Quick Handbag Changes on the Daily

Having a variety of handbags to choose from every day is a relatively new thing for me. I used to have just one bag in a neutral color (usually black) that I would carry until it wore out or I was just ready for something different. But in August 2014 I decided to try something with color, and then I was hooked. I loved the way it looked as an accessory and added visual interest to my outfits rather than just being a functional piece to carry my stuff. Initially it seemed really inconvenient to have to move all my stuff from one bag to the next day-to-day and that kept me from wanting to own multiple colors. But now I have a method for changing bags in just a few seconds and since I had recently had a question about how I handle that, I thought I would share here.

Handbag Essentials:
First, here's a little look at what I carry day-to-day in my bag. This size of crossbody is as small as I can go for an everyday bag:
Crossbody Bag: c/o Fossil / RX Sunglasses: Firmoo / Card Holder: Target (in store)

And here's how everything looks packed in:
It's hard to see my keys and phone but they are tucked in there as well. And most of the time my sunglasses are on my face/head and not inside the bag. Same goes for my phone - I often keep it in my back pocket or if I'm in the car I set it in a cupholder. But still, everything fits inside the bag if needed.

There are two things not pictured above that I store in each of my handbags:

1. A pen. I used to carry a pen in the Ziploc bag but it would cause the bag to rip rather quickly so I just bought a bunch of pens and put one in each of my handbags instead.

2. Spare change. My pink card holder above only holds cash, credit cards, insurance cards, membership cards, etc. While I don't exactly stock my handbags with change, any time I buy something with cash and get coins back, I put it in the inside zipper compartment of the handbag of the day. Sometimes that means I have exact change handy for a purchase, other times that means I am getting 97 cents back because my handbag of the day didn't have any coins. But then next time I will have exact change! I've just found that carrying a wallet that's big enough for my coins and change means it's too big to fit in a small crossbody along with all my other stuff. So by leaving the change in each bag I free up more space.

If you're curious about what I carry in the Ziploc bag, here's a look at those items:
Top Row: Gum / Eye Drops / Lip liner / Lip gloss/ Lipstick / Compact Mirror
Bottom Row: Hand Sanitizer / Travel Toothpick / Nail Clippers / Orthodontic Wax / Burt's Bees Lip Balm / Eye Gel / Aquaphor Lotion/Lip Balm

Some of these things I carry specifically for my kids (e.g. Orthodontic Wax) and other items for myself are probably not something most people need (e.g. two kinds of eye drops). But I use all of these regularly and find it easiest to move the Ziploc bag from one handbag to another day-to-day rather than individually transferring each of these things from bag to bag or spending the money to stock every handbag with these items.

And yep, I just use a standard Ziploc zipper bag for some of my essentials.  While I would love to carry these things in a nicer, cute pouch of some sort, I've tried that and it doesn't work as well as the Ziploc bag for two reasons. One, I like the bag to be see through so I can easily see and find what I need. I know there are clear cosmetic bags and I've tried those but they don't work as well because the material is too thick and structured. Which is the second reason why the Ziploc bag works for me: the material is really thin and flexible which allows it to shift around easily and fit in different spaces, and same for the items inside the bag. They can move around easily to accommodate the shape of the bag I'm using. Every couple of months the Ziploc bag starts to wear out and I have to replace it, but it's something I keep on hand in my kitchen anyway so it literally costs just a few cents.

Handbag Requirements:
Basically, I'm transferring just the five things pictured below  (keys, Ziploc bag-o-goodies, card holder/wallet, sunglasses, phone) each time I switch handbags.
Handbag: Amazon

Anytime I purchase a new bag, I know it has to fit those five things or it's not going to work for me. Also, I make it a point to only purchase handbags that have one single compartment. If it has multiple compartments it's more of a hassle to transfer stuff and makes it more likely that I'll forget to transfer something out of a compartment. With one compartment, I grab everything I see (except for the pre-stocked pen) and move it to the bag of the day. The very first colored handbag I purchased has three compartments (hot pink bag at the end of the post) and I found I really dislike that since I have to put different items in different zipper compartments to make it all fit.

