Vicki Norris
Vicki Norris: Organization Expert

Featured On:

  • HGTV
  • Good Housekeeping
Vicki Norris is a nationally-recognized organizing and life management expert, author, entrepreneur, product designer, speaker, and television personality who inspires people to live out their priorities, reclaim their lives, and get organized for good. Founder and president of Vicki Norris’ Restoring Order, an organizing services and products company, Norris leads others to enrich their quality of life by creating sustainable change in personal organizational habits.

A visionary, Norris created a rare business model in the professional organizing industry, employing and training professional organizers in the Restoring Order philosophy and methods. Instead of simply showing clients how to organize their spaces, Norris and her staff help them discover the causes of disorder that create clutter in the first place. Clients learn to change their thinking and behavior to embrace organization not as an activity or set of quick tips but as a lifestyle of self-management.

In her premiere book, Reclaim Your Life™, Norris shares engaging and humorous stories from the front lines of her work as a professional organizer. She demonstrates how disorganization degrades quality of life as she inspires readers to embrace the benefits of order. Readers learn practical and distinctive tactics that enable them to dig into their organizing projects and invest in their own long-term success.

In her latest book, Restoring Order® to Your Home, Norris shows readers how to tackle every space in the home through a room-by-room, step-by-step guide. Using real-life examples, she demonstrates how to creatively customize the home to fit personal needs. In Norris’ books, readers don’t find clichéd organizing tips; they gain liberation and motivation for better life management.

Versed in many forms of broadcast media, Norris is a regularly featured expert on HGTV’s Mission: Organization. In addition to presenting twice-monthly organizing segments on AM Northwest, the morning talk show on ABC’s affiliate in Portland, Oregon, Norris also has a weekly radio spot offering listeners organizing advice on the Northwest’s 1190 AM. She frequently contributes to national lifestyle publications, such as Good Housekeeping’s Quick & Simple magazine, Better Homes & Gardens, and Real Simple magazine. Norris’ unique brand of organization and life management has attracted such notable companies as Glad and MasterCard, who have enlisted Norris as their spokesperson.

Vicki Norris provides presentations, interviews, articles, makeovers, workshops, and contests relating to organizing office and personal spaces to suit both broadcast and print audiences.

In 2004, Norris created her own line of stylish, functional organizing products under the Restoring Order brand. Norris personally designed and perfected the innovative collection after years of searching for attractive and durable products to help her clients conquer their clutter.

A keynote speaker, Norris is a member of the National Speakers Association. She inspires audiences with humor and storytelling to reclaim their space, priorities, and potential. From CEOs to soccer moms, Vicki helps audiences take back their time and productivity and tackle disorganization for good.

Transforming lives is a personal commitment to Norris as she serves on the Board of Trustees of the Portland Rescue Mission. Vicki lives in Sherwood, Oregon with her husband Trevor and son Nash.
  • Best Tax Paper Organizing
    “In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes.” ~Benjamin Franklin

    Tax time is stressful enough without the added anxiety that comes with having disorganized paperwork. Are you one of those people who tell themselves, “I’m serious. I’m really going to get organized about my taxes this year,” only to scramble and rush through the job three days before the deadline year after year? Do you have to dig for your shoebox of receipts or file another embarrassing extension? Believe me, you are not alone! Many, many people struggle with paper management issues, especially financial ones.

    When it comes to tax-related paperwork, a large part of the problem is that we wait until a certain time (usually February or March) to actually start thinking about it. This delayed action backs us into a corner with a fast-approaching deadline. What could have been an ongoing habit throughout the year now becomes an archeological dig!

    Rather than thinking of “tax time” in the literal sense, adapt your definition and consider it as an ongoing process that happens all year long. Set up a workable system for your financial paperwork – even one as simple as designating an accordion file for collecting all tax-related papers. Establishing a system that works for you will require an initial investment of time and consideration but it will pay great dividends when you are ready to file instead of scrambling. Your system will be larger and more complex if you own a business and more straightforward if you file individually. Think about your needs and lifestyle as well as your basic habits to determine a feasible solution. Once that preliminary work has been done, it’s all about maintenance and using your system.

