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What’s in My Bag and How I Switch Out My Handbags with Ease

February 9, 2021

Hello! And welcome to Dressed for My Day. Today’s post is just for fun. (Of course, I guess they all really are!) Oddly enough, I’ve been asked quite frequently about what I keep in my handbag. I’ve also been queried about whether or not I really change purses with each outfit and how I do that. So today I thought I’d answer those two questions and also give you the lowdown on the handbags I most often carry, too.

What's in My Bag and How I Switch Out My Handbags with Ease

Honestly, I’ve not always switched out handbags quite as frequently as I do now. But when I started this style blog almost three years ago now, I began sharing different purses with each outfit. And when I did that I began to realize the difference a well-chosen bag can make in the overall appearance of an ensemble.

That meant I needed a way to switch out bags quickly and efficiently. I’d heard of purse organizer inserts, but I decided those weren’t an option for me since the bags I like to carry are all different sizes. So I came up with my own little system.

My Purse Organizer

I purchased a cloth covered storage bin that has compartments from Marshall’s. Since I bought mine several years ago and it was at Marshall’s (where they rarely have the same thing twice!), I can’t find my exact bin to share with you. In fact, after spending far too much time looking, I can’t find anything like my bin to direct you to.

Storage Bin

But my bet is you may have something similar in your house already. Or you could find something like this at your local Marshall’s or HomeGoods. I did find some other storage bins that would work, but I don’t think many if any of these have partitions.

I prepared a shopping widget for you with similar bins. If you shop through this widget or any of the other links in this post I potentially earn a commission from your purchase, but at no cost to you. Thank you for shopping my links!

But here’s the most important thing about my storage bin: what I keep in it. In my purse organizer I keep all thing essentials that I like to carry on a regular basis and a few things that I only need occasionally. Since they’re all here in one place, it’s easy to grab and go.

What's In My Purse Organizer Bin

Now these are not all the things I carry in my purse. Hold on. I’m getting there. These are just the things I need occasionally or that I need to replenish on a regular basis. Here I keep:

So these are the things I keep stocked in my purse organizer. But then I also have things I keep in each purse that I’m currently using during that particular season. I don’t think I photographed this quite the way I meant to. I meant to show you the things that are in every different handbag. But you’ll get the idea.

In each handbag I keep:

Each Purse

So when I’m ready to switch to a different bag, all I have to transfer over are six or seven essentials:

In Each Purse

I hope that all makes sense. It really is easy to transfer bags this way. If I realize I’ve run out of lotion or misplaced a nail file, I just reach into my purse organizer for a replenishment. And since I do switch handbags fairly frequently (probably three to five times a week), I keep them all fairly cleaned out of debris.

I used to keep a couple of lipsticks in a little bag, but then I realized that was more of a hassle because I was constantly having to sift through the bag to see what tubes were in it. Now I just take the one tube I’m wearing that day and keep the rest in the organizer. Also, I always either keep my sunglasses and reading glasses in their protective sleeves or in a safe pocket in the handbag.

Organizer and Purses

The Bags I’m Enjoying Right Now

Speaking of safe pockets in a handbag, let me introduce you to my newest bag. I received this Tumi Voyageur Patricia Backpack (above left) just recently and I’m loving it. Made with convenient storage in mind, this small backpack includes so many unique pockets and details. I especially appreciate the exterior pocket for your phone at the top back of the bag. It has a magnetic closure to keep your phone safe and concealed.

The Tumi Voyageur Patricia Backpack
The Tumi Voyageur Patricia Backpack

This lightweight nylon backpack fits everything you need for day-to-day and short trips. In fact, I chose this bag with mine and James’ “explore Ohio” day trips in mind. This bag includes Tumi Tracer®, an exclusive, complimentary program that helps reunite lost or stolen bags with their rightful owners using a one-of-a-kind 20-digit number affixed to the bag.

Tumis are not inexpensive, but they’re made to last. They’re both tough and durable as well as classic and streamlined, so they stay both stylish and useful.

But I’m also finding other backpacks that look similar to this one in other brands. I found this one recently at Vera Bradley and these at Talbots.


I used my Tumi Voyageur Patricia Backpack for the first time last week and absolutely loved having my hands free. It fits easily over my shoulders without any strain. And it can also attach to the pull bar on your rolling luggage.

The other two bags I showed here are two of my favorites, too. I’ve had my Michael Kors satchel for several years and it’s not going anywhere. I carried it this Sunday and use it frequently. I think a satchel bag in a neutral that works well with your wardrobe is such a key accessory for a classic closet.

