The Problem with Purses

So I bought a new purse yesterday. I decided that my old purse was just too darn big. I bought the old one about six months ago and it was a little bigger than I normally like. But I wanted something big enough to hold my Nook e-reader as well as all of the other normal stuff. And it looked like this.

Etienne Aigner Handbag, A Logo Tote - HandbagsAnd it was big enough to hold my Nook. And my wallet. And my cheater glasses. And my sunglasses. And some hand sanitizer and lip balm and lipstick that I rarely use and some Ibuprofen and some Acetaminophen and some miscellaneous papers and about sixty pens  and a fingernail file and my cell phone and gum and the kitchen sink.

Google Images

Well,there really wasn’t a kitchen sink in my purse but I think I could have probably fit a small child in there if I tried hard enough. It looked quite similar to the one in the photo above. That sucker was heavy! Sometimes I’d have to switch shoulders because the weight of the bag was too much and became painful.

What is it with us women? Why do we have to carry so much stuff around with us? And I have learned that the bigger the purse, the more stuff you’ll put in there. When I was carrying my gargantuan purse, people came to know that if they were in need of something, they could ask me because it was a pretty good bet I had everything anyone could possibly need ever in my purse. Ever!

Last summer I was working on a project at work that required me to relocate to a conference room for a couple of months so I could work closely with the team. It got so that I hardly ever even went to my desk. I just went straight to the conference room each morning with my jacket, purse and all. Favorite IT Guy, Dale made an observation about the women in the group one day. He was absolutely fascinated with the amount of stuff we hauled to and from work each day in our purses. I remember entering the room just after the conversation had begun and he looked at me and pointed. With wide eyes and awe in his voice, he said, “You have two of them! Why do you have two purses?”

“I don’t have two purses,” I argued. “I have one purse and one tote bag.There is a difference.”

Dale was confused. “What do you need to carry in the tote bag that isn’t already in the purse?”

“My lunch,” I said. “And sometimes my breakfast, and magazines I might have a chance to read over lunch break, the charging cord for my Nook, ear buds, multi-vitamins…”

I could tell Dale had already checked out as I listed the contents of my bags. It was that day that I began to realize that Dale had a very good point. What is with all the stuff? I’m nearly breaking my back hauling around all of the stuff I just might need at some point, but 99% of the time I don’t. I mean really! What do I really use on a daily basis out of all that stuff in my purse? My keys, my check card, my cell phone and the lip balm. What’s the worst that can happen if I lighten the load? Is there going to be a hair emergency if I don’t keep that travel-size bottle of hair spray on me at all times? I doubt it.

So I bought a new purse. I made sure my Nook wouldn’t fit in it. The new purse would actually fit in the old purse! And I swore I was going to pare down the stuff to just the essentials. Oh yes, I was making great strides in gaining control of my purse again. I couldn’t wait to sit down last night and clean out the old one. I was ready to have a reasonable purse again with a reasonable amount of stuff inside. I carefully sorted through the contents of my purse. I threw a lot of stuff away and eliminated the non-essentials. There would be no non-essentials in the new purse.

Now that I’ve made the switch to the new purse, there’s only one problem… I can’t get the zipper closed.

24 thoughts on “The Problem with Purses

  1. Good luck with the small purse. Every few years or so, I go through the same thoughts. Carry a small purse – carry less. Sounds logical, but definitely not the case. We end up STUFFING all our “essentials” into the small purse. So inevitably we end up going back to a larger purse, and complain about not being able to find anything in it. Frustrating, isn’t it?


  2. Personally I solve the problem by being a slave to fashion. I follow a number of fashion blogs and make sure that I have purses that with the trend. If the hottest things are smaller, I take stuff out. If they are bigger i put stuff in. I just let fashion decide what I will do and that way I don’t have to take any personal responsibility. I do take a bit of grief from other guys. But what the hell. I can’t help it if they don’t understand the importance of fashion.


  3. I’ve done Purse Interventions on friends. One of the culprits is the wallet. Most women carry wallets around that approximate their body weight. The rest is that half of what women carry is unnecessary. It is astonishing what I’ve pulled out of friends’ purses.


