MY MOBILE phone is ringing.
I reach for the handbag and delve deep into what is often described as the "bottomless pit" in search of the offending object which lurks in the darkness.
This mission yields anything from a shopping receipt, dirty tissue, water bottle, one sock and the library-book I have been meaning to return.
There is no need to feel bad about all that junk in your portable trunk.
But if your system doesn't work, or you have never had one, professional organiser and director of Toowoomba's Time Made - Personal Concierge and Lifestyle, Carolyn Brown, has offered some tips to banish the trash, organise the clutter and put your bag back in business.
"Having an organised bag results in a lighter load to cart around all day.
"Heavier bags can result in shoulder injuries," Ms Brown said.
She said having an organised bag could help you feel more in control.
"Little stress reducers, like having an organised handbag, are a good way to take the pressure off yourself and feel more in control.
"You will spend less time and energy trying to find things.
"And never miss a phone call again because your mobile is somewhere in the bottom of your bag."
What women carry in their handbag
Scredrivers and spare knickers are among the items regularly carried around in handbags, according to a survey of women.
The poll confirmed what many men suspect - women really do carry almost everything in their totes.
Essentials including keys, tissues and make-up were carried alongside tarot cards, dog biscuits and a piano tuning fork - just in case.
The average woman owns seven handbags, according to the survey conducted by Kellogg's Special K Mini Breaks.
Almost a fifth of women surveyed, 19%, said they used their handbag as an object to hide behind when not feeling confident on a "fat day", while 16% said their handbag was like a "security blanket".
And 21% said receiving a compliment about their handbag was the ultimate flattery, while a third confessed to feeling envious of another woman with a nice bag.
Many women also carry mementos such as champagne corks or confetti from their wedding day, or a pebble from a beach when on holiday.
"A woman's handbag is an extension of who she is and helps her facilitate the numerous roles she plays in the 21st century," said Australian author of How To Tell A Woman By Her Handbag, Kathryn Eisman.
More than 2000 women were surveyed for the poll.
MOST COMMON ITEMS CARRIED
- Personal items/band-aid/other first aid items
- Snack/chewing gum
- Compact mirror
UNUSUAL ITEMS CARRIED
- Screwdriver kit
- Porn DVD
- Son's baby tooth
- Daughter's first pair of shoes
- Intimate toys
- Tarot cards
- Vampire voodoo doll
- Confetti from their wedding day
- Spare knickers
- Piano tuning fork
ORGANISE YOUR HANDBAG
- Dump the contents of your handbag onto a table; wipe over the inside of the bag and throw out the rubbish.
- A bag with a lighter coloured insert makes it easier to find items in a hurry and is a good investment if you don't already have one.
- Compartmentalise the items going back into your handbag.
- You can use purses or zip lock bags - but my favourites are the handbag inserts that make moving the contents from one handbag to another so much easier.
- Get yourself into the habit of always knowing, for example, that your keys are in a certain place in your handbag.
- Don't have anything in your bag unless you know you're going to use it. "Just in case" items really just weigh you down.
- Work out how big your handbag really needs to be. Realistically, the bigger the handbag the more tempting it is to carry around those "just in case" items.
- Make a ritual of going through the sorting process for your handbag at least once a week.
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