How to Organize Your Wallet or Purse

What Should Be in Your Wallet?

Organizing Basics

There are as many ways to organize things as there are people on the planet. Everyone organizes in their own way. Some use color coding. Some use the alphabet. Some people number everything. There are even people that use a combination of tricks to keep themselves organized. However, here is a recommended way to organize your wallet (for men) or the wallet you keep in your purse (for the ladies).

Chances are you will lose a purse or a wallet at least once in your lifetime. Organization means you will survive the loss. A thinner wallet to carry around in your purse or pocket means a lighter load to bear. It also means you will have less to lose should your wallet or purse be stolen or lost.

Wallet Organizing Tip:

Every six months, take out everything in your wallet that you never want to lose. Photocopy all of this - front and back. Keep the copy in a very safe place that is easy to remember and access.

My Organized Wallet Purse

I rarely carry a purse, bag or case. I carry everything I need in one organized wallet.
I rarely carry a purse, bag or case. I carry everything I need in one organized wallet. | Source

What You Should Carry in Your Wallet:

  1. Emergency contact information should be first and foremost. The contact info should be typed and easy to read. You might even want to make a business card size list of instructions with a photograph and have it laminated. If you are really organized, you will have business cards made up for the whole family to include a family portrait, emergency contact numbers and roadside assistance numbers.
  2. Your driver's license should be readily available and be currently valid. Driving with an expired license is against the law.
  3. Proof of auto insurance should be in the wallet or purse, not in the glove compartment or console. If you are stopped by police and asked to show this paper or card, you do not want to be reaching into a compartment. The officer may suspect a concealed weapon.
  4. Cash, but no more than what you need for the day. Leave the rest of your cash at home in a safe place.
  5. Credit cards, but no more than two. Be sure to have backup phone numbers to call for each card. The easy way to do this is photo copy the cards, front and back, and keep that information at home in a safe place. It's also a good idea to carry low limit cards with you unless you are planning to make a large purchase.
  6. One debit card is all anyone should carry at a time. Read the debit card contract to make sure you are protected against unauthorized use. Some contracts make you responsible for any and all uses of these types of cards.
  7. Health Insurance cards should be with you at all times. You might want to place them right behind your emergency contact card.
  8. A list of all medications that you take. Clip this to your health insurance card and update it every time you see your doctor. Your pharmacy may have a printable list at their online location. Just print it out, add your supplements and fold it to fit.

My Wallet

Inside zippered compartments!
Inside zippered compartments! | Source

What You Could Carry in Your Wallet - Optional Items

  1. Small rewards cards such as the buy five, get one free types that some restaurants or oil change places give you. However, if you will never use them, there is no reason to carry them. You could take a photo of these with your smart phone. If the cards have a bar code, the store's bar code scanner can use that to credit your account.
  2. Business cards are useful to carry around and hand out if you have your own business. For all other business cards, either add the number to your phone or photo copy all of the essential cards on to one sheet that fold slim and fit in your wallet. If you travel a lot, you may want to keep business cards in a zip baggie in your console or glove compartment.
  3. Professional Registry cards must be carried if you are going to a job interview. Otherwise, store them at home or in a photo file on your computer or smart phone.
  4. Stamp booklets. What? Are you still using snail mail? Keep these at home near your 'home office'.
  5. Photos of acquaintances or distant relatives will confuse anyone that finds your lost wallet. Keep your family photos only. This does not apply to grandparents. They have earned the right to carry all relative's photos.

My Organized Wallet

I have room for more cards, but I don't need them.
I have room for more cards, but I don't need them. | Source

What You Should NOT Carry in Your Wallet

  1. Department store cards should always be left at home unless you are specifically planning to shop at that store on that day. Better yet, get rid of all department store cards and use a single rewards card with a low interest rate.
  2. Gift cards are organized the same way as department store cards. Don't carry them unless you are planning to spend them them on that day.
  3. Gas cards should be cancelled and you should use the one or two charge cards that you will be carrying in your wallet. De-clutter your wallet. You carry too many cards!
  4. Your checkbook or loose checks. Thieves can easily draft your bank account just by having a check. In fact, you should stop using checks to pay bills. Use your banks bill paying service.
  5. Social Security Cards should never be kept in your wallet. Memorize the number or keep a photo copy with the last four numbers redacted (blacked out or cut out). Social Security cards are for U.S. Government use only. They should not be used as identification numbers.
  6. Any kind of list of your personal or business passwords. You can even be fired for carrying business passwords around. If you think you must carry some passwords, make sure you hide that information where no one but you can find it. Do not leave identification attached to it like what file or computer the password belongs to.

Wallet Organization Summary

(click column header to sort results)
Item  
Essential  
Optional  
Never  
Emergency Contact Info
X
 
 
Driver's License
X
 
 
Auto Insurance Card
X
 
 
Cash
X
 
 
Credit Cards (max of 2)
X
 
 
Debit Cards
X
 
 
Health Insurance Cards
X
 
 
List of Medications
X
 
 
Rewards Cards
 
X
 
Business Cards (your own only)
 
X
 
Professional Certifications
 
X
 
Stamps
 
X
 
Photos of Acquaintances
 
X
 
Target or Other Dept. Store Cards
 
 
X
Gift Cards
 
 
X
Gas Company Cards
 
 
X
Checks or Checkbooks
 
 
X
Social Security Card
 
 
X
Passwords
 
 
X

What's in Your Wallet?

Is your wallet organized?

See results without voting

© 2012 Austinstar

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Comments - Do you keep secrets in your wallet? Better not! 9 comments

diogenes profile image

diogenes 4 years ago from UK and Mexico

Hi Star: I have never lost a wallet in living memory, so I am blasé about what's in it. But your thoughtful article has talked some sense into me and i shall be weeding the thing TODAY!

Very useful advice.

Bob


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe Author

I have lost mine three times. Once in Mexico - never to be seen again. Once in a casino - someone actually returned it intact to their lost and found. And once I left it in a shopping cart - also returned intact.

I have learned to keep a close eye on it since these incidents.


drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida

What a great idea, Lela, to inspect the contents and re-organize one's wallet and copy important stuff every 6 months. I just did it and found a phone number I have been looking for since 1898. I mean 1998!


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe Author

Was it Edgar Allen Poe's phone number? I've been looking for that too.


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

Simple yet brilliant!!!

Useful/interesting/up for this one.

Eddy.


carol7777 profile image

carol7777 4 years ago from Arizona

I just got a new purse so this was helpful. I start out well and in a week the purse is full of unnecessary things. I will bookmark this as a reminder that there is a way to organize things on a permanent basis. Voted UP.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe Author

You'll be glad you kept everything organized if your purse or wallet should ever be lost. It's a bear trying to remember what was in there!


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 4 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

I do the same with my wallet as I do with drawers of papers. About every three years I sort everything and throw out what I no longer need.

Occasionally it gets so cluttered that it no longer fits in my pocket. I should be more organised really. Maybe now I will be.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe Author

Yes, we should all be more organized. Hope you get it all together in one place or at least where you can find it all.

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