What’s in Your Purse? (a blog challenge)

Years and years ago, I wrote an article for Creating Keepsakes magazine in September 2001 (pre-Simple Scrapbooks) titled …

“What’s in Your Purse?”

If I remember correctly we received a few letters to the editor complaining that we had taken up prime magazine real estate with an outlandishly goofy idea, when we could have shared more ideas for ‘real’ photos–like birthday parties, pumpkin patch, back-to-school–more “regular” type photos for “regular” scrapbookers.

I guess I’ve always been “irregular” when it comes to scrapbooking.

In any case, I have always loved the idea that what we carry around with us everyday defines us and to a large extent provides snapshot of our life “right now.” I used to teach classes and make students do a purse dump, find three items and write down …

1. what it is
2. why it’s in your purse
3. what it says about you

Well … earlier this week, I received my Photojojo email, in which they shared photographer, Jason Travis’ PERSONA project.
You have got to take a look at this!
I’ve been vindicated (not that I’ve lost sleep)
My early attempts to help scrapbookers pay attention to stories hiding in everyday items was on track after all!

Click to see how a diverse group of people are celebrating their persona with the contents of their “purse” or bag or briefcase or whatever.

And then, take my challenge to create similar diptych image for you.
Here’s mine:

took these pictures this morning (no make up even.)
The only thing I left out was about 7 receipts and a Target coupon book–just couldn’t  make them look good.

So … Pretty please, do a purse dump.

Take a photo.

Post it to your blog.

Leave me a link in the comments.

and, think about (or scrapbook) what your purse says about YOU, right now.

And … if you are not currently signed up for the Photojojo email. Go NOW. You will not regret this decision.
In fact, Photojojo was my product pick on the Paperclipping Roundtable this morning.

I so enjoyed sitting in my studio surrounded by 37 of my mini-books (our topic) talking with Izzy, Noell, Ana and Nancy.
This episode should be posted later today.
More on mini-books coming soon. I made THREE last night and was reminded that I LOVE them so!


  1. I don’t have a blog but I will definitely be doing this challenge, I’ll have to post it in the LOM gallery at BPS – Thank you for the inspiration

  2. margaret says:

    I’m currently finishing up a vacation in Japan; one shudders to think how large a football field I would need to dump the contents of my purse & backpack!!! But this will be one for next week’s Week in the Life activity when both my purse & I are more normal. (Who am I kidding? Neither of us is ever normal!!!) Thanks for the idea, Stacy.

  3. TracyBzz says:
  4. rachel in Cali. says:

    OMG! Please share where you got your green and black purse and your cutie-batootie “be happy” wallet. Love ‘em both! ;0)

  5. rachel in Cali. says:

    just wondering… do you have a cute camera bag too? If so please share! ;0) I’d use your purse for a camera bag and be a happy camper!! ;0)

  6. scrappysue says:

    Hi Stacy, well I for one LOVE documenting the everyday, what a shame to miss out on all the little details. Love this idea, and like Margaret I will be now be using this idea in my Week in the Life Project. Totally love mini albums too; yours look so much fun!

  7. This is a great article. Wow, so many of these things I never thought of before. I read

    posts often, even on this side, and I think it is great, but I make time to leave a comment.

    From the outset, to ensure more comments.by Louis

    Vuitton handbags

  8. Margaret C says:

    Hi Stacy – I did it !!! I did it !!! if I had a tail, I’d wag it !!! Thanks for the inspiration !! Here’s the post : http://me35.wordpress.com/2010/04/16/what-stacy-wants/

  9. Kate Anne says:

    I have lots of bits of paper in my bag – I like to write lists and memos, sometimes I forget to chuck them out! Haha..

    Where did you get that color swatch booklet from?? Me like!!

  10. Great challenge Stacy! I posted mine this morning. Also noticing that your Mentha Spearmint looks a little low…let me see what I can do about that ;).

  11. Thank you for the blog topic! You can check mine out here:


    Love the inspiration and it made me clean out my purse…bonus!

  12. Ok— I took mine last night.

    Looking forward to seeing others!

  13. I’ve recently switched to a wallet style purse that only holds $$ and credit cards, chapstick, pen/tiny pad of paper and my cell phone. It’s very liberating and my shoulder doesn’t hurt anymore!

    Can’t wait for your post on mini albums as they are one of my favorite things!

