Declutter That Purse!! Save Your Back!!

Northeast, AR(Zone 7a)

I've heard that the average woman carries a 15 lb purse. How much does yours weigh? Did you know that a lot of back pain comes from carrying the extra weight of your purse?

Now me, I'm not a girly girly. In fact, I HATE carrying a purse; it's like dragging a toddler around all day--you can't let go of it or all hell breaks loose. Right?

When I shop or go out to eat, most likely I have only money in my pocket and no purse. I have a terrible habit of leaving my purse on the back of a bathroom door, on the back of a chair, under a table, in a shopping cart, etc if I carry one. Then I get home and later need to write a check. WHERE's my purse??? Where have I left it this time??

I carry the smallest purse I can get away with. I just weighed it and it's 3 lbs 5 oz--loaded. Now that still feels heavy to me. I can't imagine carrying around a 15 lb purse! What all do y'all put in there?? I have 4 checkbooks, 3 pens, a bottle of Aleve, some feminine products, breath mints, a cell phone, business cards, a mini phone book, coupons, a note pad, ear plugs, lipstick, nail file, and not much else. What else does a gal need?

A friend carries a huge bag--more like a tote you'd take to the beach with you to hold a book, sunscreen, beach towel, a foldaway chair, bottled water, etc. LOL I asked what all she had in there. "A little of everything." Why?? "Because you never know when someone else might need something." Guess I'm selfish. I carry in MY purse only what I need; you guys can carry in your purses whatever YOU need. I have enough weighing in on my back without adding another 15 lbs.

Maybe it's time to take inventory of what you have in your purse. Do you use it all frequently? Can you find what you're looking for when you need it? Does your back hurt all the time? Maybe it's time to declutter that purse and even downgrade to a smaller bag. Your back will thank you for it. If you continue to carry a heavy bag, don't ask me to hold it for you when we go shopping. I travel light and you're on your own. LOL


Dover AFB, DE(Zone 7a)

hmm, off to weigh my purse. It is one of those huge ones that I keep pretty empty so that I can use it for shopping. (Here, we have a lot of "one product shops" ie a pork butcher, noodle shop, a sausage maker, a dried salt-water fish shop & a live salt-water fish shop, canned goods store...) I even used it as an overnight bag once ^_^ It will hold a lot.
It is 3.5 pounds and I think that is too heavy for normal shopping, so I end up putting some of the heavier stuff in the console of the car.
Seriously, my neck aches and my shoulder hurts at the thought of a 15 pound purse!
Here, folks use those chrome fold up luggage carts when they are shopping for heavy stuff...but then everyone walks everywhere here, so a shopping trip may be 1 hours and 20 stores with a 3 block walk home or just to the taxi stand.

Rose Lodge, OR(Zone 8b)

Ha ha, I win: 1 pound 10 ounces. And 90 percent of that is purse.

Aside from cards (credit, ID, health insurance, etc.) I have:

asthma inhaler
change purse
lip gloss
measuring tape (tiny one)
nail clippers
dental floss

Juney, I'd forgotten how exotic your life is. I would so like to visit. My b'friend is threatening to take me to Bangkok, where he lived for some time, when he retires in February.

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

All right, I'll play. My current fav is a lightweight Groom bag that can be used as a fanny pack if needed.

Peeking inside:

a small tube of herbal skin cream
an aluminum tube Surefire light
nail file, bandaids, lip balm and a piece or two of peppermint

a small nylon zipper pouch that holds:

cell phone
a little folding 'green'
7 ~ IDs, credit, debit cards ~
which are held together by a hair binder. That serves to keep the individual cards from being lost and will be useful if needed on an unruly hair day.
On the back of one ID, I have taped a slim door key for the truck in case (and this was learned the hard way) I lock myself out.

Then, the bulk of the weight is keys and try as I might, I've not been able to eliminate them. 12 keys total.

The key rings are attached to a lightweight carabiner clip as is the small pouch that holds the valuables. These two carabiner clips are attached to a ring inside my bag that theoretically should prevent me from losing either accidently when my bag is open.

Yep! If I were a guy, I'd probably wear suspenders and a belt. LOL

The cool thing is this bag will also tote a bottle of water but when DH says, here put this in your bag, I can say you can't be serious!??!

Enough goodies to run away from home weighing in at 2 & 1/8 pounds.

Northeast, AR(Zone 7a)

Oh, I see you ladies like to travel light too. A friend asked me to hold her purse one day while we were out shopping and I could swear it was full of bricks! Who wants to lug all that around?

I learned to travel light when I worked in construction. The boss would come up on a job site and say, "Get in the truck." I'd have no time to grab anything so I learned to carry my drivers license and money in my pocket.

So why are you ladies with the big heavy purses so quiet? You know who you are! Come out of hiding and claim your weight.

I'm going to try to lessen my weight even more. That 1 lb 10 oz sounds pretty good!

