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What’s In Your Bag? A Guide to Purse Organization

Before and After a Purse Perfector Organizer

Let’s face it, ladies – it’s difficult to distinguish what is a “necessity” and a “want to have on hand” when it comes to purse organization.

“What should stay in and what should stay out of your purse? THAT is the question”

No, it’s not a line from Shakespeare, but it is a question that needs answered! So, let’s get to answering it!

What Goes In Your Purse

Obviously, the most important to have in your bag is lipstick – just kidding. The most important item in your purse is your wallet and/or change purse and all the contents that go in it; cash, credit and identification cards, and store loyalty cards.

Recommendation:

We recommend having a small to medium wallet (keep small loyalty cards on a key chain or use the free app KeyRing to scan the codes to your cell phone) that is easily transferable, doesn’t take up much space, and still has plenty of room for everything you need to keep in it.

Small. organized wallet

The second most used item in your handbag is usually your cosmetics, which many women choose to carry in cosmetic pouch for touch-ups on the go.

Recommendation:

Once again, we recommend getting a cosmetic pouch that is small, but carries your most important items. And speaking of “most important,” we recommend only packing what you will absolutely need when touching up.

Keep it simple and stick with your most-used items: a travel-sized perfume, a mirror or compact, ONE lipstick or gloss (a double-sider works great), perhaps blush and an eye and/or lip pencil.

You’ll also want to find a place for your cell phone, sunglasses, and/or reading or prescription lenses. It’s also a good idea to carry items such as medications, tissues, antibacterial lotion or wipes and bandages, just in case.

Recommendation:

Keep your miscellaneous supplies to a minimum: One pair of sunglasses with a small case, a small pad of paper and a pen, and a travel-sized medical kit.

What Should Stay Out of Your Purse

  • Full-size cosmetic bottles or tubes
  • Empty food packages and wrappers
  • The binky your 5-year old used years ago
  • Large hair brushes

How To Keep Your Purse Organized

Does your purse look like any of these?

Unorganized PurseCluttered PurseBefore a Purse Perfector

As purses have gotten larger, the need for internal organization is essential, especially when you’re a busy woman on-the-go. You’ve got a million things to do, a limited amount of time, and a purse that must assist you with the items necessary to carry out your day.

Recommendation:

If you’ve gotten nothing out of this blog, take this piece of advice with you: If you don’t have a purse with several organizational pockets and your purse is a mess, purchase a Purse Perfector purse organizer! You can easily organize all of your items in it and then transfer it from handbag to handbag! How easy is that!?

Before and After a Purse Perfector Organizer
Before and After a Purse Perfector Organizer
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A Caricature is Worth 1,000 Threads

Lyn Marsteller's Mother

This image of my mother was created at a party in the late 1950s. The hosts supplied various media and scrap paper (this piece of paper has notes from a garden club meeting on the other side). Painted in watercolors and crayon, my mother placed it in the discard pile when downsizing to move to a condo.

I “saved” this image, framed it and hung it over my sewing desk, where she has kept an amused and stylish eye on my miles and miles of stitches in both clothing and in creating the prototypes of the Purse Perfector. It was my mother and her mother who taught me to sew at age 5 and sewing has remained an art, a passion, and a fascination for me for decades.

In fact, it is because of my mother’s instruction and encouragement of my sewing that led to the creation of the Purse Perfector. Sewing had allowed me to create new clothes on my modest salary as a nonprofit development professional for decades, striving to apply the couture techniques I admired in designer clothing but could not afford.

When I made the first dozen prototypes of the Purse Perfector as a solution to the un-managed mess in every handbag I used while traveling in Europe in September 2001, my mother was eager to see my hand-tailored solution to purse organization, whether for use as a travel purse organizer or as a daily purse organizer in women’s handbags nationwide.

As one of my biggest cheerleaders for the success of Purse Perfector, she was thrilled when I received the utility patent for my invention (her father was an attorney, as is my husband). Unfortunately, my quest for an American manufacturer to produce my handbag organizer was not successful until two years after her death.

In 2009, my friend and sewing teacher Sandra Betzina, introduced me to a San Francisco-based manufacturer and within months, hundreds of friends, relatives and strangers were using this American-made purse organizer on a daily basis.

I’d have to say that a thread – a theme – runs through my life. My grandmother taught my mother to sew and they both taught me to sew, encouraging me to learn more. In turn, I met Sandra and continued to my interest in molding cloth and stitches into garments and ultimately, to construct the Purse Perfector.

