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What's in your purse?

Ok, this isn't only about being nosey. But I have a little bit of a pocketbook addiction.  And I just bought a new one, which I SWORE was going to be decide on practicality first and looks second. And now I realize I went for how it made me feel (happy) so I want to be efficient using it. 


I thought perhaps I would make a list of what I need in my day to day purse; and what I need in my "going out" purse and make sure I have duplicates in the appropriate purses so all I have to do is move my wallet, grab my cell phone and keys which don't live in my purse when I'm at home, and I'll be in good shape.


But I realized I never thought this through. I'm going to empty the FIVE purses I have hanging around our entryway (did I mention the addiction) and see what's in all of them, and then I'll answer. I'm also going to go through all of the ones in my closet but I'm not sure if I can let go of any of them. They aren't hurting anyone sitting there, which is getting back, a little, to the minimalism thread. 


So ... what do YOU carry in your day to day purse and what about when you're going out.  Let's get down to details here (if you don't mind). So what make-up, rather than "my make-up kit" and what first aid things, rather than my first aid kit. 

Trusted Contributor

Interesting topic.

I almost went to count my purses, but I'd have to go through a lot to accomplish that. Now I wonder why I keep so many purses. I can use one purse for a whole year, and yet I have at least 10 purses, perhaps more if I count the tote bags. 

Once in a while I donate some then I come across a nice one and buy it.  

Wanjiru Warama
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I'm on a roll and also can't stand having all these purses on the bed and all of the stuff from my purses on the table. So what I need every day... AND NOTHING MORE

  • Wallet (it has my vac card in it)
  • Little pill box with Aleve, Gas-X, my husband's allergy pills and emergency benadryl, heartburn med.
  • Eye glass cleaning kit
  • Eye drops
  • Burt's bees lip gloss
  • 2-3 bandaids
  • credit card sized flash light or other tiny flashlight - not sure why since my cell phone has a better light, but ya never know
  • blue tooth ear piece for my cell phone
  • 2  barretts if I decide to pull my hair back
  • old blue mask - just in case i need it to be polite
  • emery board
  • little note book 
  • cough drops
  • room for my cell phone and kindle which I don't always take with me but that's going to be a standard for keeping a day to day purse

Dressy but not formal

  • Cell phone
  • wallet
  • burts bees lip gloss
  • lip stick
  • eye glass cleaner (I can't see to keep my eye glasses clean even for an evening)
  • eye drops
  • pill case
  • comb - not needed every day - but for going out
  • cough drops
  • bandaids

And with that - I'm going to bed even if everything is still out - but I've made progress. thanks for being there so I don't feel like I'm talking to myself (not that I don't do that all the time anyway). 

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 the way, my "going out but not too fancy hand painted leather purse" had in it: 2 burt's bees lip glosses, 1 lipstick, and 2 combs, along with a lot of other stuff.  Definitely time to be organizing. 

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OK, progress in that I've emptied all of my "current" purses, the ones hanging around the entryway; AND I hauled all of my other purses out of the drawer in the dresser in the back of the closet. I laid them all out on the guest bed. There are 16. Hi I'm Nina and I'm a pursaholic.


I grouped them:

5 EVERYDAY; 2 black, one tan, one brown (my regular winter purse) and my new, I love it so much Vera Bradley summer purse. One black definitely should go - but since I haven't used either in a while, maybe both are out. The tan is a great old coach bag - but again, it may be in the going away pile. It's also the heaviest at 1lb 7oz. BUT... my winter purse wont last forever (although it has a good 5-7 more years I bet, and I'll be so pissed at having to buy a new one. 


4 DRESSY BUT NOT FORMAL, a weird red and gold, I've actually used it when I've worn something red, but really - it's ugly; another "I love it" painted leather purse which I love so it stays; my "I love it even more than the painted leather Wizard of Oz purse" (you have to see it to understand) and it stays; and a virtually new brooks brothers plaid purse my husband bought me, but I think it needs to go.


