Give Me a Space and I Will Fill It

Give Me a Space and I Will Fill It at

Last summer, I bought a new purse.

I went to a home party and the salesperson logic just made so much sense. And I needed a new purse.

Really. I did.

It had one feature that’s a must for me. The cross-body strap. When I lived in Thailand, my purse-buying habits changed forever. When the only way to get from place to place is public transportation, scatter-brained people like me need purses that stay attached to the body. We can’t use purses that require remembering to grab them before getting out of the taxi.

But this other strange thing happened when I bought my first no-hands purse.

I realized I liked a small purse.


The kind that makes most people say, “Oh. I could never have a purse that small” and assume I’m a minimalist.


So for the past 15 years, I’ve been rocking the micro-purse. Just big enough for a phone and a wallet and maybe some lipstick. Oh, I manage to stuff more in there than any Normal Person you’ll ever meet, but there was a limit.

Because it was small.

So, even though this purse is cute (it has DOTS!) and meets the where’s-my-purse-oh-right-it’s-hanging-on-my-body requirement and it’s not HUGE or anything, it’s too big.

Because if you give me a space, I shall fill it.

With enough stuff to completely fill a plastic shopping bag.

With enough stuff that I could no longer find ANYthing I actually needed. Enough stuff that I was embarrassed to have to dig for my wallet because randomness emerged and fell to the floor. Enough stuff that when my daughter was carrying a purse, she grabbed a receipt, got a zoned-out look on her face, mindlessly wadded it up, and stuffed it in her purse.

And then laughed.

And said she was doing what Mom does.

You could be totally logical and say I could apply the same Can’t Keep This principles that come naturally when I have a small purse to my big purse.

But that doesn’t happen around here.

Ooooohhhh, space!!!! Must fill!!! happens.

I just have to go with it.

Meet my new teeny-tiny purse. Honestly, it might be too teeny-tiny.

I’m nervous.

Edited to add:

I wrote this post earlier in the week. Now I know that blue “purse” IS too small. I’m using it, but looking for one that’s small but not teeny-tiny.

Edited to add:

I went back to the big purse TEMPORARILY because I needed to stuff it with my Kindle and some snacks for a track meet. Hmmmph.

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--Nony get-how-to-manage-your-home-without-losing-your-mind-wherever-books-are-sold


  1. 1

    They are both so cute – the blue color especially so!
    I’ve found that purses with more pockets actually help with having less extra stuff. Everything I need has a home, and though the purse looks big, the body is actually a lot smaller than one would think, so not nearly as much room for extra clutter!

  2. 2
    lydia purple says:

    i think i am the tiny pursenality kind. i am only forced to tote around a big one because of three little kids. but when i am out alone, i carry a tiny thing with my phone, ID, some cash, keys.

    but with the big purse, heck, i stuff all sorts of things in there… i totally get you. there is clutter in there that has nothing to do with the kid’s needs. not to mention the giant basket of my stroller. i can not fold it up without a declutter session.

  3. 3

    I read the title and I laughed! So true said I, doesn’t matter if I’m at a coffee shop, at someones house, at the park…oh hang on, Nony is talking about purses. Well that’s just as true. My friend makes custom made purses, she could make you one just for you and then make it in new fun fabric everytime you need a new purse.

  4. 4
    KellyJMF says:

    I’m exactly the same way. It seems like no bag is ever exactly right. What I really want is an itty bitty bag that holds a ton of stuff, with some detail but not in your face. Oh and cheap but doesn’t look it. So the unicorn of handbags.

    I love my Bagallini Plaza Mini. It holds the essentials and just a little bit more. When I need a larger bag I just throw this one it. It works great when I travel. I have it in Navy to go with a range of business outfits so I can pack lightly.

    (edited by Nony to make this link my affiliate link, because I’m like that!)

    Baggallini Plaza Mini, Violet, One Size

    • 5

      Oh my word, “the unicorn of handbags” made me laugh out loud!!!

      • 6
        ShannonP says:

        Noni, I wanted to share with you based on your above link-editing that every time I know I am going to make a purchase on Amazon, I come look through your blog for an affiliate link first — even though I’m not buying whatever-it-is you posted about. LOL If I ever end up buying a flat screen TV or new bed on Amazon and use your link, I’ll be sure to let you know where the bigger commission is from. For now, it’s stuff like Skylanders and art supplies. 😉

        Also, finding a post with a link when I am in a hurry takes a lot longer than you might think. So, if you’re ever feeling like you post too many links, trust me, YOU DON’T. Mwah!

        • 7

          Oh thank you so much. This means a lot to me! And there’s actually an amazon search box in my sidebar, and all of my e-books in the sidebar also are my affiliate links, so you can find those super easy!