Newark, DE

Hey Butterfly,
Fairly new to DG and I've only posted on the trash to treasure forum. But since clutter is a problem I have STARTED to address in my life, I had to visit here. I've read much of the older posts and I have to say, this was where I started to de-clutter.

I used to carry a purse. After a major car accident (not my fault - a tractor-trailer ran a red light and hit my car) I have back and neck problems. I soon noticed it was much worse when I went anywhere, lugging that "typical" load around. So I got a smaller purse, figuring if it didn't fit, I didn't need it. Still pain...get smaller purse.. and the cycle continued a third time. In the end, I still had pain. So I sat on my bed one day and dumped everything out on a towel and went through it all piece by piece. Each item I had to ask myself when I used it last and did I have to REALLY have it on me? Surprisingly 99% was - NO!

I am almost always in jeans or jean shorts. So I bought a wallet for ID like a cop carries, so it's not thick like a mans. In it, I carry my drivers license, a special license I have to have for something else, medical insurance card, a credit card (don't need them all) and some folded cash. It's in my back pocket. My keys to my truck are on a carribeaner that is just the right size to fit over my knuckles (low dollar "brass" knuckles). It can go in a pocket or clip to a belt loop. In my truck (not on me) I have a hair brush so I can check things before I exit. I seldom wear make-up since I feel it is to make a man or other women happy, not me. But if I feel I have to wear it because I have a dress on to go to a "marryin' or a buryin'", then it is in a make-up bag I put in the truck when I go. I so seldom wear dresses, the couple I have also have pockets for my wallet.

That only leaves all the discount cards for every store I shop, be it the grocery store, drug store or the Harley dealer. But I don't need to carry it all the time. So all of them are on a key ring, kept in the truck's console and I clip that onto the carribeaner when I go into the stores only. Then back into the console when I'm on my way home. I am reminded to put it there when I stick the key in the ignition.

Once this was accomplished I realized I didn't need any purses at all and they are all gone. My back is much happier. ^_^

Rose Lodge, OR(Zone 8b)

That's really thinking things through for yourself, Paint. Love it! I, too, have just the minimum -- my purse weighs about a pound. I hate to see women trudging around with the weight of the world on their shoulders while men saunter along with just a wallet. Why do we do that to ourselves?

central, NJ(Zone 6b)

Was so glad to downsize after carrying around diaper bag!!! But the biggest difference was when my friend made me a bag and I never realized how much lighter material bags are than leather...carried around leather ones almost all my life

Thumbnail by flowAjen
Dover AFB, DE(Zone 7a)

Thanks! ^_^ There's a good reason to sew! I have been wondering what I can do to lighten my load and still carry all of this stuff that I think that I need. I guess that I'd better start goggling patterns.

central, NJ(Zone 6b)

If you can sew, go for it!

I want to put in another order with my friend for even a smaller one, to just hold my phone, c card and maybe a pack of gum, oh and chap stick and tissues(but they don't weigh much)

Newark, DE


I don't sew so I can't help you there but I have seen some really cute ones made from cloth placemats. Yeah, I know it sounds nuts but they are cute and even I could make it. ha-ha You take a placemat end and fold it over not quite to the other end leaving about 2 inches. Run a seam up both sides where they come together. Take the 2 inch part and fold it over as your flap closure. You can add velcro, button and button hole or snap to fasten it. They work as clutch purses that way, but I have seen a belt, rope or what I like best, a scarf , under the flap when you close it, to use as for a shoulder strap.

Placemats are so cheap and they even make seasonal ones, or solid color for all the time. If you're really into it, you could have different solid colored ones for different outfits. The only thing is you have to be able to pare your carry stuff down to what will fit, so if you carry a huge purse, this won't do.

Dover AFB, DE(Zone 7a)

That sounds neat! One of my buddies took the back of one of her DH's ink-stained shirts and accordion folded it and sewed the edges = she had just That easily made dividers for her purse! She bar-tacked it into the purse and it held up pretty well, though she did say that when she did it again that she was going to back the cloth with stiff interfacing or use upholstery fabric...I like the interfacing idea☺

central, NJ(Zone 6b)

Or make one out of a t-shirt

Dover AFB, DE(Zone 7a)

♥ that! I pinned it and will probably do one real soon - they would make great shopping bags☺

Crozet, VA

Just found this today. I too have gone the way of not usually taking along a purse. Back in the day......I love handbag and shoe shopping. Both of those loved activities are now of my past. Oh I can still get lost looking at shoes in a catalog and still own too many pairs, but it has been quite a long time since I have purchased a purse. I do have to admit though to having a large sized storage tote full of really nice ones from the past. Like Jen, most are good leather ones and I have paid quite nicely for some of them and hate to get rid of them. This being on the clean and clutter free board, may be some sort of omen to me to consider doing something with the bags since I just admitted to not using one these days. I am sure that I could re-home them quite easily. I do have a purple leather purse that I will definitely hold on to. I would have to say that it is my all time favorite one.

