Where does the purse go in a car?
September 19, 2017 8:03 AM   Subscribe

You are a purse-carrying individual who drives a vehicle. Where do you put your purse for the drive? And how does a passenger in the front seat change your answer?

When I commute, I usually put my purse and lunch bag in the front passenger seat. This isn't optimal, however, because any faster stops or turns can oftentimes turn both upside down and spill the contents. Putting the bags in the foot area of the front passenger seat can be awkward as well. And if there is a passenger getting in, I can put my purse behind my seat, but is, again, awkward to reach and get to. But opening the trunk to place and retrieve seems like extra unnecessary steps.

What do other purse-carrying vehicle-driving individuals do? Do you regularly put it in the trunk? Or some other easier configuration?
posted by jillithd to Travel & Transportation (62 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
I have a biggish backpack. I put it in the back seat, preferably on the back seat floor, or if I'm full of passengers, in the wayback (this is an SUV). I can reach it and bring it forward from the back seat if needed.

You've hit on something very important. There's a host of small items that we need to have in the car in our travels that don't fit in the tiny glove compartment, tiny console, or tiny side pockets in the back part of my SUV. Next time I get a car I'll look for some larger "light storage" space. Something like a spare tire well would be ideal, but mine unfortunately has a spare tire in it.
posted by JimN2TAW at 8:09 AM on September 19, 2017


Foot area of the passengers seat. If there is a passenger, she gets to sit with my bag. Sometimes I have a small bag that fits next to me.

Never on the seat because I've known people who had their bags stolen or had someone stick their arm in window to get it (downtown LA in the early 00s). Obviously that's not an issue on the freeway, but still.
posted by betweenthebars at 8:11 AM on September 19, 2017 [6 favorites]


My SO puts her purse on the floor of the passenger seat regardless of passengers.
posted by bbqturtle at 8:11 AM on September 19, 2017 [2 favorites]


What a great question, I'd like to hear what solutions others have as well. I feel the trunk is the safest if I'm worried about items getting tossed about as I can tuck them into corners or propped against other things, or put in some kind of basket I keep in the trunk.

I'm afraid otherwise I don't have any new solutions except to pare down by either taking a smaller purse or wearing bigger/more pockets.
posted by Goblin Barbarian at 8:13 AM on September 19, 2017 [1 favorite]


Foot of the passenger seat, and anyone who complains gets to hear an extended riff about why it is that half of the population is all but required to carry so much extra shit around, and yet there are very few allowances made for it in, say, vehicle manufacture.
posted by Etrigan at 8:13 AM on September 19, 2017 [32 favorites]


I have a slightly larger than a purse messenger bag. There is a small space in front of the center console where a purse can go pretty well. I usually just lie it flat on the passenger seat if I have no passenger, which is usually, and then I don't have to worry about things falling out of it. I take out my phone and charge it while keeping it in one of the center console cup holders.
posted by jessamyn at 8:14 AM on September 19, 2017


Depends on the car, the Fiesta I drove had an under-seat tray like so, I think as more sub-compacts are marketed towards women buyers they're getting secure storage like this. Keeping the purse on the passenger seat is not an option in less safe countries as its a target for smash and grab robbers.
posted by xdvesper at 8:14 AM on September 19, 2017 [9 favorites]


(omg, I love that under-seat tray option! We've been test driving vehicles after one of ours got totaled last week, and none had something that sensible!)
posted by jillithd at 8:16 AM on September 19, 2017


Mine's a comparatively small shoulder bag; if I'm alone in the car it's in the passenger footwell, with the strap looped over the gearshift. If I've got a passenger in the front seat, the bag is scrunched between my left foot and the doorsill. It is never on the passenger seat: maybe I'm paranoid, but it'd be too easy for someone to grab it that way if I'm stopped at a light with the windows open. (Groceries go in the passemger footwell or the wayback.)
posted by easily confused at 8:19 AM on September 19, 2017


I have a "little" purse (it's bigger than a clutch, but it's pretty small) and a "big" purse. If it's a little purse day it fits in the driver's side door pocket. If it's a big purse day, it goes in the passenger foot well regardless of if there's anyone sitting there.

A friend of mine uses something like this.
posted by brainmouse at 8:20 AM on September 19, 2017 [9 favorites]


On the floor of the passeneger side, so it's harder to steal. If there's a passenger, it goes on the console.
If I need a bag that's too big to fit on the console, then I'm carrying too much shit, and I pare down.
posted by MexicanYenta at 8:21 AM on September 19, 2017 [1 favorite]


There are little hooks available that slide over/around the headrest bars. If there isn't a passenger in the front seat, the hook faces front and I loop my purse strap over the hook, which keeps the purse in place during abrupt stops. If there is a passenger, then I flip the hook to the back and hang my purse on the back of the front passenger seat. I think I bought 2 hooks for $10 on zulilly or at BBB.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 8:22 AM on September 19, 2017 [4 favorites]


Little purse (slightly larger than phone) goes in cup holder or in a random shelf-like spot Subaru left below the radio on my car.

