National Clean Out Your Purse Day May 15th

In honor of my new book, THE GET YOURSELF ORGANIZED PROJECT, I want to help you get your life together, and I want to start with your handbag…


I’ve always known the truth: the bigger your purse, the smaller your butt looks.

But with a large purse come the ability to fill it to the tippy top with a back breaking amount of “stuff”.

I knew I had issues when I casually mentioned to Roger, “I wish they had purses with wheels on them.” His reply, “They do. They’re called suitcases – and you have a problem.”

I would love for you to have the feeling that wherever you go, you are not weighed down by “stuff”.

Here’s my super-speedy way of cleaning out my bag. I simply take my purse and dump it out into a plastic grocery bag. I sort the dump into Put Away, Put Back, and (in this case) Throw Away.

Put Away

Anything I want to keep that doesn’t belong in my purse gets put away. This is also when I go through receipts I’ve carefully placed in my wallet (or, more likely, the ones I’ve quickly thrown into my purse…) and random notes or other pieces of paper. If you’re away from home while you’re sorting, just put these items into another bag to put away when you get home. And when you get home, put them away in the right spot.

Put Back

If it belongs in your purse, go ahead and put it back into your purse.

Throw Away

Anything that’s left over in your plastic grocery bag (food wrappers, cash receipts you don’t care about, and so on,) is now garbage that gets recycled or thrown away.

The beauty of the grocery-bag organizing system is that you can do it anywhere, anytime. Just grab a grocery bag and start sorting while you’re waiting for your kids to get out of band practice or while you’re on the phone with your mom.

Clean it Up

Give your purse a good shake and get out any stray bits, crumbs etc. I’ve even used a hand held vacuum to really get the bag clean.

Label It and Put It Away

Assign a spot for everything that belongs in your purse, bag, or backpack. I use three zippered pouches. Everything goes into one of those three pouches or into your wallet (or in rare cases, onto your key chain). The fewer items you place in your purse, the easier it is to know what’s in there.

Wallet. I recommend you keep in your wallet only cash, receipts, checkbook, and credit, debit, and gift cards.

Pouch 1: Makeup bag

  • Lipstick and gloss
  • Eyeliner
  • Powder
  • Sunscreen stick
  • Blush and brush
  • Eyeglass cleaner wipes
  • Hand sanitizer

Pouch 2: Emergency kit

  • Fashion tape
  • $20
  • Needle and thread
  • Nail glue
  • Advil
  • Couple of adhesive bandages

Pouch 3: Change

Other Things to Keep in Your Bag

  • Sunglasses case
  • Cell phone
  • Keys

Keep It Up

If I sort through the items in my purse once a week, it really is easy to stay on top of it. It takes only a couple of minutes to keep it up.

Do you have to do it exactly like this? No. I just want you to have a clean purse that is functional and doesn’t give you a hernia. So tell me here in the comments that you cleaned out your purse by May 18th (and I’d love to hear what the strangest thing you found in there was!), and here is what you could win:


One winner will receive this beautiful Vera Bradley tote on the left filled with Kathi’s entire collection of books

And FIVE winners will receive my FAVORITE tote ever: The “My Husband is a Hottie” bad filled with all of my books!

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  1. Melissa says:

    operation: clean purse {check}
    feels so nice to have a clean big bag/tote with smaller zipper pouches where everything can easily be found.
    operation: keep it clean {always in progress} :)

  2. Karen Dyck says:

    My purse is all cleaned out….I actually have a couple of funny stories to share…
    the first one is….a couple weeks ago I was in a fabric/craft store and at the check out stand I knew I had put some coupons in my purse…but I couldn’t find them….so I was digging and digging…the guy who was there (he was actually very funny) looked at me and said, I think you need to clean out your purse…I told him I know, but I am waiting until National Clean out your purse day….he looked at me kinda weird and said there is a such a day…I told him yep…and he said…here’s just a thought…you don’t have to wait until that day, you could do it…say like…today….we both started cracking up.
    then the other day I was in the car, heading to my son’s scout troop meeting and wanted a piece of gum, but it was buried in my purse. Now all my kids know I have been waiting for the 15th of May to clean out my purse…I finally had to ask my son to look for the pack (as I was starting to swerve a bit), my son looks at me and asks, are you adding more stuff like papers to your purse so when you clean it out it looks better…we both just cracked up..then I looked at him very seriously and said no…..

