Purse innards


Each and every day, whenever I leave the house, I throw a very large purse over my shoulder.  I kid you not: this sucker is big, and can hold a lot of stuff.

I like carrying a large purse because it means I don’t have to make a choice about things to take with me.  I often take things with me just on the off chance I might need them, even though the reality is that I probably never will.  But at least I know I will be prepared, should the moment arrive.

A large purse is also ideal for sneaking snacks and drinks into a movie theater.

The only problem with such a large purse is that it is literally a giant sack. There are no little compartments inside, so everything just falls to the bottom.  If ever I need something in particular, I usually shove my hand in and fish around, trying to locate the object by feel.  It’s not the most efficient system in the world, but it’s my system, and it works for me.

Today I decided to clean out my purse, as my latest blind search revealed several gum and cough drop wrappers, a handful of tissues (some used, some not), and a slightly leaky bottle of water.  While it doesn’t bother me to find that my purse is also moonlighting as a personal trash can, it was a bit unnerving to unexpectedly encounter the slightly moist remnants of the plague I carried about a month ago.

My method of purse cleaning is simple: dump it out onto the bed, quickly sort through the mess, then return almost everything to its original place.  After my latest cleaning frenzy, I thought I’d share the innards of my purse:

purse innards

(Click to embiggen.)

  1. Sunglasses, because my vampiric tendencies don’t let me see well in daylight without them.
  2. An inhaler, because nature and I don’t always get along.
  3. An umbrella, because it always seems to rain when I leave it at home.
  4. A pen, because I always seem to need one.
  5. My cell phone, which I have had since 2003 and deserves a post of its own.
  6. A pencil, because sometimes I can’t find my pen.
  7. Advil, because I get headaches at the most inopportune moments.
  8. Hair clips, because my bangs desperately need a trim.
  9. My wallet, which usually holds very little cash and several expired gift cards.
  10. Loose change that always seems to escape from the zip pocket on the back of my wallet.
  11. Maybelline lip gloss, for that extra bit of smoochability.
  12. Burt’s Bees Beeswax Lip Balm, because the lip gloss doesn’t moisturize.
  13. Skincando Combat-Ready Lip Balm, because sometimes I can’t find my Burt’s Bees.
  14. An envelope with a partial grocery list scribbled on the back from last week.
  15. A tiny hairbrush, to keep my locks silky smooth and tangle-free throughout the day.
  16. My digital camera case (sans camera, because it was taking the photo above).
  17. Tampax, because I’m a girl in her prime childbearing years.
  18. Halls Defense Vitamin C drops, because they taste much better than mentho-lyptus.
  19. Extra socks, because you just never know.
  20. Curel Targeted Therapy fast absorbing hand and cuticle cream, to keep my skin baby soft.

I feel like Ally Sheedy’s Allison in The Breakfast Club.

This is why I don’t like little purses: I could never fit all my necessities in a dainty little handbag.  Am I nuts for toting this all around with me on a daily basis?

So, let’s hear it, girls: what’s in your purse?  Boys, what do you consider essential to take with you when you leave the house?


11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. raggray
    Mar 12, 2009 @ 23:39:30

    For years, my friends have made fun of my 25-pound purse. I have always carried some sort of a big leather pouch that weighs more than a toddler. It actually gives me back pain. Upon reflection on its contents, I see that I definitely lean towards preparedness for life’s little crises. I don’t know whether this is a result of having been a teacher of middle-schoolers who were constantly “falling apart,” or whether it is a result of miles and miles of summer traveling with two active and accident-prone sons of an accident-prone dad. In addition to many items on your list, I still carry:

    Band Aids
    Matches (though no one smokes)
    Leftover airline toothbrushes and toothpaste
    Hand sanitizer
    Spare panties
    A motley assortment of mints and gum
    A tiny version of the Swiss army knife
    An even tinier flashlight
    Oil-change coupons
    Hand wipes
    A magnifying glass
    A sewing kit with extra buttons and pins
    A small measuring tape
    A compass ?????
    An eyeglass screwdriver

    I have learned that men don’t carry all of this crap, because they stash their leftovers in our purses!


  2. natalie
    Mar 13, 2009 @ 18:40:20

    ha! love it…i did the same thing (with pics) sometime last year with my purse AND fridge! the purse had more stuff than the fridge. sad but true.


  3. Anne
    Mar 13, 2009 @ 18:58:22

    Yes you are nuts. I carry a purse about the size of a wallet – tissues, driver’s license, rolled up cash and a credit card – all I need, all I want. Keys I stuff in pockets. I don’t want to mess with my hair, or makeup or carry crap….Most anyone in the family will tell you that on the girl meter – I rank low, very low. If it weren’t for the fact that I have borne children – there are a few who would question that I am a girl. Now that I have no ovaries – even I wonder. How could grandma’s daughter be so ungirly? It is a puzzle.


  4. Otto Mann
    Mar 13, 2009 @ 19:36:30

    extra socks.

    hmmm. I shall consider.


  5. mandythompson
    Mar 14, 2009 @ 08:22:54

    Holy cow. I don’t know what’s more strange – that you have the tampons pictured (trade secret!) – or that you can fit an entire umbrella in there – or the EXTRA SOCKS????


  6. Joy
    Mar 14, 2009 @ 11:31:38

    I’m a little OCD about my purse and my vehicle. I couldn’t ever, ever stand to have a huge purse like that with it all at the bottom. I like neat little purses with everything in it’s place. My purse contains:
    lip balm
    dental floss
    wet wipes (travel size)
    wipe for my glasses
    cigarettes and lighter

    I’m always admired those bags but I know it would drive me nuts to have it that disorganized and the garbage at the bottom would drive me INSANE!


  7. Gary
    Mar 15, 2009 @ 09:42:45

    About the only things I find to be essencial for me to take when I leave the house are…..

    My cell phone
    cigarettes and lighter


  8. nutmegnanny
    Mar 17, 2009 @ 21:20:21

    I loved reading your post because like you I enjoy carrying a big purse. I usually have these items in my bag and ready for use at all times:
    – Tylenol Fast Acting: Great for headaches
    – Advil: Sometimes I like Ibuprofen
    – Book: I always need something to read
    – Chapstick: Usually about 3 or 4 of them
    – Pens: Anywhere from 1 to 3 pens
    – Wallet: Jammed pack with stuff I “need”
    – Glasses: I do need to see
    – Inhaler: Like you, nature and I do not get along
    – Chewable Zyrtec: I got them free from the Dr. office and they work great when I get all sneezy
    – Cell Phone: Gotta talk
    – Bluetooth: Will get a ticket if I talk in the car w/out it
    – Keys: Need them to drive or get into my house
    – Change: Usually about 5lbs accumulate in my bag before I clean it out
    – Lists: I love making lists and usually there are about 5 old ones hanging around
    – Receipts: About 20 old shopping receipts


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