My mother’s smiling image near my sewing machine always reminds me that it all starts with one stitch. And I’m grateful to have had those hands help guide my stitches.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Cheers,

Lyn

 

 

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Spring Cleaning for Your Purse

Large Black with Silver Purse Organizer

Spring has finally sprung and the world takes a collective sigh as the final traces of winter begin to fade. Most of us are opening the windows, turning on our Spotify, and getting to work on some household spring cleaning. However, if you’re not quite ready for that (the warm weather hasn’t fully set in yet), we recommend you begin spring cleaning and organizing something you use every day: your purse!

In today’s busy world, we too often use our handbags as a catch-all collecting candy wrappers, unneeded receipts, and loose change. If your bag could use some spring cleaning TLC, here are six steps to help you rejuvenate your organization:

1. Start with a clean slate.

We recommend starting by emptying your entire bag. Take everything out, shake out loose crumbs, change, and wrappers over the garbage can, not forgetting to open and unzip all compartments! Next, take a damp cloth and wipe out the interior and exterior of your bag. If you have some fabric refresher, give it a light spray – Chanel No. 5 works great, too! Hopefully during this process, you’ll find that ring you thought you lost or even a surprise $20!

2. Consider your handbag options.

Is the bag you’re cleaning out too worn to use anymore? Does it need repaired or dry cleaned? Is it out of season and not following current colors or trends? Is it time to retire this bag and get something new? These are all things to consider when you’ve emptied out the contents and wiped it down. Spring is a great time to revamp your wardrobe, so it might be time to treat yourself to a new bag, maybe even that Birkin you’ve had your eye on – alright, that’s a bit of a stretch and a dream for most of the world, but you get the point.

3. Sort it out.

Once you have emptied out your bag and selected which handbag you are going to use, it’s time to begin organizing! Sort your items into piles:

  • Use every day: i.e. credit cards, wallet, lipstick, parking pass
  • Use once a week/month: i.e. car wash tickets, store loyalty cards, friend’s spare key
  • Never use: old grocery lists, spare diaper that has been outgrown, children’s socks

Out of your piles, what can you throw away, store elsewhere, or use in your everyday handbag?

4. De-winterize your purse.

Now that winter is over (hooray!), what can you take out of your purse and store? We’re talking cold medicine, hats and gloves, hot hands – you name it! Once you have purged your winter supplies away, begin thinking about what you will need for spring. Right off the bat, we recommend sunscreen and a new stock of tissues and Allegra for allergy season.

5. Change up your makeup.

Not only do we change our accessories and wardrobes for spring, but we also change up our makeup. Time to shelve those dark, gloomy colors and buy some new, bright ones for spring! To see the hottest color trends for spring, check out Pantone’s Spring 2015 Color Lineup – we especially love the color of the year, Marsala!

Once you’ve decided what to do away with for spring, decide what needs to be thrown out due to out-of-season colors or damage. By the time you’ll need it for the next season, it will more than likely be expired anyway.

6. Invest in a Purse Perfector.

Even the most organized of people find they can get disorganized at times. Let a Purse Perfector help keep your handbag organized at all times! We have several colors and sizes to choose from. Check out our shopping page to see which one is right for you!

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Organize your documents

At this time of year, whether or not you organized last years paperwork will either be a big help to you or a big hindrance. If you did a great job of organizing your home and life, but a terrible job at organizing your financial paperwork, then we’d like to help you change that in 2015.

We’re not suggesting binders or shoe boxes,  instead, we’re looking at different services and software applications that are designed to make the process of keeping track of all of those slips of paper easier. By being software savvy and utilizing one of these programs, not only will you have organized papers with minimal effort, but you will be the envy of both your friends and family.

 Shoeboxed

shoeboxed-300x83This super efficient app and back-end program on your home laptop/pc might be the 2nd best thing since sliced bread. The app lets you track receipts on-the-go as well as giving you the ability to track your mileage. The smart phone app is free.

If you want to use Shoeboxed to keep track of all of your receipts, bill, business cards, etc., you can also sign up for an account online. There’s several options available: A free account will allow you to have five receipts processed each month — or you can manually enter as many as you’d like. If that just sounds like too much work, then you might want to consider a lite or classic account (both with monthly fees). With lite, you can actually stuff an envelope of your own, mail it to Shoeboxed and they’ll process the receipts, documents, etc. for you (up to 50 documents a month), or with classic, you’ll receive a pre-paid envelope which you can stuff with any documents you’d like scanned, and they’ll take care of it for you.