    Organizing your annual financial paperwork on a regular basis will keep you sane all year long. And no longer will you fear when the “tax man cometh.”
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  • Best Make-up Organizing
    Few things are as important to a young girl as the day she is allowed to start wearing makeup! When it comes to girlhood rites of passage, trying on mom’s lipstick is right up there with clomping around in her high heels and getting our ears pierced. It’s a little bit of harmless fun that comes with a lot of cool supplies.

    In my years of professional organizing, I’ve noticed a common trend. While mothers may teach their young daughters the importance of a good beauty regimen, they don’t often pass down an effective way to store those treasured beauty supplies.

    Imagine for a second that we all treated our shoes the way most of us treat our cosmetics. I know it seems like a strange comparison, but if you add up the amount of money you’ve spent on your makeup, the dollar figure is probably at least $100, which is about the same price as a nice pair of shoes.

    Wouldn’t it be strange to throw your shoes into an old box in the cabinet underneath the sink? When old shoes are no longer wearable, would you still keep them underneath the sink and just throw your new shoes on top of them? If this seems like a crowded, dusty, careless approach; it is!

    Yet, this is how we treat our makeup! Most people I’ve met in my line of work simply stuff and stash their makeup. The brushes are filthy, the shadow gets broken, and the rest collects dust. Our makeup gets neglected, abused, and forgotten.

    So now is the time to take back one of life’s little luxuries! Make your daily routine a little less routine. Create a cosmetics collection that lives up to your childhood fantasies by organizing and storing it in a way that reflects who you are today. By honoring the investment you’ve made, you’ll get an extra lift to your day. And that’s a beautiful thing.
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  • Best Entryway Organization
    How many of these common entryway issues sound familiar?

    - 47 pairs of shoes and boots clogging the doorway
    - Coats hanging two or three deep on the same hook
    - Orphaned gloves and mittens
    - Nomadic car keys
    - All of the above

    As a professional organizer, I can tell you for certain that most people will answer “all of the above”!

    The entryway of a household acts as a window to the state of living within. When you walk into a house and you are greeted by order, a sense of calm and hospitality prevails. Conversely, when the first thing you notice is congestion and clutter, you’re tempted to back away slowly!

    The main purpose of a good entryway system is to streamline your routine. When you have one spot that you launch from and return to, you will eliminate wandering items and create a “home” for your purse, briefcase, kids’ school bags, keys, umbrellas, and outdoor gear.

    I’ve reviewed some clever solutions herein; hopefully you can find one that fits your family and lifestyle. And after you obtain the right system, be sure to implement maintenance to keep it streamlined. Then you can focus your attention on the most important aspect of your home – the people who live in it! And doesn’t that sound like a nice place to come home to?
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  • Best Recipe Organizing
    Want to put some spice back into your life and kitchen? It’s time to organize your recipes!

    When it comes to meal planning and experimenting with food, most of us are derailed before we even start. We are simply overwhelmed by the variety of mediums recipes are floating around on, including:

    - Mom’s (and Grandma’s and Auntie’s) old recipe cards
    - Our own myriad of systems started (but never maintained) long ago
    - Newspaper clippings of recipes-to-try
    - Loose papers of all sizes collected over the years

    There isn’t really one magic ingredient to this project; it’s about finding what works for you and your lifestyle. As you tackle your recipes, you’ll need a dash of planning, a helping of sorting, and a dollop of maintenance. These are the most important ingredients for whipping all of those loose index cards, handwritten sticky-notes, and magazine clippings into apple-pie order.

    When you blend these ingredients together, you’ll get a finished product that will have everyone coming back for seconds. Including you!
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  • Best Charging Stations
    With so many electronic gadgets available today it is no wonder we are all tangled up! Most households are plugging in and charging at least one cell phone at the end of the day. And when you add PDAs, MP3 players, and digital cameras into the mix, that’s a whole lotta cords!

    Despite the fact that more and more things are going wireless, it seems that we’re connecting more objects to more cords than ever before. Seeing a jumble of cords snake its way across a floor or surface is one of my organizing pet peeves! The visual clutter never fails to draw attention to itself, on top of the fact that all those wires can be a tripping hazard.

