What’s in My Purse?: Vacation Downsizing


I’ve watched a lot of “What’s in my bag?” videos on YouTube over the years. In fact, one of my favorites over time is Jenna Marbles’ “Things I Don’t Understand About Girls” video (this is most definitely not work-appropriate, so click with caution if you’re working right now).

I decided to do this today for two reasons:

For one thing, I thought it would be fun for you to see how much junk I carry around on a daily basis. While my purse is nowhere near as full as Ms. Marbles’ handful of lipgloss and receipts, it’s got a lot of stuff in it I didn’t even know was there.

The other reason is that, if you read my post last Thursday, you already know I’m on vacation this week, and I’m downsizing to a smaller bag. This means that I have to go through ALL of this crap and narrow things down to only the essentials.

So here’s where I started:


The purse is nothing crazy. I got it at TJ Maxx about a year ago. It’s big, but not overwhelming, and it has nice, sturdy straps. Aside from that, there’s nothing too exciting about it.

I’m not going to go through what each and every thing is because I’m sure you can figure it out for yourself. If not, click on that photo…go to Flickr…and blow it up all you like.

This isn’t even that bad for me – I think I cleaned it out last about 2 months ago, when I decided it was no longer cold enough to carry two pairs of gloves, a cozy headband thing, and an extra scarf. What I do know about my purse habits is that once something goes in the bag, it doesn’t come out – even if it was something I needed just once…until I clean that bag out again, it stays. For instance, that tire gauge in the bottom-left corner is supposed to be IN my car…as is the umbrella. But nope…once place inside the bag, that’s where they stay.


I have to say I was nervous about the number of lip products I had in my purse, but I have to say that’s not too bad (again, I’m basing this off Jenna Marbles, so maybe not the best person to compare myself to). That crumpled mess of a tube is hand lotion that I don’t even really like, but hey…once it’s in, it’s in for life.


So getting down to it, I decided to start by getting rid of the things I know I won’t use on vacation. Like the iPod – I rarely use it anymore as it is (now that I have an iPhone that pretty much does the same thing and then some), so out it goes. The umbrella and tire gauge are going back in my car (it’s not supposed to rain while we’re gone, so I felt okay leaving it there). After that, it was mostly throwing out garbage and leaving stuff at home I won’t need (Like half of those keys…do I need keys to my parent’s house? Nope. Key to a padlock I don’t have? Nope.).

When I was done, I was left with this:


Not bad, huh? I tried to stick to the bare minimum of stuff I’ll need. I didn’t need that striped bag that holds all my ibuprofen, nail file, and tampons (yeah, I said it…get over it), so I just kept the small pill box. I also downsized one of my Sugar lip balms to the travel size one I had lying around. So by the time I was done, I even had plenty of space for my phone (not pictured…it’s what took the picture) and the baggie of tissues (the only thing I will carry for the hubs…other than that, he’s on his own).

So there you have it – a successful downsizing of bags for a trip.

A few pointers to keep in mind that I found helpful:

1. Ask yourself if you have already packed the same thing somewhere else in your luggage! I realized that I didn’t need a nail file, hand lotion, or most of the lip gloss because I have all of those things already packed in my luggage. No need to take 2 of the same thing if you don’t need to!

2. Remind yourself that you’re only staying for X number of days, and be realistic about what you’ll be doing while you’re there. If you plan to exercise while you’re gone, by all means take the iPod – just maybe pack it with something else. If you’re not going to hit the gym, leave it at home. Remember that if you end up without something you need, most times you can buy it at an airport/gift shop/store wherever you go, so don’t take your whole life – you won’t be staying there your whole life.

3. Leave things at home you’d be heartbroken about if they were stolen, especially if you’re vacationing in a bigger city. I plan to leave any credit cards I won’t use on the trip in a safe place at home, along with not taking expensive sunglasses (who am I kidding…mine cost like $20). If you can live without your Birkin while sunning it up in Bali (*barf*), bring a cheaper bag – you’ll be a lot more okay with it getting stolen if it doesn’t cost much to replace it.

4. Double…hell, TRIPLE check that you have all paperwork you might need! Make sure you have your ID, passport, a copy of your hotel reservation email, plane tickets, etc. with you when you leave the house. I know it might mean giving up carrying a lip gloss or two, but do NOT put these things in your luggage – you may need to have them at the ready throughout your trip!

Well, I hope you had fun spying into my purse, and seeing how I choose to downsize things while I’m on vacation! I’m so happy to have a hands-free option, especially since I know I’ll be carrying some hefty luggage and a computer bag. 🙂 More on that later, though!


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