Cashmere Sweater
See full post here.

My particular Michael Kors satchel is no longer available, but I love this Rayne Saffiano Leather Satchel in bisque. And it’s 1/5 the price it was originally. They have other beautiful satchels (and backpacks!) to choose from and you can just about always find a pretty one on sale. Be sure to join the KorsVIP program so that you’ll always get free shipping and returns. Plus you get to shop their sales early.

Winter Classics
See the original post here.

Above you can see my other Michael Kors satchel bag. It’s not going anywhere anytime soon either. These are probably the two bags I reach for the most.

Another bag you’ve probably seen me carry consistently is my Tory Burch McGraw hobo bag. Well, I actually have that bag in three colors. Ha! That’s how much I love this streamlined shoulder bag.

Tory Burch McGraw Hobo
Tory Burch McGraw Hobo (or at Nordstrom)

I appreciate that this simple but soft leather bag has no interior lining. It just feels clean and more luxe that way. By the way, my Michael Kors satchels are also unlined (but some of their bags do having linings). The pebbled leather used to construct the Tory Burch McGraw hobo is soft and supple. It has a magnetic closure and a few open interior pockets where I generally put my phone and glasses.

I do love a good tote bag. But my Everlane tote is sold out right now, so there’s no point in me mentioning it I guess. But I have a feeling they may be bringing it back out this spring. We’ll see.

And finally I’m really enjoying this little red crossbody I picked up for a recent Talbots collaboration.

Holiday Looks in Neutrals
little red crossbody // See the full post here.

Alrighty! I think that’s it for today. I hope you enjoyed learning what’s in my bag, how I switch them out easily and which ones I’m enjoying the most right now. I’d love to hear what’s in your bag. I may need to add it to mine!

Me and My Bags
my top // earrings no longer available // my jeans

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Blessed for My Day

We serve a good, good God. Amen? But He is also a mysterious God. We cannot put Him in a box and explain His every move or way. Some people wish to. I do not. Why would I bow down to and worship a God who I can explain and predict? Why would I want my God to be so small?

I want a big God. And I have faith enough (most of the time!) to trust that while His ways are not my ways and His thoughts are not my thoughts, His ways are also higher and much, much better than my ways. I also trust that God has revealed enough of Himself through Jesus and His Word for me to live in fellowship with Him now. And He is always revealing more of Himself to me as I study the Bible, seek Him in prayer and obey Him. One day He will reveal Himself more fully to us and we will see things clearly. But for now we can trust simply that He is good…and BIG.

For we know in part and prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away with. When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully, just as I also have been fully known. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:9-12

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xoxo, Kay
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40 thoughts on “What’s in My Bag and How I Switch Out My Handbags with Ease

  1. Any purse I carry has to have requirements…inside and outside zipper compartment and two inside slip pockets. I also prefer my bags to have a zipper closure to keep everything secure. I carry all of the smaller items similar to what you mentioned in a small makeup bag…notepad and pen, small flashlight, extra set of car keys, pill box, hand sanitizer and lotion, nail file and clippers, bandaids. This bag makes it so easy to switch out purses, which I do frequently. Along with the makeup bag I always carry a wallet, checkbook and calendar. My phone goes in one of the slip pockets and a packet of tissues and my chapstick go in the other. The inside zipper compartment is for mints/gum and I always carry a few sweetener packets for that cup of coffee or ice tea I will most likely purchase while out and about. The outside zipper compartment if where I put my car keys when I arrive at my destination to keep them safe and handy. I prefer shoulder bags and crossbody bags but once in a while I will carry a tote. I personally do not care for a structured bag/satchel. I want my purses to be lightweight when empty so they don’t weigh a ton when filled.

    1. I do the same thing! I have a small make-up bag filled with “essentials” that goes easily from bag to bag. If I’m going out for the evening and carrying a smaller purse, I leave the bag behind and take out any items I may need. Works well!

  2. Well Kay I can definitely say……PINK? is your color! You look amazing in this color!

    I don’t change handbags very much…..especially since not going out much with the virus, Ugh!

    I only carry one type (name brand) of handbag which is on the higher end of cost. I own several and love carrying them. Love the post today!


