Journey to the Bottom of My Purse

My friend, Mel, wrote something a while back about when her kids called her out on her very unkempt “pursekeeping.” Her humbling experience is what prompted me to write today’s post.

For the record, I am not at all a purse person. I carry one only because I need the stuff inside and want to have my hands free in the event of a spill or other act of spazzery. (It happens.) I do not have an assortment of bags of differing colors, fabrics, seasons and strap lengths in my closet to coordinate with every outfit. I truly loathe the chore of changing purses.

My system is simple. I have a larger, casual purse that is used approximately 360 days of the year and a smaller, dressy one that serves the remaining 5. (Leap years have been known to throw off this system.) Both models are solid black and together they cover all occasions for me. In some ways, I am very girly but, in others, I come pretty close to crossing that all-too-important line of demarcation. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t plan on standing up when I pee anytime soon. I love highlighting my hair, painting my nails and wearing strappy sandals far too much for that. But I can also be pretty no-nonsense about a lot of things, especially when it comes to purses.

Anyway, back to Mel. When her kids called her out on her slovenly pursekeeping, the first thing she did was to dump it all out, take a full inventory of everything inside and then post it on the internet for all to see. Sure, it’s weird. And that’s why I loved it … and am now following her lead. Of course, I did it thinking … “Mel’s kids are way younger than mine. Juice boxes, character bandaids … I’m way past that stage. My purse shouldn’t be that bad.”

Yeah, right.

After I regained my footing from the painful fall off my high horse, I created my own list. Honestly, at any given time, you could probably put together a collage of where I’ve spent my last year (ahem … or two) based on the receipts, ticket stubs, business cards and other crazy remnants of my bag.

Geez. I should probably bring some kind of a weapon in case things get dicey down there. Somebody cover me. I’m going in ..

Okay, I’m back! (still out of breath from the treacherous archeological dig) Here’s what I found:

  • 1 wallet (I hate the oversized behemoth I bought when the awesome one my boy gave me finally succumbed.)
  • 1 travel-sized Advil bottle (Should I worry that the pills inside don’t all look the same?)
  • 1 miniature plastic pink hairbrush (I’m pretty sure I “appropriated” it from my daughter.)
  • 1 small packet of Listerine breath strips (In a pinch, they can actually be used as bribes for my kids. Sad, huh?)
  • 1 completely empty bottle of breath spray (‘Cause you never know when …. Fine, I’ll throw it out.)
  • 1 checkbook (Sure, it’s old school. But it still gets a lot of mileage.)
  • 1 surprisingly powerful pocket flash light (Great for when things drop in jet black movie theaters. Except food.)
  • 2 pairs of ear plugs (I wish I’d remembered these were in here. Oh, the crap I could have blocked out.)
  • 5 “lady products” (Two needed to hit the trash immediately. I wouldn’t use them to plug a drain. Shudder.)
  • 1 unopened pack of Tums (I bought it during a particularly bad bout of “sea sickness” on a cruise last summer.)
  • 1 pair of clip-on peace sign earrings (My girl got her ears pieced last fall so these have been in here a while.)
  • 1 loose key (It might be for the exercise room at our pool club. The fact that it’s a mystery explains a lot.)
  • 1 Chronicles of Narnia chapstick (Yes, the theme makes it OLD, but I knew it was there & use it all the time.)
  • 1 handy carrying case of assorted gift cards (I probably shouldn’t be toting these around in my purse.)
  • 1 black scrunchy (Don’t judge. I use these tacky “fashion don’ts” all the time. Actually, I’m sporting one now.)
  • 1 foil-wrapped wad of chewed gum (Let he who is without a chewed gum wad cast the first stone! Or gum wad.)
  • 1 single Mickey Mouse earring (I need to go sneak it into my girl’s room so she thinks she had it all along.)
  • 1 barrette (I’ll put it by the earring and say “See, I TOLD you I didn’t have it. Take some responsibility!”)
  • 3 perfume sample vials (Chanel, Jo Malone & a mystery vial – I live in the sweaty, humid South.)
  • 2 pens (The number varies but their source remains a mystery. I never buy pens. They just show up.)
  • 1 black hair clip (Again, I live in the South and you never know when a sudden messy updo will be necessary.)
  • 3 nail files (One was a giveaway I got at a Katy Perry concert for Fox TV’s I Hate my Teenage Daughter.’ Ironic.)
  • 1 Key ring (We’ll delve deeper into this one in its own post.)
  • 1 pair of cheap sunglasses (I keep a whole arsenal of these cheap frames at the ready for when one breaks.)
  • 3 casino cards (This makes me sound like a gambler. I’m so not.)
  • 1 arcade card (From my Disney trip last February. Trash.)
  • 1 policeman’s business card (From an out-of-town traffic accident last summer. Not my fault. Trash.)
  • 2 old receipts (Only two? Well, THAT’S a banner day!)
  • 1 Rolling Video Games of NOLA business card (I’m never renting the ‘mobile game RV’ for a party. Trash.)
  • 1 old check register (This should probably be stored somewhere besides my purse, yes?)
  • 1 lipstick (Very effective bribe for my girl. Not as effective with the boy. That’s probably a good thing.)
  • 1 compact (See perfume samples & hair clip above. Sweaty summers necessitate a means of de-shining.)
  • 1 sparkly silver eyeliner (I so wish I could blame this on my girl. But it’s mine. All mine. I just LOVED Xandu as a girl.)

