Thursday, July 22, 2010

Confess. What's in your purse?

I have a disease. LPS. Large purse syndrome. It's an affinity for massive purses that can double as laptop bags and everyday work bags. But it's also my primary purse. (Please note that this purse is very stylish but still enormous.) When I am forced to take a clutch out for a night on the town, I feel so constricted! There's barely enough room for my phone, a tube of lipstick and a credit card.

The natural consequence of toting such a massive purse is that things go in and they never come out. It's also the cause of me not being able to find my keys floating around in all the debris --I once lost a pair of sunglasses in there for an entire week. It's also becoming heavier and heavier (but imperceptibly so on a day-to-day basis) from the constant accumulation. I'm waiting for my pinched nerve to develop.

The natural benefit is that, if stranded in the wilderness, I could probably survive the longest among other-small-pursed women from the sheer raw materials a la MacGyver.

I thought of this today as my hand blindly searched the cavernous innards of my purse, looking for my pager (yes, amazingly, I still  have to carry one of those), and wondered if my purse (or contents thereof) was just an idiosyncratic collection of me or a sign of my profession (physician), my role in life (MiM) or perhaps my specialty (internal medicine).

So, I took an inventory and found the following (please don't laugh or judge):
  • smartphone
  • pager
  • epi-pen (for me, but not afraid to use it, if necessary, on anyone who needs it.)
  • 5 tubes of lipstick/lipgloss
  • pink emery board that reads "Mad Housewife"
  • a sticker that reads "I voted" in English and Spanish (could this be from the last presidential elections???)
  • remote slide advancer
  • office keys
  • 3 travel-sized body lotions that appear to have been appropriated from 3 different hotels
  • ipod nano
  • flash drive
  • sample of dental products given to me by my dentist at dentist visit 3 months ago, still in bag
  • bead necklace made by 5-yr old daughter that I wore to work one day because I promised her
  • trash*
  • feminine hygiene products
  • tin of Wine Wipes ('wipe that wine off your smile')
  • wallet
  • gum, free-floating and also in a package
  • a rock from the beach vacation
  • small sand dollar, see above
  • toy gold medal from a gymnastics "ceremony"
  • business card holder
  • prescription bottle with 1 lone spare zyrtec
  • a lone nickel
  • 2 individual free-floating "fruit snacks"*
  • 1 cookies and cream candy egg*
  • business card from guy who hit on me in the security line at the airport (politely took it then stuffed it in the bottom of my purse.)*
*removed or consumed during purse inventory process. Okay. I lied. Those fruit snacks are still rolling around in there. Not sure if I have the energy to locate them again.

Okay. Your turn.


  1. I carry a purse as seldom as possible. When I need to carry something, it contains:
    Day planner (haven't graduated to smart phone yet)

    However, at my desk I keep also:
    Feminine hygiene products
    Cortisone Cream
    More Chapstick
    Dental Floss
    Hand Lotion

  2. I actually don't even have a purse. After not having a secure desk/office/locker to store things for the last 5+ years, I feel like having a purse would just result in having a stolen purse. So I keep my wallet, keys, and phone (and ipod as appropriate) in my pocket.

    When I finished residency, I decided it was time to grow up and carry a handbag instead of a backpack, so that's sort of like a purse. But I mainly just put my lunch and pager in it (and some pens (normal pens, not epi-pens)).

  3. Honestly, pretty much the same as yours, just subtract the kid stuff and add student notes and random bits of paper.

    I, too, have LPS. :P

  4. I'm recovering from LPS, so I now carry a smaller, backpack-style purse. Last weekend when we were on vacation I removed the pack of blank inpatient billing cards and stuck it in the glove compartment, leaving

    Bluetooth earpiece and handy-dandy charging case
    Pair of earrings that need to be repaired
    Bracelet that my mother gave me in March that I keep forgetting to put in my jewelry box
    Camera (we were on vacation, don't normally carry it)
    Two "eagle eyes" my daughter made for my birthday
    At least four grocery lists
    Pen/pencil case
    Business cards (mine, two sets, one Hospice Med Director, one Palliative Care Specialty Group)
    Prescription pad

  5. Love this post! I think about how hysterical my purse contents are all the time. Here goes:
    - ticket stubs from ferry ride to last vacation
    - diaper (actually had no idea it was in there)
    - earphones
    - emergency bubble gum to bribe/appease oldest child
    - 2 pairs sunglasses
    - wallet
    - "my kind" of gum to appease myself ;-)
    - keys
    - iPhone
    - chapstick
    - broken plastic necklace
    - hair elastic
    - ibuprofen
    - two pens
    - stray nickel (must be a trend here)
    - lone child's sock with dinosaur design
    - stack of napkins
    - paintbrush (???i have no idea why/how/when)
    - comb

    After inventory taken, all items placed back in bag (including sock).


  6. I bought my large purse seven years ago to double as a diaper bag. Still cannot get rid of it, even though kids have been out of diapers for a while now. Love to be able to drop in journals, recent small purchases, shaving cream I accidentally carried in to work with my work grocery supplies, large novel to take to pedicure place, etc. It is so handy!

    Yes, things get lost. Internal pockets are broken and missing. There are some stains. Lots of dental floss samples. Old barrettes. Broken earring parts. Gum that lost its wrapper. But it is still functional, I clean it out on a semi-regular basis, and sometimes I forego the night time fancy stylish clutch because I too feel so constricted and invariably end up having to keep up with keys and smartphone all night (which never quite fit into the fancy stylish clutch).

    I love having random kid toys at my disposal. I once helped entertain a two year old on a flight with random kid toys in my purse (to the relief of the mom - and I delightedly unloaded a couple of them).

