How Much Stuff Does One Person Need?


I decided that I would tackle some of the little jobs that needed to be finished on my list. One of them was to empty and tidy my rather large handbag. I’m a huge Radley fan, owning several of their bags in various sizes. I’ve had it for a few years and I often refer to it as my Mary Poppins bag – I put things in and they disappear. I was getting quite frustrated with it at the weekend, so I thought I would delve in and see what on earth I have been carrying around for the last six months.

This is what I found:

  • Standard make-up kit – two mascaras, three eyeshadows, an eyeliner, set of tweezers, two lip glosses.
  • Small tin of Vaseline.
  • Small bottle of Stella McCartney perfume.
  • Small bottle of Carolina Herrera 212 perfume.
  • Seventeen pens, four pencils, one fine liner, one CD pen and two board markers.
  • Large set of work keys.
  • Three tube tickets and four train tickets.
  • Box for antibiotics.
  • Otravine nasal spray.
  • London Tube map.
  • Pandora charm receipt.
  • Work badge.
  • Two packets of chewing gum.
  • Raffle tickets.
  • A thank you card from my colleagues son.
  • Tickets for ‘Frozen’ at the cinema.
  • Tickets for ‘Rock of Ages’ in London.
  • Tickets for London Zoo.
  • Hairdresser appointment card.
  • An iPhone charger cable.
  • Four safety pins.
  • Spare keys for locker.
  • McDonalds competition stickers.
  • Bag from Laduree – macarons.
  • Cigarette lighter.
  • Three wage slips, two of them unopened.
  • A small badge from a Christmas card.
  • Three hair elastics.
  • £1.42 in Sterling, a €2 coin and an American quarter. I’ve haven’t been to America since 2010 or Europe since 2012…

Just how much stuff does one person need – no wonder I can’t find anything? I think downsizing is in order!

What about you guys? What sort of rubbish do you hoard?

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog

41 thoughts on “How Much Stuff Does One Person Need?

  1. Lip balm, colored pens, and though I use it up, lots of sugar-free gum. I probably have five packs of all different flavors in my purse now.

  2. I always refer to my bag as the Tardis, from Doctor Who, normal size on the outside but what goes in there is a complete mystery, how I manage to keep it all there without it looking like it is bulging at the seems is amazing. You’ve inspired me to do a clean out, as you said just how much do I need to be carrying around all day.

  3. Oh boy, and I thought my purse held too much stuff! Funny! I am in the midst of purging my entire apartment, trying to get ready for a pending move. I am finding all sorts of junk that I’ve been holding onto…like singing Christmas dogs and keys that don’t open anything. There’s more to come!

  4. I feel your pain. I find all the clutter just makes one feel “heavy,” like you’re stuck physically lugging it all though your daily life somehow. Which, in the case of a purse (which thankfully isn’t a problem for me), I suppose you are!

    I got so annoyed dealing with clutter that I actually created a completely new blog just to try to chart my progress in seeking to bring it under control ( It helps, but my friends tease me that if I spent half as much time dealing with clutter as I do blogging about it, my life would, no doubt, be clutter free by now. Which means they haven’t quite understood the thesis of the blog to begin with, but that’s a whole ‘nother blog in itself!

    • That’s a great idea! I’m a list person, so I try and write a list and tick it off as I’m going along, but unfortunately get a little carried away and end up overwhelming myself!

  5. I hoard my clothing. If an article of clothing doesn’t have a stain or hole I’ll keep it forever. My current record is a shirt I bought over 20 years ago

  6. Short answer – not nearly as much as most of us have. I think it’s awful that whole industries have arisen to help us get rid of our stuff. And worse, that I’ve used some of those professional services.

  7. I’m a minimalist at heart, yet find myself acquiring odd bits that I think I will use some day. Just emptied a drawer of two pajama patterns, yellow faux suede scraps, and other sewing bits. I so rarely sew anymore but can’t quite acquiesce to getting rid of all those extra bits. Fond memories make for hoarding?

  8. My sisters will only own small-ish purses to keep this from happening. I use a messenger bag for daily and a medium sized purse for church. I keep lots of things in them, but try to keep them to essential items that I’ve actually needed often. I like to clean my cubby at least once a month as that’s where I’ll find most of my stuff piling up.

  9. Haha! My bag is the same way. The other day, I found left over chicken nugget wrapped up in a napkin. They were saved “for later” for LO and she never ate them. While the idea of chicken nuggets in my purse completely grosses me out, it’s better than it could be I suppose. I carry a small bag intentionally so I don’t accumulate a lot of things. It doesn’t work…at all. 😉

    Good luck downsizing! It is such a liberating feeling!

  10. Great post! I immediately went upstairs and looked in my bag to find – purse, 2 mobile phones (one is my work phone), phone charger, receipts, 2 pens, 3 lipsticks, bottle of Kate Moss perfume, box of paracetomol, cherry coke flavoured lip balm, resistance band for my shoulder injury and a block of surfboard wax! I wonder if there is some kind of ‘what does your handbag contents say about you as a person’ type quiz out there?!

  11. Haha, I always need a bigish bag. It has to be large enough to hold most sizes of books. I never go anywhere without a book.

  12. Is one shoulder higher than the other?
    I clean out my bag when my back starts to ache. Hard to believe how much a pen can weigh! Take out four or five – and my other shoulder lifts!

  13. This article really made me laugh, as my handbag also seems to resemble something of Mary Poppins handbag. All the unnecessary items seem to make an appearance way before the necessary ones do. I have the Karen Mill push Lock Tote, which I thought would be a brilliant purchase and would hopefully organise me a little better. It has 3 large compartments, along with 2 central compartments (one zipped) 2 side compartments (one zipped and one with a mobile phone compartment which doesn’t get used for that purpose) and an outside compartment. As much as I love it, I hate it at the same time. I managed to lose a bridge camera in it the other day, I spent about 5 minutes with my bag upside down!!

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