Although I am a type-A, obsessive-compulsive neat freak, you wouldn’t know it by peering into my purse. To call it a sty-on-straps would be an insult to pigs everywhere. Remember that old game show where they’d give a gazillion dollars to the woman who could procure, say, a horseshoe or a convection oven from the bowels of her bag? I would have owned that show.

Band-aids? Check. Tennis ball? Got one. (Hey, it’s a good thing to have when you’re stuck in traffic; just slip it between your back and the seat and voila! Instant massage.) Hello Kitty stickers, two dozen pens, nail clippers, note pad, pair of crusty AA batteries, water bottle, wet wipes, dental floss, gum and tic-tacs (well they each have a place), several dozen gently-used tissues, corkscrew, granola bar, Tylenol, tape measure, approximately eleven dollars in pesos (from my trip to Mexico two years ago), Superglue, sewing kit and thirty-seven Bed, Bath & Beyond coupons? All present and accounted for.  (Because you do know those BBB coupons never really expire, right? They’ll take ten-year old coupons, honest to God. You just have to remember to use them, which I can never seem to do but you’re probably better at that kind of stuff than I am.) I once unearthed from the deepest depths of my purse a zip-loc bag filled with—and I am not making this up—blue juice. It was way down at the bottom, and the appalling smell of the thing, even sealed, still haunts me to this day. I wracked my brain for days and finally realized what it was. Or had been, I should say. Carrots. A bag of baby carrots. You’d think that little science-experiment-gone-awry would have convinced me to change my hellacious handbag ways, but sadly, you’d be wrong.

Every once in a while, like when I can’t cram a single abandoned Polly Pocket doll in there, I dump the whole mess out on my bed. (Thankfully I have a California King, because the contents wouldn’t fit on my dining room table, even if I put in both leaves.) I generally stare at the pile for three or four hours then remove the obvious trash (empty Splenda packets, months-old grocery lists, dry cleaning receipts… but not the Bed Bath & Beyond coupons! I really am going to use those one of these days.) The rest of the stuff gets tossed right back in, because what if someone in my vicinity has a q-tip emergency and I can’t assist because just yesterday I threw them away? I’d never be able to live with myself.  Trust me, I’m the gal you want to be sitting next to when your bra strap pops, because I have dozens—possibly hundreds—of safety pins within convenient arm’s reach at all times. You just need to be patient while I dig through all the other crap to find them.

On the bright side, my right arm is incredibly buff from carrying around a lovely, leather 24-pound weight everywhere I go.