About 15 years ago I heard Louise Plummer speak at a Relief Society even where she challanged us to write about our lives.  She offered several prompts for daily writing, and among them was to open your fridge or your purse and list exactly when you find there in your daily journal.  I went home that night and wrote a journal entry about what I found under my couch, and to this day it’s one of my favorites (I had little kids at the time and found food, toys, a pacifier, etc–such a sweet slice of memory now that my kids are taller than I am!).

So today, I bring you the contents of my purse, and challenge you to list yours, too (or those of your fridge or what you find in the couch cushions or some other place that gathers stuff).  When you find this entry ten years from now, it’s sure to evoke strong memories of this period of your life.

I found:

  • My name badge/keycard from work, on a retractable clip
  • an iPad & iPhone charger
  • wallet
  • checkbook
  • conference namebadge from an event this past weekend, and some schwag from the event
  • a pile of my own business cards that I’d been passing along at said conference, and a small stack of cards that I collected from other people (including the business cards of some people that I’ve recently dated)
  • 3 used kleenexes (ugh)
  • a pen from watch.tv (from a conference last month)
  • a plain black rollerball pen (from work)
  • one tube of ELF pink lipgloss
  • My car and house keys (though, sans my car remote because my car’s in the shop today), with a USB memory stick from a conference that I sponsored in January
  • my toiletry bag that contains: 2 thin maxipads, 12 OB tampons, and 2 condoms
  • a necklace–coincidentally it’s one that was given to me by fellow Exponent blogger G
  • a spare valve for my artificial leg
  • the envelope from a hotel key, from a recent jaunt to Fairfax, VA
  • a few crumpled receipts, including one from my prosthetist for the new skin I received yesterday, one from the Bollywood Bistro, from Chapman Coffee, and from the gym where I went rock climbing yesterday.
  • one quarter, 2003
  • my iPhone was also in my purse, but I had to use it to take the picture above, so it’s not in the photo itself  🙂

This list says a LOT about me and where I’m at right now, where work and conference travel eclipse most of my daily life. It also says a lot about the way I plan for emergencies (tampons! leg valve! iPhone charger!).

So please share, what are you carrying in your purse today and what does it tell us about your lifestyle?


Jana is a university administrator and teaches History. Her soloblog is http://janaremy.com

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13 Responses

  1. G says:

    oh…! honored to be *in* your purse!

    And I’m really excited to try out this exercise. I love unscripted glimpses like this into life: I need to do that more often.

  2. Now let’s extrapolate about what type of woman you are based on your purse contents a-la last general conference. 😉

  3. Two of Three says:

    Couldn’t resist. Ran for my purse and spilled the contents on my bed. Usual suspects- phone, wallet for cards, checkbook, and chapstick. Also Harkins “Summer Movie Fun” tickets to relieve some of the “Mom, I’m bored” that I will get this summer, camera b/c my oldest got her license today and had to have a picture outside the DMV, and a JCPenny coupon that I want to use when my middle daughter has time to look for a bathing suit. And I can never find a stinkin’ pen in my entire house. Why? They are all in my purse!! My purse says “messy mom”. Thanks, this was fun!

  4. Sijbrich says:

    Er, so what does it mean if I don’t carry a purse?:-) Just a wallet.

  5. Amelia says:

    These days my purse is tiny: a wristlet that’s just big enough for my wallet, my cell phone, three or four OB tampons, a couple panty-liners, Burt’s Bees chapstick, and a coupon/receipt or two. Right now I also have a pair of earplugs (used on my recent red-eye flight to NYC) and a lip gloss.

    Now my briefcase–that would give you a much more complete picture. And it’s why I carry such a tiny purse. I’m not willing to carry both a purse and briefcase, so the wristlet rides around empty in my car so I can use it when i’m running errands and don’t want to heft the briefcase in and out with me.