    We rely on all these devices to function at a moment’s notice, so they need to be accessible and reliable. Carrying on a cell phone conversation is difficult when the battery hasn’t been fully charged. And how can you capture life’s important moments when you can’t even find your digital camera? Looking after your electronic belongings just makes sense – especially when you’ve invested a fair amount of money in them.

    One of the best systems for managing your collection of electronic gadgets is a charging station. Relatively new to the organizing world, the charging station was born out of a need to store and charge several devices while controlling and minimizing the cord jungle that comes with the territory.

    Establishing a designated space for a household charging station can eliminate last minute searches and lost gadgets. When you put things in the same place at the end of each day, you won’t have to go on a mission to find them the next morning. Even if your devices aren’t in need of a charge, storing them in the station (without plugging them in) is a great way to stick to this routine.

    When it comes to finding the ideal charging station for your household, first determine how many items you’ll need to charge. It may make sense for each family member to have their own station, depending on how many gadgets each person owns. Aside from this, the style of your charging station is really a matter of personal taste and available space.

    One last tip to keep in mind – you don’t have to charge your gadgets every single day. Doing so is actually bad for the battery since overcharging shortens its life. The heat generated by charging is what does the damage; so once your devices are fully charged, unplug them.
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  • Best Media Organizing
    There’s no doubt about it, we are a nation of media fanatics! Movies, music, and magazines are among the most popular forms of entertainment and relaxation today. There’s nothing like kicking back at home with a good movie on a Sunday afternoon. Or curling up in your favorite chair and spending some quality time with People magazine. But when you begin to be surrounded by this stuff, it’s not fun or relaxing!

    Have you ever looked at your entertainment center, bulging with CDs, DVDs, and VHS tapes, and wondered how in the world it got that bad? And what about that ever-growing heap of magazines in the corner of the den? Do you feel guilty about the fact that you’ve been meaning to do something about it, but can’t quite figure out what that ‘something’ is?

    Let me tell you, you’re not alone! It happens to the best of us. When it comes to multi-media, the accumulation process begins slowly, almost imperceptibly. You buy a few new CDs here. The latest DVD release there. The most recent issue of your favorite magazine arrives in the mail. And before you know it, you’ve got enough inventory to open your own entertainment superstore, but considerably less square footage in which to store it.

    Never fear! Bringing order to a multi-media collection can be an entertaining organizing project when you approach it with a plan. The first step is to use the golden rule of organizing and group like things together. Once you’ve done that, go through each category and determine if it needs to be pared down. Remember, it’s not about getting rid of everything. It’s about letting go of what is no longer serving you so you can open up space for the things you still use and cherish.

    Once you’ve sorted and pruned your collection, you’re ready to determine the best way to store it. And thanks to the wide array of products available, you should have no problem finding something that fits your needs, taste, and budget. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

    Lights, camera, action!
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  • Best Back-to-School Organizing
    It may seem like just yesterday that your children came home singing ‘no more pencils, no more books,’ but back-to-school season is upon us once again!

    When I was growing up, back-to-school season was my favorite time of year. I would get so excited near the end of August when it was time for new school supplies, an updated lunch box, and a cool new backpack! I was always happy to get myself organized before the first day of school.

    Not surprisingly, many people don’t share this enthusiasm! The yearly ritual of back-to-school preparation can feel more like an upheaval than a fresh start. Shopping for new school supplies, clothes, and extra-curricular equipment takes time, money, and energy that we don’t always feel we can spare. And establishing new schedules for yourself and your children can be overwhelming to say the least. But there are a few ways you can help ease the transition while keeping your sanity!

    A smart place to start is to create an inventory of everything you need before you get sucked into the commercialism of the season. This will help eliminate the over-abundance of school supplies that many households end up with. It’s fun to have new pens, pencils, notebooks, and the like, but if you’ve already got most of these necessities on hand, try to resist the urge to buy more. Use what you’ve got first, then re-stock when the time is right. Buy only what you need.

    Even better, why not create a school supply box of your previously-used, but not-ready-for-the-trash items where each child goes to look first to see if they truly need something new? Not only will you be demonstrating to your kids the importance of re-using and repurposing your belongings, you’ll also save yourself last-minute trips to the store when a project is due the next day and there’s a glue stick emergency!