  3. Jennifer says:

    My purse is cleaned out and stuffed with snacks, sunblock, water, and sunglasses!

  4. Susan O. says:

    Alas, I cleaned out my purse. You’d think after giving a devotion at MOPS a couple of years ago that touched on this very subject, I’d keep a clean purse. But it just isn’t so. I had a large purse that began to balloon in size, so I switched to a fanny pack. Tired of looking like a perpetual hiker, I pulled out a dressier purse for Mother’s Day. I hadn’t, however, cleaned that out before setting it aside (how long ago was that??) and had to dump everything out of it before adding my current items. I found small games for my kids in there, ancient coupons and a nice, squished, past-date granola bar–just to name a few things. Determined to keep this purse lighter, I just cleaned it out and feel a sense of hope in maintaining it. Maybe.

  5. Savannah Miller says:

    I cleaned mine out….. and found of the hard way that all the things my son picks up and shows me that he thinks are just the greatest things ever…. GO INTO MY PURSE!! I found rocks, a metal drink cap, for some reason I found a key I never saw before not sure if this is one of my sons finding!?!?!? We sat down and had a little talk about mommies purse lol and he told me it was a treasure bag :/….. The wonderful mind of a 4 year old :) Oh the plus side I did get out about 8:15 in change :)!!

  6. I found a bar of soap!

  7. Yay! I cleaned out my purse and transferred the contents to my new 31 skirt purse. Nothing really strange just lots of receipts and a few little girl hair barrettes. It looks so clean and organized now!

  8. Jessie goodwin says:

    I cleaned out my purse and found a half a french fry and a busted, leaky ink pen. Thank goodness the ink came out with a little scrubbing. :) Thanks for the chance to win.

  9. Sheila Foley says:

    Yep, you guys motivated me to clean out my purse…found that donut I had been searching for. I have a feeling I could use the books:)

  10. Sheila Foley says:

    great blog post and ideas…thanks!

  11. amy craft says:

    Definitely could use the books! Found a sucker that my daughter had licked and stuck in my purse…no idea how long it had been in there….found a few things stuck to it LOL

  12. Iliana Reyes says:

    I would love to win! I found like $5 in quarters in there and my ipod shuffle that I thought I had lost!

  13. Just got back from a road trip and cleaned out my purse. How does that stuff get in there???

  14. Done! Feels lighter and I love it. I can’t believe I found some Chuck E Cheese tickets and an unsed reward certificate. We haven’t been there for over a year! My boys will be thrilled. You can hardly read the reward number, but they never expire. Of course, if I tell them, then I have to take them. Dilema, dilema. :)

  15. I recently went to a small crossbody purse . . . had to go to a smaller wallet, too. Purse stays cleaned out ALL of the time because there’s no room for anything extra. Today I was looking at totes . . . oh, the temptation! :-)

  16. Patricia Crowley says:

    For me….the strangest thing I found was a clean diaper….I don’t have children…LOL (it was for my nephew.)

  17. Jennifer Metz says:

    What a fun contest! I have 5 kids so my purse is always a disaster. I actually did clean out my purse today, mainly because I got a new wallet/organizer thing-a-magig. It has a space for my license, credit cards, cash/change, checkbook and came with a calculator. I couldn’t believe all the junk in my purse though – expired coupons, gum wrappers, old receipts, hair things, ugh!

  18. Kristie D. says:

    I need to clean out my purse very much! I tried recently but I think it might be a bottomless pit. I have medicine, old receipts, coupons, a hairbrush, a cell phone, postage stamps, my phone book.. and the list goes on. I admire that you stay on top of it. Good for you. Thanks for the great giveaway. kristiedonelson(at)gmail(dot)com

  19. Donna K says:

    I cleaned out my purse a week ago. I found a book of coupons.

