin section. It'll become too full and you know you won't use it. You'll just toss it into the abyss - I'm on to you. Keep  a small separate coin bag. Keep an emergency $20 here for emergencies. (S'mores parties totally count.) 
  • A small one pocket binder or bag for all your point cards you're keeping
  • A makeup bag with chapstick/lipstick, a comb, emergency travel toothbrush, blotting papers, mascara, a hair elastic and 2 bobby pins, hand sanitizer, tampon/pads, band aids, a sunscreen stick, toothpick for cleaning dirty nails, small nail file, tweezers, secure pill box with a few painkillers and and medication you can't go a day without. I keep a few Advil, Tylenol, Aspirin and 2 or 3 of my blood pressure pills in case I end up stuck somewhere; some hand lotion (One with a nice scent will double as perfume in a pinch and also tame hair flyaways. Chapstick is also great for keeping crazy eyebrows in line.)
  • pen, small notepad, business cards
  • a folded ziplock bag for, um, unexpectedly wet items
  • a plastic envelope for receipts. Empty this every few days
  • Snack pack (CRUCIAL) with granola/energy bar, dried fruit, candy, gum
  • A pair of ear buds and a phone charger

You are now wired for sound! Your purse is now half the weight it used to be! You're so fresh it's gonna feel like you had a Brazilian wax, with none of the pain or potential delicate bit wax burns! 





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