What I have carried for some months now in lieu of a purse is a mini tote bag that I paid one dollar for at a Dollar Tree Store. The only time it leaves home with me is when I am going to be away for the whole day or going some distance. I then stick some things in there that I might not normally need for a short shopping trip or whatever. I still don't carry it on my person but leave it in the floor board of my car. When I enter stores I carry my check book and my car keys. I do have to be careful to keep my check book within eyes distance and try to cover it when it is in the buggy with something that I plan to purchase.

Great topic Nancy Ann....hope that everyone's backs are better since giving up the huge and heavy bags.


Kensington, NY

My friend claims his wife carries a back back instead - or on more formal occasions gets him to put everything she needs in his pockets!

springfield area, MO(Zone 5b)

I keep an extra bag in the car with those emergency items, like a hairbrush or extra toothbrush, and I only carry what I really USE in my purse. I often times only carry my keys, phone, and credit card and lock my purse in the car, if I will be walking all day, I hate carrying it. I do have a camera and a tape measure and my epi pen in my purse and those take up room, but I USE them, (well I've never used the pen, thank goodness). Ink pen and a small pad of paper. I don't carry a checkbook, I either use cash or card. My mother in law had her purse stolen once, and it caused all kinds of problems with the bank account as her check book was in it. I always carry strawberry Avon lip gloss, a nail clippers, and Ibuprofen.

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

FrillyLily ~ that is a good point on your Mother in laws' purse being stolen.

I had read once that we should photo copy all IDs, credit/debit cards, insurance cards, etc. which we carry. They also recommended doing both sides.

The article said if the purse is stolen, the number to report the stolen cards is on the back of the missing card.

To keep a copy of everything will give me the valuable information needed as well as refresh my memory on what I actually had in the bag.

And now I'm thinking I need to update mine... Kristi

Kensington, NY

Ladies, I think we women need to demand that the designers give us more clothes with pockets!

Rose Lodge, OR(Zone 8b)

Ugh! Where would I put pocketz in my tank tops & miniskirts?!

Crozet, VA

Buying purses and shoes are something that I used to enjoy doing....I have some nice hand bags but most are currently packed away.....there is little likelihood I will ever use them again, but I just can't let them go yet.....I am like the rest of you who have tired of lugging the extra weight around and prefer clothing with pockets for the must haves things I take along with me. I usually walk out the door with my purse which holds just about everything but the kitchen sink, but am like FrillyLily and leave it in the car usually.

Yes, having our wallets stolen and having to start over re-issuing cards is a scary prospect.....I like the idea Podster gave for copying all our important cards we carry with us. It sure would cut back on stress should we ever need all this information to be replaced...

Thanks for the tips everyone.


Rose Lodge, OR(Zone 8b)

I think women treat their purses like security blanketz. For me, definitely, the surest way to instigate a totally unnecessary asthma attack is to realize that I do NOT have my inhaler along.

Kensington, NY

Hey Summerkid,

I think you are right about the security blanket effect, must be why we find purses a hard habit to break.

BTW I don't want pockets in my tank tops either - I never meant all articles of clothing!


Rose Lodge, OR(Zone 8b)

I know Heather! I just meant that I wear very little that is not tight & short. Am way too vain.

Pocketz would destroy the lines of most outfitz on me. But so would a big purse. I have a tiny black leather thing shaped like a binoculars case with a long shoulder strap so that it hits me just above the hip & looks really cute.

Kensington, NY

[quote="summerkid"]I know Heather! I just meant that I wear very little that is not tight & short. Am way too vain.

YOU GO, GIRL! Nothing wrong with glamor!

But I sacrifice it in the garden or when lugging huge amounts of THINGS from here to there- hate washing soil out of my sequins !(grin)

It's all about working toward those beautiful moments when I can put down the boxes and bags, shower off the garden sweat, stuff the essentials into a small purse, make up and dress up and go have a glamorous evening.

Do enjoy yours. ;-) HY

Rose Lodge, OR(Zone 8b)

No, I want a pic of YOURZ!

Crozet, VA

Thanks for the giggles.....Particularly love the comment about gardening dirt not mixing well with sequins......that is true.....When gardening, which lessens more and more each year that passes it seems, I find my self in as little clothing as decent too. Back in the hay day of outdoor gardening, I looked particularly healthy due to the nice tans I would get being outside so much of the time.....The record breaking high temperatures of the past several summers has not allowed me as much time outside as before......I am pretty much content tending my hoard of houseplants these days........past outside garden efforts are nice and often very beautiful to see though.

You gals have a great week coming up.


Kensington, NY

Quote from summerkid :
No, I want a pic of YOURZ!

I meant enjoy your _evening/s.

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