Is that a purse or an overnight bag?

At the outset, I’d like to clarify that I am not a woman and I have no expertise as to what a woman should or should not keep in their purse. That being said, is it necessary for women to lug around a “purse” that almost needs to be checked in when flying? As long as I’ve been with my wife she has always managed to survive with very tiny purses. Do other women just have that much stuff that they need on them at a moment’s notice? Now I’m not talking about backpacks or computer bags. Those are in a completely different category. I’m referring to purses. The purse may be as large as a backpack, but it is nothing more than a giant purse.

I would think that one could get by with a purse that is smaller than one’s own head, but the bags that I sometimes see could easily fit a couple heads and maybe even an infant. If you’re walking around with a purse that holds tons of stuff, you are most likely carrying around clutter that you probably can do without on a daily basis. Trim down on the clutter that you think you need with you at all times and you could definitely trim down on the purse size. You may surprise yourself and realize that you can carry everything you need in a sleek little clutch.

107 Comments for “Is that a purse or an overnight bag?”

  1. posted by jmanna on

    Okay, I had to stew on this one a while to compose my thoughts. There is a lot of outrage in the comments above. And it is justified.

    Here is why:
    The author made a judgement based on gender. If the post had been all encompassing, perhaps about all the flotsum and jetsam that we cram into purses AND backpacks and laptop bags there wouldn’t have been such a strong reaction. I will assume the intent was innocent but when other items (backpacks and laptop bags) were elliminated the author made it specifically about gender.

    Second, the author did not actually offer any solutions because I don’t think he fully understood the sitution. This could have been remedied by speaking to some of the woman around him. Organization is not about having the least amount of things. It is about having the right number of things, at the right time, stored in the right way. Clutter is defined to me as useless items. By the posts above I can see that many many of the readers do not feel purses are useless.

    The author focused on a gender without understanding the situation and therefor failed to offer a soltuion.

    I do not think the author is a bad person. But even good people are wrong sometimes.

  2. posted by iryne on

    Dear Matt, i’m a uni student. When i go out shopping i wear a handbag, and for my lectures a slingbag.

    What’s inside my slingbag:

    -wallet
    -calculator
    -books
    -handphone
    -water bottle
    -tissue

    For my handbag, replace the books, calculator and water bottle with a lipbalm. Tell me, how are you going to fit all those things into a purse? It’s just more convinient to stash everything into one container than in your jeans backpockets.

    Lastly, most women i know don’t carry purses/handbags that large. And even if they are, is it any of your business?

  3. posted by Zig on

    I second jmanna and go on to point out that the tone of this post is incredibly patronizing. No wonder there was a reaction, it felt like a little pat on the head. Sheesh.

  4. posted by Liv on

    Add me to the carless city-dwellers who spend most of the day away from the home.

    I’m always trying to carry as little as possible, but no small purse, would carry what I need in a day.

    I carry around my everyday purse, plus a combination of totes and grocery bags. That’s cumbersome and is driving me crazy.

    I’d actually love to hear people’s suggestions for big-enough purses and bags! Both the small purses that they put in their bigger bags, as well as the bigger bags/totes, that they carry.

  5. posted by laninamichaela on

    Yes, carrying a big bag is eco friendly, as when we do shop we refuse plastic bags. having a big bag is equal to a big heart

  6. posted by Mags on

    Hey Liv,

    I can’t help with a specific bag: my current day bag is ‘last season’. I can suggest my rules for a day bag though…

    It needs to be tall and wide enough to take A4 folders in landscape orientation. That’s standard work files, and also the typical size of a laptop.

    It needs to be deep enough to take a folder plus the various bits (purse, folding brolly or sunglasses, keys, A6 sized diary, pens – you’ll have your own list of essential stuff).

    It needs either an overflap or a zip – i.e. it must do up so things are secure. Whenever I see someone on public transport with their bag hanging open, I get the urge to nick their purse then give it back so they realise how risky an open bag is.

    It needs an inner, zipped pocket for valuables (my work ID and swipe).

    It needs one or ideally two slots inside for my mobiles (work and personal).

    It needs one or two outside pockets for quick access stuff (my oyster swipe card for the Tube as you *don’t* want to be rummaging for it in rush hour, a fan in summer, a compact mirror).

    I prefer handles to a shoulder strap, as I’ve a damaged upper spine: carrying a bag on my shoulder increases the risk of trapping a nerve again. So I go for slightly padded handles long enough to hook over my forearm (and I try to resist hooking it onto my shoulder).

    Oh, and it should look stylish! I want to be able to swing it as I walk down the street!

    I have my eye on a rather nice red leather one from Filofax but I’ve not checked it out in person yet so I don’t know if it will really be right.

  7. posted by Kate on

    I really wish Matt would post a response to some of our comments and/or clarify a few details (for example, does his wife have a car in which to stash things? Does she carry her own lunch? Does she have a medical condition which requires her to carry any medication?) This post left a really bad taste in my mouth and seeing it show up under the popular articles section on the homepage just reminded me. So Matt—you were ignorant, and now have bee thoroughly educated. Any comments for the 100+ readers you pissed off?

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