Friday, December 23, 2011


After reading this article on cleaning out and organizing your purse, I was shocked by how heavy the purses in the slide show were. On average, the editors who contributed photos of their baggage and its contents were lugging around over six pounds of stuff. No way could I do that.

Then I thought, just what am I lugging around, and how much does it weigh? Since I own only one purse (an ordinary black shoulder bag I bought about a year ago, when the only purse I owned at the time, a seven-year-old ordinary black shoulder bag, finally blew out a side panel) I thought I'd empty it out and inspect what I can't live without on a daily basis:

Camera in case -- I have learned to carry it with me everywhere or I miss the best shots.

Wallet -- actually a clutch; the only thing large enough to accommodate all my fake IDs.

Keys -- to three vehicles, four houses, two lock boxes, a friend's Harley (don't ask), a couple of ICBM remote launch consoles and the Bat Cave's emergency entrance.

Scissors -- because I can't use the annoyingly tiny ones in the sewing kit.

Sunglasses in Case -- prescription; gotta wear them whenever I step foot outside.

Sewing Kit -- for hemline, seam line, suture and quilt emergencies. Also I think the little zebra purse design is cute.

Flash Drive -- in case someone breaks into my house and steals the computer and all my backups while I'm shopping. It could happen.

Mobile Phone in case -- disposable drug-dealer pay-as-you-go phone, costs me a hundred bucks a year, only makes phone calls, and pisses off everyone who pays a hundred bucks a month for their hi-tech toy phones.

Checkbook -- in case the credit card machine fails. Also has the pen I carry tucked in the cover.

Small bottle of lotion -- for my hands; they get chapped in the winter.

Tissues -- so I don't have to use my sleeve and because I won't carry a cloth hankie like my Mom.

Wet wipes -- something I constantly use for like a million purposes; I've even used them to clean dead bugs off a windshield when the wiper fluid ran out. I'd carry a box of them if I could fit it in my purse.

Beauty-engraved rock -- to remind me what to look for while I'm out and about.

Chapstick -- the only thing I put on my face besides glasses

Missing: the paperback book I was carrying, which I lent to a friend today, so I need a new one.

I put all the stuff back in my purse and weighed it, expecting it only to be a couple of pounds, and was shocked to see that it came in at 4.7 lbs. Since I always carry around a book in my purse, that would take it over 5 pounds. I had no idea it was that heavy. No wonder I walk tilted to the left.

I think my final goal for 2011 is going to be reducing the amount of junk I carry in my purse by half. Won't be easy, but it will probably help get rid of some of the neck and back pain I get after shopping expeditions.

Ladies, what do you carry around in your purse that you can't live without? Have you ever weighed your purse, and if not, how much baggage do you think you're carrying around? Let us know in comments.


  1. I don't even want to know how much my purse weighs. I carry around a mini-laptop for writing and tutoring sessions. My journal, a writing notebook, a bag of pens, flashdrive, my wallet, my phone, tissues, sunglasses + case. .. the list is much longer.

  2. Fran Kane4:17 AM

    My first priority when I buy a handbag is to make sure it can fit in a book, although I do have a couple of small "going out" bags! Then I look at the design, colour and style. For the past few years I've been going for the back pack type which leaves your hands free. As for whats going in it: book (currently Shelly Laurenston's The Beast in Him, a re-read), purse, glasses, hand sanitiser, lip balm, aspirin & ibuprophen, mobile phone, pens, fold-up shopping bag, keys, tissues & a scrunchy. I've just weighed it at 1.4kg. No wonder my push bike has a slight tilt to the left!

  3. Mine weighs in at 2.3 kilos, which is about 5 lbs., although I do have stuff in it at the moment that I don't usually carry around, like a bar of chocolate, a jar of chutney and some travel stuff because I have just arrived at my parents' to spend the holidays.

    I have 2 handbags on the go at any time (don't ask me how many I actually own, but I may be on my way to joining Handbag Collectors Anonymous). One is my shopping handbag into which I transfer my wallet, cell phone and notebook, plus a pen and the current shopping list. The work handbag, in addition to wallet, cell phone and notebook, contains my sketch/commonplace book and a selection of drawing pens, scissors, nail clippers, small hairbrush, lip gloss, pain killers, pocket knife, 2 thumb drives, hair pins and hair grips, USB cable, tissues, a small flashlight, lock oil for the car (the lock tends to get stuck in the frost) and a packet of peppermints. Sometimes you will find a camera in there as well, but I have just acquired a cell phone with a camera, which lightens the bag by about 300 grams.