  14. great idea. my bag is due for a clean out – but it certainly wouldn’t look as nice as yours.

    I’m with racel in cali – do tell the brand and where you got the gorgeous be happy purse. It is to die for!

  15. First of all…even the stuff in your purse is cute and colorful! Second of all…mine is not. Oh well! That being said I share your love of “mini’s” and am currently working on creating a mini of our spring break trip. This was probably our BEST family vaca EVER and it’s so fun to relive the trip through the photos….I have a fun plan for the journaling…minis are just THE BEST! Wishing you a happy (and colorful) weekend!

  16. I HAVE taken photos of my purse content before and scrapped it!

  17. Thanks Stacy! Just what I needed for a quick break this morning. (Now I only wish my purse contents were as photogenic as yours — and/or that my photography skills were as honed :)

  18. Wow- Your bag is nice. Thanks for the nudge to push the spring cleaning to the bag.


  19. Ok Stacy challenge accepted! I needed something to break away from all of the medical drama at my house this week and since I just switched handbags recently I figured why not? So go here http://scrappymommyof3.wordpress.com/ and see what’s in my purse and see my totally cute purse! Oh and I wrote a little bit about the medical drama at the end too.

  20. Some students guess that creating the custom comparison essay supposes to be not hard, nevertheless I claim that only the distinguished custom writing services could create the papers of supreme quality.

  21. I’m coveting your wallet!

  22. I remember that article! At first I was all “she said to do what?” But it was such an awesome idea that I played along. I have a picture of the contents on my purse from almost all of the years since. I’m a purse girl for sure so it really is a revealing concept. My friends have always said if they got lost in the wilderness they’d want my purse along for survival reasons. Someone sent me a greeting card that says “my car is essentially a big purse” so now I occasionally take some pictures in there too. Same concept just bigger. I don’t have a blog so I can’t leave you a link but just wanted you to know I loved the idea (almost 10 years ago)!

    • Thanks Jen — it’s fun to hear from ‘old’ friends, meaning girls that have been around as long as me!

  23. LOVE your wallet!! Your source?? I just switched purses to a smaller one. I should have taken a picture of what was in my other one! Whew! No wonder my shoulder would ache. : ) I will still do this photo. It will be fun! I agree about using it in my life in the week project. Those mini albums are delicious! What fun to be surrounded by them. Mmmm…..

  24. I took the challenge! Although with 3 mo old twins, it was a diaper bag dump, not a purse dump. :) http://jesscabrera.typepad.com/so_heres_a_recap/2010/04/purse-dump.html

    Thanks for the reminder!

  25. So, do you keep all your credit cards and things in that cute wallet? Or do you contain them in something else? I’ll be needing a new wallet soon and I love yours!

    Also love how you gathered your mini’s together. I just shared a few of my individuals. Maybe I should gather mine up into a pile, too.

    And by the way, I’m going to do a purse shot, also. :)

  26. I did this a few weeks ago for my Project Life album. Mine is so messy though… http://www.thepilotswife.org/2010/03/project-life-february-28-march-6.html

  27. That was fun! Just posted my purse and its contents on my blog! Great idea.

  28. I read a few topics. I respect your work and added blog to favorites.

  29. Haven’t heard the roundtable yet, but going to do so later today. I really enjoy them. Happy to hear it is about mini albums. I have just began doing more of them lately and love them too.

  30. LOVE your blog and this post! I am a purse girl! Did the challenge and will use the picture as my POTD. I am doing Project Life. Check it out at http://fclarkfamily.blogspot.com

    Stacy, you are such and inspiration!

  31. Here’s my blog post.


    This was fun. I’ll save the picture to scrapbook until I do LOAD in May. Also I have to tell you that the Target coupon book might not be “pretty” but the $12.00 I saved when I used it yesterday are!

  32. LifeLock

  33. LOVE your little collection.I am going to make a square one tonight as an nod to your very wonderful style! So good chatting with you…

  34. Helen McLaughlin says:

    I did this last summer only I weighed my purse before and after, too! After I had taken out all the stuff I wasn’t currently using, my purse was 6 pounds lighter! Silly me!

    I also just have to say that you and my 16 year old daughter have the same wallet. My sister gave her money for her birthday which she used to buy the wallet at a little shop in our downtown. The wallet really speaks to her personality, and I must say that it suits you, too!