    • 8

      I laughed at your unicorn reference too! And I appreciate the link…I’m going to ponder that purse a bit. It may be just right for me. 🙂

  5. 9

    Yes! This is me! I had the perfect-sized purse for ages (ages = approx 7 years) but lost it by leaving it atop my car and driving away. Because I am me and that is the sort of thing I do. I bought a cheap Target bag to take its place, but that was falling apart after a year of hard use. Then I bought a thirty-one skirt purse, which I love, but is really too big for me. Like, I’m carrying around a big plastic case that houses a deck of Uno cards, a whole bunch of paperwork, extra crayons and markers, and about 20 other things I don’t actually need to have in my purse. And even though I know this, and have known it for about a month, all that stuff is still in there!

  6. 10

    Like Lydia above, I have 2 purses. Mine are a tiny one for most of the time and especially for short errands, and a larger one that fits a Kindle and a few more things for when I am away from home all day. After many purses, I think this is the system I can stick with,

  7. 11

    LOL, this is SOOOOOO me!! 😀 Give me a space and I will fill it!

    I agree, the blue purse, although cute, is TOO small. I like to carry a small tube of lotion along with a few other essentials that would not fit in there. I also do as Lydia suggested; I have a smallish one for most of the time, and a larger one (but not TOO big!) for when I need to carry extra stuff. I try to clean out my purse frequently, as FlyLady says to…. but not as often as I should. The smaller size helps motivate me to do that, though! My favorite one is by Sac, from Dillard’s. It has a few pockets, but not too many. And one is sized just right for my cell phone. I bought mine on sale. Love it! 🙂

  8. 14

    I am pretty sure I have the same purse (different fabric pattern, but also from a home party). I keep mine to use when I need to grab my big camera or my kindle. It works perfect to hold the stuff I need to access while on a plane or a road trip, but I can pull all my little stuff out of the pocket and put it back into my smaller purse once I arrive at my destination. For day to day use though I lose everything in it otherwise.

  9. 15

    I started carrying a small purse about 20 years ago when my chiropractor told me that the 25 lbs. I was carrying in my shoulder bag were causing my back problems. I love my mini crossbody bag that I carry.

  10. 16

    I just downsized my purse to one with many pockets. It drives me crazy that I don’t have room for a water bottle though. But I do have: my inhaler, eye drops, chapstick, meds, cough drops, single-use heat packs, a phone cord and booster battery, nail kit, collapsible chopsticks, measuring tape, hand sanitizer, breath mint drops, a spare pair of underwear, wipes, a pStyle (stand up to pee without the usual body part), menstrual products, a shopping bag, a handkerchief, phone, wallet, pen, sharpie, and sunglasses. And it’s only 10x8x4 inches with a strap I can do cross-my-fat-body or just one shoulder. And believe it or not, I’ve probably used every single thing in there in the last month; ah, the joys of chronic illness. But it takes VERY creative packing, I can fit exactly three receipts stuffed in before it all goes to you-know-what, and everything MUST go back in its place to work. On the up side, my partner knows where everything is if I need it.

  11. 17

    I’m a wallet-on-a-string kind of girl. My old wallet was perfect–exterior phone pocket and ID window, space inside for cards and cash, wrist strap that clipped open for hanging on shopping cart handles and holding my keys (via their own caribiner). I could throw it in the diaper bag or carry it alone. My new wallet is less stellar but would be better with a strap. I’m so tired of carrying bags that even though I have a slim purse, I rarely have it with me. It’s big enough to hold said wallet, my Kindle, a diaper, and a bottle of water, but I’d have to carry it to fill it with anything.

  12. 18

    My “purse” is actually a small carry on bag. It’s called the Weekend Tote, and I put EVERYTHING in it. But I have a small clutch inside for my cards and phone that I can just bring into a store if I want to.

  13. 19

    The struggle is real.

  14. 20

    I recently went big purse after years of carrying one that would only hold keys, wallet, phone, and occasionally my tablet crammed in. I decided that I wanted to be able to carry some other things with me, like antibacterial wipes, shout wipes (I’m a spiller) and so on. It was a very conscious choice for me. It’s still not as full as it could be, but the one thing I’ve never been good at filling is a purse so hopefully it won’t get out of control. (Receipts always find a way into my purse, no matter the size.)

  15. 21

    I swing back and forth between small purse seasons and big purse seasons. I tend to want to carry a book with me at all times and little purses don’t have the room for that. I tend to have receipt clutter no matter the purse size, but the biggest issue I run into with large purses is that I will skip carrying multiple bags and end up putting to much weight on my shoulder. Nothing quite like turning your purse into a diaper bag and backpack too.

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