What’s in Kat’s Purse?

kats purse I’ve noticed that a lot of bloggers have done “What’s in your bag” kind of features, so I thought I’d start with my own bag.  So, at left, a snapshot of the contents of my purse…  I switch bags often, so I try to keep things to a minimum, I guess.  Depending on which bag I’m carrying at the moment, I may also have a small notebook, a small book, a hat, a second sunglasses case, or other reader material like a folded-up wad of about 50 printed pages or so.  I also like to have brightly colored things inside my purse, so I can find them and differentiate them easily if it’s a big, dark bag.  Anyway, here’s a closer look at the contents, starting clockwise from the upper left-hand corner…

– A Metrocard and my security ID for my day job.

– Pack of tissues.  (Hey, I think we all knew I was a little bit snotty.)

– I call the blue-dotted cosmetics case my “problem case” because I don’t really open it unless I have a problem.  This contains a pillcase with Advil in it, more medicines that come in take-one-at-a-time-do-not-tamper packs (like Claritin), a few Band-aids, a small bottle of hand sanitizer (which I refill using a bigger one), a few packs of Emergen-C, and tampons, as well as a few I-never-need-them-but-they’re-handy-when-I-do packets such as Shout Wipes, Wet Ones, Basis facial cleansing cloths, Oral B Brush-ups, and toothpicks.  Finally, I keep a really small plastic bag that contains two sets of earplugs, which have “R” and “L” marked on them in different colored ink — they have come in handy in those joyous circumstances where you find yourself seated on a four-hour flight right behind a crying infant, or in those “concerts didn’t always used to be this loud” moments.  (I have two on the theory that I can offer one to my husband or brother, who comes with me to a lot of concerts.)  I find that all of this stuff gets lost/destroyed if I leave it in my purse by itself, but is fine in the smaller cosmetics case.

An Etsy card case.  I keep my Corporette cards and the cards for my day job, as well as gift cards, card-shaped department store coupons, and so forth.

– A pack of gum.

– The dark blue envelope is my “receipts envelope.”  This is where I stash taxi receipts, restaurant receipts, and so forth that can be deducted as business and networking expenses.  I write the reason on the back of each receipt, as well as keeping a running tally on the envelope itself.  I try to keep all blog expenses to my business card, but if I end up paying for a cab in cash then I circle the amount, and if I end up paying with one of my personal cards I put a square around it.  At the end of the month I assess the receipts, circles and squares, and make sure that any business expenses are reflected in Mint.  Yes, I am insane.  I use the dark blue envelope because we bought a pack of them for $2 to mail our Save-the-Dates for our wedding, and we have a ton left over.

Lipgloss and lipstick of the moment (Nars Canaille).

Sony Bloggie.  I got this at an event a while back, and like it enough to carry it with me — it focuses like nobody’s business, and takes great pictures and movies, provided there’s enough light.  (It doesn’t have a flash.)

– Treo.  Sigh.

– Super teeny Totes umbrella that I picked up at Staples one day (I think it’s also available at Amazon.)

– Sunglasses case.

– Wallet.  I keep my credit cards, debit cards, insurance card, license, living will card, and blank checks to 3 different accounts.  (When I take a check to put in my wallet I put the entry in my checkbook in parentheses, and then fill in the amount after I use the check or, more usually, see it cashed on an account statement or in Mint.)

– 2 pens.

– Tiny Curel bottle.  I’m addicted to Curel, I swear.

– And finally: a super duper old compact.  I should probably be embarrassed about this one, actually — it’s so old that they’ve stopped making the product.  I don’t use it very often (obviously) but have bought new powder puffs to put in there.

Readers, what’s in your bags?


  1. Wow! I envy you Kat and your well-organized bag! You don’t want to know what is in mine – it’s a mess!

    • Seriously. I’m inspired to pick up some organizer bags! Also, to pare down the lip product section to the lip gloss and lipstick of the moment. That sounds nice. Just counted – my cosmetics pocket has 7 lip glosses and 2 lipsticks. Not sure how it has gotten to this point …

  2. Too funny! I’m a mom and don’t carry half the things you do. Then again, my purse is about the size of your wallet. It contains
    Credit /membership cards
    Cell phone (in outside pocket)
    Keys (clipped to strap)
    Burts bees lipgloss
    Post it notes
    Hair twist
    A couple random receipts
    Nail file
    Hand wipes

    If I use a bigger bag, it fills up with junk, but not much more useful stuff goes in. Using this one, I have to focus on keeping everything flat & organized. For me, that’s a plus

    • I’m the same way- most of my bags are tiny! As long as I’ve got my wallet, cell, chapstick, and keys, I’m good. Usually I also add a tiny thing of lotion, some tampons (which stay in the zippered pocket just in case), a pen, lipstick, and a compact, but those don’t take up much room. And the random paper/receipts that get stuff in the bottom, but those are really just trash.