Big purse/tote: if no passenger, then passenger foot area. If passenger, then behind me on seat or in foot area.
posted by dywypi at 8:23 AM on September 19, 2017


I'm a perpetual bag lady and my purse and tote were constantly falling off the seat. I got these hooks and they solved the problem. If you have a passenger, they can be turned around so you can hang your purse on the back of the passenger seat instead.
posted by Nutritionista at 8:24 AM on September 19, 2017 [6 favorites]


My purse goes on the passenger seat next to me. It's generally closed unless I'm digging for something specific. My lunch bag sits beside it. If I ever needed to break suddenly both would land on the floor but nothing would spill out. When I have passengers my purse sits in the middle of the back seat where I can still reach it without turning around. (I never roll down my front passenger window more than a few inches to avoid theft as cited above.)
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 8:25 AM on September 19, 2017


My smaller purse goes on the floor in front of the passenger seat, even if I have a passenger. If I have a backpack or larger bag, it goes on the passenger seat (if I'm alone) or in the hatch (if I have a passenger).
posted by schroedingersgirl at 8:26 AM on September 19, 2017


Regarding drawers under the driver's seat, some Volkswagen and Audi models include this feature and there are after-market versions available too.
posted by carmicha at 8:26 AM on September 19, 2017 [1 favorite]


If I've got a passenger in the front seat, the bag is scrunched between my left foot and the doorsill.
If passenger, then ........ in foot area.

Please, please, do not do this. It is wildly unwise, and no amount of convenience should outweigh that. There should be nothing at all loose in and around where your feet and the pedals are. Things sliding forward can often (and do) get stuck under brake pedals and it is a very serious hazard if this happens. At the very least it is a distraction and at worst it can contribute to an accident.

Seriously, it's like the underside of the brake pedal has a 'shit that shouldn't be here' magnet. It ANYTHING falls down there it is straight under the brake pedal faster than you can say "Oh good, now we're going to have a crash".
posted by Brockles at 8:33 AM on September 19, 2017 [31 favorites]


My large bag goes behind the passenger seat, on the floor. I can easily grab it from there if I need it because it's just to my right and behind, regardless of which car I'm in.

If I have lots of people in the car, I take out my wallet and put it in the center console so I can easily access it, and then my bag goes in the trunk if I'm in my small car or the back area if I'm in the Highlander.
posted by cooker girl at 8:33 AM on September 19, 2017 [3 favorites]


Oh, also, the seat that my bag sits in front of (so, rear passenger side backseat) is pulled up pretty far to keep my bag from tipping over.
posted by cooker girl at 8:34 AM on September 19, 2017 [1 favorite]


My mom puts her purse in passenger footwell in one of those soft bins (something kind of like this) so that 1) space clearly delineated and passengers won't be like kicking your bag directly with their yucky dusty shoes 2) you won't put inadvertently plunk your bag down on any muck down there if people are getting in and out on wintry days and 3) if stuff falls out of purse it's still contained in the bin instead of rolling under the seat. And you can put snacks in there because snacks.
posted by sestaaak at 8:35 AM on September 19, 2017 [8 favorites]


I have the little seat hooks for when I have a passenger. They're a bit awkward but do the job. The rest of the time I am lazy and use the front passenger seat.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 8:37 AM on September 19, 2017


At work, my work van's passenger seat flips down and the back of it had a recessed tray with about a 1" lip on it which is awesome both for stopping stuff from slopping around when I'm driving and as a desk for when I'm stopped. It's also got an underseat drawer and lots of large, deep recesses scattered about the cab, any of which is big enough to swallow a clipboard, laptop, or tablet. (Or all 3 at the same time.) This is in a Nissan NV200. In practice, I jam my messenger bag between the passenger seat and front bulkhead, and put my electronics case on the floor. But man, do I ever love how functional the interior is on this thing.

In my personal car, I put my bag on the passenger seat and buckle it in so that it can't go flying. (I pull the seatbelt all the way out to put it in boa constrictor mode, then cinch it up tight.) If I have a passenger, it goes in the back and if I need something inside I ask them to get it for me.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 8:37 AM on September 19, 2017


I bought a set of these behind-the-headrest hooks and they work very nicely. For the driver, hang the bag on the passenger seat hook nearest the center; for the passenger, hang the hook on the driver's seat nearest the center. You can usually do a reach back and grab if/when you need it while belted in.
posted by Lunaloon at 8:41 AM on September 19, 2017 [1 favorite]


I put my medium-sized bag in the passenger seat and just throw out my arm to stop it from moving in the event of sudden stops. If I have a passenger I put in in the driver's side footwell between my left foot and the door. I use my foot to hold it in place. I usually carry soft-side purses so I can squish it into the space between my hip and the door, as well.
posted by irisclara at 8:43 AM on September 19, 2017 [1 favorite]


My purse rides in the footwell of the passenger seat if there's a passenger. They just have to deal with it. The backseat of my car is the Dog Seat and is not suitable for humans nor purses.
posted by Elly Vortex at 8:44 AM on September 19, 2017 [1 favorite]


Agreed the bag goes on the floor behind the passenger seat (floor of the back seat) so I can easily reach and get things, or it goes on one of those hook things behind the passenger seat.