The online version of this also offers integration with your G-mail account to capture receipts. As mentioned earlier, the app for your phone is free. If you’re also interested in trying the expanded services available with one of the subscription based online versions, be sure to search for a coupon code as there are some out there that will save you money.

eDoc Organizer

edoc_logo_printThis document management software is toted as an easy to use solution where you store your documents in a cloud. You can access your documents from your phone, app, or on your laptop/pc.

eDoc Organizer uses labels instead of folders so you can assign multiple categories to a document instead of only one. This means that each document can be found under multiple categories, and each category can be combined with others to help find documents quickly. The program uses OCR (Optical Character Recognition) to make items very easy to find when searching for them. You can even specify various options that can help automate processes based on which folder the documents are imported from.

This program has a monthly fee starting at $10 with increases depending on the options you select.

Paperless

paperless-appicon-hrPaperless allows you to keep up and maintain the task of organizing all your receipts and documents, simply and easily, just like it should be.

Paperless for Mac and Paperless for Windows reduces your need to keep paper documents of any kind. Simply scan your receipts, bills, statements, warranty cards, business cards – any type of paper and the OCR function of Paperless recognizes the data and adds it to the Details Window. Make more notes, assign categories – all the tools you need for a neat and clean digital filing system is all right there in Paperless.

With Paperless, you can create a database for everything – financial to medical to those product manuals for all your tools hanging in your basement. Oh and, yeah, the fun stuff, like your 2nd grader’s pictures and all the other cool stuff she brings home from school. Store and organize it all, safe and secure.

Paperless offers two versions – the regular version and Paperless Lite. Paperless Lite is designed to provide simple digital receipt management, where you can create and store a digital version of just your receipts. With Paperless Lite, you can scan your receipts and create Smart Collections for easy organization and retrieval. Paperless Lite has the same OCR functionality of the full version so the more you scan, the more Paperless Lite will automatically fill in details. You can make notes, email, and print out the digital copy of your scanned receipts too. 

Paperless (both the regular and lite) are downloaded programs that you house on your laptop/mac/pc. There is no smart phone interface. The cost begins at $19.95 and increases depending on option chosen.

Scanner Applications

Most of these programs or applications require the use of a scanner to create PDFs.  You can find scanner apps available for your phone such as Genius Scan or TurboScan.

Make this the year that you get paper clutter under control.

 

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It’s GO month!

GO-MONTH-300x211January is always a great month — so much for each of us to look forward to over the next year. In addition, each January, the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO), celebrates GO month: Get Organized! Many of us make the same resolutions each December: We’re going to lose weight, get our finances under control and we’re finally going to get organized.  Being organized, though, is a continuous process with no real end date. Organizing your closet today means you need to continue to follow certain practices in order for it to remain organized tomorrow. Here’s some things to consider on your journey this year.

Review

An important start  to begin your journey is to look at your purchases. Out with the old before in the new will really help you to put an easy stop to clutter before it moves in with you and brings it’s friends along for the ride. If you buy a new pair of gym shoes, consider relegating your old pair to the garage for messy yard projects. Did you buy new towels? Donate your old ones. A simple way to make this process easy is to use a pretty basket or bin. Place it in a strategic place in your home. As you go through each day, try to find one or more things to toss into the basket. These are things you’re going to donate. If you’re diligent, you’ll be able to fill up your basket each week. This seemingly slow way to eliminate items will surprise you in how quickly you’ll actually be able to eliminate real clutter in your home.

Schedule

Schedule a day once a week, or even once a month. Set aside three to four hours. Take the time to tackle a problem drawer or storage area. You know what we’re talking about… the one you try to ignore as you open, grab and then shove closed? Yes, that one. We’re sure you have more than one of these in your home. Maybe in your kitchen, your bathroom, your bedroom or your office? Perhaps all of the above. That’s okay. All of us has a junk drawer (or three). By purposefully allocating time, you’ll begin to take care of these problem areas. Throwing away things that haven’t seen the light of day in years, and that you don’t know what are used for anyway, will make you feel wonderful. We’re sure you’ll also find hidden treasures or memories. Think of a better way to keep these items rather than tossing them into a drawer.

Create

Create a yearly memory box. This can be both a physical box and an electronic box. Remember when you were a teenager and kept all of your most precious things in a shoe box on the top shelf of your closet? Finding it when you moved away from your childhood home brought back a flood of good and awkward memories. But you wouldn’t, and didn’t, throw away that box ever. Create a box each year with mementos, cards, letters, photos, etc. from the year before. Buy a pretty box this January, and place it somewhere where you can see it. As your year unfolds, tuck things into the box. Things you’ll hope to not forget. You might even want to keep a stack of index cards nearby or inside the box so that you can jot down memories not captured anywhere other than in your mind. If you have children, make this a group project — let them decorate the box and help decide what goes inside. Next January, you can store this box wherever you’d like: put it on a shelf in a closet to later discover or create a shelf on your family bookshelf to store boxes neatly stacked to be pulled out whenever you need a moment of escape.