  3. lawyerette :

    Today I have:

    Wallet with cash/credit/gift cards I want to use + subway passes
    Cell phone
    Burts bees lipgloss
    Hair clip
    Lots of receipts/random papers
    small umbrella (been raining a lot)
    eyeglass case with cleaning cloth (use that a lot)
    notebook with pen for random thoughts
    emergency mini bag (advil + concealer + lip gloss + mirror compact + Tide To Go stick + Tampon + Burt’s Bee’s cuticle cream)
    regular make up bag — don’t usually carry this but I had a massage this morning and applied my makeup afterwards

  4. Wow, you have a lot of stuff!

    My bag is much less full:
    1. Wallet (big, with all cards and cash, but no checks)
    2. Sigg (1L)
    3. Phone (outside pocket)
    4. Pens (inside zipper)
    5. 3 lipsticks (in tiny CVS $2 bag)
    6. 2 eyeshadows, rolling around the bottom of the bag aimlessly
    7. If I am out with kids – 2 diapers, wipes, and tupperware w/ goldfish. Sometimes a sippy cup.

  5. AnonInfinity :

    I love your little bags that you use for like items. I am going to implement that system ASAP.

    Right now I have wallet (pretty organized, contains cash, credit/debit cards, frequent dining cards)
    LOTS of old receipts, mostly wadded/faded
    The top portion of a bunch of bills I paid today
    Mirror compact
    2 lip glosses
    Random pieces of gum that have fallen out of various packages (mostly still in wrappers)
    Brush ups (yes, I am paranoid about having bad breath)
    Broken necklace (oops, need to drop that off to get fixed)
    4 felt tip pens of different colors
    1 ball point
    1 fountain pen
    Sunglasses in case
    Postcard from BFF that makes me smile
    Stain pen
    1 tampon
    Small notebook
    Oil blotting papers for my face
    Cell phone
    Free-floating check book with 2 bent-up checks on it
    Small tube of Tylenol, even though I never use that

    YIKES! Clearly, I need a system.

    • AnonInfinity :

      Oh, and deodorant, which was in there long before the thread about the stinky person at the office.

    • somewherecold :

      I have tons of old receipts, too, but I’d like to clean up my bag a little. How long do you all save receipts for personal purchases?

      • I keep receipts until I’ve paid them (checked them off credit card statement). Then, for items like clothing, accessories, anything I might want to return someday, I keep them in a separate envelope, at home, labeled with useful information (“red dress bought for Sally’s wedding”). At a good store, you can return something even months or years post purchase if it has worn badly, ripped, etc. and I think having the receipt helps.

        • Yes. I returned a bag to Saks about 6 months after purchasing because it was wearing badly, and because I had a receipt it was literally a 2 min. process, no questions asked. I also keep any receipts for anything that I think may be tax deductable but I just hand those to my tax person, I don’t actually know if that’s useful.

      • AnonInfinity :

        As you probably guessed from the contents of my purse, I do not haev a system. I honestly do not save every receipt and just leave the old ones in my purse until a tipping point is reached and I can’t handle the clutter in there. Then I throw them away. I save receipts for big purchases (TV, computer, car, etc.) until my super-scientific filing system gets full, and then I throw away the ones that are a few years old.

        I don’t think my system is the one that is traditionally recommended, though.

      • SF Bay Associate :

        After working in retail, I learned to save all receipts aside from restaurant and gas for at least 1 year. I use an accordion checkbook/coupon folder from the container store, and file my receipts alphabetically. That way, when a skirt I bought six months ago reveals itself to be defective, or the blender I bought at costco dies, I can take my receipt and the product back to the store and get a refund. Or when a weird charge shows up on my statement, I can check the receipts I have for that store and see if there’s something wrong. SSJD is right – customer service is much more empowered to help you if you have a receipt.

