This is a picture of what I am currently using. It's about the size of a normal backpack.
Inside, it would be a total black hole of disappearing crap if not for the thoughtfully provided polka dot interior (of black with white polka dots). My first tip? Never ever buy a black lined purse. Ever. I don't care that it is on sale. Never.
But even with the liner, this is what happens inside the purse:
Assorted makeup, eyeglasses, earbuds, planner (not pictured but you can see it here: http://giftieetcetera.blogspot.com/2013/04/planner-fail-shameful-move-back-to.html), the red case that holds my blood sugar and asthma meds, checkbook, umbrella (necessary in south Louisiana through the spring and summer), my notary seal (one of those things that I don't carry all the time, but need to carry occasionally), and a camo sleeping bag cover (to return to one of my kid's schoolmates after a sleepover). I also sometimes carry my coupon wallet (see that here: http://giftieetcetera.blogspot.com/2013/02/target-score-coupons-clearance-and-candy.html). As you can imagine, it is impossible to find anything. I've downsized before, and it never works for me. My meds and planner (even though it's just a FC Compact) pretty much mean a little purse won't work.
I tried little zip up pouches, but there were always too many and they were always too small.
Yesterday, I found this:
I stored the rarely used but necessary stuff, like my eyeglass case (I'm wearing the glasses) and my umbrella, in the red stringed bag and put it flat across the bottom of the purse. I put the money stuff, my wallet and checkbook, in the green stringed bag. (I also plan to put my coupon wallet in there, when needed.) I put my sometimes used stuff, like my meds, lip gloss, and compact, in the yellow bag. Those two bags are standing up, while my planner gets its own space.
As always, my keys and cell phone go in the outside pocket, and mints and gum go in the inside pocket.
My purse is neater, I can see inside each bag, and the chaos in my personal cognac universe has been restored to order.