  6. Heather P. says:

    Wallet, checkbook, a (hardly used, completely forgotten) 2009-2010 two-year planner, an unused notepad, four pens (two that I got at a conference — one from my alma mater and one from a library cooperative, one from a local radio variety show that says “Don’t feel bad about taking our pen. We have several of yours,” and one Pilot G2), work id/badge on a carabiner, hand sanitizer, a couple loose pennies, six bobby pins, lip ointment, lipstick (surprised to see that, since I don’t wear it often), a bottle of antiseptic liquid (right now I have a skinned knee and a scraped palm), a single-dose packet of over-the-counter painkiller, three tampons, a metal case with my business cards, a flash drive, a single-serving packet of fruit leather, and a printout of the agenda and the confirmation of registration for a conference on Monday. (My purse normally would be messier. I cleaned out receipts and trash a couple days ago. Oh, and my cell phone and mp3 player and mobile device are all currently plugged in and charging and so not in the purse.)

  7. Thomas Parkin says:

    Hurrah Zotero

  8. Pat says:

    A little bit too much information for me.

  9. EmilyCC says:

    Ok, I didn’t think this activity would be quite as earth shattering for me, but it was (hence it took me a couple days to post the contents of my purse–um, diaper bag in this case) because SO little of what I carry is just for me.

    Mine: wallet, phone, Burt’s Bees chapstick, spearmint gum, Tums, kirkland nut clusters, 1 fruit leather, coconut lotion, rewards cards/gift cards/etc.
    Children: 2 diapers, wipes, underwear and shorts (for the 4 year old’s accidents), plastic bag for soiled clothes, baby socks, baby change of outfit, hooter hider, baby food, baby spoon, plastic play animals, bakugan, 2 fruit snacks, small bottle of water, silly bandz, hand sanitizer, epi pen, benadryl (oral), benadryl (cream), bandaids, lovie, pacifier, pacifier wipes, aquaphor, kid sunblock (stick and lotion)

    Phase of life I suppose. But, I’m glad to have done this activity. I didn’t think it would be as revealing (or my emotions as strong) as it was.

    • Jana says:

      thanks for playing along, Emily. I think it does reveal a lot about us to see what ‘baggage’ we’re carrying along everywhere we go…

  10. Janna says:

    Right now: a box of cookies (Yep, an entire box! As a New Yorker, I have a bad habit of carrying around my grocery items in my pocketbook and not putting them in my cupboard!), Nano, wallet, Metrocard, subway map, iPhone, keys, tons of movie stubs.

  11. Kelly Ann says:

    (Too much stuff …)

    Body of purse: Prescription glasses and sunglasses (which I am becoming more reliant upon in the past year); new droid; Wallet (which is actually a clutch purse that I sometimes take out and use independently) which has
    license, credit and debit cards, medical cards, triple A, and costco card, a check i need to deposit, some receipts i need to submit for reimbursement, some cash including an emergency $20 in a zipped pocket; check-book (which i usually don’t carry but put in yesterday to pay a friend and just took out); comb; stack of post-its which i use for to do lists; and random receipts for restaurants, grocery store, candy shop, gas, deposit slips as well as the new price list for my chiropractor (which i also just took out)

    At Bottom of purse: Second wallet with stamps, stack of my business cards, other people’s business cards, and five old BART cards with about 70 cents each, gift cards to student massage clinic, and random membership cards (i.e. california academy of sciences, grocery stores i go to infrequently, or airlines); small coin purse with change, safety pins, hair clip, hair tye, and double AA batteries (backup for camera); two sanitary pads; two slightly smashed granola bars that i keep for emergencies (i.e. i can get quite cranky if my blood sugar crashes); and two pens

    Open inside side pocket – other key ring (car and house are usually in my pocket) which include parent’s house, grandmother’s house, post-office box, church key, and keys that may no longer be any good; old cell phone (which I carry because it has numbers I haven’t transported onto my new phone yet and which I sometimes use as a second alarm); free earphones from a flight; a chocolate; chapstick; and two hair tyes

    small zipped inside side pocket: memory cards for my camera, usb drive , and two copies of keys to my front door that i made for new roommates (and which i just took out). this is also where i try to keep the small rubberband hair tyes currently scattered throughout my purse as i otherwise loose them

    Front pocket – snap and shoot camera (which I have always carried, but probably should stop given I now have a smart-phone); grocery receipts, coupons i didn’t use, and change that hasn’t made it into my change purse yet; another chapstick and a hair tye

    Note = I organized it slightly different than above as I went through it and took all the receipts out (which I do once a month and then put in a shoe box)

    Finally, it is a small purple purse with a cross-over strap so definitely has stuffed purse syndrome … It says a lot about me but I am not going to analyze it.

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