    • That is what I need! :

      I have an extreme need for a soft bag to keep my lipstick and concealer together in my purse. I have them floating around and it seems like when I change purses I always leave the lipstick I need for my outfit that day in the other purse. I would love something that looks nice, is soft and is bright so I can find it… Any tips on where to go?

      • Walker bags is your new BFF. They are my own personal, organizational crack. (I don’t work for them, really.) They are the fabulously colored, see-through mesh bags. LOVE THEM.


      • I’d check etsy as well.

      • I like le sport sac for this purpose. Washable, light, durable, cute :)

        • +1 for le sport sac. The tiny ones have zippers on both sides and are great for makeup (tiny mirror, lippie, lipbalm). I also stow painkillers or tine eyebrow brush/eyeliner etc in the side zipper.

      • Although the prints can sometimes be too bold for my taste, Vera Bradley makes some small / medium size cases that are perfect for cosmetics. They have a plastic liner on the inside that is great for unexpected spills. Also, if the outside gets dingy, you can just throw the whole thing in the wash.

      • I like Kipling. The creativity pouch is very popular–3 roomy sections within a zippered main compartment and comes in a variety of colours. I own several of these and use them for all sorts of stuff–from cosmetics to medication to travel.

  6. Like Kat, I am a big fan of the “bag in a bag” organizing technique. I like bags in pockets in bags :) My work bag (which is actually a Kate Spade baby bag backpack) contains:
    water bottle in outside pocket
    sunglasses in outside pocket
    house keys in outside pocket (keychain has a small credit card sized pocket that holds the electronic key to my kids’ daycare center)
    free floating tissues (clean and dirty)
    spoon (I carried a yogurt around last week and keep forgetting to take out the spoon)
    bottle of heartburn medicine
    wristlet used as wallet (contains credit cards in small holder from men’s accessory section of Brooks Brothers, receipts, kid photos, bandaid, public transit card, cash, tiny Prada lip balm)
    cell phone
    small transparent case containing toiletries: (tampons, tylenol, Listerine strips, carmex lip balm, purell little bottle, lactaid pills, pony tail holder, L’Occitane hand balm)
    Filofax (I know it’s old fashioned; I LOVE it)
    work ID badge
    work blackberry

  7. Kat, in work mode here. Can you elaborate on the living will card?

    • Oh — it’s probably morbid, but after my grandfather passed away a few years ago, I thought it would be helpful to my parents and loved ones if they had some guidance on what I would have wanted if I were hit by a car and incapacitated or something like that. I didn’t look into it much — as far as I know living wills are not legally binding in a lot of states, and once you start thinking about it, every situation/accident is different. But I think having written guidance for your loved ones is a good thing. So I drew one up using Legal Zoom back in 2005 or so, and then updated it when I was married in 2009. They send you a little wallet-sized, laminated card that has your wishes on it.

  8. goirishkj :

    Kinda glad that I’m not the only person out there still using a Treo. My husband cringes whenever it is visible in public. What can I say, I like an antique!

    • I loved my treo! I put it in the seatback pocket on an airplane and it got stolen. I was so mad! The treo was great.

  9. skippy pea :

    I have …
    My much loved red patent wallet (Nine WEst) for oft used cards and cash.
    Another red credit card (Target)holder for not-used-regularly-but need them when I don’t carry them…cards and business cards.
    A pink makeup case containing foundation, eyeshadow, lipstick/gloss, cuticle oil, nail cutter, tweezers, anitibacterial and sometimes nail polish to apply on the long train ride.
    A black ink pen.
    small tissues
    Cell phone and car keys.

  10. Glad to see I’m not the only one who feels the need to carry so much stuff around with her!

    I change bags frequently, too, but my favorite and most useful bags (and the type I therefore buy most often) typically have two small outside pockets, or else two small inner pockets (like the J. Crew Brompton Hobo that I bought after seeing it featured on this site) along with a large inner zip pocket and the large central compartment. For example, I have a Prada messenger-style purse and a small Prada backpack that are both made like this, and a leather Coach messenger bag/briefcase also with two outer pockets. (The Coach messenger bag is actually a man’s bag, but I think it makes a nice briefcase for a woman without being too stiff). Today, I’m using a vintage leather Gucci backpack, also with two outer pockets.

    I then organize my bag as follows:

    One outer compartment: BlackBerry in protective case.

