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Decluttering You Life: What’s In Your Purse?


Growing up I always used to tell my mom “your purse is not your briefcase” (something I heard on Oprah). She was always toting around a big heavy bag, that seemed to me to be full of stuff she didn’t need.

There have been reports of how carrying a heavy purse can give women back and shoulder problems, and yet many of us do it. And you know how it goes, purse stuff is like a gas, it will expand to the size of the container you put it in. So if you carry a big bag, odds are you will find it has a way of filling itself up such that when you try to switch back to a smaller bag, you have too much stuff.

For the majority of my life I have always tried to carry a light purse. When I was in school that wasn’t so hard because I also had a backpack with me most of the time so I could use it for overflow.  I am pretty loyal to a bag, I am not the type that switches purses to be fashionable since that is just too much work, and I end up forgetting things I need.  I usually stick with a bag a couple of months before I rotate to the next one.

Ever since I have had dogs I have always made it a point to carry a crossbody bag so that I can have my hands free with the dogs (and now the kids). I usually only had a few things in there like my wallet, my phone, maybe a hair elastic or chap stick and some Tylenol.

However, now that I have three kids and I am doing a job where my appearance matters I find my purse getting heavier and heavier. While diapers and bottles are only occasional, as a mother you want to be prepared for everything. This is especially a problem because my stomach muscles split when I was pregnant with the girls, leaving my core weak, so despite my best efforts I find myself getting side cramps (you know like  ones you get from jogging) because of my purse.So as an experiment I decided to take everything out of my purse and see what I was actually carrying around. It turned out to be more than I thought. The problem was, it looks to me like I need it all!

Here we go!

  • compact for makeup touch ups

    This is my current and furry purse.

    This is my current and furry purse.

  • wallet
  • doggie poop bags (they actually have so many uses!)
  • receipts
  • regular gloves (usually I keep these in my coat)
  • back up gloves
  • tylenol
  • hairband
  • oral analgesic and Tylenol 3 (I just had an emergency root canal today so these are not always)
  • tea tree oil stick for when I feel a zit coming on
  • kleenex
  • extra straws
  • nail repair kit
  • band-aids


    Usually I like bags with lots of pockets to keep things organized, which this one doesn’t really have so don’t mind the mess.

  • pen
  • gum
  • hair elastic
  • anti-bacterial hand towelette
  • lipstick
  • lipgloss
  • chapstick
  • polysporin
  • key card (for work)
  • hair clip
  • subway tokens
  • low cal sweetner packets

This was just a random check but at times you can also find, diapers, contact case and glasses case with glasses (if I wear contacts that day, a muffin, candy, toys, and sometimes lady products.

I still consider myself lucky since there are other things I would like to carry but don’t such has a hairbrush (luckily I have one of those haircuts that looks good messy). I keep my keys in my coat pocket and also tend to carry my phone on a holster on my waist, so that takes some weight out of my bag as well.

Still, I am not really sure how I can lighten the load.

So I’d like to hear from you. What do you carry in your purse? Do you keep it light or have everything but the kitchen sink? And if you are like me and find yourself needing more and more, how do you cope with the weight of a heavy bag?

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About Shannon

I am a university educated full-time working mother of four children. Proudly Canadian, I freeze my butt off along with my loving partner, two dogs and a cat. I hope you enjoy reading my posts as much as I love writing them, but if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all.


18 thoughts on “Decluttering You Life: What’s In Your Purse?

  1. I’m lucky to carry chapstick as far as makeup goes, and never ever gloves (it’s warm). No antibacterial hand wipes – plenty of soap and water everywhere here. No sweeteners or gum. No painkillers, straws or bandaids. Hum. What do I carry? Let me see.

    Wallet, keys, phone. Small pack tissues or wet wipes. Bus/train tickets and membership cards. Feminine hygiene products. Reusable shopping bag, rolled. Miscellaneous small toys. That’s the handbag.

    Water bottles (1 each) and small umbrella. Nappy wallet containing 2x spare underpants and shorts, and 1x shirt and a plastic bag for youngest. Emergency fruit or muesli bars. Reusable shopping bag. That’s the backpack (otherwise I get the backache from that lot).

    Posted by Bronwyn Joy @ Journeys Of The Fabulist | January 20, 2014, 7:39 am
    • I think a backpack is a good idea. I am surprised more people choose diaper bags when really a backpack is so much easier and better for your back. That’s what I always use for longer outings. Unless we are taking the main stroller which has a diaper bag underneath. Mind you, with the twins I don’t think I’ll be able to fit it all in my purse even if I try to so I may have to look at a backpack full time. Enjoy the warm weather, the high here is -10 today (plus windchill). Cheers.

