My relationship with handbags is, to be perfectly honest, unkind. I have a bad habit of overloading them to their literal breaking point — making it hard for me to find the things I actually need on a day-to-day basis. There are only so many times that you can unload unread books, dried-out tubes of eyeliner and crinkled receipts from a purse while assuring friends that you know you have a Band-Aid in there somewhere.
In an effort to become more organized — and stop my tote bag from becoming a bottomless pit of stuff — I tried one of the top-selling handbag organizers on Amazon. With nearly 18,000 five-star ratings to its name, I figured reviewers were onto something.
The felt organizer is made of two different components: one large shell and one slimmer insert that attaches with Velcro. When combined, they make up 12 total pockets, not including the larger storage area. With so many spacing options, one of my more difficult tasks was simply deciding where I was going to store everything. (Did I want my glasses in the large pocket or one of the slim, center pockets?)
The insert feels a bit like taking a basket and plopping it into your favorite bag. The product itself is fairly rigid, which could be both a pro and a con, depending on your accessory taste. I imagined the organizer like Spanx for handbags: It gave my tote a lovely shape. It was able to stand up straight and it looked a bit more like an actual, adult purse.
I noticed the impact of this purse organizer immediately. When I realized that I needed my glasses during a work meeting, I found them in seconds in the exact pocket where I had left them. And when I wanted to read, my book was right where I put it, as well as my lipstick, earbuds and everything else I normally keep on me. Even my keys had their own place to go, thanks to a detachable clip. For the first time in a while, I didn’t have to dig around for my essentials and could easily locate everything in my bag.
If nothing else, the organizer is worth it for the smug sense of satisfaction I felt at the self-checkout line. Within five seconds (yes, I timed it), I went from scanning items to sticking my credit card in the chip reader. “I’ll never hold up a line again,” I thought to myself.
Remarkably, weeks into using the insert, my tote still hasn’t accumulated trash. I think it has something to do with the fact that I worked to establish an organizational system in my tote. Now, before adding anything to my bag, I ask myself, "Do I really need it?” If the answer is no, it doesn't earn a spot in one of my new pockets.
The insert comes in six sizes, ranging from Mini to XL, and there's even a few "slender" options for skinnier bags. Although only some colors have the Mini available, so be careful with your color choice to avoid dooming your trendy little baguette bag to eternal chaos.
While this product may not be the most game-changing investment for minimalists, for those who need to curb the clutter, it will get you one step closer to a more organized lifestyle. Or in my case, where everything magically has its own place — and stays there.