  4. Why not just give in and go for a backpack? I am always amazed/impressed at what goes into my wife’s purse at times. Of course, men don’t have purses, we have cargo pants.


  5. Your purse is just a storage space – and it is well known that any storage space will become full of random stuff in next to no time.

    I use backpack all the time – going to work, shopping etc. Every so often I have to have a clear out.

    A quick check:

    Tools and bits for fixing the bike.
    Bits of lunch that I forgot to eat over the last month.
    A spare t-shirt.
    A sweaty t-shirt.
    Spare socks and underpants.
    A dozen journal articles that I printed off.
    Sweet wrappers.
    Receipts for things I paid cash for.
    A bag of jelly babies. Yay! Going to eat those now! Thanks Terri!


  6. lol oh no!! That WOULD happen after all the trouble you went to to clean out everything. Maybe it’s a sign from the purse gods that they want you keep the bigger purse.


  7. I fear this is the story of my life–the story of many, many women’s lives——they can’t get the zipper closed. That is so hysterically perfect, I can’t believe it, Terri! I have so many “purse issues” it isn’t funny–drives my Sara crazy, as she refuses to carry a purse. But guess what that means? I have to carry a lot of her stuff, as well.

    Damn zipper!



  8. During the summer months, I usually wear a photographer vest. I find myself stashing all sorts of stuff because of all the pockets available, and have to go through and take things out on occasion because it gets bulky and heavy.


  9. HaHa! Too funny and too true. Frankly, I don’t know how men exist without a purse of some sort. I just recently did a purse purge. Felt great. Maybe I should get a smaller one to keep the current one from filling up with crap again.


  10. I totally share your pain! My purse is not huge but it’s far from being a teeny-tiny thing too! A shoulder bag that is stuffed almost to the gills much of the time for sure. I have certain pieces that I have to carry all the time in case of emergency and I hope/pray constantly that they won’t be put to use while I’m out someplace but I don’t dare eliminate them! Then there are things that just get shoved in there -my digital camera at times, now and then my cellphone if Mandy isn’t using it that day, notes, papers and old church bulletins and such, plus a notepad thingy or two. Note though no mention of a comb, lipstick or any other makeup -what little I may use from time to time is conveniently located in the medicine cabinet in the bathroom as what little help that stuff gives is used to its full potential at home and won’t do a thing for me in my purse cause the body is well beyond that kind of help! I decided on Sunday though I do need to add a nail clipper to my purse since I broke a nail opening the car door for Maya and had nothing to trim it off with to keep it from snagging everything within my touch range!


  11. Oh, this so hit home! I have the same problem, always! I’ve bought small purses to force myself into lightening the load. Waste of money! Plus, I have a purse buying addiction the way other people have a shoe buying addiction. The best cure has been retirement. I’m home so much more that I don’t need to carry around the “essentials” anymore.


  12. Oh, Terri, this is just too true and too funny! I’ve noticed the same thing. Used to be, I wasn’t a “purse lady” — I carried my fat wallet/checkbook, and that was sufficient. Then I saw a cute little purse. Well, I bought it and promptly overloaded it with “stuff.” So I bought a little bigger purse, which I overloaded, too. I can totally relate to the tote-and-purse combo! You’ve inspired me, though, and I think I might pare down once again.


  13. How many things did you look for today, that you didn’t have with you, but would have had in your old purse?

    Oh, and also, I assume you saved room for the not nearly ripe enough banana??? :)


  14. Ha, can’t get the zipper closed. Did you get back in there and eliminate more non essential stuff?

    I don’t go very far these days, and don’t work, so my purse is basically an over the shoulder really small thing that holds debit card, driver license, cash, camera. I don’t have to remember where I stashed my purse at the various stops and I don’t have sore back. Works for me.


  15. A question I ask all the time! The first step to getting better is recognizing that you have a problem. I’m not sure MY shoulders could support that much weight every day.


  16. You women are mysterious creatures. We guys carry everything we need in our pockets. Keys, cell phone, wallet. That’s all I need.

    Jules has a pretty normal-sized purse compared to most I’ve seen. I do know that her Chapsticks are an essential, though. You can generally find one in every room and in her car.


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