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I’ve got it — all — in the bag

My new purse -- plenty of room for every last thing I lug around.

Like a lot of women, I like a snazzy handbag, and recently purchased one. It’s terrific — roomy, with lots of pockets and nooks so I stay organized; the right length handle so I can sling it over my shoulder; a fun color to combat the winter blues.

I know women who carry bags the size of a credit card — just big enough for a little mad money and a lipstick. Honestly, I don’t know how they do it. I need space, and compartments.

Moving in to the new bag was a lot of fun.

Am I the only one here who gets great satisfaction out of outfitting a new purse? Everything in its place, easy to find, neatly arranged. For a day or two anyway.

Of course, moving in means first moving out of the old bag. This is not as much fun, but always illuminating. You never know what you might find.

When I commuted into New York for work, I was regularly entertained by women cleaning out their bags — unpaid bills, receipts, gum wrappers, you name it, pulled out and tossed aside.

My recent move involved transferring seven lip glosses; a nail file; hand cream; small mirror; Tylenol, cough drops and other “just-in-case” over the counter remedies; a wallet fat with plastic, receipts and little else; business cards; my BlackBerry; pictures; random notes, business cards and phone numbers.

Also making the move:

  • A fistful of spare change.
  • Keys — to the house, work, my car, Basil’s car, my parents’ house, my mother-in-law’s house, the PO box. …
  • Shopping cards: ShopRite, Food Emporium, Stop n Shop, Coco Nails, Barnes & Noble, AARP (on account of Basil, who is a decade older than I. I get the trailing spouse perk). Library card.
  • iPod. Notepad, pens, a pencil.
  • My old eyeglasses — in case I have to look at something up close.
  • A ton of coupons — Bed, Bath and Beyond; Victoria’s Secret; Barnes & Noble; Macy’s; Lord & Taylor. Several expired, of course.
  • A recent church bulletin
  • Directions to a variety of places
  • A granola bar
  • A zippered sandwich bag full of tea bags
  • Phone charger

Out of curiosity and because I noticed myself listing to the left lately, I weighed the whole mess: 6 pounds!

I’m not the only one who schleps the entire house. Recently, I asked my friends what was in their purses right that very minute. Here’s what a few of them had to say:


  • checkbook
  • calendar
  • many credit cards, membership cards in small purse
  • wallet with no cash and few well used credit cards
  • license
  • health card
  • blood center card
  • AAA card
  • small sewing kit (needle, thread, pins, extra buttons)
  • gum
  • few receipts
  • few coupons
  • pain/allergy meds
  • pens
  • keys
  • phone
  • lipstick
  • small picture holder with outdated pictures
  • Often but not always—inhaler, paperclips, glasses


  • wallet
  • keys
  • business cards
  • reading glasses
  • sun glasses
  • pen
  • sudoku book
  • pencil with eraser
  • brush
  • make-up
  • eye drops
  • eye cream
  • BlackBerry


Not much going on here lately…
Had time to clean it out. Before I cleaned it there was a lego race car and for some strange reason, a Rubiks cube in there….

Mary Beth:

  •  Wallet with $40 cash (a lot for me), credit cards, driver’s license, coupons and expired health insurance cards going back almost 10 years. Plus frequent buyer cards for scrapbook store I haven’t been to since 2005, Supercuts and the teen clothing store Buckle, which has closed.
  • Makeup bag with no makeup. It has tampons, Chapstick, nail clipper, safety pin, nail file.
  • cell phone keys
  • Sweater and pair of white athletic socks (I’m always cold – yes, even in AZ – it’s way overairconditioned).
  • address book
  • sunglasses
  • grocery store receipts from last two weeks
  • assorted grocery lists, Target lists, receipts
  • program from Katie’s last band concert
  • various sets of Mapquest directions for locations in San Diego


Okay…I have Tucks….(need I say more) business cards, , datebook…empty pill bottle to remind me that I need to refill prescription but have not….six lipglosses in a variety of shades…three pairs of earrings…the Cartier watch I recently discovered under the front seat of my car after it went missing for months, a Pez dispenser (from the kids) a short story my kid wrote that I intend to read….a rough draft of my resume…my wallet..stuffed with receipts I need to log for business expenses…120 dolllars….a bill that needs to be mailed…three pens….a bottle of nail polish (I brought it to the nail salon, but changed my mind and used one of their colors) ….receipts for dry cleaning and consignment shop…Altoids, floss….a travel size bottle of hair conditioner…cookie and goldfish crumbs. I also have a plastic spoon…because you never know when you need one.

What’s beside your wallet?

About Terri S. Vanech

Wife, mother, communications specialist, Jazzercise instructor and recently reunited adoptee. I'm living out loud -- and trying to make it all work -- in midlife. Having a sense of humor sure helps.


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