Weekend Projects

It’s Tough to Function if Your “Turtle Shell” is Messy — Here’s What to Do

published Oct 29, 2021
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Credit: Franke Chung

Apartment Therapy Weekend Projects is a guided program designed to help you get the happy, healthy home you’ve always wanted, one weekend at a time. Sign up now for email updates so you never miss a lesson.

Your daily bag is kind of like your turtle shell: It’s the part of home that you bring along with you wherever you go. And just like your actual home, it can get messy and dirty.

Even though the mess is contained, it has the potential effect that any mess can have on your psyche: Disordered environments might make you feel uneasy, scattered, and even vaguely unsafe, to varying degrees. A messy purse or backpack, just like a messy room, can make it hard to function smoothly.

From crumpled receipts and coupons you never used to too many chapsticks and squished sticks of gum caked in crumbs, your bag has housed some pretty yucky stuff. Let’s get rid of all of it and start anew.

This Weekend: Clean out your purse, backpack, or other everyday bag.

We’re going for the thorough cleaning this weekend. Dump everything out of your bag and empty every pocket and compartment. Next, sort. Separate the trash from the “keep but put away” from the items that actually do belong in your purse.

Go deep into all the layers of your bag. If you have pouches that you keep in your bag, sort through those and get rid of anything that needs to be decluttered. Go through your wallet, too.

Throw out the trash and then turn your attention back to your purse. If there are excessive crumbs, etc., turn your bag over near the garbage can and shake it out. Spot clean any areas that need it and consider polishing leather, if applicable.

Now, start putting back everything that belongs in your purse. Finally, put away everything that was in your purse but belongs elsewhere. You’ll thank yourself each time you reach inside your bag without having to shuffle through a mess, so get ready for a week that starts with a fresh purse, backpack, or bag that’s a pleasure to use.

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You can catch up with weekend projects right here. Share your progress with us and others by posting updates and photos on Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #atweekendproject.

Remember: This is about improvement, not perfection. Each week you can either choose to work on the assignment we’ve sent you, or tackle another project you’ve been meaning to get to. It’s also completely okay to skip a weekend if you’re busy or not feeling the assignment.