    Other outer compartment: leather card case, containing my MetroCard, building ID/security card, and some business cards.

    Inside zipper compartment: house keys; pen & small notebook; packet of kleenex

    In main compartment:

    Wallet, with credit and debit cards, cash, 2-3 blank checks, and misc. other cards (various membership cards and rewards cards). I use a large wallet with an outer compartment into which I put receipts. I’m not super-organized about receipts and don’t keep most of them for the long term, but like to hold onto retail receipts until I’m sure I don’t need to return the item, business-related receipts until I can throw them into this year’s tax file.

    Small cosmetic bag with foundation, lipstick, lip balm, small mirror, tweezers, nail clippers, dental floss, tampon, advil

    Hair brush! (Doesn’t anyone else carry around a hair brush?)

    Kindle! I live in NYC, and read on the subway, and I love the Kindle.

    Today, I had time to kill between appointments, and brought my iPad to use during a brief Starbucks break, but I don’t usually carry that around (and don’t pull it out on the subway, hence the Kindle).

    Small leather Coach wristlet with iPod Touch and ear buds. (I sometimes listen to music on the subway. I also have family photos on the iPod Touch, and it’s a better camera than the BlackBerry.) At the office, if I want to run out quickly during lunch, I like to use the wristlet and just take my building ID and some cash or a debit card, instead of carrying my entire purse.

  11. Speaking of bags, after years (literally) of inactivity, I’ve started working out again. I’ve been carrying a backpack to put all my stuff in (work clothes, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, etc.) in addition to my everyday, one shoulder bag. The schlepping is killing me! How do you ladies deal? Do you have a bag that you love that makes it easier carry everything? Leaving stuff in the gym is not an option, unfortunately.

    Thoughts appreciated!

    • do you put your shampoo/conditioner in mini travel bottles to take to the gym? if not i think that could help a lot! alternatively, is it possible for you to leave some of your regular workout stuff (shampoo/conditioner/deodorant/hair dryer/etc) at your workplace?

    • Anon, I don’t have any advice for you, but I’m so glad you asked! I’m in the same boat — on gym days I haul in a second bag with my workout clothes, shoes, and toiletries (mostly lotion and deodorant, since I *gasp* don’t generally wash my hair post-workout). I have a bag I got last spring at Old Navy for like $10 — it’s garishly bright but is lined in a wipeable material (I think it began life as a beach tote). Leaving stuff at work isn’t an option and I’m not super keen on paying an additional $15/month for a locker at the gym, so for now I’m stuck double-bagging it — unless the ‘rettes can save us both!

    • I used to carry a big patagonia backpack with all my stuff in it. Then I would just take out my (more professional looking) wallet when I got to work, if I needed to go out to lunch or something.

  12. Hmm. Mine is rather embarrassingly messy. Currently I have:

    A Tiffany blue card case (so I can find it in my bag)
    Wallet containing credit cards, cash, frequent diner cards, gift cards, insurance cards, and a hundred random receipts.
    A necklace I took off one day 2 months ago and put in a pocket.
    A bunch of spare change loosely floating around
    Ziploc bags of Advil and Zyrtec
    Sunglasses (floating loose)
    Dunkin Donuts coupons
    Information on a pediatric dentist I need to call for my kids
    A file of work documents
    A file of community organization documents
    A necklace I purchased
    My laptop power cord
    Three partially used checkbooks (all for the same account)
    About 5 pens
    A little moleskin notebook
    A 12 inch piece of banana Laffy Taffy
    A couple packages of Post-its
    Random loose Post-its
    Random loose receipts
    Security card for my building
    The tag that came on my purse
    A couple random trouser socks that I must have taken off at work for some reason
    Random business cards
    A DSW gift certificate
    My iPhone
    A highlighter

    And this is all stuff that I have been carrying around for at least a month or so, with the exception of the purchased necklace, which entered only this week. The Laffy Taffy has been there since *cough* September *cough*.

    I need a 12 step program.

    • AnonInfinity :

      I’m glad I’m not the only one with a necklace in there. I also got really excited about your Laffy Taffy until I saw that it was old.

      Right there with you on the 12 steps!

      • I’m not willing to commit that I’m not going to eat it. I may have to inspect the package.

        • My SO and I went to the theatre last weekend and he had a bit of a cough. I very helpfully brought out the package of throat lozenges that I keep in my purse for that purpose. He tried to open one, only to find that it was so old, the paper stuck to the lozenge. No comment on how long they had been in my purse.

