The handbag, one of nature’s greatest mysteries.

Why do women carry them? What strange secret feminine artefacts are contained within?

Why do they come in so many different styles and sizes? And the biggest question, why are they always full of so much stuff?

A handbag can strike fear into the heart of the most confident man.

A guy might ask for a pen and when you say, “Just grab it out of my bag,” their face drops a little. Instead of just fishing the pen out of your bag, they bring it over to you and wait while you get it out for them.

You might think they’re just being polite, but really they’re freaked out that they might come across something terrifying, like a tampon.

Some people believe that carrying handbags is some innate and ancient female instinct; that our role as caregivers means that we can’t leave the house without a bag full of ‘necessities’.

Personally, I think there is a simpler explanation, like the fact that our clothes are designed without pockets!

In fact, it may be some kind of conspiracy. You may think I’m being paranoid, but consider it, which came first?

Was it the outfits without pockets or did the designers realise that women were carrying bags around so they didn’t need them?

The mind boggles;  it’s a bit like the chicken and the egg. Such a profoundly philosophical question to start off the new year.

Anyway, conspiracy theories aside, the more interesting question is why are our bags always full of so much stuff?

There’s a new show on Foxtel at the moment called Hoarders. A bunch of so called professionals descend on a suburban home proceed to pretty much throw everything in the trash.
But we’re talking hardcore hoarders here, you know, like people who don’t want to throw out the cat’s poo.

Now I’m not saying most ladies get around with cat poo in their purses, but perhaps hoarding begins at the handbag.

I mean our bags are a little home away from home. Filled to the brim with what, to many men, looks like a bunch of crap, but to us is a bag full of essentials.

To prove my point, I have conducted an inventory of my handbag. The contents are as follows:

A wallet (so overstuffed with bits of paper and old Metcards that it won’t even close properly); a full sized bottle of perfume; cosmetics (bronzer and brush, two different lip balms, lipstick, a mini can of hairspray, a tube of hair product, tampons, pads, a nail file and a collection of bobby pins and hair ties); a small mirror; several cigarette lighters; a packet of cigarettes (sorry, Mum); a pair of earrings; roll-on deodorant; a clothes peg (not sure why); two pairs of earphones (one pair doesn’t work); four parking fines (all of which I’m in the process of contesting); a notebook; three pens; the book I’m reading (Home School by Charles Webb, it’s the sequel to The Graduate and sadly, quite disappointing); a tin of mints; a half-eaten Christmas candy cane (I know, it’s gross); two pairs of sunglasses; a surprising amount of loose change; my iPhone and finally, my keys.

And I was actually thinking it was looking a little empty today. On any given day it might also contain a spare pair of shoes, some unpaid bills, a water bottle, several cans of tuna, a banana and a jacket. And of course, when I go out with my partner, his wallet, keys, sunglasses and phone also make their way in there.

And my bag isn’t even that big! I’ve downsized considerably in the last few years. Mainly because I’ve realised, the bigger the bag, the more crap you fill it with.

If those professionals from Hoarders were to come knocking on my door and begin cleansing my handbag, I would be quite distressed. When I think about it, I’m not sure that I could really part with any of it. I mean, I suppose I could get rid of the candy cane and the parking fines, but all the other stuff might come in useful.

You never know what could happen. Imagine if I suddenly became stranded on the desert island? I’m sure whoever was with me would be glad for the spare pair of sunglasses.

And the mirror could help us light a fire and the malfunctioning earphones could double as a fishing line and I’m pretty sure that clothes peg would come in handy somehow.

So, my conclusion? I don’t care if hoarding does begin with the handbag, as far as I’m concerned I need it all.