  3. Well I’m an elder newbie! Much older than you but new to your site. And let me say, I have quite enjoyed it! (My sister had told me about you!) I’ve been going back and perusing your older posts and so consequently my husband has also heard a few of your YouTubes along the way! It was so funny… I was trying to recap to my daughter-in-law the things you had said in one of them about being relative and on-trend but not ridiculously age-inappropriate! I said, “there’s a word she uses— what was it??” I hear a voice from the kitchen… “Modern”—my husband shouted out!! Anyway, thank you for the hard work and effort you put into your blog! I know it must be very time-consuming to post all those links like you do, but it’s very helpful! And I love the videos…. how you talk about things and examples pop up! That kinda stuff doesn’t just happen! Well, you have a good day— I gotta go “deal with my purse”!!! ?

    1. Ahh, so nice to meet you Katheryn. Welcome to Dressed for My Day! I love the story about your husband knowing “the word.” ??? Thanks for sharing.

  4. Thank you for the post/article, it’s great to read how others organize their purse, and how they move items from one purse to another. I have started to use smaller bags in recent years, due to neck and shoulder issues from carrying heavier big bags. But, I still have bags of all sizes. My organization/plan is my kleenex/tissues, chapstick, nail file, pen, bandaid, small measuring tape, are in a small zip makeup bag. I have another zip bag for receipts, then my billfold. When I change bags, these 3 items/bags go from one purse to another. If I am traveling or going to street fair/festival, and using very small or light purse, then I will actually only carry the kleenex/tissues, chapstick, and a money clip/ that holds bills/cash and ID. I live in an area that has lots of pollen year round, so with allergies, need the tissues. I also always have the small measuring tape, because thrift shop, and most of our dressing rooms in retail are still closed. I will use your organizing tray/basket idea, because that would keep the money clip, and extra items together and lot easier to find. I really enjoy your articles and the bible verse every day.

  5. Like Janice I have a transferable zippered case that carries essentials & is easily transferred from purse to purse. Only thing I do differently is I have one Vera Bradley eyeglass case for each purse with a pair of sunglasses in it. I pick them up very reasonably at TJ & coordinate they case to the purse. One less thing to have to remember each time I change bags. I get the glasses at TJ as well.

  6. I loved this post! I think People magazine use to feature what was in celebrities purses and I always found it interesting. I have to switch from using a purse when I’m home to not using one at work and I travel a lot! (I do have a small crossbody in my suitcase). I always have to remember to move my wallet! My biggest fear is getting to work with no money for a work trip! But, I am looking for a new purse and can’t decide what I want. Recently, I have thought about a back pack. Thanks for the fun post!!

  7. This post is SO helpful! I do not tend to carry a purse and certainly have not changed out purses to match my outfit! However, your method makes so much sense to me–I am going to try it. Also, I always look for your tips at the end of your posts. Today’s will be put into practice. Thanks SO MUCH for all the time and effort you put into your daily posts and weekly videos. I always read the posts and watch the videos. You are excellent at communicating!

  8. Genius!!!!!! I will be implementing these ideas to make purse changing simpler. I have 3 sets of keys and carry them all the time (even when not needed);to avoid one being in a purse I switched out from. Question: is the Talbot crossbody bag big enough? I love it but the measurement scared me off to handle wallet, sunglasses, phone etc. Say if you were going on vacation or a multi-day trip to Disneyland, would you carry the Tumi backpack or the crossbody bag? Thanks!!

    1. Definitely the Tumi backpack for a day trip to Disney or elsewhere. The red crossbody is fun and I use it a good bit, but my wallet is pretty small and I leave out a few less essentials like the hand sanitizer (I have some in my car) and the gloves, which I put in my pockets instead. Also, you need to know that the crossbody has a canvas strap that is not removable, so when I use the red strap, which I normally do, I have to tuck that other strap inside the bag. It’s a major design flaw in my estimation, but it doesn’t keep me from enjoying the bag.

  9. What a great idea. I’m going to implement this idea. I like to change my purses but I don’t like changing purses. Get it?

  10. I love your blog. I am always learning from you! Today though I am so excited for another reason, I actually have a system too for swapping out my purse insides! Wow I actually do something you do! Yeah!
    My system is a little different, but has same results (making it easy to swap to another purse). I have one makeup bag that I keep things in (not just makeup: I have hand lotion, makeup, nail file, hair clip, gum, ) then I also have separately a wallet and keys for a total of three things to grab to put into my next purse. Although since covid I know have a mask too.

  11. Hi Kay, I really liked this post, so much so I’ve created a Pinterest page just for you. Now I can refer back when I need your inspiration.