* * * * * * * * * *

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21 responses to “Journey to the Bottom of My Purse

  1. I have this issue as well. Went so far (at the urging of my daughters) to buy one of those “organizer” purses. Never could find a damn thing in it. It sits (all $89 of it) on the shelf in my closet. Along with all the other (maybe a dozen) purses that I just could not live without. That does not include the dozen or so that I left behind for my ex husband to use when I moved halfway across the country. I carry the same one, whatever season…never did understand having a season for purses. What’s wrong with pink in the winter? It’s not like they’re shoes. Anyway, I loved this post even though I’m not brave enough to see what’s in the bottom of mine (hopefully no smelly diapers are in there).

  2. I’m gonna get hit for this, but I’m e-mailing to my wife.

  3. we are long lost purse sisters! I too use mine for function not fashion. Big is the name of the game. I generally just accept cast-offs from friends and family. I HATE HATE changing purses b/c honesty who wants to move all that shit? I carried my sassy (for me) zebra striped one for 3 yrs and only threw it out b/c I forgot I had a hot pink frosted cupcake in there for days. Even for me the purse was beyond saving.

  4. Ahhhh! This was hilarious. Your contents are impressive. I’ll keep the sparkly lipglosses and juice boxes in mine. You keep the Tums and sparkly eyeliner in yours. We’ll be good to go! 😉

  5. I may have to try that myself!

  6. Also, thank you so much for the shout out! You are so fun!

  7. And this is why I don’t carry a purse.

  8. After my wallet got stolen for the second time, my husband said I had better become a purse girl. So, off to Ebay I went to get something so pink and sparkly and cute that I would want to tote it around, and still, I just can’t seem to get that habit to develop. But give me a bottle of hair dye, and I’m on top of it!

  9. I too am a one handbag type of woman that despises changing purses. I recently dumped out my small purse (only because my small clutch bag had begun feeling like it had two bricks in it). In addition to all the odities such as chewed up gum, partially wrapped toothpicks, feminine products, travel toothpaste and brush, was $37.22 in lose change. It definitely was a tribute to my laziness to have collected enough for a family dinner on the town just for not cleaning out the purse, so don’t knock it. Sometimes slovenly laziness really does pay off!

  10. And I thought Dora had a ton of crap in her backpack. She could take some lessons from you. Hey, you gotta be prepared for anything! 🙂

    stopping by from Finding the Funny

    • This comment made me laugh out loud! or LOL depending if you are younger and don’t care if you embarrass your kids by spelling out the words.

  11. I actually manage to carry most of what you list in my wallet.

  12. Instead of man-bags, we use backpacks. No, its not a bookbag. Yes it says JanSport. Umm yeah I have books, pens and paper in there…

    I’m wondering if the Narnia lip gloss flavor tastes like Turkish Delight.

  13. Only two receipts? That is seriously impressive. I could make a receipt-paper purse out of all the receipts at the bottom of my purse. I keep them in case I need to return something. Of course, when I actually need to return something, I can never find the receipt because they are hidden at the bottom of my purse. Also, congrats on not having any old moldy sandwhiches or melted chocolate in your purse. Not that I’ve ever experienced that.

  14. Haha-you and I can be long lost sisters. I carry everything in my purse. I have this huge purse which is not always the prettiest but functions very well. Function over beauty sometimes. I have other bags too but I always resort back to the huge bag for some reason! Cute post!

  15. I reoganized my diaper bag over the weekend and seriously rockstar strutted for about 2 days afterwards–major life accomplishment.

  16. Yeah, definitely throw that policeman’s card in the trash…unless he was cute. No, I know you’re married. You could still keep it though. If he was cute. Love that someone said your purse looked like a European man’s bag. Ha!

    (Thanks for linking this up over at #findingthefunny last week!)

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