13 Purse Storage Ideas, According to a Professional Organizer
We blame Reese Witherspoon. It was only after watching her episode of Get Organized with The Home Edit on Netflix that we first started thinking, “huh, perhaps stuffing all my handbags onto the shelves at the back of my closet and hoping for the best is not the best purse storage idea.” And while we’re still pretty obsessed with the clear acrylic hangers Joanna Teplin and Clea Shearer used to hang Witherspoon’s bags with her clothes, not everyone can afford to give up so much precious hanging space (nor do they want to drop $15 to hang each individual bag).
So, we reached out to Nonnahs Driskill, a professional organizer and founder of Get Organized Already, for her best tips on which purse storage ideas actually work and which to avoid if possible. Here are the products and tools she recommends.
Tip #1: Hang in-season handbags and store others
“Most people have a few go-to bags for everyday use,” says Driskill. She suggests hanging these MVPs in an easy-to-reach area (like next to your coats, in a hall closet, next to the front door, etc.), but don’t take this storage method as a blanket method for all your totes and shoulder bags. “You don't want them hanging up all year because over time the straps may develop a buckle,” Driskill warns.
1. Chrome Metal Purse Hangers
These compact metal hangers allow you to store frequently used bags on the hanging rod next to your jackets or dresses. But unlike the wide plastic ones used in Reese Witherspoon’s closet, these take up far less room.
2. Wall-Mounted Organizer
“Wall hooks work well if you have the space for them,” says Driskill. She advises installing them at shoulder height for easy access. If you don’t have space in your bedroom, consider investing in a piece you’d be happy to show off (like the very piano-inspired hooks above) and mount it in a hallway.
3. Mounted Coat Hooks
Of course, a simple row of mounted coat hooks always works, as well. And it may be a better fit with your minimalist decor preferences.
4. Individual Hooks
If you’re really feeling artsy, or just don’t have very many bags to hang, you can try mounting individual hooks to the wall. (Our favorite place to find them is Anthropologie, of course.) You can even get creative with placement and spacing to craft a 3D art piece from your bags.
Tip #2: Stow out-of-season bags in clear, enclosed spaces
For seasonal purses (like straw beach totes or last year’s glitzy velvet New Year’s Eve clutch), Driskill suggests utilizing enclosed containers that protect them from the elements. One thing she doesn’t advise, however? Sticking everything in an opaque dust bag. “Who knows what's even in those by the end of a season?”
5. Clear Plastic Bins
Just like The Home Edit’s Teplin and Shearer, Driskill is a fan of clear storage options because you can clearly see what you have. That means you won’t accidentally end up buying another ‘90s-inspired shoulder bag that looks exactly like the four you already own. “Just be sure to measure your shelf or storage area before you shop!” Driskill reminds us.
6. Hanging Organizer
This is another one of Driskill’s favorite organizational pieces—and mostly because of its inherent versatility. “I love this solution for closets with a little extra hanging space because it holds different sizes of bags and can be used for other off-season items. I appreciate multi-purpose organizing products, in case I want to switch things up or I go through a no-purse phase (hello, COVID-19 isolation!).”
7. Clear Dust Bags
If you’re truly committed to stowing each bag individually or want to use hooks without possibly damaging your straps, these clear dust bags may be a good solution. “This option is pricey,” Driskill concedes, “but it’s great if you have no room for other options.” (Psst, they can also be used as chic rain-protectors when you’re on-the-go.)
Tip #3: If you have the space, let your bags spread out
If you have the luxury of extra space, embrace the idea of giving each handbag some breathing room. One of the most common organizing mistakes Driskill sees is people crushing their purses on a crowded shelf—even expensive investment bags. Leather is highly moldable and can develop kinks and weird folds fairly easily, so it’s important to treat your purses well.
8. Purse Cubbies
This is a good option for someone who wants lots of bags to be easily accessible and has a bit of room to play with. Stack this on top of your shoe cubbies, slip it onto a shelf or turn an entire wall into a handbag bookshelf, by stacking two or three on top of one another.
9. Drop-Front Sweater Boxes
Sure, these handy little boxes were designed to stow sweaters, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use them for clutches and purses instead. The best part? The clear front drops down to open, so you can stack them with abandon and won’t have to worry about restacking every time you grab a different bag.
Tip #4: File clutches vertically
Driskill credits Marie Kondo with coming up with this clever purse storage solution: Clear out a deep drawer and arrange your clutches so they can stand in order (rather than laying on top of one another) and are easy to grab. Just be sure to file them from left to right and not from to back or you’ll never reach for the bag relegated to the very back.
10. Decorative Boxes
Don’t have any available drawer space? A decorative box with a lid will also work for storing your clutches. We know, we railed against opaque storage boxes before, but since clutches tend to be such a special occasion item, you’re not likely to accidentally buy repeats of them or need access to them all that often.
11. Shelf Dividers
Driskill isn’t the biggest fan of using shelf dividers for rarely used bags because it exposes them to dust more than other options. However, when combined with the use of dust bags, they can be an appealing solution for someone with a lot of shelf space to work with. Just be sure to label those dust bags or affix a picture of the bag on the outside, so you can see what you’re storing. FYI, The Container store also sells a three-compartment clutch and purse organizer ($40) that’s enclosed on five of six sides for better dust protection—don’t forget to measure your bags to ensure they’ll fit neatly into the slots before you buy.
Tip #5: Keep your entryways clear
“Landing pads like your entryway need to be decluttered regularly and bags are a major clutter culprit there,” says Driskill. This is particularly true if you’re in the habit of regularly switching over to a new bag while leaving the previous one plopped on your hall bench. The solution? Create a space in the entry or hallway that’s designated for your bag.
12. Entryway Shoe Rack
This multi-purpose shelving unit can store up to eight pairs of shoes (or bags!), has a spot for umbrellas or a yoga mat and plenty of space to drop your handbag on top, so you can easily grab it before you leave the house.
Tip #6: Help floppy bags maintain their shape with inserts
Just as you don’t want your purses to be crammed and crowded in your closet, you also don’t want them flopping and folding all over the place. Be sure to properly stuff larger or unstructured styles to avoid misshaping or warping them.
13. Purse Shapers
You can always stuff your bags with scarves or newspaper, but we like these handy little pillow inserts because they can be easily put back on the shelf or in a drawer while the bag is in use.