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what’s in my bag?

I love the “What’s in My Bag?” page in Us Weekly, because it’s always such a shameless, manufactured attempt at product placement, and a totally homogenized version of what purse contents actually look like. According to Us Weekly, the only thing starlets carry in their bags are whole bottles of perfume and LV planners.

A couple months ago, I caught a glimpse of the inside of my friend Michelle’s bag, and was immediately inspired to write a post about what a real woman’s bag looks like. To look at Michelle from the outside, you’d think she was a put-together, vivacious, beautiful mom of three. But if you caught a glimpse of the inside of her handbag, you might think the bag belonged to the Unibomber. I suspect most of our bags look like Michelle’s. If yours doesn’t and you’re jealous, here’s a tip: for the perfect mess, it helps if the bag is completely without structure and has no compartments or pockets, like my Clare Vivier, above. Then everything can just tumble around together in one horrific, roiling mix.

Below: the true, unedited contents of my bag, and a handy key, as of April 26, 2012.

1. Wallet filled with carefully clipped coupons, all expired.

2. Target gift card, received by Finn at his 5th birthday party (12/17/11). Stolen from Finn (12/18/11).

3. Kleenex, never there when you need it.

4. Cleaning cloth for sunglasses, covered in dirt and particulates from rolling around the inside of my bag. Dwight Holton button, because Dwight’s the man. The button pricks me every time I reach into my purse, but I don’t blame Dwight. Don’t forget to vote.

5. Burt’s Bees original lip balm. I have 37 of these stashed in various places.

6. Lego keychain. Rather cruel, turns out. Tate has spent about three tortured hours trying to get the storm trooper (clone trooper?) off the keys, to little avail.

7. Halls wrapper. Why throw wrappers away when you can keep them for always?

8. Lens Crafters protection plan for Finn’s glasses. The best $29.99 I’ve ever spent, because he’s already broken them four times. Why I keep the hard copy in my purse is another question.

9. Mystery item.

10. Part of Heath wrapper. Suspect I ate the rest of the wrapper.

11. Emergency food, for emergencies. Like 4:00.

12. Price tag from new sunglasses, which, as far as Tom knows, are old sunglasses.

13. Friend Amara’s recipe for s’mores bars served during the Super Bowl. In February.

14. Large post-it pad, with Tate doodle. Effective at keeping a child diverted, for exactly three seconds.

15. Highlighters in five colors. Because having just the yellow one is for amateurs.

16. Emergency tampon encased in cardboard packaging that I have no clue how to infiltrate. But don’t worry, I work best under pressure.

17. Tape flags, for flagging stuff.

18. Grand Central coffee card. Only 7 more cups to go until I get my free $1.25 cup of coffee.

19. Rubber finger, for flipping stuff.

20. $5.80 Forever 21 bracelet, for power lunches.

Phew. No decaying banana peel or wet boy socks. A pretty organized day, all told.

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45 Comments Post a comment
  1. emilymv #

    I love your blog! So funny and true! I’ve only just discovered it so I’m catching up with past posts while I’m bored at work (so, quite often!). Thanks for making my day more interesting!

    October 18, 2012
  2. Rachel #

    Reminds me of that lame game they play at baby showers. Someone reads a list of crap and ladies compete for who has the most of each item. I’m not a mom so I never win but I love watching the ladies pull ham sandwiches and onesies out of their purses. Thanks for the peek!

    May 2, 2012
    • oh i’ve never played that game. it sounds almost as good as the one where you make wedding dresses out of TP

      May 7, 2012
  3. Reblogged this on Emma's Daily Thought and commented:
    This made me chuckle, I keep no end of rubbish in my bag and only empty it when it refuses to close in a satisfactory way. Those days are pretty fun.

    May 1, 2012
    • i’ve never had a bag so full it couldn’t close! i have a new goal.

      May 7, 2012
  4. I am definitely doing this. But I just did a purge over the weekend, so I fear it won’t be as honest. I may wait a couple weeks to let the honesty build back up.

    April 30, 2012
    • you should write about what drove you to the purge. better build up.

      April 30, 2012
      • Better build up…if I can spin it the right way.
        It’s cheating to put weird things in your purse, just so you can take them out again and write about them, right?

        April 30, 2012
  5. hallerwoman #

    Boo! My comment never posted… Love this! My contents are always heavy on the pens and receipts. I’m impressed at the lack of receipts/paper clutter. That and that you eat Heath bar wrappers.

    April 29, 2012
    • receipts. the silent killer. i will eat anything that stands between me and a chocolate bar.

      April 30, 2012
  6. Awesome- I’d be a little concerned that dumping my purse would be cause for a health department investigation. I try to never reach the bottom- lol

    April 28, 2012
    • it’s all good until your hand touches something gross.

      April 30, 2012
  7. LOL, well the emergency food supply would be for me; my 22 and 20 year old kids can fend for themselves now. I was totally going to copy this idea, and then realized I would have to write a Faulkner-esque novel to cover the entire contents of my 20 lb purse. I once was found to have a pocket knife inside a cosmetic bag (which I do not actually use for cosmetics as I don’t wear anything other than chapstick, which I also have dozens of laying around everywhere, along with reading glasses cuz I’m old and while my contacts work for long distance, I can’t read to save my life without them… and boy did that become a run-on sentence I haven’t even finished) inside my purse, which I had to throw away because I was going through airport security and they just wouldn’t let me take it on the plane. Thanks for the laugh. Hope this means you’ve come up for air again. :>

    April 27, 2012
    • the work schedule has provided a real opportunity for me to figure out which blog posts are time sucks. that one took like 45 minutes. it appears from the comments to this post are that we are unified by the phenomenon where something gets into our bag without our knowledge. purse elves?