  12. I love crossbody bags right now. I make sure they have a zipper pocket for my cell phone in front and a glasses pocket in back. I add a clear zip bag with all my cards and put some paper money in an inside pocket in case I need it and I’m done, I just make short trips these days so no makeup is needed and I use the flashlight on my cell phone. After Covid……..

  13. Love the tips, BFMD and the pink top! Would you send the link where you posted this Vineyard Vine top earlier?
    Is there a place on your site to search for previously posted items?

  14. I absolutely love your style I guess because it is so me. I look forward to your post and am always inspired by what I see. Keep up the great job.

  15. hi Kay, Glenda from Melbourne Australia here. I really enjoy your posts though different Season obviously ! I am loving your new haircut/style, lots of movement and fresh and young looking. Your posts are practical and I can relate to what you feel and say, so thank you and keep up the good work..all the best, Glenda.

  16. Hate to say something, but I’m still getting ads that cover the content. There was one day without them. Now they have returned. Are others experiencing this problem too?
    I really enjoy your postings and have learned so much!

  17. I love your idea of an organizer bin but doesn’t it add extra weight to your handbag? I prefer not to carry a heavy handbag while out and about so I keep many things in an organizer in the glove compartment of my car. Things such a scissors, a flashlight, toothpaste, nail files/clippers and OTC pain killer, sewing kit, paper pad, extra pens, etc. If I really need an item, it’s in my car which is always close by. I also like to keep duplicates of items that I use in every handbag at all times so there’s very little to transfer over. Item’s like tissues, comb, lip balm, travel-size hand lotion, a Band-Aid, pens, breath mints etc. Lastly I buy the teeny-tiny zip closed clear bags from hobby stores to keep strips of dental floss and smaller items that can be replenished as needed. I love reading the tips and tricks of others. I may need to look for an organizer bin for the items I transfer to each handbag but something lightweight and not bulky.

    1. Hi Nancy. I don’t put the organizer in my bag. It stays in my office. It’s just where I keep things I might need when I swap my bag out. I carry very little in my bag. ?

  18. I’ve downsized my bags enormously over the years. Arthritis means my shoulders can’t deal with the overloaded totes I used to carry when I was younger (no doubt part of the reason my shoulders are shot!). What I am looking for is a good organiser that fits into most medium sized bags and can be taken out as needed. Any recommendations?

    1. Hi Alison. I don’t personally have any experience with them. The only ones I know to share with you are those in the shopping widget. But some of those do look promising to me.

  19. A newbie from downunder here and I’m loving what I’m finding so far…lots to discover, thanks ever so much!
    I use something similar to this It’s maybe a bit more streamlined than yours Kay, however is very easy to swap & switch, although as one other mentioned, not going out much at all right now!

    1. Hi Lynn. Welcome to Dressed for My Day. I’m so glad you are enjoying the blog. Yes, my organizer is not an insert. I just keep it in my office so that I have all the things I might need for my handbag in one place. It’s quite heavy and would never fit in a purse.

  20. Just a tip: I keep a tote bag in my car with the extra things I might need, that way I don’t have to carry all the extra things in my purse. Makes changing purses even easier. I started doing this when we were making so many ER and hospital trips with my parents. I carry extra make up, hair essentials, medications, band aids, scissors, small flashlight and right now extra sanitizer wipes and masks. I also keep an extra phone charger and cord in the bag. You never know when you will end up in an emergency situation with no charger. I have a great Vera Bradley zipper tote with pockets and for travel, my favorite Land’s End tote. If you haven’t tried Land’s End totes, you are missing out. Very durable and last for years. Another great tip for organizing: Grid-It organizers. Organizes every and great to slip down in a tote bag or travel bag. New to your site; loving it!

  21. Kay,
    I love to look at handbags and purses, but I hate to carry them and change them out. Probably a hold over from my early years as an itinerant Speech-Language Pathologist.? I like a small crossbody bag that allows hands and arm-free movement, but not out-of-sight. It great to use one when I’m able to volunteer at the hospital (pre-COVID). I love how you and Beth Djalali style your handbags. And I love how Beth keeps her bags in her fantastic closet.
    This post was great and the BFMD was inspirational.
    Thank you.

    1. It has an exterior one that is lined. It has several internal sleeves but I don’t think a water bottle would fit in them. There may be one inside their larger backpacks.

  22. That is cute! It is one of my fears (forgetting something).
    I’m more on the practical side, too.
    Wallet, notebook and pen.
    I do use a cosmetic bag, for small stuff I use.