Create the same thing digitally — take time, again scheduled time, to look through all of the photos you took last year. Delete the ones that are blurry, or not something you’d like to keep. Create a folder for 2014, and place the photos there. Move other important documents, etc. from 2014 to that folder to keep handy in one place. For 2015, create a new folder. As you go through the year, when something comes up that you know you’ll want to keep, move it to the 2015 folder. Be sure to name things in such a way that they’ll make sense to you.

Simple, but purpose driven steps throughout your 2015, will help you to be more organized in this new year. Share your tips, and advice, with our readers below.

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We have so much to be thankful for!

As we quickly enter the 2014 Holiday Season, we have so much to be thankful for. We hope that you do as well.

Big Savings on our Large Purse Perfector

large-category-banner13To get you in the festive, and organized mood, we’re having a big holiday sale. Now through December 7, 2014, you can get two large Purse Perfectors for $90 — that’s a savings of over 25% off the regular price. Would you like to take advantage of this offer? Enter promo code TWOFER at checkout, and it’s yours!

As a leader in handbag organization tools, we’re pleased to have been able to help so many women end handbag chaos. There’s no need to spend precious time digging in your handbag when the perfect solution is available.

Small Business Saturday

SBS_EPOP_BadgeWe’re proud to participate in Small Business Saturday again this year. This Saturday, November 29, will mark the fourth annual Small Business Saturday.

The perks of doing your holiday shopping on Small Business Saturday far outweigh those of Black Friday. Crowds should be more manageable and you can get some really great deals. And there’s a big bonus–you’ll be supporting your community in style.

When you shop small, it can lead to big things. The shop small movement makes an impact on small businesses and neighborhoods across the country. When you register your American Express card, spend $10 at a participating small business on November 29, you’ll get $10 back, up to THREE times. So why wouldn’t you shot this day? It just makes sense for you and the impact on small businesses is important.

Not only will you avoid the insane crowds of Black Friday, but shopping on November 29 gives you a chance to find that one of a kind gift that’s not sold at mass retailers. We’re proud to be a woman owned small business, and we’re excited to be a part of this years event. (And remember you can use promo code TWOFER at the same time.) Be sure to register your card today, learn how this works, and then see which small business are participating.

Free Shipping

If you’re just in the need of one Purse Perfector or prefer to purchase the medium size for gifts, that’s great! We’d like to offer you free shipping on your purchase. Use promo code SHIPFREE at checkout.

With so many great things going on in the next few weeks, we hope you’ll take advantage of one or more of these offers. We’d like to thank each of you for being our customer!

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Use Google Calendar to Simplify Your Life

google-calendar-final1Keeping track of your own calendar can sometimes seem a daunting task. Having to also keep track of your husband’s, your kid’s, your grand kid’s, etc. can seem almost impossible — or at a minimum something that will surely give you a headache.

If you have a smartphone and a Gmail account, and you’re not also using Google Calendar, I challenge you to give it a try.

Basic Calendar Features

Start off by adding events to your calendar to keep track of your own appointments, tasks, outings, birthday’s, days off, etc. — I add events for anything that I would write into a paper planner. By doing this, I don’t need to remember to carry my paper planner with me (unless I’m attending a meeting). Wherever I am, I can quickly glance at my calendar on my phone to check my future availability, and I can add new appointments/events to my calendar directly from my phone.

To add an event to your calendar, click the date and time. A popup window will appear where you can add whatever details you’d like to include. You can be as basic or as elaborate as you’d like. You can also set an event to repeat. Do you pick you son up from tennis every Thursday after practice? You can set this as a repeating event. You can use this same feature for birthday’s and anniversaries you want to remember. When you create events, be sure to set a reminder — I use 30 minutes as a reminder for appointments, but one week for an out -of-town birthday which give me time to pick up a card and mail it to arrive before their birthday.

You can also invite people to your calendar events, and they can invite you to theirs. You can invite your husband to a party you both need to attend this weekend. You can invite him, and then pass off additional information such as: ‘I can’t pick up John from tennis on x date. Please be sure you arrive to pick him up by 6 p.m.”

Use your calendar to share the little snippets that you would share in a verbal conversation. I’m not suggesting you should replace talking to your husband or significant other, still share things with them, but also confirm the information through the calendar. This way, there’s not any room for someone not being where they need to be. We’ve all done it. Blissfully doing something when suddenly our phone rings or we jump up realizing we’re supposed to be somewhere else at that precise moment.