        • AnonInfinity :

          Oh, when you commented on the age, I picture it being unwrapped for some reason. I would, without a doubt, inspect the wrapper and eat it as long as there were no large holes.

          • Well, he actually ended up eating the lozenge with some paper still stuck to it. Extre fibre.

      • I’ve got the necklace, too, but no Laffy Taffy. *Wishing* for Laffy Taffy.

    • This is SO me! :-)

      I think I need to implement Kat’s bag-in-bag system.

    • Anonymous :

      Glad someone else uses ziploc bags to hold advil/etc. I always feel like a druggie when I pull one of those out. But it’s so convenient, can just refill it with a couple more pills if I happen to use the ones in there, and it weighs nothing.

    • LOL – I too have a few random socks in my bag, but they’re my kids, not mine. And thank goodness there is someone here w/ a file(s) in their purse. It’s the reason my purse is bigger than I am – I always have two redwelds in my purse: one that holds the work papers that I bring home to read as well as bills that I really need to pay, and another one that holds 2 coloring books, a few pages of white paper, some arts and crafts projects from school and a case of crayons.

  13. My husband was laughing at me this morning for the contents of my everyday bag- I carry a giant red bag that contains :
    Small purse, holding:
    my wallet,
    favorite lipstick,
    one pen,
    pair of dangly silver earrings just in case,
    and a million tampons because I forget how many are in there

    Green envelope that holds:
    fast-food receipts,
    an old paystub,
    a tax withholding form that I submitted for my holiday bonus three months ago,
    a picture of someone’s child in a donkey costume,
    a piece of wrapped gum that found its way into the envelope,

    In a side pocket meant for a cell phone: frequent diner cards, which I moved out of my wallet to help me cut back on eating fast food

    In a side pocket meant for keys: the pieces to a pair of earrings that exploded one night at dinner

    And loose in the bottom of the bag:
    A book that someone told me to read that I need to return to them
    Flip flops (possibly two pairs)
    Very large black umbrella that turns itself inside-out and can be used as a bludgeon if necessary
    Two highlighters, both dead
    Kleenex (clean and dirty)
    Spare change
    Cough drops, some wrapped, some not so wrapped

    And what do I need out of this giant bag? Only the small purse and its contents…

    • We could totally be friends.

      • *sigh* I might need friends to help carry my stuff around…

        And, I just added a roll of toilet paper with Form 1040 printed on it (long story) and a book of zombie haiku to said large red bag. I’m sure if we were to check back in two months later, at least part of the toilet paper roll and all of the haiku book would remain.

  14. I carry a big Coach tote to work every day and, on the weekends, just grab my wallet, lip gloss, etc. and throw into a small handbag of my choosing. So, today, in the big tote on the floor next to my desk…

    Wallet with credit cards/cash/coupons/gift cards/drivers license/ins cards
    Work ID (should be on my person)
    sale flyers for Target and the grocery store (need to stop after work)
    Manila envelope with fliers for weekend event I need to post on random bulletin boards
    Small notebook
    Checkbook (only way to buy subsidized bus pass at my office)
    Pack of gum
    Kate Spade business card holder with day job cards
    Two ballpoint pens, one rollerball and one ultrafine Sharpie (eggplant)
    Pair of knee-high nude hose
    random receipts and bits of paper
    USB thumb drive
    house key
    small pill case key chain filled with advil
    four bobby pins
    my sister’s cocktail ring (oops. I swear I thought it was mine.)
    iPod earbuds
    loose business cards for home-based business
    3M pat-it sheets (like a lint roller, but flat sheets)
    random length of pink ribbon
    statement necklace I wore last week
    sunglasses sleeve (no sunglasses)
    eye drops
    compact mirror
    two lip glosses
    one lip stain
    Blister Block
    bus schedule
    car keys (I’m an uncommitted commuter)
    silver cuff bracelet
    one ponytail elastic
    pack of tissues

    I always win at wedding/baby shower games if we have to play the purse scavenger hunt.

    • At a Shower Tea recently we played the purse scavenger game. There were women of all ages there including the Bride’s 90year old Grandmother and my 17 and 13 year olds. The list included all of the usual…hair elastics, gum, pen etc then gloves, tissue, bandaid, condom.
      Grandma was busily searching for her gloves but only found them and screamed out “YES” as condom was announced. Sudden quiet from all, then huge giggles, and everyone looks at Grandma with new admiration!!!
      No one admitted to the condom after that.