  35. It’s not pretty – but here it is……..

    I wish my purse looked fun like yours does Stacy, but in a few weeks when I get to be a full time mum again – I will do this exercise and then compare – I hope it is more fun and colorful then!

    What a fab idea – thanks so much! Maybe this is going to become a mini book project for me!!!!!!

  36. I posted and had a fun doing so. I don’t often scrapbook about the “nuances of me”. I’m so busy scrapbooking our family and our kids’ events, that I forget to include myself. My purse and its contents can say a lot about me. http://positivelymom.blogspot.com/2010/04/purse-contents.html

  37. I blogged about what’s in my purse!
    And, for the record, I didn’t realize it was a “goofy idea” back in 2001- I did it then, too! I promised my blog readers (the one or two of them) that I’d go find that picture! I’m sure there is a HUGE difference (I had babies then!) :)

    Thanks for the challenge!

  38. Where did you get the birdie wallet? I love it! My purse is heavy with things since it’s pretty good size allow me to keeping so much stuff in it!

  39. Too much fun…..wish my picture was as composed and pretty as yours, but it is what it is :)

  40. Stacy, I posted mine in the “Student Sharing” gallery on BPS, because I do not have a blog. Loved doing this!!! Have a great week!

  41. Oh this is a fabulous idea. I am little scared to find how much is in my purse:) The thing weighs about 10 pounds. LOL. I love how you displayed everything. Looks like a magazine lay-out. so will have to do this today.

  42. I finally posted mine this morning, after “planning” to do it all weekend. I found all sorts of random things in my purse and had trouble fitting it all into one photo, LOL.

    Thanks for the fun idea, Stacy! Here’s the link to my diptych:



  43. Fun! I did this years ago with you! I thought it was a fabulous idea then, and even better now. Here is the link to my blog with my “What’s in your Purse Post”. (It’s ok, if I left out the old gum wrappers, tampons and crumpled receipts, right?)


  44. Fun! Will definitely have to get scrapbooked. http://karnos.blogspot.com/2010/04/in-my-purse.html

  45. I rarely do things like this, Stacy, but this was a FUN challenge. I actually love all of your “off beat” ideas for scrapbooking – it’s what makes you so CUTE, fun, interesting and unique. THANKS! Keep inspiring all the non-creative peeps like me!

  46. Because of reading your blog, I decided to start my own. I had never been interested in keeping a blog until I saw how helpful yours was, then I was inspired!

  47. I decided to play along and have added the contents of my purse to my blog. What does it all say about me…I’m pretty sure the simple and organised contents of my bag are a true reflection of how I like things neat and organised :)

  48. Love this challenge! I needed to find something on the bottom of my purse anyway!

  49. oh here it is:) http://cynthiafriesehassanein.typepad.com/storyboardc/2010/04/purse-dump.html and now my purse is clean. Thanks for the prompt:)

  50. Thank you for reminding us of the big picture, that what we carry around with us does indeed declare who we are (whether we like the result or not). Thank you for helping me tell MY story, amongst all the others there are to tell.

  51. Here’s the post where I dumped out my purse! http://crystalkrueger.blogspot.com/2010/04/ten-on-thursday_15.html

    It was a great excuse to dig to the bottom and I love thinking about my granddaughters poring over this photo some distant day in the future! I’m definitely scrapbooking it :))

  52. I took the challenge Stacy and posted to my blog. It was fun, thanks!

  53. doing my purse dump now – I’ll put pictures up on my blog.

  54. Fun Stacy-Thanks for the inspiration!

  55. Hey did the challenge Stacy…it’s fun to recognize what I carry around everyday…. Now only if there were a purse dictionary like a dream dictionary to see what deeper meaning is behind it all, lol :)


  56. I saw this link up on another blog I read and could not help myself. here is mine :)


  57. this was so fun to do! i have a picture on my blog.

  58. A little late to the party, but here is my blog post: http://cheriandrews.blogspot.com/2010/04/whats-in-your-bag.html

  59. Thanks for ones marvelous posting! I seriously enjoyed
    reading it, you’re a great author. I will always bookmark your blog
    and may come back someday. I want to encourage you continue your
    great job, have a nice day!


  1. [...] What’s in that purse??? (A Blog Challenge) Posted on April 16, 2010 by scrappymommyof3 Stacy Julian posted this on her blog last night.  http://stacyjulian.com/blog/?p=4165 [...]

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