    Finally, time management can be a real struggle for busy moms and dads. Having a good system for recording important appointments, school events, sports games and practices, and parent/teacher meetings is essential for sanity. Many of my tech-savvy clients use an electronic or online organizing system. For the paper-based crowd, however, a large desk or wall calendar/whiteboard combination can help you gain control of your time. Hanging it in a place where family members can view it is informative to all and helps everyone feel like they’re part of the process.

    Getting ready for a new school year shouldn’t feel like detention for you or your kids. A bit of forethought and preparation will go a long way. I hope these options will provide some school-year sanity for your family!
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  • Best File Cabinets
    Rusty drawers that creak and squeak when you open them. A wobbly, uneven foundation that requires propping to make it level. Jam-packed drawers that won’t fit one more piece of paper, no matter how hard you try. Sound familiar?

    If I just described YOUR filing cabinet, you’re not alone! File cabinets are one of the most commonly misused pieces of furniture our organizers find in our client’s homes and businesses. Most people don’t take the time to figure out what their needs are prior to purchasing. Just as you wouldn’t buy a pair of shoes without trying them on, you shouldn’t pick a file cabinet without determining the right fit.

    As tempting as it can be to just purchase the first thing you see, consider size and style first:

    a) Determine how much storage capacity you require; is one file drawer enough, or do you need four?

    b) Will your file system remain fairly small once it’s set up, or do you anticipate constant growth? Consider how many additional drawers you will need

    c) In the case of a home office, does the file cabinet have to blend in with existing furniture and décor?

    Space planning should be taken into account as well:

    a) Vertical filing cabinets can be quite deep; you’ll need to make sure your space allows for that depth

    b) How many people will be accessing the file system?

    c) Would you prefer lower, lateral storage drawers rather than a taller, vertical unit?

    File cabinets have come a long way since the standard gray metal days. Whether you’re looking for an elegant console for your home office or something utilitarian for your corporate worksite, I hope these options will inspire you to tackle that backlogged filing!
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  • Best Photo Organizing
    For many people, the road to getting organized is paved with good intentions. One such project is tackling the mountain of memorabilia you’ve accumulated over the years. If you’re like a lot of our clients, you probably still have a lot of hard copy photos in shoeboxes or in piles around the house. Aren’t your precious memories deserving of better accommodations? If you don’t know where to begin, here’s a three-fold strategy for your photo-organizing project.

    1) EDIT:
    First, go through each stack of pictures and edit the contents, removing all unflattering, eyes-closed, too dark, or out-of-focus shots. If there are several pictures of the same thing from slightly different angles, pick the best one and eliminate the rest or pass them on to others who may appear in them as well. This should help narrow things down right away!

    2) LABEL:
    Next, make sure the back of each photo is labeled with the date (as close as possible if you don’t remember exactly), the event and the people in the picture. We don’t always remember things clearly ten years later and it’s nice to have that extra bit of information. The labeling stage is also good time to arrange photos into categories. I like to do mine chronologically, but I’ve helped clients organize their pictures by events (holidays, birthdays, school, sports, etc.) or by family member as well.

    3) STORE:
    I’ve already decided that I’d like to keep my collection in simple, acid-free, shoebox-sized storage boxes, so at this point, I can determine how many I’ll need. I may decide to create individual photo albums later on, but for now, having them in order and safely stored is the perfect solution for my current lifestyle.

    If getting your own photo collection in order is on your project list, spend a little time on a plan of attack before jumping in. Think about how you’d like to organize and keep your photos. Would you like regular access to them, or will they be stored away? How big or small is your collection? What type of storage space is available? A little bit of preparation goes a long way. And once you’re able to move your project to the top of your list, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that all of your precious memories are getting the respect they deserve.
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  • Best Car Organizers
    I recommend to my clients that they treat their cars just like their homes… once they do an initial clear-out, monthly maintenance is their insurance policy! Keeping your car clear of accumulation will keep it in better condition and make it more pleasant to drive.

    Here’s my own maintenance routine: I empty the garbage catcher that is a staple in my vehicle. I unload the collapsible crates I use to carry equipment and supplies to my speaking engagements. I purge the console and door pockets. And I make sure my son’s travel toys are safely stowed. Then, I follow this “pruning” with a good clean. It doesn’t take long – less than fifteen minutes – but that small investment of time provides a big payoff.

