The Rule of Five: Organizing What's in My Bag | Giftie Etcetera: The Rule of Five: Organizing What's in My Bag

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Rule of Five: Organizing What's in My Bag

I must confess that I've wasted many a Saturday afternoon overdosing on "What's in My Bag" images. I just adore seeing what other women carry out of the house with them.

But, over and over again, I wonder how people find anything with all that stuff in their bags. It also boggles my mind to contemplate how these people, who surely have more than one handbag to choose from, move all the insides from one bag to another.

I finally had to make a rule for myself regarding handbags: the rule of five.

The Rule of Five

Have no more than five things in a bag and no more than five bags in the rotation at a time.

organizing, planner, what's in my bag

Of course, I need to carry more than five things. But after testing many different rules, five seems to be the magic number that allows me to carry all that I need, yet quickly move from bag to bag depending on my schedule.

Each individual should determine her own five things. This list can vary a ton from person-to-person. I am including my list just as an example.

My Five Things

1. Cell phone (not pictured)

2. Wallet

I have a small wallet containing my credit card, cash, driver's license, and my health card. It is very thin and light, and I can shove it in my pocket and leave my bag in the car.

3. Planner

4. Coupon/Receipt Wallet

I have a bigger wallet for coupons, receipts, gift cards, and any other paper/cards that I need to carry around.

5. Medium Sized Mesh bag

NOTE: The mess bag is the key to making the system work. It sets a limit on the amount of random stuff that I carry.

Inside of the mess bag, I keep:

-powder compact with mirror

-mini razor
-plug for cell charger
-4 smaller bags, containing: meds/floss, makeup/hair accessories, mints/gum, and YMCA tag/earbuds/locker lock.

TIP: Never buy a purse that won't fit your five things!

organizing, planner, what's in my bag

Notice that I also limit myself to five purses in the rotation. 

Right now, I have four purses that I use regularly: everyday black denim with a crossbody strap, light blue for work/meetings, dark blue for girl's nights/lunches/casual gatherings, and my tote bag for days when I substitute teach. Those bags seem to cover all of my needs.

I like blue. You might have noticed.

A special thank you to my friend Misty for the beautiful light blue bag. You can find Misty blogging about her gorgeous quilts at Daily Design Wall.


Linked at:


Anonymous said...

Oh my! I don't know if I can limit myself to 5 things in my purse! That would be a difficult decision. As for purses/handbags, I only use one. But I'll see if I can do it!

Amanda said...

I wish I could have so few things in my purse, but my purse now doubles as a snack/diaper bag for my little guys. When I can go out with just a wristlet I feel like I'm naked, I swear!


Havok said...

I love "What's in My Bag" videos and pictures, but I can't fathom carrying that much stuff about! I may not have a limit of five things, but everything in my purse has a place it needs to be, and while I'm still learning to tell the front from the back pockets without looking (it was a Christmas present!), I know if it's not on the front, it's the back, but it's there!!

Stephanie said...

This is pretty much what I do as well, but I have my camera as my 5th item. I mostly leave my coupon wallet in my van except when I need it. So mine is cell phone, camera, wallet, makeup bag, & calendar/planner.

Unknown said...

I love it! I mostly have two bags, one for work and one for everything else. I have to admit some of my smaller essentials I keep one in each bag rather than swap them, especially lip balms and mints as I forget to put them back.

lisa said...

Have you seen these?

Giftie Etcetera said...


I'm going to start keeping mine in the car, too. That's so smart.

Yvonne said...

I use a purse organizer, too! So easy to switch purses. I have my mints, wallet, lipsticks (don't know why I have 3 in there. I'm lucky if I even use 1!), floss, mirror, eye pencil, card sized magnifier in there. Then there's my planner with a pen stuck in it, glasses, keys. That's pretty much it! Oh, my cell phone I stick in my pocket!

Unknown said...

I have a bag organiser too. I also have my Filofax/wallet, phone, Fauxdori and makeup bag. I try to keep the number of bags I have down by taking one to the charity shop when I buy a new one.
Love the blog xx

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Angie Nelson said...

I need that mesh bag. Right now I rotate through several purses and I have to make sure I have a lip balm, breath mints and other essentials in each so I don't have to worry about grabbing those things. Needless to say, that doesn't always work out.

Starla J. said...

This makes me have a need to go clean out my purse! LOL

Hilda Rodgers said...

Great idea to limit yourself to 5 items and 5 purses! I use smaller bags to contain all the little things too. Makes it easier to find what I need and to switch purses. I'm pinning this and will use this "rule of 5" idea with my organizing clients!

Giftie Etcetera said...

Hilda - glad to hear it!

Unknown said...

New follower. I discovered your blog today through Philofaxy and after reading your post, Solving the 'Too much to do' problem with a planner. I decided to check out some of your other posts and videos. Oh dear now sound like a stalker ;)

I'm just a new planner addict so love to read/watch anything planner related.

Interesting post. I should maybe try this one.