  20. Cynthia says:

    Two years ago, when baby number three was born, I combined my purse with a small diaper bag. It was one less thing to carry and one less thing to forget. And not to mention, less prone to being stolen. On the flip side, oh the things it can collect. So, it has been cleaned, dumped (sand and woodchips), washed and reorganized. And just in time for a trip to visit family. :)

  21. I know I’m a little late – but I cleaned out my purse (and covered to a new one!) and figured out I only needed five things – wallet, phone, sunglasses, lip gloss, and my favorite four color pen (yes, I’m old school). Yay! thanks for the challenge. Oh and Cynthia, I converted to a new larger purse that is perfect to add in the diaper case (cute little package of wipes, diaper and changing cover) and ziplock of paci / snacks. Love it!

  22. Monica Robinson says:

    I know I’m late but I come to your blog every so often cause I love it and there it was… front and center… a message from God himself…. speaking through you to clean my purse…. It is so heavy and I can barely zip it… In addition to that, my right shoulder has been hurting and I point ointment on it today and thought… I must clean my purse…. then I go to your blog… I MUST,I MUST, clean it tonight…. I’m at work, otherwise, I would totally clean it. ha, ha. Thanks Kathi!!!! I need to follow your specific guidlelines… and maybe I will treat myself to a new purse… a much smaller one… God bless

  23. Julie Warkentin says:

    What a wonderful contest! I just changed purses and while I am organized oriented, there are always the odd items that get left in there for a while. I had 2 or 3 of the exact same chapsticks in my purse!

  24. Anonymous says:

    I know I’m a little late on this but had to post! It is so nice to find each thing where it belongs! Now I really know if the kids have gotten in to my purse. lol Thanks Kathi

  25. Shannon Whalen says:

    I know I’m a little late on this but had to post! It is so nice to find each thing where it belongs! Now I really know if the kids have gotten in to my purse. lol Thanks Kathi

  26. Liberata Gasasira-Traore says:

    Just read about cleaning up day, it is a good idea, and I will make sure I clean mine and let you know.
    How can follow your stories, writing every day? Do I have to log in somewhere? Thanks for the information.

  27. Cleaning out your bag to have essential items is critical! Here are some of our tips to make your bag a greener place

  28. Cleaned out my purse today and found one of my son’s toy cars in the bottom of it, along with a dried leaf that must have blown into it during the last storm. Oh and a glove….

  29. Cleaned out my purse today :) Nothing super strange, but I did find a few coupons I’d forgotten about and just in time to redeem before they expire!!


  1. [...] organized person would never tell you how to clean out your purse by dumping it all into a bag but I do, because you, like me, want fast and instant and impressive [...]

  2. [...] And take a moment to post “I CLEANED OUT MY PURSE” on Kathi’s blog entitled  National Clean Out Your Purse Day  [...]

  3. [...] I’m reviewing…The Get Yourself Organized Project. She also has some fantastic ideas on how to clean out your purse….. Like this:LikeBe the first to like this post. This entry was posted in Book Reviews, [...]

  4. [...] it’s your turn.  Dump, sort and organize. If you want detailed instructions go to Kathi’s blog for a list of ideas for what to keep in the [...]

  5. [...] if you head over to her website and leave a comment you also have an opportunity to win a new purse filled with all of [...]

  6. [...] to Kathi Lipp and leave a comment to win. You have until Friday, May [...]

  7. [...] more tips, check out organizational guru Kathi Lipp’s super-speedy purse cleaning [...]

  8. [...] 4:23-24 I just saw that my fabulous friend Kathi Lipp is doing several funtastic give-aways for National Clean Out Your Purse Day on May 15.And it occurred to me that The PURSE-onality Challenge is really “Clean Out Your [...]

  9. […] and played along on the Giveaway Hop. I also participated in the National Clean Purse Day with Kathi Lipps, author of the Get Yourself Organized Project book.  Kathi kindly donated a copy of her book to […]

  10. […] and doesn’t give you a hernia. As an added BONUS for participating this week, hop on over to Kathi’s personal blog, in the comments tell her that you cleaned out your purse.  For all those that comment by May 18th […]

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