    I joke that all I need to add for a weekend in some big city abroad is my passport and a clean pair of underwear and socks.

  4. I'm currently carting a diaper bag but I'm not going to count that. Stuff in my pockets: keys so I don't lock myself out of the house, camera, wallet, Burts Bees lip balm, fast acting inhaler so I don't die, cell phone so I know what time it is (it kills my husband that he got me off the ancient only-makes-calls cell and replaced it with fancy new one to have me use it as a clock). If I'm carrying the diaper bag I put all this into a pocket of the bag, along with whatever paperback I'm currently reading. Which today is Karen Templeton's Fortune's Cinderella. (I'm also e-reading Connie Willis' Miracle and other stories and THANK YOU to whoever mentioned that gem in the Let It Snow giveaway!)

    Not sure on total weight, but I could reduce it by dumping the change in my wallet into the jar.

  5. I work with mostly men and before a meeting, one of them started asking me about a purse he wanted to get his wife for Christmas.

    I quickly stopped him and said this was one area where I think guys have it made. I HATE carrying a purse. When I do, it's small-ish wallet, phone, keys, chapstick and checkbook (sometimes).

    Of course, I have a messenger bag with all kinds of stuff in it I carry for work. Don't want to weigh that one...

  6. how can you get much more streamlined? Eesh.

    Um, without looking, I'd say...some bookmarks, my wallet, two checkbooks, my inhaler, a bottle of pills I do have to carry with me, lotion, something to clean my glasses with, several kinds of chapstick. I don't know the weight, but it's probably right at five pounds. I have to keep it light because of my neck-I can literally feel it when the bag is getting heavier than it should be.

    I tried to go lighter, but the stuff I needed was never there. Now I just work to avoid going heavier.

  7. I have a light shopping purse. Has room for a card case, where I put my ID, credit card and cash. Also lip gloss and kleenex. Whenever I know I'm going to be doing a lot of walking, I switch over to it. My normal purse has all of the above with my business cards in the proper case, a full sized wallet with all my cards, from library to insurance, medications, lens refresher, mirror, gum, purse hanger, coupons, lipstick (in addition to gloss), phone, and, depending on where I'm going, my Kindle. I change my everyday purse each season and sometimes just for the heck of it. No idea what it weighs.

  8. GayLee10:44 AM

    When my back issues started getting ugly, the first advice from both ortho doc and PT was get a backpack style purse AND REDUCE THE WEIGHT!!!! They seemed pretty emphatic about it.

    So I bought doubles and triples of many things I used to carry around, and put them in my car and office desk. Lip stuff, hair brush, pain meds, breath mints, only one photo of the family, just say no to each and every business's "value card", smaller wallet, no books (whimper), no unnecessary doo dads. It has helped, but it takes discipline and frequent clean outs.

  9. I went to a baby shower once and a game we played was "What's in your purse?" There was a list of 25 items. I won. I had every item on the list, and then some.

    I've pared down since, with only a wallet, coin purse, little purse thingy with lipstick and mirror, sewing kit, Leatherman (an indispensible tool which eliminates many other tools like a screwdriver, scissors, knife, bottle opener, lock pick, etc.), small tissue package, my Kindle.

    Not so much really, and at least nowadays I wouldn't win that game.

  10. I got rid of my purse quite a while ago. I clipped a small wallet for credit cards to my key ring, and anything else I have to have (Carmex, etc) goes in my pocket. I don't want to bother with a purse anymore.

  11. 7.2 pounds! O_o

    Let's see, a wallet, pens, my Nook Tablet or a book depending on what I'm reading, a small electronics pouch for my earbuds and phone stuff for when I'm in a car 8-10 hours on a test drive, keys (of which I have 18 and don't ask me why, I have no idea but I use them all) my work badges, assorted pharmaceuticals for my migraines, contacts, etc...other detritus that I know I'll need someday.

    Hmmm...I think I'll definitely be paring down for the new year. I didn't realize how much I collected!

  12. Ooh, seems like you're a Chococat fan, too. I haven't weighed my purse, but my cousin weighed hers at the supermarket and it was seven pounds. She has tons of napkins, lip gloss and circulars in her bag.