4 FORMAL - two black beaded, I'll decide between them. Who knew I had 2; one silver, cause black when you're wearing all light colored clothes doesn't work; and a very small silk purse that I take on cruise to carry my cruise card and lipstick. It takes no space and I use it at least once during every cruise. 


1 TRAVEL - newly re-assigned last year's summer purse now assigned to use while traveling. It's perfect for that. It even has a zipper at the bottom of the big back pocket so it can slip over the handle of a larger suitcase. It stays.


2 SMALL SPORTY for when I was very concerned about the weight of what I carried. But really one is kind of threadbare, and the other can't hold my cell phone and wallet at the same time - so I have to take my money and cards out and put them in separately. So they both go... I think. 


Phase 3 will be to decide what I need to have in my every day purse and in my going out purses and see if anything gets eliminated because it can't hold what I need. 

Silver Conversationalist

@ninaTx  Did a little research.  Average woman's purse 5.2 - 6.2 lbs.  It's recommended you don't carry over 10% of your weight ( and preferably  5%  ) to preserve your back neck and shoulders with purse weight plus contents.  Average American woman's weight 170 lbs. No more than 17lbs and 8,5 lbs better    If your purse already weighs 6.2 lbs, you can only have 2.3 lbs of content.. for optimum health.  ---  Christine

Bronze Conversationalist

Fascinating. Now I'll have to go weigh mine.

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This is very funny because at my weight I have a LOT of leeway to carry things. As i said before, a few years ago I went on a reduce the weight of my purse campagne. I even stopped carrying my leather winter purse. But I've been going to the gym and it's not as big an issue now. 


And my new birthday - it was supposed to be all about practicality - purse is just not that practical. but I LOVE it. 


I'm afraid I've volunteered all three of you to share this project with me because in an odd way, it makes me feel accountable to complete it. But it will be slow. Work, weekly shopping and another lunch out with a friend are on tap for today. 

Silver Conversationalist

Nina, There's nothing wrong with loving purses ( many do ), we just have to be intentional about how much stuff we tote on a daily bases. Enjoy your lunch out.  ---  Christine

Bronze Conversationalist

Disclosures and requests are excellent ways to hold oneself accountable. Brilliant! 😊 

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@ninaTx  I think it's a great topic.  I have a black cross body baggallini that I got at a garage sale for $8 perfect condition.  That's my everyday purse, and eventually the one I will travel with again.  The other one is black and sparkly with a silver chain, and that's my "big girl" purse when I go out for a nice meal or special occasion.  The baggallini has my drivers license, medical insurance , library, Costco cards and I carry my one credit card. Other wise, the usual - phone, a few pens, a few dollars, "garage sale quarters" for books, reading glasses, Sunglasses, Burt's Bees lip balm and my set of keys. The other purse, basically the same, minus library and Costco cards and no change.  ---  Christine

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I bought a cross body baggallini a few years ago. It was a little too small (I was on a kick to reduce the weight of what I was carrying), but the big problem is it was vertical so I could never see or find what was in the bottom. I don't know if I gave it away or it's still in the closet. Gotta check that. 


This time I was SOOOO careful about remembering... Horizontal purses for me. And I measured my good winter purse which is pretty perfect, and looked for something that size and shape but not brown leather. Brown leather is so ... Not spring or summer. And while I really don't dress up but once in a while I'm very bright colors especially in the summer oriented.  It's a big "nina doesn't want to be her mother" thing for me. So carrying a brown leather purse with a pink and white blouse seems wrong. Plus my mother would have liked my winter purse. I'm not sure why it doesn't bother me in the winter - but it's just not happening come spring. 

Social Butterfly

Lol @ninaTx I have always had just one. Way too LAZY to switch stuff out. As I AGED, the kitchen sink stayed home 🤣😂 Being a mom, you know how we got to pack everything. Luv your post!!!!