      April 30, 2012
      • Purse elves… alternate personalities… children… poltergeists… take your pick!

        April 30, 2012
  8. Michele #

    Can we have a contest for guesses on #9? I’m thinking collar stay?

    April 27, 2012
    • Michele! It’s a mystery to me as well. It’s green. And it’s made of wood. It appears to be a tiny popsicle stick. But no popsicle that tiny would be worth the trouble. How did this get in my purse?

      April 27, 2012
  9. chortle! why is it that we can own dozens of sticks of lip balm and there’s never one to be found when needed?

    and what do you do with receipts? my bag is 99% receipts…

    April 27, 2012
    • oh receipts. i keep them, forever. even the grocery receipts that are three feet long. because everyone regularly returns groceries. i usually have tons of them but must have recently purged.

      April 27, 2012
  10. ArtfulMommy #

    Reblogged this on Artful Mommy's Blog and commented:
    I love this!!!! Now I wanna Ser what’s in my bag:)

    April 27, 2012
  11. Kim #

    I was once prevented from entering the Multnomah County Courthouse because unbeknownst to me, I had six pairs of tiny scissors in my purse. I was unwilling to just give them up, and for some reason this was enough to make the guards suspicious of my intentions. I think they were afraid I was going to walk around the building trimming judges’ toenails or something.

    April 27, 2012
    • i feel bad for your ordeal, kim. but can i just say how reassured i am that the MCCC security scanner actually caught something?

      April 27, 2012
  12. Love this! I am constantly wondering why my bag is 60 pounds. I was rifling through it yesterday, unable to find my wallet — but did find: a packet of new AAA batteries, a book on writing I haven’t cracked in months, a notebook I haven’t written in for months, assorted Lego-head caps and hot wheels cars, 6 new sharpies, an empty altoids tin, a dried up lip gloss, and a mess of quarters (from a roll that busted open weeks ago). I aspire to relative orderliness of your Clare Vivier.

    April 27, 2012
    • BATTERIES. that’s hardcore. and you forgot to mention that gallon-sized plastic bag full of toys for alonzo. good mommy.

      April 27, 2012
  13. Kristin Corcoran #

    Yoona! You have outdone yourself on this one!! LOVE IT!! Reality at it’s best! And yes, real purses look like this!!LOL LOL LOL

    April 27, 2012
    • reality at its best would be my closet, and my car. this could be the first of a three part series. thanks kristin!

      April 27, 2012
  14. Courtney #

    I think that with this column you have established yourself as the William Faulkner of the lady-oriented blog-o-sphere. Well done, my friend. I got a kick out of this. Glad to know I’m not the only mom who robs her kids of gift cards. And who keeps trash forever. On that point, I was particularly impressed by how hygienic the interior of your purse is compared to mine. I have bizarre balls of dust/garbage/fuzz/hair rolling around in my handbags.

    April 27, 2012
    • thank you. and faulkner is rolling over in his grave.

      i feed and clothe them. their gift cards are small recompense.

      April 27, 2012
  15. I love this! My mom used to carry two suitcase-sized purses in the car and transfer stuff from one to the other as needed. Mostly it was stuff like Taco Bell hot sauce containers.

    April 27, 2012
    • are you saying the problem might be hereditary? i like that. at least tate’s out of diapers. the diaper caddy added a whole new level of lameness to my purse

      April 27, 2012
  16. Min #

    Only attorneys carry that many highlighters and tape flags. But not every attorney has a rubber finger. I’m duly impressed.

    April 27, 2012
    • min, thank you for noticing how great a lawyer i am.

      April 27, 2012
  17. This makes me want to post about my purse. You could start a collection.

    April 27, 2012
    • i owe us weekly and michelle for the inspiration

      April 27, 2012
      • I was truly thinking about this the other day, so a similar post might make an appearance sometime soon. It’s amazing what ends up inside a bag.

        April 27, 2012
  18. awesome!! My purse has about 20 more tubes of lip balm and about 7 more pens. Otherwise it seems about the same.

    April 27, 2012
    • the lip balm! i used to have the little burts bees tin that would fit in the coin part of my wallet. but i can’t find them anymore. the tubes are just impossible to find. and the pens. i tried to stop with the pens after a cap fell off and stained one of my favorite bags…

      April 27, 2012
      • none of my pens have caps, they are all the retractable kind, because I get a bit ocd about ink stains, I too ruined a bag that way. I also neglected to mention the obligatory cough drop, although mine has stayed in its little package.

        April 27, 2012
  19. Kinda feel like I just looked into your soul. I am maybe most impressed of your professional highlighter collection, that is pretty solid. Definitely a storm trooper, and funniest part for me was keeping a wrapper for always. Great post. As you did with Tom, I shared your blog with my wife this week. She thought the Ikea post was absolute gold and she will love this.

    April 27, 2012
    • it’s like, heart of darkness. my car is even more a reflection of my soul but no one needs to be subjected to that. or do they?

      April 27, 2012
    • also how do you know it’s a storm trooper. i’m serious, i want to know

      April 27, 2012
  20. Emergency food supply – very important! lol

    April 27, 2012

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  1. what’s in my bag, tate edition | yoonanimous

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