    In today’s busy world, our cars have become an extension of our homes. Between chauffeuring our children to numerous after-school activities, running errands after our daily commute and driving to weekend sporting events, we seem to spend more time in our vehicles than ever before. And like a family room or office inside a home, cars require a little bit of time and energy to keep them streamlined, efficient, and comfortable.

    I’ve found that I can tell a lot about someone’s home environment just by looking at the state of their car. When I see lots of stuff stashed, stored, lost or forgotten inside a vehicle, it’s a good bet that the owner’s house has the same characteristics. This isn’t a 100% foolproof method, but if someone’s car is messy and disorganized, their house tends to follow suit.

    Professional organizers are inclined to look at any space, be it a home office, kitchen pantry or bedroom closet, with an eye for how it can be better maximized. We can’t help it! It comes with the territory. We look at cars with the same viewpoint. It’s not just a space on four wheels in which to get from point A to point B. It’s an extension of your home and a reflection of your lifestyle. As such, it should be treated with a little TLC.

    We’ve all heard the saying about life being more about the journey than the destination. Imagine how much nicer that journey can be in a well-maintained car, both inside and out!
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  • Best Portable Filing
    There’s no doubt we’re all carrying heavier loads these days. Since the standard work day for many people has become nine to ten hours long, and our work has become more mobile, we’re now transporting lots of extra “stuff” everywhere we go. From work files to bulging briefcases to overloaded purses, our backs are breaking and our portable filling needs are growing.

    Aside from professional organizers and Monica from “Friends”, there aren’t many people in this world who get excited by the task of filing. No, for most people, just the idea of filing is a scary prospect. But whether we like it or not, keeping good files is essential. And keeping track of those files is even more important. After all, what good is a file if you can’t find it when you need it? Keeping your files in order and on-hand doesn’t have to feel like punishment when you create the right system that works for you.

    Similarly, transporting files doesn’t have to be mundane when you find the product that meets your needs. Whether you’re a consultant on the road or a busy mom; there’s no reason your files can’t look pulled together even if you feel the exact opposite.

    Portable file carriers come in a variety of sizes, so think about your needs before choosing one. Do you carry between five to ten slim files on a constant basis? If so, a small, one-handled, accordion-type tote might do the job. Or, if you need regular access to 30-40 thick files or literature to distribute, you may require a large, durable file box that requires two hands for lifting.

    And just because you’re carrying files, you don’t have to do so in a paper sack! Streamline your materials, give your files the order they deserve, and add a little style to your everyday.
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  • Best Pantry Organizers
    “The Black Hole” is just one of the many descriptive names I’ve heard from clients in reference to their pantry or food storage cupboard. It’s not hard to understand why. In most cases, we don’t have the luxury of custom-designing our dream pantry. We have to make the best of what comes with our house or living space. And often, what comes with our house includes less-than-optimal useable shelf space, poor lighting (or no lighting at all) and awkward storage configurations that allow things to get stuck at the back, never to see the light of day again.

    In my fantasy dream home, I have a separate pantry space from the kitchen where in custom-fit, stainless-steel rolling racks line the walls. There’s more than enough room to house all of the necessary food items and there’s even a butler-type pantry rack to house my less-used bakeware, cookware, small appliances, and table linens. I can envision myself in this space, grabbing the necessary ingredients for a batch of chocolate-chip cookies or picking out my favorite table cloth and napkins for a special occasion.

    And while it’s nice to close my eyes and be in my fairy tale house for a visit, when I’m standing in front of my actual pantry, things snap back to reality pretty quickly! Our kitchen has its own closet dedicated to pantry items, but it’s definitely not walk-in sized and it’s so deep that the back of the shelves are longer than my arm can reach.

    But rather than wishing upon a star about how I’d like to change it, I was able to maximize my space with some simple, but effective, products designed to increase storage space and decrease frustration.

