14 Gross Things in Every Woman's Purse

I recently got a new purse for New Year’s Eve. When I did, I was tasked, for the first time in many months, with emptying out the bag I had been using daily before my new purchase. When I did, I saw all the things I had slowly accumulated—and it was terrifying. But in an impressive, terrifying way, like how a raccoon is probably able to look at all the trash it’s foraged and feel a sense of pride and accomplishment. Not that my habits are like a wild animal’s (well...), but let’s just say I have issues remembering to throw things away. It's not the worst vice to have, but it's also definitely not cute. But I'm not alone: The bottoms of purses are universally disgusting.

The problem with big bags (like mine, like bags all of us have), is that they just hold SO MUCH. This is both a blessing and a curse, because everyone just sort of expects you to carry everything and provide the antidote for every situation, like you’re a human CVS. Bottles, tubes, name it, you’re probably carrying it. Clearly, not all ladies have the same purse maintenance issues, but ugh—so many of us do. The struggle, as they say, is real. Here are 14 things that pretty much any woman is bound to have stashed away in her infinite sack of wonders.

1. Melted gum that you forgot was in there

If this has ever happened to you, then I really, truly feel your pain. I just spent an hour scrubbing at a Chapstick tube that happened to nestle up against a melting piece of gum, and you know what? The stickiness never actually goes away. Your marker or lip gloss will always feel like it was once enveloped in gum. You're honestly lucky if the gum didn't end up destroying the bottom of your bag like horrible lava.

2. Old lip balms and lip glosses that now have hairs stuck in them and smell weird

Let's be real: You have at least five lip balms or lip glosses, and half of them are really, really old and don't even smell like anything, anymore.

3. Frayed, rogue tampons or panty liners

The period products themselves aren't gross, but their condition after floating around the bottom of your purse forever is a little unsavory. Every lady's got a "Just In Case I Get My Period Randomly, Ugh" tampon or two, but at this point, it might be wiser (and more hygienic) to just shove some toilet paper in your underwear.

4. Tums crumbles

On the plus side, everything in your bag is slightly minty. Downside: the white powder makes you look like a really bad coke dealer.

5. Cracker or baby food crumbs

We all have snacks for those "You Never Know How Long This Will Take" moments, and those foods tend to be Ritz crackers, packs of Milanos, Cheez-Its, sometimes food for our kids if we have them because little humans get hungry, too. These wrapped goods are often forgotten, however, and time is never all that kind to them. No matter how careful we are, we will end up with crumbs in the bottom of our purses forever.

6. Hotel lotion you swiped from you last vacation in 2004

What once smelled like "lemongrass" now smells like asphalt, the white coloring has turned yellow, and the thought of exposing your flesh to this complimentary poison is a little frightening.

7. A flash drive that is sticky for some reason and probably unusable

At this point, you don't even know what it holds. Your 2009 taxes? Awful love poems? Photos of last summer's Vegas trip?

8. Random vitamins or ibuprofen pills (you can’t tell anymore)

They're round, orange, have vaguely discolored the bottom of your bag, and have lost their potency. It's probably wise not to consume them.

9. Crushed and melted M&Ms

Eww—Is that smeared poop on your wallet? Nope, just the brown, chocolate-y remains of your 3AM, post-bar bodega grab.

10. An old condom that is in no condition to actually be worn

You stuck it in your bag because you're a responsible, sexually active adult, but if you actually asked anyone to wear it, you would probably get every shade of pregnant in like two seconds because there is no chance that thing works anymore.

11. Cat or dog treats

There is no real reason for you to have animal food that smells like dead fish in your possession. There just isn't. Yet there they are, stinking up your bag and confusing your pet every time you walk past them.

12. Anti-gas or Pepto Bismol tablets

There is nothing gross about taking care of your body when it forgets how to process food, OK? We all get bloated, we all have to poop, and sometimes we just feel sick because life is unfair. But HEAVEN FORBID a co-worker or date spot these somewhat embarrassing, iconic little pink tablets. Life = over.

13. Ancient face powder

It either only contains a thin outer layer, or it has cracked like a fault long ago and you just keep it for sentimentality. Or you use it and probably break out. There is no winning here. We all need to be better about throwing out too-old makeup, but we're just not. Instead, we let it become fossilized in the dark recesses of our purses.

14. Crumbled up gum and candy wrappers

You might be a hoarder, but you're sure as hell not a litter bug. YOU'RE WELCOME, ENVIRONMENT.

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