      • So I’m helping to throw a bridal shower for my sister this spring… and I’m pretty clueless about it, having never attended one before. Do you have any ideas for other fun, no-fail games? Many of the guests don’t know each other and will be meeting for the first time. I love the purse scavenger idea!

        • The toilet paper bride game (while cheesy) is always a hit, and a good ice breaker. Another cute one I’ve seen is to have pictures of the bride to be at various ages around the party and have people guess at how old she is in each picture.

        • I went to a bridal shower last weekend, and the MOH had asked the groom to fill out answers to questions about himself and their relationship. Ex: What is groom’s favorite movie, what is groom’s biggest pet peeve, what would groom say your biggest pet peeve is, etc. Before the bride could open a present, she had to answer a question correctly. It was very funny.

        • Name Tag Game – I had never heard of this one until we played it at my bridal shower. Each guest receives a peel & stick name tag with her name on it when she arrives. After everyone arrives the hotess announces the rules: The first guest who catches another guest either crossing her legs or saying the groom’s name gets to steal her name tag (and stick it on herself). When you “steal” from someone you take all the name tags they have. It’s a good ice breaker. My mom won at my shower – I think the hostess gave her the flowers from the buffet table as her prize.

  15. Anonymous :

    hair ruberband
    hand sani
    at least three lipstick/glosses
    breast pads (still nursing)
    cell phone
    paperclipped package of bills and other stuff i need to deal with
    balance bar
    tiffany card case w/ business cards
    small coach zipper bag that my husband (then boyfriend) got me for our first valentines day (10 years ag0) and i thought was a total waste of 50 bucks – filled with emergency stuff (like Kat)
    2-3 tiny lotions
    gloves (chicago is cold)
    sun glasses
    post its

    and when the kids are around:
    diapers, wipes, extra onsies (7 mo old) and change of clothes (3 year old), snacks, paci, toys

    holy crap i carry a lot of stuff

  16. This is my work bag – I carry a much, MUCH smaller bag when I’m not going somewhere for 8 hours.
    Book (_Where I’m Calling From_ by Raymond Carver)
    ipod + headphones
    ipod charger cable
    hand sanitizer
    1L kleen kanteen
    travel coffee cup
    hand mirror
    deck of cards
    wallet (kisslock coin purse with cards and bills inside)
    makeup bag with MAC pink grapefruit lipglass, roll-on perfume, floss, brush-ups, tampons, mascara)
    day planner
    pens and pencils
    combination lock for the gym
    a bunch of receipts
    a pair of earrings, ring, and a brooch shaped like a mouse.

  17. Sydney Bristow :

    I guess I’m a bit of a minimalist. I switch purses pretty regularly, so everything needs to be easy to transfer. My purse today has:

    -Small metal wallet (technically a cigarette case but I don’t smoke) with $20, my metrocard, license, debit card, and starbucks card in it. Its perfect for putting in my back pocket if I go to a bar or something and don’t want to take my purse.
    -Flat Sephora mirror that came as the packaging for a gift card I received once
    -Iphone in a juice pack battery case
    -Pack of gum

    I have something similar to the “problem case” that I throw in a larger purse if I’m going to work or out for a longer day. It has bandaids, advil, pepto chewables, tampons, hair tie, professional looking hair clip, small perfume spray (which I actually never use so I should probably just remove it), and lip gloss.

  18. Do I win for shortest list of items in purse?:

    Lipstick/gloss of the day

    All the items that are Nice to Have But Not Essential (most of everyone else’s lists) — I used to try to carry, but gave up. Primarily because I switch purses a lot, and it’s easy to switch quickly each morning this way. I used to run into the situation where I’d switch back to an old purse and find six-month-old receipts and foil-wrapped breadsticks (for real) that I’d left in last time I was in a hurry to repack and head out. Or the cell phone would be buried beneath my medicine case, so I’d not see it and forget to switch it over and effectively misplace it. So I just stopped carrying other things and stripped to the essentials. Of course, it’s nice that my job involves sitting on my @ss all day, so I have a lot of personal items in a desk drawer here.

