My purse vs. Hermione’s bag: Lady MacGyver edition

by kattiewampus

I have a weird confession to make.

In fact, it’s so weird that I’ve been debating about whether or not to actually publish this post. At first I thought it would be entertaining. Then I thought it would be stupid. Then I was recently called “Lady MacGyver” for a completely unrelated reason. But it reminded me of this post I had written. So I decided to publish my weird confession.

So, here we are.

Those of you who have spent time with me in person already know that I am prone to carrying around a ridiculously heavy purse.

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I keep many things in my purse. My goal, like a good Eagle Scout, is to always be prepared. I want to have anything that anyone could possibly (or never) need at any given moment at my fingertips.

I used to keep a can opener in my purse.

Not joking.

I also kept crayons in my purse.

When a classmate in high school discovered this, he told me I would be a good mom.

It was a weird moment.

Over the years, I’ve refined what I keep in the purse based on experience. Nevertheless, there is always inevitably much more in there than I actually need, and I periodically have to dump it all out and sort through everything. That is because I also tend to use my purse as a trash receptacle. Because I’m very, very classy. And I don’t believe in littering.

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When Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out, it fanned the flame of my peculiar obsession. If you’ve read the book, then you already know where I’m going with this. Hermione Granger enchants a small handbag to hold a variety of objects from books to clothes to a tent.

She is basically my patronus.

I don’t know that my purse is quite ready for an open-ended adventure to fight the forces of evil darkness, but… it’s getting there. And because I like to air my weirdness for the world to see, I’m going to take you all on a little tour.

“You can tell a lot about a woman by the contents of her purse.”-Bob Parr

Prepare yourselves.

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Look out, Mary Poppins!

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Skin care: hand lotion and sunscreen. For all of your moisturizing and sun exposure protection needs.

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Beautification: travel-sized deodorant (I know, I’m sorry you had to see that. But in case you’ve ever wondered about whether or not I wear deodorant – and I sincerely hope that question has never crossed your mind – at least now you have closure!), lip balm, and four different types of lip gloss. Four. “Does anyone have any lip gloss?” Why, yes. Yes, I do. In fact, I have options. Because sharing lip gloss is a normal, frequent occurrence.

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My out-of-date iPodito. For my lunchtime workouts.

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No, your eyes are not deceiving you. That is, in fact, a miniature roll of blue and purple leopard-print duct tape.

Why, you ask?

When I go to went to parties this one party, I found the duct tape useful for identifying which, ahem, libations I had brought.

Also, this one time, I used the duct tape to fix a broken staple remover at work.

So there.

The other item, if you can’t tell, is a measuring tape.

Keepin’ it fresh! Keepin’ it real!

(I don’t recommend the Mint Bliss flavor, incidentally. It just happens to be what I have on hand right now.)

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No explanation needed.

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A tea canister that I converted into a box for hair pins and clips.


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Snacks. Absolutely essential.

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A coin purse that looks like a sock that I converted into a first-aid kit.

Yes, I keep both Charlie Brown and Muppet-themed band-aids on hand.

Yes, I think they’re awesome.

Yes, I am an adult.

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Yesterday, I used one when I was mailing my car registration fee.

I felt like such a grown-up.

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A plethora of pens.

Usually I keep pencils in there as well, especially when I was an assistant section leader in Chorale (if only I had a nickel for every time a soprano asked me for a pencil…). So, the absence of pencils in this photograph indicates a serious flaw.

I feel so under-prepared!

I am ashamed.

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Memorabilia of adventures.

This is the sort of unnecessary thing that gets removed when I clean out my purse, but usually hangs out in the purse until said cleaning happens.

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Wallet and checkbook.

I hardly ever write checks anymore, but there’s always that random time when I need it.

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Hand sanitizer!

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Ear plugs. And a lot of them, for some reason.

This was from my recent vacation. I wanted to be prepared for less-than-ideal sleeping conditions.

I used them maybe one night, and that was it.

But at least I was prepared.

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Receipts. Purse = repository of loose papers.

A sachet of Yankee Candle wrappers. So that my purse will always smell like autumnal holidays.

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A moleskine notebook and a planner.

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A bag within a bag?

In this little coin purse thing, I keep dental floss, Listerine strips, more lip color, Alleve, and “moist towelettes” (for the occasional picnic or BBQ ribs binge-fest, of course. Hand sanitizer doesn’t always cut it. Last Saturday I was at the beach eating a BBQ pulled pork sandwich and I totally forgot I had these. What a joke.)

It’s a very strange assortment.

Fun fact: out of the eight lip balms/sticks/glosses/etc. that we’ve found in my purse, there is only one that I use on a regular basis.

I have no explanation.

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One of the professors who I support leads a program in Australia every summer. Last summer, she brought back this cute little pouch for me.

(I had to call it a pouch, because it has a kangaroo on it. See what I did there?)

Over the past few years, I have accumulated a collection of various gift cards.

I love the idea of gift cards but am terrible about actually using them, because I forget where they are.

Now I keep them all in one handy place where I can easily access them.

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My glasses. I wear daily disposable contacts.

So, if at any given time, I decide that my contacts need to get chucked for the day, I darn well better have my glasses on hand.


A microfiber cloth with a picture of the university library on it.

University IT was distributing these last year.

Super handy, especially now that I finally joined the rest of the modern world this year and got a smart phone.

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GRE flashcards. I wasn’t making them up.

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Whatever book I happen to be reading at the moment.

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Travel-size “Pass the Pigs.” It’s a game.

And a way of life.

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And, last but not least – possibly one of my favorite and most random items that I keep in my purse: a tuning fork.

Let me tell you – it’s a great conversation piece when your purse is being searched at courthouse security.

Whew, this post was long! But now we have plumbed the depths of my weirdness (at least as it relates to my purse) and I can walk away from this feeling like a better person for having shared this little bit of my soul with all of you.

Lady MacGyver: over and out.