      Posted by Shannon | January 20, 2014, 7:45 am
  2. I used to be one of those, have EVERYTHING in my bag for any emergency.. Then I developed tendonitus in my shoulder and I couldn’t support being a mule anymore. Now I have the basic emergency essentials kept in the car, like wipes/emergency kit, extra set of clothes and whatnot..Currently in my purse I have… My wallet.. A LOT of receipts.. My daily organizer, a small cross stitch kit to entertain me if needed, three pens and two pencils. And some chapstick…

    Posted by ninjasinstitches | January 20, 2014, 8:00 am
    • Good for you for down grading. I think it’s a good habit to examine the contents on a regular basis and ask yourself if you really need everything that is in there. I hope your shoulder is feeling better. Thanks for commenting.

      Posted by Shannon | January 20, 2014, 10:40 am
  3. I carry a Vera Bradley hipster (cross body). I’ve been carrying the same purse for over a year now. I am probably due for a new one. I’ll get the same style but maybe a new print 🙂

    Anyway, inside is: wallet, ID badge, travel size wipes package (not the hard shell kind. It’s like 10 wipes), a mini nail file, ear buds, a small cosmetic bag (which holds a hair holder, 2 hair pins, Chapstick, rewetting eye drops and a mini tin of mints), a pen, and my emergency keys.

    Your load doesn’t seem unreasonable but may be able to get a bit smaller. I used to keep a medicine/makeup bag at work so I didn’t have to carry any of that type of stuff. I keep my extra gloves in my car. We have a mini first aide kit in stroller as well as a huge one in our car. Often times, I just grab my wallet out of my purse, put it in my pocket and go. 🙂

    Posted by Heather C | January 20, 2014, 8:13 am
  4. Wow. gotta say, have wallet and iPhone will travel. Sometimes those pesky kids and hubbies try to drop their stuff in there but I will only accept if absolutely necessary and then clean out ASAp!

    Posted by Glorious Results of a Misspent Youth | January 20, 2014, 11:54 am
  5. Would you believe me if I told you I have no purse? When I go to work, I always have my (work) stuff in my backpack. This time of year, I just put my wallet and keys in my coat. When I go out shopping, I’ll stick my wallet in the wrap I keep my son in (when I’m out and about with him), otherwise, it stays in my pockets. I don’t wear make-up so don’t need any of that and I don’t have a cell phone either *gasp!*. I’m just kind of a tomboy…lol

    Posted by mommytrainingwheels | January 20, 2014, 12:36 pm
    • Wow good for you. I think I should really have a separate work bag too, but I hate that so I just shove it all in my purse. I am a tomboy too but I do a very public job that could require me doing tv appearances or important meetings with little notice so I have to look good and be prepared 😉 thanks for sharing you are a good role model. Cheers.

      Posted by Shannon | January 20, 2014, 1:39 pm
    • P.s. I would DIE without my smartphone! My blog certainly wouldn’t exist for one. Lol

      Posted by Shannon | January 20, 2014, 1:40 pm
  6. I agree with the backpack comments above–my last two purses have been backpacks and I like it way better. You don’t get that pain in your side. What do I always carry…cell phone, wallet, keys, usually one of those lightweight bags for if you buy something at the store, instead of using a plastic one, a pen, and a little notebook for writing things down, chapstick.

    Posted by sparrow | January 20, 2014, 1:53 pm
    • Very True. That’s why I at least go for crossbody rather than over the shoulder. I LOVE my backpack. It is vintage Invicta. It got me through OAC, seven years of university and one kid. Will be breaking it out soon 🙂

      Posted by Shannon | January 20, 2014, 2:02 pm
  7. My purse is pretty much like a suitcase. It’s a bad problem. My husband always makes fun of me for it! I’ve tried EVERYTHING, even changing to a teeny, tiny bag…only to stuff it to the brim and break the straps…I always seem to go back to the big bag. I stick anything and everything you can think of in there. I’ve even carried my Bible in there, along with a Kindle, notebook…and always, always food. Food is the worst because it destroys all of my purses and I always tell myself, I will never put food in my purse again. Only to put food in my purse again. lol

    Posted by roadtofertility | January 20, 2014, 3:36 pm
    • Thanks for sharing. I have had a few purse “floods” myself, so I know what you mean. Maybe you could try what the other moms do and switch to a backpack? In any case take care of your back 🙂 Cheers!

      Posted by Shannon | January 20, 2014, 4:08 pm
  8. I use to be the purse type who carried everything, and would randomly find things a year later that I thought I had previously lost in my purse. Now, a mom of twins, my purse is only big enough to cary my wallet and lip gloss, maybe occasionally tissues. Everything for the boys goes in their diaper bag which is a backpack. The backpack is so much easier on me and with all of the traveling I do, it’s just plain easier to carry rather than having something falling off of my shoulders.

    Posted by nebrtwin | January 21, 2014, 10:51 am

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