    • We tie for shortest list:

      Clip-on sunglasses

      My goal is to only carry a wristlet, but most are just a touch too small to fit the sunglasses without bending them. For now, I’m content with a 6″ x 7.5″ crossbody.

      Just for laughs, has anyone ever weighed their purse, full? I happen to have a postage scale here: 17 ounces.

      • Maddie Ross :

        I don’t want to weigh my purse. I’m fairly certain it would just depress me. And confirm why I’m developing back problems. I would no longer be able to blame my desk chair.

    • Wallet
      Keys (except when I’m with my bf)

  19. Wow! That is a lot of stuff to carry. But maybe I have a longer commute and want my back to stay fit for years to come.

    Most of the “emergency stuff” listed here I keep in my office (e.g. deodorant, sew kit, etc).

    My purse is for:
    small notebook for notes to self,
    burt’s beeswax chapstick,
    tons of pens and highlighters,
    hat and gloves (chicago winter still),
    New Yorker,
    ipod nano,
    small lotion.

  20. Hm, I’m in need of a new purse, but I’m stalling because I LOVE the 5 separate compartments in my current bag. They make it SO much easier to stay organized.

    Leatherman pocket knife (seriously, am I the only one? It’s so useful!)
    LED flashlight (again, really useful)
    cell phone
    waterproof matches
    Wallet w/ credit cards, cash, checkbook
    Day planner
    pair of “glam” earrings, in case I need to dress up an outfit
    compact mirror
    make-up basics
    blotting papers
    glass nail file
    granola bars

    • I usually carry a Leatherman, too–they are so useful! My only problem is that I forget I have it in my bag and then get caught going through airport security.

    • I have a couple Leatherman (Leathermen?) and I don’t carry them to work after having my keychain pocket knife taken away at security (I work in the legal department of a major airport….). They are great knives, though.

    • Yup, I have an awesome Leatherman but don’t carry it because 1) its really heavy and 2) its going to make some security personnel really mad one of these days.

    • I have misplaced my mini Leatherman, I think in an attempt to avoid having it confiscated by airport security. On the plus side, since it was missing, I didn’t have to hand it over at courthouse security the other day.

  21. Lately, I’ve been thinking about how liberating it might be to not carry a purse…

    If men can do it, then why can’t I? I feel like I’m chained to my purse sometimes… if I’m not lugging it around, I’m reorganizing it/cleaning it out/keeping it off the floor/keeping an eye out to make sure someone can’t snatch it/etc etc. Also, it’s so easy to carry too much around just because it fits in your purse.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love purses as accessories. But for some reason, I happened to notice how not-weighed-down a male coworker looked on his way out the door yesterday.

    Just a thought. :) I’m gonna give it a shot.

    • I recently got my first purse ever (seriously) for my 34th birthday. I used to just carry a wallet/planner thing with a shoulder strap attached and then put my keys in my pocket. Then cell phones became ubiquitous, but luckily by that time I had a baby and my diaper bag could carry whatever. I have a tote I take to work with work papers, cell phone and keys. I recently got a purse because I was sick of trying to find pockets for cell phone, wallet and keys on evenings out with hubby sans diaper bag and work tote.

    • seems more men are carrying manbags or backpacks these days

  22. I think I have you ladies beat. In my purse is my wallet — with an Amex, health insurance card, Visa, drivers’ license, and gym card, a tube of hand cream, the lip-stuff of the day, and one blue pen.

  23. I keep trying to “go smaller,” as my DH bought me two (!) lovely rectangular leather bags in Istanbul, with oriental rug pieces on the front side…almost looks like a picture frame. But hard to do. Right now I have a medium grey HOBO bag …

    gargae door opener in inside pocket
    lg cosmos touch in inside pocket (lives there))
    pen, signo for signing all receipts
    new box for pills (nice, slides open and shut and pic of Asian tidal wave on it …still empty though)
    small leopard zipped case for 3 lipsticks, bottle of tums in a cylinder, small purell)
    pocket sized Day Timer (i know LOVE them) with attached pen..1/2 year calendar)
    wallet – big! Has everything, id, car insurance, credit cards, cash, coins, checkbook and register, everything
    envelope with office depoti and personal deposit for today’s bank run on the way home
    men’s handkerchief
    compact, engraved in it’s velvet case
    wad of keys (both cars, house)
    zipper pouch (dots) … all my Corporate/office stuff : card key in leather case, wad of keys for office [doors, file cabinets, etc], thumb drive, swiss army business card case), smaller fossil case with corporate shopping and credit cards, comb [mens because its small], nail file, small purell … hey I have two in the purse?, and papers for use of the verizon cell phone – I use it so rarely I need directions!