Choosing the Bag of the Day:
Sometimes I choose my handbag based on function for the day's activities. For example, if I'm going to a street fair with my family I'll carry a crossbody because I know I want my hands free for holding food, drinks, etc. Other days I might take my child to a doctor's appointment and opt for something bigger to bring them a snack plus their iPod and a book for me for the waiting area.
Handbag: Amazon

All of those items fit inside the bag with plenty of room to spare for after-visit paperwork and whatever else I manage to collect throughout the day:

Other days I can carry pretty much any size of bag I want, and I just choose based on what works with my outfit...or I'll plan my outfit around my bag. Some days I don't want to switch bags from the day prior (even though it's not that hard, it's still more effort than not changing!), other times I have a new bag I want to carry or an "old" one I feel like using again. So here's one last look at the bags I talked about in this post and how I've worn them with different outfits:
Top Left: Outfit Post Here / Bag: Express (Similar)  / Right: Outfit PostHere / Bag: Amazon
Bottom Left: Outfit Post: HereBag: Amazon  / Right: Outfit Post: Here / Bag: c/o Fossil

Shop the Pieces:

If you've put off getting a handbag in a fun color because of the hassle of moving your stuff from bag to bag, hopefully this gives you some possible ideas on ways to make it work for you. Of course, it's easier and cheaper just to have one bag, but there are plenty of fun, affordable handbag options out there and it really is one of those final touches to even a very simple outfit that can make it look more complete.

Linking up with:
Lindsey / Lisa / ErikaAndreaNarci /JoLynne



  1. yes I can switch bags in seconds now, because I used a wallets and 2 pouches to put essentials so I just have to move those 3, and of course my umbrella and notepad. Great post!


  2. I always love to hear other people's systems for how they easily transfer bags. I have a few plastic bags in my purse too, and it is really helpful! You have such a fun bag collection!

  3. I love posts like this. I feel like I get to to be so nosy. Plus, you do know how to accessorize with a good purse. Your purse changes, manicure changes and ability to always have perfectly steamed/ironed clothing continues to make me think you're superwoman. I do pretty much the same thing but I only have a few purses. Work purse, fun purse, mom purse, and vacation bag. I really do want one new purse and I've been wanting bright pink. Having the pouches is key. On a completely side note, I'm completely intrigued by the 5 Love Languages of Children.

    1. Ha! I just received that book as a gift from a friend (she read it and found it helpful with her children) I'm only a couple of chapters in but so far so good. :) It does say if your children are under 5 you might not be able to tell their primary "language" yet though, so it's probably most helpful for a mom of kindergarten and up ages.

  4. I have so many bags, but rarely change them out unless I'm going somewhere nice. I have so much kid stuff that I need a huge bag and I usually make some kind of instrument noise while walking! Love your ziplock tips, I will have to try that!

    Whitney & Blaire

    Peaches In A Pod

  5. fabulous! so i just got (another) new handbag because the one i bought last year was a teensy bit too small for my planner and was starting to ruin the edges. so when i switched over my stuff, i put everything in a cute little zippered pouch, and voila. easy peasy everything moved nice and neat and my bag has never been this organised. i have 2 sections/compartments so i keep my planner on one side and everything else on the other. so far so good! i think i am going to switch to a ziploc bag though because i do like the idea of it being see through. thanks for sharing!

  6. I love this because it is basically my exact system! I use a card holder only and keep spare change in the sipper pocket. I totally have Aquafor (best chapstick EVA) and eye drops (although a different brand. Have you tried Systane?). I don't put mine in a zip lock though. I need to try that! I love being able to switch bags easily and regularly depending on my outfit. :)

    Amy Ann
    Straight A Style

  7. I am with you on the 5 items! I use a cosmetic pouch instead of a zip lock, but same principle. Great post, makes me feel good that I am smart about switching bags.
    xo, Lee

  8. This is such a great idea! I have not ever thought about doing this but now it seems so obvious! I will definitely be doing this from now on, I'm always changing my bags, thanks for the idea!

    Hayley-Eszti | www.hayleyeszti.com

  9. It is always "fun" to see what others carry in their bag. I am like you - I used to only have one black bag - but I am starting to branch out with colorful bags. I just saw a white Rebecca Minkoff marked down 40% that I am trying to resist the urge to buy.

