A purse is usually an afterthought in both your getting ready routine and your shopping habits. A purse is one of the very few accessories that don’t enhance the way you look much. A purse doesn’t bring out your eyes because it doesn’t sit anywhere near your face. It doesn’t elongate your legs like, a pair of heels can, or make your arms look slender like a good capped sleeve does. A purse is something you carry, but not something you necessarily wear. For that reason, we may not put as much thought into the purses we buy, or how we treat them, as we do with our clothes, shoes, sunglasses and the like. But we should! That purse goes with you everywhere. It’s seen you through stinky subway rides and the most glamorous of events. So be nice to it. Here are things you should stop doing with your purse.
Leaving old tissue in there
You did the smart thing of packing tissue—that’s good. So you can rapidly wipe away the snot running down your top lip before your colleague approaches to ask you a question in the elevator. The bad thing is that there is no trash can in the elevator, so you shove the tissue back into your purse. Of course, in a few days, you won’t be able to tell which tissues are clean and which are dirty, and you risk using the same, old, bacteria-covered tissue. Make a point of throwing these away immediately after use.
The moment you feel your bag pulling down on you is the moment a chiropractor somewhere is shaking his head. Your purse is not a mini suitcase. It cannot contain all the makeup you need for a midday refresh, your lunch, a snack and your flip flops. Over-stuffing it puts too much strain on your neck and shoulders. If you need to carry that much stuff, it could be time to consider a rolling backpack. Or not carrying so much stuff.
Putting it on the floor
There is no telling what sort of bacteria is on the floor of any establishment, let alone the ground outside. If you put your purse on the floor, then you drag that floor’s bacteria onto your couch, your kitchen table, your desk, and possibly even your bed. When you’re out of your home, the only thing the bottom of your purse should sit on is your lap.
Putting it on a public table
Public tables, like those at coffee shops and restaurants, diner counters and bench tops are also breeding grounds for bacteria. Let’s not forget that people eat here, so there could be the residue of old food. Hang your purse on the back of your chair or on a purse hook while you eat, and work at your laptop.
Failing to refresh painkillers
You plan ahead, so you have a mini pharmacy in your purse. You have some Advil, Midol, and Pepto Bismol. But you don’t go through these nearly as rapidly as you do your home supply. This means you probably don’t realize when it’s time to throw them out. Make sure to check the expiration date on these items and refresh them when necessary. The last thing you need is inactive Midol in the middle of a PMS flare up.
Bringing your passport with you
You should not carry your passport or social security card in your purse. These items should be at home, preferably in a safe or locked drawer. Once someone gets their hands on these items, they can move forward with identify theft aggressively. If you need a copy of these items for something, bring just that—a copy.
Wearing it on just one side
Wearing your purse on just one shoulder, every day, for your entire life, will result in some pretty funky posture. Make sure you alternate on which side of your body you carry your purse, so you don’t put too much pressure on one side.
Putting your bare sunglasses inside
The bottom of your purse is bound to collect debris, from old powdered makeup to food crumbs to dust. If you put your bare sunglasses, out of a case, in your bag, then that debris will get on them. Then, you put those sunglasses on your eyes, and that debris gets in your eyes. Always put your sunglasses in a case when you are not using them.
Leaving crumbs in there
Speaking of debris, keep some chip clips or rubber bands in your purse. Use these to properly seal bags of chips, cookies, or any other food you only partially eat and shove back in your purse. You don’t want crumbs getting everywhere. Nor do you want things like chocolate melting on your purse or phone.
Ignoring the backpack
Consider the backpack. It can safely carry a lot more than your purse. It relies on your center of gravity and the strongest part of your body—the core—to support items so it won’t destroy your posture as much as a purse will. And it’s just cute.
Using it as a laptop bag
If your bag is not designed to be a laptop bag then do not use it as such. Maybe you find most laptop bags unattractive, but try to find a cute one rather than just using your purse. Not only do you risk breaking your purse if you put your laptop in it, but you’ll also hurt your neck and shoulders, and risk harming your laptop.
Keeping old receipts
If someone gets their hands on your receipts and your credit card, they can rather rapidly start spending your money without raising suspicion. All they have to do is visit the stores you already regularly visit, and your credit card company won’t suspect anything.
Originally appeared on MadameNoire.com.
Written by Julia Austin.