    NOW that I am going to the gym near my house and they have NO LOCKERS there … I pull out the following into a mesh bag: id, insurance card, garage door opener, keys, phone. That goes into a cheap little girl’s pink w/dots messenger bag from target. I keep my wrist brace (darn that 5 years of personal home renoavation work), bottle of purell, hand towel, gym entry lanyard, and that’s it. When I get home, the mesh bag’s contents gets put back into the purse and wallet. At least I change at home before and after and shower at home too. Cheap but effective gym. Snap Fitness.

  24. OH, I don’t have to carry all the personal items everyone else does…I run my own “shop” so I have plenty of places to keep all that stuff, not just confined to a desk drawer or two. Heavy lies the head of state though … and her purse. I also carry a MC briefcase to and fro.

  25. That Sony Bloggie camera looks cool!

    Inside my navy longchamp: personal droid, work blackberry, ipod touch, hat, scarf, gloves, wallet, floating credit cards, birth control pack, keys, chapstick, advil travel pack, pen, various movie tickets and receipts I have yet to throw away!

  26. I don’t submit comments very often, but I’m dying to see how long my list is compared to everyone elses.
    one bandaide
    tiny brush
    one ring and one pair of earrings
    a medicine syringe that I’m throwing away right now
    the sunglasses that I’ve been looking for
    hand lotion
    2 lipsticks
    and a bunch of random papers (bills, to-do items, coupons, etc.)
    Not to terrible.

  27. I change bags everyday and I work freelance. I had been considering one of those purse organizers; but my purse contents look similar to your photo: everything in colored bags for the quick switch. In an ideal world I would use a Coach signature “carryall” sized-bag or urban Fendi satchel for all of this.
    (1)The Basics (a 4colored medium canvas zip case): hand cleanser, nude matte lip gloss, hand lotion, mints/cough drops; Cellphone.
    (2)small red embroidered silk “Medical”bag -headache pills, bandaids, advil, peppermint oil,Olbas inhaler , zicam,low dose aspirin.(one might have guessed from my brand name choices, but my tampon days are long gone)
    (3)Day Timer in a black quilted zip case with pen, To-Do post-its
    (4)2nd-hand Brighton leather Wallet incl metrocard, credit cards, receipts
    Always some sort of reading material for the subway. If I am wearing hose, I carry a spare pair. Starbucks napkins, keys with small flashlight always on a chain attached somewhere on the purse.
    (5) 2nd hand Fendi striped Cosmetic bag; makeup/blush compact for touch ups, lipstick, eye pencils, toilet wipes; some essential oil or perfume vial , tea tree oil toothpicks.
    (6)On certain days I have an office/work bag which has flashsticks, pens, highlighters, tea bags; a few document folders, phone charger. These last two are optional on the weekends. I really enjoyed reading these posts and I feel better about my bags in bags.

  28. busy&happy :

    I have most of the same items that everyone else has listed, and I am a big believer in the ‘bag in a bag’ system (although my ‘problem case’ might be a little more crammed than other commenters’). I also have a separate little bag that I toss in my purse when I’m taking the kids out. (No matter where we go, they always seem to require an extra supply of everything and I got tired of having to restock the problem bag after every field trip.) I use the free makeup bags from Clinique’s bonus days for most of my organizing needs.

    I switch purses on a regular basis depending on my day’s activities but I have found it most effective to just keep each one stocked with a supply of all the things I’ll need like lipgloss, mints, sunglasses, etc. Then I just transfer the things that I can’t duplicate like my wallet, cell phone, metropass and ipod. And because I’m forgetful, I have actually taped a list of the ‘transferrables’ to the inside of my hall closet for easy reference when I’m switching to a different purse or bag.

  29. One of my favorite things to keep on hand is clear mascara. I don’t actually use it on my eye lashes but mostly on those tiny strands on the edge of my hairline that never seem to lie flat. I occasionally use them on my eyebrows too if a few of them just won’t behave.

    I have the kind of teeth that just see to trap food and drive me nuts from time to time, so I usually have floss too. I like to carry a few 3×5 cards for making grocery and to-do lists and a small flashlight too.