    A few cost-friendly items introduced into your own pantry (or regular cupboard for those who don’t have a dedicated pantry space) can make a world of difference and bring you a little closer to your own fantasy pantry.
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  • Best Day Planners
    Part of our job as professional organizers is to help clients learn about time management skills and systems. Being organized is not just about having physical things in the right place; it’s also about getting yourself in the right place at the right time! If you’re constantly racing against the clock, a day planner can be a great tool to help you win the battle.

    While technology offers a machine or device for every need, there are still lots of people who would rather stick to the basics when it comes to daily time management. Some might view a paper-based calendar and address system as archaic, but others find it comforting never to have to worry about crashed computers and lost data.

    We live in a world of endless choices and selecting a paper-based system from the ever-growing options can be an overwhelming process. But it doesn’t have to be. When it comes to day planners, I’m of the less-is-more theory. Nobody wants to be a slave to their own planner and updating multiple sections of a daily agenda shouldn’t be a full-time job. Keep things simple. You want your system to help you, not own you.

    As long as your day planner includes a few basic features, you’re good to go. I recommend choosing a size that is easily portable. When I used a paper system, I used one that could fit in my handbag. To keep the contents streamlined, the only things I needed were a month-in-view page, an address section, and notepaper for keeping track of “to dos” or shopping lists. That’s it. Anything else was wasted on me because I simply didn’t use it.

    If you’ve become tied down by your own daily system, or if you’re in the market for a fresh start, remember to take a bit of time to think about what it is YOU need. And what you don’t need. Because when you find the right day planner system that works for you, you can get time back on your side.
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  • Best Label Makers
    In the world of professional organizing, the label maker is one of the most often-used tools in our kit. Aside from helping to create clear homes for items, projects, or files, having things clearly labeled allows for easy maintenance. These attributes carry over nicely to the everyday world where people are looking to create more order in their homes and offices.

    When it comes to label makers, it would appear that the “Brother®” name has the corner on the market. They certainly have the largest number of models to choose from and whether you’re looking to spend a little or a lot, they’re sure to have something to fit your needs. However, there are some other contenders, like Dymo®, that offer great alternatives. They offer similar quality and benefits and it really comes down to a matter of taste.

    When shopping for a label maker, the features I look for include:
    - Multiple font and formatting options (vertical print is an essential feature for me and my consultants as we label binder spines and the like)
    - An automatic cutter
    - The widest range of different sizes of label tape (if I’m labeling large shelves and bins, I want at least ¾” or 1” tape versus if I’m labeling narrow binder tabs, I want ¼” or ½” labels)
    - An adapter plug for those pesky times when my batteries are running low.

    The best advice I can give you when considering purchasing a labeler is to determine HOW and WHEN you are going to be using it. If you will only ever be using it at your desk, then you can choose a device that interacts with your computer and does not require a keyboard for input. If you are going to be using it on-the-go, having a keyboard is very important.

    Whether you want something “cheap and cheerful” or you’re looking for a more professional, upscale model, the options covered here should get you started on the right foot.
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  • Best Purse Organizers
    If you’re like me, one purse just isn’t enough! There are so many cute styles and fabulous designs out there, it’s too hard to pick just one favorite. One day, I might feel hip and fun, and choose a funky bag, the next afternoon, I may have a meeting that requires a more professional look so I’ll change to my classic purse. The only drawback to this is that I have to switch the contents of one bag to another with a high degree of regularity.

    Now, for a professional organizer, this isn’t a huge issue because I’ve artfully displayed all my purses within easy reach (that was a fun organizing project!) and have containerized their contents for easy transfer. (What else is a handbag addict to do?)

    But, for many people, their purse is a black hole of clutter and the thought of swapping out purses is more than they can consider… “What if I forget my keys/wallet/cell phone/notepad/kitchen sink in the purse I was using yesterday?” As a result, they get “stuck” with an old or boring handbag that doesn’t do the job.

    And it’s to these people I say, “Never fear, there is hope!” Enter the purse organizer.

    Purse organizers come in lots of shapes and sizes, but they all have one thing in common – they exist for the sole purpose of simplifying your life. Most of them fit right inside your regular purse and help corral loose items together and can be moved between purses. Other handbags come with a built-in solution! Featured here are some simple, cost-effective solutions (save for one splurge!) to help you get a handle on your busy day. Best of all, you don’t have to choose between funky, classic, hip, or trendy to stay organized.
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