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Sometimes, your curious children open your bag or a drawer or wardrobe to look for things. They often make things messy while searching for things.

Is it correct to say "my children often rummage in my bag" or "my children often ransack my bag" in everyday conversation?

I found this term "turn something upside down: ​to make a place untidy when looking for something"

I am not sure we can use it instead, for example, "my children often turn my bag upside down". But it may not technical correct because the children may just open the bag but not actually "turn the bag inside out or upside down" to look for things.

Also, there are some heavy things like a drawer or wardrobe, which can not be turned "upside down" easily by children.

And actually, I found a lot of similar words such as "poke, root, fish", for example, “they often poke/root/fish around in my bag”.

But they should emphasize that they make things messy while searching for things.

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Yes

"The word "rummage" is perfectly acceptable to mean "search thought haphazardly or in a disorderly way". It may well suggest leaving things in a mess. It usually suggests a lack of organization.

my children often rummage in my bag

is a perfectly acceptable sentence or phrase.

To use the verb "ransack" instead would suggest not just search but stealing. It implies ill-intent, and disorderly taking. "Ransack" is what Viking raiders once did, or what shopbreakers do when the break into a store. It might also be used, say in a mystery story, for a rough search made by a not overly ethical detective, but is more likely to be used of a criminal. It would be a bit unusual to sue it for the routine acts of children, although it might be so used if one were emphasizing the rough and unauthorized nature of the actions. If the child took money out of the bag, say, ransack might be more likely to be used.

The phrase "turn upside down" can be used figuratively as well as literally. To say "my children often turn my bag upside down" would be a stronger statement than "my children often rummage in my bag" but not impossible, not incorrect, and not always meaning that the bag was actually turned over, just searched and left in a big mess.

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  • What about "poke, root, fish", for example, “they often poke/root/fish around in my bag”?
    – Tom
    Dec 21 '20 at 4:51
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    @Tom Yes any of "poke around", "root around" or "fish through" could be used in place of "rummage" with little or no change in meaning. Dec 21 '20 at 5:05

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