    I think this post just convinced me I need to get a new large purse. I might go shopping when I am off next week. LPS victims - unite!

    Speaking of pack rat behavior - you should see my food drawer at work. Everyone in the lab says if there is a natural disaster we would be able to live off of its contents for weeks.

  7. I also carry a large purse, in our home it is called "The Satchel". When Stubble was younger, it carried:
    juice box
    tub of cheerios
    granola bar
    transformer (usually Polar Claw)
    box of wipes
    my wallet
    check book
    cell phone
    husband's wallet
    emergency inhaler
    ziplock of meds (ibuprofen, immodium, sudafed, actifed, childrens chewable tylenol,etc.)
    handfulls of loose change
    change of clothes for Stubble (after a memorable incident in which he fell into the harbor and had to wear my jacket all day)
    spare prescription glasses
    bandaids (only flexible fabric, please)
    sunblock (both adult and child)

    Now that he is grown it carries:
    My wallet
    mini laptop
    zip lock of meds (minus children's tylenol)
    granola bar
    emergency inhaler
    spare glasses
    digital camera
    bandaids (flexible fabric only)
    note pad for when I get great ideas and can't get the laptop out

    I probably need some kind of smart phone....nah, then the purse wouldn't weigh so much

  8. Last year I left work LATE one Friday, got to parking lot, no car keys. Returned and searched office,dumped contents of entire purse, no car keys. Assumed maybe they were locked in car, but couldn't see them through the dark window of the locked car. Took combination of hike/bus home, and returned to car via 4 mile hike with a spare set. No keys in car. Several MONTHS later, felt something hard at the bottom of the purse. The keys had slid through a hole in the lining and were caught in a dark small corner. Moral of story - get rid of large purse when lining starts to fray.

  9. I carry a small bag but it seems to fit a lot!
    2 Epi Pen jr
    1 dose children's benadryl
    small container of motrin (the grown up variety)
    albuterol inhaler
    a pair of contacts (disposables)
    1 purple butterfly hair clip with sparkles
    small foldable brush
    small container of floss from the dentist
    nail clippers
    Iron Man figurine
    Pack of diaper wipes for messy faces
    1 orange crayon

  10. Love reading these!
    oldmdgirl- jealous of your mini-mart/first aid station at your desk.

    fizzy- yes, that counts as your purse. anticipate it growing in content with time after residency.

    the girl- random bits of paper = my "trash" =)

    jay- I totally forgot to add a pair of earrings to my list (the ones that bother me part into the day that I must remove immediately)

    urbana- very much relate to your list, especially feeling surprised to see certain items hiding in there. the diaper, though, is awesome.

    giz- I've used a maxi pad to entertain toddlers during desperate times. I also appreciate being able to transport files from work home/journals etc! have fun shopping!

    christie- love "the satchel." Impressed you carry a digital camera with you - my smartphone takes pictures but quality leaves a lot to be desired.

    dr nana- good advice. that sounds like something that would totally happen to me. Am always happy to find a new excuse to buy a lovely new large purse.

    quinn- your purse would give me a run for my money on Survivor, Purse!

  11. First had the BIG black diaper bag, then when just one kid was in diapers went to the slightly smaller but still big bag that was a "red purse" doubling as diaper bag. And now no diapers, but kept that less big but still big bag as my non-work/weekend bag! It's one of those seatbelt bags though, so it just will not wear out! No tears rips or missing parts! Not trying to advertise, just telling it like it is.

    Okay, glad I saw at least one person with sun block (both leaking and intact, of course) in your bags.

    Crayons, mini-markers, and sketch pads, lots of them. Random spoon.

    One question, for those of you with male partners, will he carry it??? That's what makes it still a diaper bag even when the diapers are long gone, right?

  12. I wanna see pictures!

  13. I'm with Fizzy - try to carry as little as possible as in new location security leaves a bit to be desired; that said, like OldMDGirl, I have a stash of items in my desk (pretty much everything she's got, except the Neosporin!).

    I did lug around a "carry-all" in the past - and I did carry ALL in it; once weighed it at >18 lbs...given move to new location, decided it was too much and pared down to my present life-style. It's easier to run through the rain now!

  14. T- mine is definitely not a diaper bag. That bag is separate with its whole list of debris inside (actually, probably some overlap), husband would never carry a murse but gladly dons the unisex Lands End diaper bag. (what's a seatbelt bag?)

    anon- there you go! Will spare you from interior pics.

    artemis- wow >18 lbs!!! That bag could double as a weapon to would-be muggers. Maybe one day I'll pare down too but not ready to give up the large purse just yet.

  15. A lot of the same things. And here I thought I was doing good to get rid of the diaper pins. Later on emergency inhaler (kid's), school notes, hair elastics (also kid's) which all got left out when kid grew up and left home. My younger daughter used to laugh at my big purse used to make fun of my big purse and all that was in there. Now she has a 4 year old and 1 year old and SHE has the big purse with all the random stuff in it--hah!

  16. Forgot to say, I WANT to carry an epi pen for emergency use and hope to never need it, gotta get that.

    Find seat belt bag pic/description at: and again, really not trying to advertise, no relation to harvey, do love this bag, didn't know how to upload a picture in my comment, and KC asked...

  17. There's a neurologist in my town who always has her dog in her purse.

  18. I just use a nylon drawstring bag for my purse. It has all the usual suspects: keys, coin purse, card wallet, clicker for underground parking, misc papers/receipts. I do clean it out on a somewhat regualar basis because I don't want to carry around the extra weight.


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