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Why I even have multiple purses, nevertheless multiple purses right out in the entryway is beyond me. I could wear sweatpants and t-shirts for weeks on end. But we do go on date night every week, so I need a nicer purse for that. And one of the purses is no my gym bag. And I still have my winter dark leather purse out (needs to go away) and my last years mistake - the HUGE but lightweight nylon purse which is what I just replaced. It will be a travel purse when this project is over.

Bronze Conversationalist

Interesting question. Let's see:

I think I might have 3 purses total, 1 for everyday use that is pretty ragged at this point, 1 not so beat up and smaller for slightly nicer wear, 1 for airplanes that I can have out while waiting to board then tuck away in my under seat carryon. ALL my purposes have shoulder straps. Can't stand any other kind. Also many many many pockets


I don't wear make up, so that saves a lot of space. My hair is a pixie cut, so I don't carry comb, brush or mirror. I want to have room for my iPad and phone plus a portable battery, and a water bottle, and a granola bar if I'm needing to be so equipped for some day away from home. Things that normally live in the purse include:


Pocket one:

  • emergency meds = Aleve, Tylenol, Imodium (in case my lunch is too spicy! TMI?)
  • ear plugs in case I'm stuck or easy to find when in hotel

Pocket two

  • tube of blistex
  • leaving space for decongestant spray when needed

Pocket 3, front division:

  • where the phone goes so otherwise empty
  • space for wired ear buds for phone in case I'm watching or listening in public or at night in a hotel room

Pocket 3, zipped division:

  • forever stamps that have been there forever
  • tiny post it notes, rarely used since phone app is better
  • eye glasses prescription
  • covid vax card
  • usb flash drive with super important info, like tax return

Pocket 3, back division

  • where the battery goes if needed
  • where paper receipts go if really need to be kept
  • snack size baggie with Ricola lozenges and peppermints in case dry mouth
  • a pen or two
  • nail clippers

Backside snap pocket:

  • Wet wipes for random sticky fingers or dirty hands
  • a blue paper? mask, in case - gave it away last week, need to restock
  • filter for better mask
  • 2 really small hand sanitizers, different fragrances of course

Backside zippered pocket

  • Splenda in case none on restaurant table
  • more ricola
  • spot remover pen 

Big main pocket:

  • where iPad and water bottle go if needed
  • where granola bar goes if I'm gonna be out and can't lunch right away
  • wallet. non-folding
  • thin package of Charmin flushable wipes, in case
  • jewelers gloves still there from when we thought touching things would give us covid


That's all at the moment.

Trusted Contributor



I'm printing this (seriously) as a master list. I might put some things in baggies to be added to a purse depending on the day, and based on my life.  But adding how it's arranged is terrific. And you're making me regret getting a smaller purse (I'm going to take photos <s>) But as usual you are so helpful. 


My project is going slowly because life, work, girlfriend wanting to go to lunch interfered. But I'm emptying all of the purses hanging in the entry way on one table to both move some into the closet and see what's in them all - all at once. but I've only done one so far.


Thanks again

Bronze Conversationalist

@ninaTx After several sticky and ruinous spills of liquids in purses, I've learned to put anything liquid in a baggie. the little hand sanitizers are in one. Lozenges and mints over time will break down and get very soft, gooey, sticky, and hard to clean out of a purse, hence baggies for those. Sometimes the earbuds on long cord go in a baggie too to keep it well contained, or I use a velcro tie to keep it tidy.

I'm glad my list is helpful. I'm a little compulsive about organizing a purse because I like being able to retrieve things quickly, and while driving or in the dark by touch, knowing the "geography" of where things live in the pockets.

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@DeahWA I want to be you when I grow up. But I think I'm probably already older than you so the best I can do is try to organize my pocketbook(s) as well. 


I had lunch with a friend who has 3 of the exact same purse in different colors. She leaves them in her car and when she goes out, she grabs whichever she'll be using that day and transfers stuff from one to the exact same spot in the other.  And yes I guess most everything is in baggies. She has a long driveway so can do her transfer as she's driving out to the street. 


I'm off again, but really will try to get to my project soon - but keep those ideas coming. And maybe some other people will join us. 

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