Purse vs. travel organization

Frankie_in_zone_7January 6, 2012

This might be too compulsive for some, but here goes:

For awhile I was quite enamored of cute travel-sized anything--from lotion, shampoo, polish remover, Q-tips, tissues, tiny sewing kits etc and I kept them organized in a drawer in my bathroom counter area. Not a huge drawer, but took up the whole drawer. I used them for what I call "real travel" (suitcase, by plane or car) and also for when I needed a particular item to carry in purse.

I also have an underbed box that is my "travel" box and it has proved useful as it contains a stocked toiletry case (for non-air-travel--boy, did Homeland Security do away with nicely organized travel toiletry gizmos, or what!), travel hair stuff, very lightweight robe, shoe-sized plastic bags, expanda-bag, security wallet, small luggage items--various items I may use on a family vacation or business trip and have found very convenient to keep all in one spot.

At some point, I realized a couple of things. First, my obsession with miniature everything wore off, plus now anywhere you go you get "complimentary" toiletries, so I am mostly focused on the basics and have pared down. Second, even though I had the individual items, I was constantly collecting things when I went out the door-- sometimes for different purses, or for other reasons--even while trying to use some "purse organizers". Instead I tend to need what I call "purse modules" such as evening bag minimalist items (no room for more), sunny day outing stuff, eye stuff (contact lens wearer with dry eyes!), good-for-anytime lipstick, that might best be corralled in a few different zip bags or mesh bags. I also have a few inherited 'vintage' purse or cosmetic items I would like to make more use of as fun items. Plus I sometimes, in purse or on a walk or something, need a different wallet than my main giganto wallet, or I take a micro-purse, so I have a couple items like that. And for my purse or "day travel" I don't use a lot of the items that I might take on a trip.

So, I have found that it makes more sense to separate the items by point of use and type of use, adn the drawer is more "prime real estate" and good for things I might reach for every day or every week, compared to my travel box. I can make some space in my largish travel box for a few of each of the items I use to replenish toiletries or nifty items I might need on a trip. Then I am turning my drawer into more of a "leaving the house" drawer, but one that is more useful, with a few of these "purse modules", and now I have room for small purses & wallet.

My husband also dumps travel toiletries into one of his drawers and has filled it up. He doesn't really care about it; it's more of a habit and I think he collects them for me when the item has an exotic name or scent. By re-doing my travel box and making some room there, we will be able to let that be a destination for a few of those items and free up one of "his" drawers for some things that have gravitated to the bathroom counter.

I used to be a one-purse person and somewhere along the line got into the idea that I needed more. Well, that has proved to be its own clutter problem and so this re-organization is also helping me to simplify there, so maybe I'll eventually not need even the stuff in the drawer! But it is a step in the right direction.

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Sounds like a good plan.

But I'd suggest you not reorganize so much as get rid of.

And I'm going to try to do that as well.

(aren't all those travel sizes neat? charming? pretty? I've finally quit with them, though, bcs they are just mega clutter)

    Bookmark   January 6, 2012 at 2:45PM
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"But I'd suggest you not reorganize so much as get rid of. "


    Bookmark   January 6, 2012 at 4:22PM
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I think that's right. It turns out we have about 9 or 10 drawers as part of our bathroom counter area and don't need them all for "bathroom" stuff. So because of the large mirror and good lighting, these drawers are more useful for small items used when dressing--the final touches--rather than a buresu drawer in the bedroom. I have turned one into a jewelry drawer and it works swell and freed up a dresser drawer for things that needed less "vision" to use. So that is the same process I'm aiming for with the purse/purse module drawer to store items I select when going out for different occasions and the few things that need to go in them, more than the collection of toiletries that I used to have there.

Another option is that some room in the 2 DD's bathroom is available and is a good place to have a FEW ( I hear you!) toiletries for visiting DD's and of course are also available to us. This is a new situation for us and I have resisted "taking over" and expanding into other rooms and cabinets just because we may now have the space. One DD visited recently from college and she did ask if we had shower gel, conditioner and other items I don't normally use but was able to provide in small versions. So I don't want to over-do that--being prepared for "everything" leads to more clutter, when you can just make do-- but I think it can be a good option, in moderation!

    Bookmark   January 6, 2012 at 4:28PM
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Frankie, sounds like you have a plan.
We travel a lot so I know what you mean. We have a decorative chest (smaller than a cedar chest, but that style) filled with our ditty bags, travel alarm, headrests, travel hangers, etc. I stopped collecting the small toiletries offered by the hotels, but have read that they can be donated to homeless shelters if they are not opened. My hair is dyed to cover the gray, so I take a small plastic bottle of my shampoo with me, but have to put it in the checked luggage. When we go overseas, I don't carry a purse. Too much hassle. But we do have a small backpack and I can put my reading glasses, chapstick, kleenex, sweater, etc. in that. My makeup goes in the ditty bag and stays in the hotel room.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2012 at 9:08PM
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I've been donating the travel bottles that are unused - seems like I see one I think the kids will want or dh brings them home from his travels. Our congregation has a drive to collect toiletries/household supplies each year and I always can take a bag there, knowing they will go to use.

I keep a stocked travel bag with most of the toiletries I would need on a trip (save makeup) and restock it after a trip or leave a note in it telling me what I need for the next trip. The bag is a little bulky, but will work for an extended trip or a trip to the gym.

Only keep in my purse a small bag w lipstick, powder, hair pins, glasses cleaning wipe, a band aid. I keep a ton of other items in my car - dental floss, advil, carsick meds, comb and brush, sunscreen, extra toilet paper, measuring tape and on and on, so I have access to most of that stuff if needed.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2012 at 11:33AM
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Our local community services organization loves to receive donations of travel-size shampoo, hand soap, deodorant, shaving needs, tooth paste/tooth brushes, manicure items, etc. These are appreciated by the homeless or sheltered people who depend on them.
Before retirement I traveled ~100,000 miles/year and got packing down to a science. Kept all liquids in the required 1 qt zip-top bag. Cosmetics in a small zip bag (7" x 5" x 1.5") that is fitted with elastic loops for brushes and a pouch for small jars. This was a give-away item from Bare Minerals about 5 years ago and I still use it. Very sturdy. Remaining small bathroom stuff is in a small clear vinyl zip bag: hairbrush, tooth brush with its little cap, meds like decongestants and aspirin, manicure tools, etc.

I keep a pencil and small post-it notes in liquids bag. While on a trip I write whatever needed replenishing and stick that inside the liquids bag. The first thing I do when returning home is to refill the moisturizer, shampoo and whatever else is on that list. Takes 2 minutes. As a result, I never pack bathroom stuff or forget anything because it's always in the suitcase. Just pack clothing, but that's another topic!

And about my purse: After injuring my shoulder reaching into the back seat and lifting my huge tote bag, I downsized to a shoulder bag that holds only my wallet, Blackberry and a couple small things in the zipper pocket. I keep it on the passenger seat or floor. It took a year before the shoulder was healed (couldn't reach up or put on a sleeve without pain). I don't miss the load of the things I used to carry as 'essential'... not worth the pain.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2012 at 1:14AM
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