Share your Calendar

In order to invite others to your events, they don’t have to be using a Google Calendar. But, if they are, in addition to inviting others to your events to keep them informed or involved, you can also share your calendar with them. With a simple click, they’ll be able to view your calendar (you can choose which events you want to share — I prefer to share it all, that way there’s no chance of being double booked).

In order to view a calendar that’s been shared with you, you’ll need to select it from sidebar under the area which says “My calendars”. Click the small arrow next to that, and any of your calendar’s or ones shared with you will appear. This is also where you can create separate calendars if you’d like to color code your own evens/activities. You can create separate calendar for work activities versus personal ones. By assigning a color to each calendar, you can make your electronic calendar color coded just like you might do with your paper planner/calendar.

This is also the same area where you can share your calendar with others.  (For privacy issues – don’t make your calendars public – if you’re going to share them, share them only with specific people.)

Here’s an example:

 Calendar-e1410537241728

The different colors on here are for different calendars. You can quickly see by looking at the calendar, and the color, who is where when.

 

Use Tasks to Organize your “To Do List”

tasksAnother neat feature in Google Calendar is the ability to create tasks. These can be found on the right hand side of the calendar. You can use them to remind you to do every day tasks or to remind you do pay bills, purchase gifts, etc. Whatever you would include on a paper list, you can create a task for. You can add due dates, reminders, notes, etc. The nice thing is when you check them off your task list, they get a nice big line through them. Talk about satisfaction!

Using Google Calendar is just like using any calendar – either paper or electronic. It’s a trial and error process to determine which features work best you and which ones don’t.

If you have tips on how to use an electronic calendar which isn’t covered here, please be sure to post them in the comments section.

 

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Home Office Zones

I’m pleased to have Lisa Woodruff as a guest blogger. Lisa brings a wealth of organizing knowledge to us. Her focus in this post is how to organize your home office.

Home Office Zones | Organize 365

Working from home creates flexibility, opportunity and chaos! Very often, the home office is also the HOME office. Family paperwork, photos and kids’ artwork mix with business proposals and deadlines.

Home Office Zones | Organize 365

And then your office looks like this. Flexibility in your schedule and work location make you a great home-based worker. So, let’s think outside the box with your office space, too.

Home Office Zones | Organize 365

The first step is to empty EVERYTHING out. Even the pile behind the door! Pitch liberally and relocate anything you can out of the office area.

Home Office Zones | Organize 365

Next, look at the bulk of what you have left and match the size of the pile to the size of the furniture you have to work with. In this office, most of the true business work was reduced to one file drawer and a computer. That left this 2 drawer lateral file completely open for family storage.

The hanging files on the right were perfect for storing the youngest child’s artwork and memories. But using boxes, the left side of the drawer was able to hold all the loose photos we found while organizing.

Home Office Zones | Organize 365

The bottom of the lateral file gave each of the other 2 children ample space for their memories, too.

Lisa Woodruff_RGB_1 (1)

Lisa Woodruff shares her organizational tips, her entrepreneurial spirit and humor to encourage other moms on her blog www.Organize365.com,“Helping you organize your home and your home based business”. Lisa is a direct sales trainer and has helped hundreds of women successfully organize and monetize their businesses. Her podcast and training information is available at http://successfuldirectsales.com.

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Bring Peace to Your Home

pp wordleOur days are almost always too full — we are constantly on the run with little time “to stop and smell the roses”.  It’s important to make purposeful decisions to keep your life just that, your life. That’s why I was pleased to read this recent blog post from a dear friend of mine, Laura, at I’m an Organizing Junkie. Laura gives us six steps to help us bring peace to our home.

Here’s an excerpt:

“My home makes me happy.  Not because I have a gorgeous large fancy house or anything (I really don’t) but simply because it’s home, it’s where my people are.  No matter where I’ve been, I always love coming home.  In fact I hate leaving most of the time.  My home is cozy and it comforts me.  It brings me peace.  And that’s what I want for you…a peaceful organized home (POH for short).”

You can read the rest of this blog post on Laura’s blog here.

My hope is for each of you to be able to create a home you enjoy coming home to every night. A place where you can walk through the door, smile and let out a sigh of pleasure.

Cheers,
Lyn

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Make Valentine’s Day 2014 a Day to Remember All Year Long

2014 valentineIt doesn’t take a psychic for us to see roses and candy in your near future. We believe that while roses are lovely, and candy certainly is sweet, Valentine’s Day can be oh so much more.

Make it a treat you’ll enjoy year round by taking matters into your own hands. Purchase a Purse Perfector between February 7 and Valentine’s Day, and we’ll give you 25% off the list price of either a medium or large Purse Perfector. Use code VALENTINE2014 at checkout, and be mine. 

Order today.