It seems I’m developing a bit of a reputation for being super-organised. It’s totally undeserved, to be perfectly honest, but it’s a topic I know a bit about because, being basically disorganised, I try very hard to be organised. If you follow. Anyway, that explains why, on a recent radio show, I was asked how I organise my handbag and briefcase. And here, basically is my answer.
First, don’t buy heavy bags or briefcases. When you can feel their weight when they’re empty, you’ll be sorry when they’re full. According to the American Chiropractic Association, handbags should weigh no more than 10% of your body weight. So if you’re a dainty 60 kilos, that’s only 6 kilos, which is lighter than my cat. I imagine the weight guideline holds true for briefcases.
(Gentlemen, at this point you may skip down to the Briefcase bit and I won’t be offended.)
Buy a handbag with compartments. Then learn which compartments hold what. No compartments in your handbag? Use little make-up bags or jewellery bags to keep similar items together.
Have a separate card holder for your loyalty shopper cards and all those other seldom-used cards. No more unsightly bulging wallets.
Don’t carry every item you think you may need. You probably won’t need it and if by some miracle you do, you probably wouldn’t be able to find it in amongst the kitchen sink that’s also in there.
Carry shoulder bags cross-wise. If cross-wise sounds too daggy for you, call it ‘New York style’. If that’s still too daggy for you, at least switch shoulders every 10 minutes or so.
‘New York style’ is better, though. You don’t have to worry about it slipping off and you have two completely free hands, which is important for safety as well as for shopping. More importantly, it’s better for your back and shoulders. Years of carrying heavish-ish shoulder bags on only your shoulder, as opposed to cross-wise, really does a number on your back muscles, your spine and your ability to stand straight. Been there, done that. (I’m much better now, thank you.)
Most briefcases have a lot of compartments. Use them to store like items together and get to know what you’ve put where. If you need to, use pencil cases, make up or jewellery bags to stash any smaller items you need to carry.
When you’re meeting about several topics or with several people and you’re not carrying a laptop with the documents you need, coloured heavy paper folders or plastic folders are great. Label each one so you don’t have to over-tax your memory. Anyway, there’s no point in remembering your colour-coding unless you use the same colours all the time for the same subjects or people and even then, it’s a good idea to label them so that others who may help you in the office can locate them if they need to.
There we have it. It may not be rocket science but it’s one more tiny element in a polished professional image.