Ask Belle: How to Switch Handbags with Ease

Apr 30, 2013

Hi Belle:

Love the blog!  Like you, I’m a sucker for a stylish bag.  However, I find it a bother to switch between different bags, as that means emptying everything out of my current bag and trying to fit/organize it all into another.  Do you switch bags often?  What are your tips for switching all of your stuff between bags?  Do you use a purse organizer, or do you just dump everything from one bag into another?

-Anon

I switch bags at least three times per week.  I usually rotate between my favorites: my Minkoff Mini-MAB, my J.CREW Biennial Satchel and my IIIBeca tote (a sleek, durable bag!).  And I’ve found a way to make the process of switching purses faster and easier.

Screen Shot 2013-04-28 at 5.04.20 PM

From Left, Brookstone Super Size Umbrella ($39) // Trina makeup bag (sold out, similar here) // Rebecca Minkoff wallet ($175) // Rebecca Minkoff zippered pouch (sold out, similar here) // Metal business card holder ($7) // Ray-Ban Small Aviators ($150)

By having only eight large items that need to be moved, instead of many small ones, you can minimize the time it takes to switch purses.  It also helps keep everything organized so you don’t have to go spelunking in your bag for needed items.

For Small Items. I repurposed this printed makeup pouch as a handy carry-all.  It contains beauty essentials like chapstick, lipgloss, lipstick, a travel hair brush, bobby pins, hair ties, a small concealer from this kit and powder.  It also contains some band-aids, Advil, my iPhone earbuds and an anti-chafe stick (for when my feet start to blister after hours of walking).

Business Card Case.  I hate digging in my purse for a business card.  When you meet someone, you need to be able to produce a card quickly, and this case makes that a breeze.  Just make sure to keep it fully stocked.

For Receipts.  If you keep receipts for expenses, a small pouch is a great way to keep them organized.  It’s also a great way to store extra IDs, store rewards cards o spare keys.  Rebecca Minkoff makes hers in a large and small size, the one above is the small.

If you’re looking for something less expensive, Urban Outfitters sells this large pouch, which would hold an iPad or other E-reader.  I also found this medium-sized, nylon pouch and this small pouch, which comes in a myriad of colors and costs just $8.

By keeping all of the small items in larger containers, it’s easier to switch handbags quickly.

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  1. Lynn says:

    I’m the same way. My purse or bag usually carries a few mini purses.

    I love this Herschel Field Pouch for goodies (tissues, hand cream, chapstick, hand sanitizer).

    https://shop.herschelsupply.com/field-pouch-1469.html

    For the consultants out there. I also keep a baggie full of my tech stuff – battery, mouse, chargers etc. I use the Lo and Sons bag for work so I can throw my tech pouch in there or grab it if I’m headed out to a coffee shop and want to take my casual bag.

  2. Addison says:

    I don’t have my stuff quite as organized as Belle but I do have a small zippered pouch for lip products, hand sanitizer, a Tide pen, etc. and it definitely helps. I also tend to switch bags the night before so I’m not bothering with this in the morning. Some months I carry the same bag for weeks on end because I love it so much but other months I switch every couple of days because I can’t make up my mind. This usually means it’s time for a totally new bag 😉

  3. strin012 says:

    I wear contacts and occasionally need to get to my eyedrops in a hurry. I, too, use the many-mini-bags method, but recommend varying the texture of the bags so that you can differentiate between them by touch when looking for something specific but can’t see well. Useful for dark theaters and restaurants, when looking for something while driving, or when your contacts have declared mutiny.

  4. purse organizer says:

    I use a bag organizer called a “purseket.” It’s made of fairly rigid material, with fabric pockets. It wraps around the base of your bag. I keep all my small items in it, and then just wallet and sunglasses in the space in the center. Switching bags takes less than 30 seconds.

    I use this one, though there are lots of similar type things if you search for purse organizer.
    https://www.purseket.com/en/large-purseket-purse-organizer-insert.html

  5. Ann says:

    I use a silicone pouch by Candy Store.
    https://www1.macys.com/shop/product/candy-store-cosmetic-pouch?ID=630427
    They are brightly colored so you can find them in your bag easily and they stretch and can hold quite a bit and still stay closed. If anything leaks or spills in it they can be cleaned with soap and water. I also use their coin purse. I had no idea how dirty change is until I started using the purse and saw the dirt accumulate in the inside of the bright green silicone change purse and am relieved I can clean it so easily.

  6. GingerR says:

    Switching purses around is a good way to avoid ending up with a bag that weighs 10 pounds! Carrying a bag that’s just a bit smaller than you’re comfortable with also keeps your tote-load down.

  7. Joyce says:

    Hi Belle!

    Does your MAB fit letter size file folders? Is it a better work bag than the Pippa?

    • Belle says:

      It will not hold folders. 71 standard envelopes, don’t ask, but not folders. If you need to tote paperwork, I’d stick with the Pippa.

  8. Joyce says:

    Thanks so much Belle! Its such an indulgence…I’m so excited!

  9. Lola says:

    I use a Larken Bag. I like it a lot because most purse organizers are made of a structured fabric and this one is really soft so it conforms to my handbags easily. I absolutely love it; it fits quite a lot of stuff. If it gets dirty, I can wash it without any issues; my handbag lining is super clean because of it too. Check it out at http://www.larkenbags.com.

    Also, it’s made in the USA which was a huge sell for me because most purse organizers are not made here.

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