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Day 1: Declutter Your Purse, Gym Bag, Wallet and Briefcase
Are you ready to start the 40 Bags in 40 Days Combat Clutter Challenge? Today we are starting small with the items we carry each and every day – your purse, gym bag, wallet, and briefcase. Let’s include diaper bags and your children’s backpacks to get the whole family involved!
I know what you’re thinking – there isn’t a lot of clutter in my bag, but the reality is there is bound to be stuff in there that you don’t need or use. Set your timer for 10 minutes. The first thing I want you to do is empty out the item you are working on. Take everything out of it. Every credit card, slip of paper, penny, gum wrapper, every thing. Shake out the crumbs and lint too!
Now look at each item before it goes back into your wallet or bag. Check the expirations on each of your credit/debit cards, on your license and other IDs, and even on your insurance cards to make sure you have the most recent ones in there. If a card has expired put it aside to shred it when the timer goes off.
All of the loose papers – go through them. If its a receipt, decide if you need to keep it for your taxes or to balance your checking account. If you need to save it – place it in a labeled envelope “For Taxes” or “To Balance Accounts”. Make a pile of any appointment cards you have shoved in various places, so that you can add them to your planner. Now take every other piece of paper, and decide if it is trash or something you need to act on. The important part is to toss what you don’t need and to act on the items you need to act on instead of putting everything back into your wallet or bag.
If you have a diaper bag in front of you, make sure all snacks in there are still good. Put any cups, bottles, pacifiers, and teething toys aside to be washed. Make sure the diapers and change of clothes that you have tucked into the bag are the correct size for what your child(ren) are currently wearing. If you have any medications in the bag, double check the dates on those too. Only put the items back in the diaper bag that you currently need.
Purses can be a bit more of a challenge since I know a lot of us carry enough in our bags to sustain a small army. Empty it out, check expirations on all of your items, throw out random papers and trash, gather up the loose change from the bottom of your bag, and only put the items in your purse that you need. If you find that you are cluttering up your purse too much because you have the space in there, consider downsizing your purse. I swap purses with a friend of mine a few times a year, and have even picked them up at yard sales and thrift shops for under $5. I find when I carry a smaller purse, I am more organized and less likely to cram stuff in there in the first place.
If you are decluttering your gym bag, take the full contents out and put all of the clothes and the bag in the laundry. This is especially important if you put your sweaty clothes or swimwear directly into your bag after a work out. Its a breeding ground for mold, mildew, and general funk. Go through your toiletries and make sure they are items that you still use and want to take with you. Consider putting them in their own zipper pouch or even a large ziploc bag so they aren’t randomly floating around your gym bag.
And now for my least favorite of the items to declutter – the backpacks and briefcases. What you need to keep in these will vary depending on your situation. Make sure all loose papers are accounted for and placed in folders or envelopes, remove any papers you no longer need, and toss any dead pens, mini pencils, or random trash that has been tossed into these bags. If you have children, make sure there isn’t any food, water bottler, or the like hanging out in the bottom of their bags.
And your ten minutes is now up! You’ve cleared out at least one item that you carry with you on a daily basis. If you have extra time, go on to another item, and work your way down the list.