The next morning, I took a few minutes to see what I could do with the mess.
1. Dump everything on the floor. I dumped the entire contents of my purse upside down on the kitchen floor -- see the top picture on the right. I had emergency medical supplies mixed in with expired coupons and three craft projects (one mine, two Lauren's). I found a sticky push pop candy container wrapped in five used-to-be-wet wipes. There were three of four packs of fruit snacks, a couple of ring pops, and at least one allergy-friendly granola bar. No wonder I couldn't ever find my keys.
2. Separate out the "must-haves." At least half of the stuff in the pile didn't make it back into my bag. Unfortunately, I do have a large amount of "must haves" -- either for me or for my children. I carry a set of epi-pens for Brennan. I need a glucose meter, glucose tablets, snacks, and a glucagon emergency kit for myself. I usually carry a few allergy-safe snacks for Lauren and a small water bottle because she's not supposed to drink out of public water fountains. I'll never get to a point where I carry a tiny purse, but I'll settle for one that isn't a toxic waste dump.
3. Group like items and keep them in an organizing pouch. I found some extra pouches around my house that I could use. Now all of my little medical supplies (band-aids, masks to avoid germs, glucose tablets, glucagon, Aleve) have a home in a large black pouch. It's a lot easier to find whatever I need this way. Brennan's epi-pens stay in a separate pouch by themselves.
I even put all my snacks into a pouch. Since this pouch is smaller, it holds just what I need if I'm caught away from home for longer than I expect. (Note: I know my food allergy friends are freaking out with the nuts in my bag. Those are for me and work best with my diabetes. I can share the fruit snacks or the Enjoy Life chewy bar if Brennan or Lauren needs something.)
I even found a plastic baggie to hold my scripture memory cards so that they'd be easy to find. Since it's clear, I can review the top card in the stack without even having to open it.
4. Assign homes for items that aren't in a pouch. My purse has several interior pockets that I can use. One now holds a pack of kleenex and my hand sanitizer; another holds my cell phone and iPod. A large zipper pocket holds my pens and my keys.
5. Neatly toss in the pouches and the few things that are still loose. The main compartment of my bag now contains three pouches, my memory verses, my wallet, my sunglasses, and my glucose meter case. I have enough room to throw in a book or our iPad if I want to take either of those along.
My purse now easily manages everything I need to carry along when we're away from home, and I no longer dread having to find something in it.
My super-cute purse was a Christmas gift from my sister a few years ago. Isn't she awesome?
Since both Messy and Manageable start with M, I'm linking this post up with others Blogging through the Alphabet this week.