Handbag hoarders


Handbag hoarding is an obsessive phenomenon that plagues many. It is defined as the desperate need to fill a handbag with a myriad of items until its depths resemble less a bag and more a black hole. Though handbag hoarders are very different, each carrying a unique stash of hoarded goods, the most common types of teenage handbag hoarders can be classified into three categories: the Hot Mess, the Worrywart, and the Emotional Packrat.

The Hot Mess, though not necessarily hot, is most certainly a mess. Upon looking inside the bag of a Hot Mess, one is distinctly reminded of the state of Ke$ha’s infamous hairdo: unkempt, tangled, and atrocious. On the outside, the bag of a Hot Mess might appear clean and elegant, but don’t be fooled. Their bags are filled with anything from gum wrappers to last year’s history notes—those in the Hot Mess category are simply too lazy to clean out their bags. The last thing you want is to be caught off-guard when reaching into a Hot Mess’s handbag; you will likely walk away in shock, with lipbalm embedded under your nails and pencil shavings all over your arm.

The Worrywart is the handbag hoarder who is always prepared for every dire circumstance possible. A Worrywart wouldn’t be caught dead without a compact mirror, breath mints, floss, and maybe even a toothbrush. This species of handbag hoarder is incredibly indecisive as well, often requiring several options to choose from. When asked, “Do you have lotion?” a Worrywart will never answer with a simple “Yes,” but with a “Japanese Cherry Blossom or Fresh Cucumber?” A Worrywart also totes around various snacks and treats, since one never knows when hunger might strike. Search for a Worrywart when you’re hungry or your food is in need of condiments. Just don’t be surprised when a Worrywart pulls out a set of salt and pepper shakers in addition to that packet of ketchup.

The Emotional Packrat is perhaps the most prolific handbag hoarder of them all. She could put your mother’s foreign soap operas to shame with her melodramatic tendencies. Unable to let go of her emotional attachments, she has a penchant for hoarding memorable items in her bag in hopes of preserving all possible sentiments and extracting every last ounce of nostalgia. Does she keep a pair of chewed-up socks that reminds her of her first puppy? Perhaps she cherishes a birthday message that was scribbled onto a post-it note in the seventh grade. After a devastating break-up with her steady boyfriend of two whole weeks, the Emotional Packrat might take handbag hoarding to new extremes when she keeps her used tissues from their break-up as a memento of that heartbreaking day.

It may seem, with few exceptions, that the three categories of handbag hoarders only apply to girls. However, a large portion of hoarders tend to be guys. Men have to put their stuff somewhere too, and for convenience, most choose their pockets. Men’s pants are usually all about practicality and function. Some use their remarkably deep pockets to store everything from wallets to pencils and even water bottles. Unfortunately, this weight and bulkiness can compromise style, so those who wish to avoid burdening their skinny jeans and chinos turn to the man purse. Despite the lame moniker the “murse” has acquired and the false notions that a man bag can call one’s manliness into question, it is still a very chic accessory. ..Yet for a male hoarder, the contents of these modern duffels are anything but attractive. Just remember that on the inside, a man’s purse is really not all that different from a woman’s purse, which, I suppose, means that a good name for male hoarders may be… “Messy Packwarts.”

Every handbag hoarder carries a unique inventory. The Hot Mess may carry old movie tickets and empty lip gloss tubes, the Worrywart may have a phone charger and first aid kit, and the Emotional Packrat may lug around sentimental socks. But there’s one thing that all handbag hoarders carry in their bags: a flashlight… to look for the rest of their stuff.

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