Personal Storage Issues and Solutions

What’s In My Purse: How I Organize My Bag for Travel, Vanlife, and Everyday Use

Here’s how I organize my "everyday carry" for life on the road.

I keep my kit pretty standard. It doesn’t matter if I’m abroad, in the van, or going back and forth to the house. I’ve come up with a system that works and it hasn’t failed me yet. The trick, for me, is consistency.

It Starts With the Right Bag

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I’m always on the go – grabbing things, exploring stuff – so I need to keep my hands free. For that reason alone, never mind the safety issues, I ordered this Evecase crossbody bag from Amazon. It’s held up well. I chose it because I needed a padded bag to safely carry a camera along with the regular purse bits and bobs (for times when a backpack isn’t appropriate). It measures 12.6 x 8.7 x 6.3 inches.

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What you see is a padded insert within the bag that contains movable dividers. Attached to the top of the zippered insert are three holders. I use them for SD cards and earbuds. On a day-to-day basis, I carry a Sony H300 camera and a handheld tripod to fill 1/3 of the bag (both are out to take this photo).

I remove of the dividers and use the other 2/3rds of the bag for everything else. Inside is a pocket for a phone or tablet  (up to 10.9 inches) and on the back is an even wider pocket. I use it for my dry bag, a poncho, and any maps I need for quick access.

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There’s my travel cutlery set (in the pocket), and a collapsible mug.

As you can see, the padded interior comes out. This is HUGE y’all, because If I’m doing something where a purse just won’t work, I’ll take out the whole interior and put it into my backpack.  In essence, this removable padded interior can turn any purse or backpack into a camera bag. 

Finally, I Don’t Let the Peas Touch the Rice

I keep things separate. I’ve lived the life of tossing random things into a purse and it is a fool’s game.  I don’t do it no mo’. Instead, I keep anything relating to health, first aid, and prettification in this extra large clear case. I also keep a small wristlet (or wallet) and a hard drive in the bag. A pen, a pencil, and my everything notebook (here’s a link to my post about that) go in one of the two front pockets. I keep the second front pocket open for anything I pick up during the day (tickets, receipts, business cards, spare change – yes, I will pick up pennies).

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Waterproof-ish bag for toiletries, portable hard drive, and a tripod.

When I need to transfer to a larger purse or switch to my backpack, I take out the three bags (makeup, hard drive, wallet) and toss them in. So much easier than having to find a new place for individual items.

Okay, So What’s in the Big Clear Bag?

About what you’d expect:

  • Too many lipsticks
  • a gloss
  • lotion
  • toothpaste/toothbrush
  • a pill case full of glorious things
  • bandages and mini first aid kit
  • nail files
  • stainless steel bobby pins
  • bug spray
  • a spray bottle of 70% alcohol and essential oils to de-funk me or a room

Yep. I like to keep it simple with bags in bags that can quickly be transferred to other bags. This modular system means that everything is easy to find and I’m not digging through the whole purse to locate one random thing. It also means that no matter which purse or backpack I switch to for the day, everything is *essentially* in the same spot.

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