    Daily Style Finds

  10. I love this post! I used to be the same as you with one neutral handbag and now I've invested in several but hated the swapping thing. I use the handbag size for everyday because I like to have a book with me. I set up each purse with a comb, gum, tissue, hand lotion etc. so all I'm swapping is makeup bag, wallet, phone, sunnies. I love having a system :-)

  11. I have a few bags but rarely change them! That ziplock trick is perfect. I tend to use a clutch to easily transfer, but that doesn't work with my smaller bags. I hope your week is off to a great start!

    Nicole to the Nines

  12. I am still the same bag everyday kind of girl, but I would love to step up my game! Love your collection!
    pumps and push-ups

  13. Love this fun post :) I have to admit I'm not huge into hand bags..I have a large and small purse for both black and brown. Not very exciting! I prefer just to stuff my pockets with whatever I need haha

  14. I really like the idea of having a clear bag full of items you may need! I was wondering why you needed orthodontic wax (since I'm going through Invisalign right now!), but had an aha! moment when I read it was for your kids. I really need to try this, because when I switch bags I am always forgetting something.


  15. Great post! I never thought to use a simple ziplock. I've tried using different pouches as well because I have several, but you're so right - I think if they were see through and more flexible, I'd use them to switch out my bags more. Funny you did this because I'm in the market for a new bag. I really want a saddle style for spring and summer.

    And THANK YOU so much for your sweet comment today. I really appreciate your honest feedback

  16. Having all the small necessities in pouches like that are definitely convenient! The only thing I do a little differently is make sure my wallet/card holder fits inside my small pouch so that I can just grab that pouch when I go to the gym or Pilates, when I'm not needing a full on handbag! Another thing I have found is that the more often you switch bags, the less trash and random receipts you accumulate over time, which can be a daunting task in switching bags-- deciphering between trash and papers/receipts worth keeping! I'm glad you have seen the glory of a full blown handbag collection! It really is a fun and easy way to switch up your look!
    Carylee | http://morepiecesofme.com

  17. I used to change my bag almost everyday but over the past year it's changed to every season. You have a great system in place and an amazing bag collection!

    Doused In Pink

  18. Definitely agree with you on the ziplock bag! I carry most of my makeup in one when I know I'll be out all day and it just fits so much easier and if for some reason something spills inside, I can just throw it away. Loving all the colorful bags! I need to start shopping for a new spring bag! Great post as always, Gina!

    Xo, Erica
    Casually Styled

  19. You're amazing that you can use a cross body as an everyday bag! I need to start minimizing all of my belongings and using less of everything! I really love all of your smaller bags in this post, I am constantly on the hunt for some new ones!

    Denise | Fashion Love Letters

  20. You're so practical, of COURSE you'd come up with an efficient way to switch bags! I like your ziploc idea and how you keep change and pens in each purse, instead of thinking that you have to move them from purse to purse each time.

    Since I adore bags - I also liked getting the chance to peek at all the different bags you carry - you picked up some super cute bags!

    I definitely enjoy changing my bags a lot. Nowadays I keep one main bag for daily use (with all my wallets, store cards etc), and when I pick a new bag to go out in - I just transfer out the essentials (wallet, phone, keys, mobile charger, mints & makeup). I keep a list on my phone that I check before heading out - to make sure I have everything I need ;-)

  21. CUTE! I love the bags you have here. I practically never change my bags. I used to have a ton and now I really only use one massive Longchamp tote or my tiny Cole Haan crossbody. The in between is where I'm lacking

  22. What a gorgeous bags! Your bag collection is amazing. :)
    Happy Friday!
    Xox, Raysa

  23. So I still do the one neutral tote for everything until it wears out, but I also have my stuff in two different clutches. One is a sequin clutch from Target that has my sunglasses, lip gloss, keys, phone. The other is all the other kid stuff, reusable bags, etc. I like the idea of changing up my purse to match my outfit...but don't have time for that yet.....or the space to store all the handbags. Maybe one day. :)

  24. I love the transferable pouch idea! I really need to try this!


  25. I LOVE this! Definitely makes me want to try changing bags more often!


Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment! I sincerely appreciate each and every one and always do my best to answer questions promptly!