  13. Eesh. This is a scary one...

    I have chapstick, lollies just in case of low blood sugar, a spare key for the hub's car, a KFC wet wipe and a roll of quick-eze (for heartburn). That's one pocket.

    In the main pocket: about thirty business cards from a friend, keys (post office, house, etc), a handkerchief, a reusable shopping bag that folds up into a tiny bag, a wallet, mints (always handy), three pens, one permanent marker, one pencil, one A5 notebook (usually very light but now stuffed with odds and ends because I'm in novel-writing mode, and my mobile.

    In the back zipper pocket: two more KFC wet wipes, a plastic bag (we usually have our two dogs with us, so you can guess what that's for), and two high quality napkins. (You get stuck in the bathroom stall with no toilet paper ONE time and you learn...)

    Yes, I really need to lighten mine up.

  14. Anne V.10:46 PM

    I haven't checked mine, but I have been known to carry around a large baggie of copper jump rings and tools for chainmailling on the go. I carry my purse and then a separate tote bag for books and other necessities to the office.

  15. So... At home I don't carry a purse at all, but because I'm off adventuring, I have one just for "security". It spends most of its' time locked in a locker.

    In it is: Passport, small moleskine and pen, change from last couple countries, "yellow card" immunization record, digi-cam in soft case, cards (2 debit, 2 (canceled) credit, student and driving ID), couple business cards, iPod, chargers for camera, ipod, and sometimes phone. Oh, and a flashlight.

    In my pockets, though, I've got... Cash, current hostel/ hotel keys, jingly coins from the country I'm in now, lip balm, Vick's stick, flashlight, receipts, ads, and any business cards I've collected today.

  16. wow, I dont know if you can get less in your purse Lynn. I'm scared I may be in the 6-8 pd range. I've tried to go lighter and always freak out when something is missing. I dont change purses for the same reason. I carry a simple black shoulder bag until it dies and then replace it. I have a digi camera because I'm scared my kids will be cute and I'll miss the shot. wallet, LOTs of change that needs to be dumped, a book sometimes two in case I finish one while out and need to start another, my key ring which after 20 yrs is actually down to just 5 keys and one key chain, tissue and old mail. Hmm you know I have mail from 2010 in my purse in case I need the number for the phone,water or electric company so I can pay them over the phone since I tend to forget them :oS. My cell is very basic but not as basic as the previous one that died. The lady at the counter was snippy when she said we dont make anything like that any more.LOL.


  17. I got a new bag for Christmas. It is 12Hx15Wx4D and made of 5.5/6 oz weight saddle leather. I immediately put all of the things I carried in my quilted purse in it, and it's pretty well full. I carry a netbook (with cords and extra mouse) for writing, a junior sized notebook with fountain pen, various pens and pencils and a couple of small notebooks JUST IN CASE, my ipod and the cords and earphones for that, my smartphone and its charging cord, my wallet, tissues, a coin purse, a first aid kit, a small sewing kit, an inhaler, medications as needed, Advil in a small bottle, keys, a mirror, a chapstick, a robot (Vinylmation, from Disney, Crankybot), and whatever else I might find I need or want. (Today that included two CDS that I got for Christmas and a book on mindful eating.) Why, yes, I realize that I could probably support a small nation out of this bag, but I like it.

    Oh! The bag itself weighs some 3 pounds, the netbook weighs 3 more, so I am probably carrying some 10-12 pounds with me all the time.

  18. I got a gorgeous knockoff bag in a shanghai market after some competitive bargaining, its a sort of medical bag style in an "olde worlde map" print and I adore it.

    It works for long haul flights, and in school. Most days the contents are: the folder for my novel notes, a notebook, tylenol, a brocade pouch with makeup, an extra hair band, pens pencils, a bottle of water...and sometimes a mallet and a saw and some files and a chunk of sterling silver I mean to make pretty things with, and...bandaids.

    It gets weighty at times but hey, I have a MALLET in my purse.

    Sometimes. And my iphone, wallet, keys, inhaler. If a CSI team ever went through that bag, they'd be quite flummoxed as I haven't emptied it properly and I think there might be some SIM cards for my phone for three other countries, two transit cards for London and Amsterdam, and various currencies. I can explain...

    ( upside, i'm prepared for many emergencies, in any country...)

    PS Sheila....I finally finished writing Sascha's novel. :D


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