I hate buying a new purse (or handbag, if you must).

I spend hours at the store, taking out all that wadded up paper (who do they think they’re fooling, anyway? We know a new purse is flat as a pancake!) and surreptitiously stowing my stuff inside to see if it will fit. Mostly, the answer is “No.” Because I need pockets to stay organized: a lot of pockets in very specific sizes and locations.

I need a compartment for my glasses, my wallet (a French purse type that holds a lot), my cute makeup/BandAid pouch, my emergency medication bag, my car keys, a bunch of receipts and, of course, my phone.

I happen to like my phone holstered in an outside pocket, secured with Velcro, but easy to reach and release. It’s annoying when the danged phone is lost inside my purse while it’s ringing “off the hook.” I feel up my purse like an overeager teenage boy, but in this case I’m trying to find something flat, hard and LOUD. I prefer my phone pocket front and center.

My old purse was such a good friend. At the recommendation of one of my very smart ADDiva coaching clients, I tried a Baggalini purse and loved it — lots of pockets inside and out, lightweight, sturdy and most important, a different color on the inside so I can find things. Why should I scrounge blindly through my purse when all I need is a little reflective light in the form of a lighter color lining? I’m thinking of campaigning to ban black and navy purse linings. When I get a little spare time.

But then. I. Bought. A. New. Phone.
A bigger phone. A fancy, expensive phone that was too big for my previously perfectly positioned phone pocket. I was devastated.

Reluctantly, I started down the purse-hunting rabbit hole. I decided to stay out of stores and shop online, measuring the new phone, comparing the dimensions of purse after purse after purse. I even ordered a few. Some were too skinny. A purse can start out slim and trim at the top but I need some robust hips and thighs down below so my stuff has room to breath. Some were too small. I need the equivalent of a purse elastic waist in case I need to haul more stuff than usual.

After a few back and forth orders with Zappos, I finally found it: an ocean blue Baggallini Gold Helsinki with a YELLOW inner lining which screams “you can find anything in here!’


Best of all, it has side pockets that are easy to access and cleverly deep. Yes, I have switched my allegiance from front to side pockets. But such marvelous pockets they are: I can put my whole hand in them. In a pinch, they would work as a purse muff. They are so deep they reach all the way into the hips and thighs part of the purse! I could probably go through several more phone upgrades without going through the purse safari again.


I am smug and calm again after a semi-panicked couple of weeks (Did I make a mistake changing phones? Will Verizon give my money back?) Mostly I am back to not thinking about my purse or phone, which is the point. Much of my life I spend trying to concoct just the right combination of “I don’t want to think about it” and “I need to pay BIG attention to this.”

When I have a purse that goes on auto pilot – I don’t have to think about where the phone goes/is, I can find my car keys – my ADHD life is easier. It takes me a little more time and effort to get to autopilot than non-ADHD folks, but then the stakes are higher for me. Without my system of organization, I wander in the ADHD desert, desperately searching for the essentials of life.

And though I may look to the rest of the world like the old persnickety lady who is never satisfied, I tell you I am not picky because of fashion or snobbery or even contrariness. This search for ‘just right” is a necessity. Only those of us on the inside track of ADHD understand. How about you?

By the way – if you know anyone who needs a slightly used, well loved brown Baggallini purse with pockets that fit a smaller iPhone, let me know!