My back windows are tinted, no one can see in my back seat to steal anything + it keeps my car so much cooler in the SoCal sun. Just FYI as you car shop!
posted by jbenben at 8:44 AM on September 19, 2017 [1 favorite]


On the passenger seat when no passengers, on the floor by the passenger seat but tucked against the center console/middle of car when passengers are in the front seat. I'd never thought about someone swiping it with the windows down before. (Then again, I rarely drive with the windows down+unlocked car doors.)
posted by sperose at 8:48 AM on September 19, 2017


I put it on the side of the passenger seat floor, with a little bit of it wedged between the passenger seat and the center so that it stays upright.
posted by corb at 8:49 AM on September 19, 2017


I love the design of the Prius console. The shift lever is on like a bridge from the console to the center seat divider/storage bin with a cutaway underneath that is big enough for a medium sized purse.
posted by drlith at 8:52 AM on September 19, 2017 [3 favorites]


My SO puts it on the passenger floor. This does not change when I ride with her.

I, though, a man who carries a messenger bag almost everywhere, when driving and need access to it (for, say, charger, snacks, drinks, etc.), put it behind the passenger seat on the floor, where I find I have readier access to it without reach forward and down. I do, however, realize my larger frame may be a factor in this.
posted by General Malaise at 8:53 AM on September 19, 2017


I have a satchel-style shoulder bag. If I'm driving alone, it goes on the front passenger seat or in the front seat footwell (depending on how safe I feel driving in the area with my bag on display/whether I have other stuff like packages in the front seat).

With passengers, if it's my partner I will usually cram it down by his feet in the footwell. Sometimes I just throw the bag in his lap and make him do the cramming. I am a peach.

If I have fancy people/guests in the front seat or partner has a load of his own stuff in the footwell, I will either put it on the back seat, in the back footwell, or in the trunk. Again, depends how much other/delicate stuff I have in other parts of the car.
posted by terretu at 8:59 AM on September 19, 2017


The shift lever is on like a bridge from the console to the center seat divider/storage bin with a cutaway underneath that is big enough for a medium sized purse. - drlith

0.0 Wow! Now that is some nice design! If only a Prius could also tow a boat! (Takes notes for next car purchase...)

(I updated the link to be the image itself instead of getting a redirect notice)
posted by jillithd at 9:03 AM on September 19, 2017 [3 favorites]


I carry a Bottomless Pit type of purse. No front seat passenger, it goes on the seat next to me.

Front seat passenger, it goes in the footwell of the backseat behind me, so when I get to my destination, I can just open the door and grab it, rather than asking my passenger to pass it over to me.
posted by Lucinda at 9:15 AM on September 19, 2017


I put my purse on the seat or the floor. I generally don't worry about things falling out because most of my bags have zippers across the top for that very reason. If I have a passenger (which is honestly rare), I put it in the back, either on the floor or on the seat.
posted by Shadow Boxer at 9:22 AM on September 19, 2017


Like many, in the front passenger seat or footwell. Occasionally in one of the rear footwells.

Either way I remove my sunglasses from my purse and have them strategically placed, usually in the center cup holder, so that I can change if necessary. Anything else that might need to be accessed is also placed in reach.
posted by monopas at 9:22 AM on September 19, 2017


I have a cheap car that doesn't have a center console (because that's apparently a "luxury" feature), so I put my purse between the seats.
posted by radioamy at 9:44 AM on September 19, 2017


My bigger work purse/tote goes on the backseat footwell behind the drivers seat. My lunch bag goes there, too, so it doesn't tumble across the backseat on the twisty roads of my commute.

A smaller purse goes in the passenger footwell if it has a long strap, or on the passenger seat. If there's a passenger, a long-strapped purse gets flung around the headrest to hang on the back of the drivers seat, or sometimes (as with a short-strapped purse) chucked into the footwell behind the passenger seat.
posted by janell at 9:45 AM on September 19, 2017 [1 favorite]


I keep my belongings on the passenger seat when alone, propped/belted so they won't go flying. Windows closed, towel or some such over it if anything looks valuable (mostly unneccessary - I never ever let my wallet, phone etc be visible, period. And my bags are usually cloth totes.) It would never occur to me to put my bag on the floor of the passenger seat if someone is riding with me, though. I put the bag in the seat behind me and have the passenger get me what I need from it if I need something.
posted by Crystal Fox at 9:48 AM on September 19, 2017


My bags go on the seat next to me. I have been known to strap my bags (and tins of paint and parcels) in with the seatbelt if that seemed called for. I have also been known to put the shoulder strap over the headrest to prevent bags sliding off seat. If I have a passenger then on the floor behind my seat taking anything I want accessible out of the bag.
posted by koahiatamadl at 9:49 AM on September 19, 2017


i carry an ridiculously oversized shoulder bag so things aren't crammed tightly in there. it always goes in the passenger seat and has rarely tipped over or fallen. if there's a passenger with me, i throw it in the backseat within arm's reach (after taking out my phone and chapstick and moving those into the cup holder of course).
posted by kerning at 11:18 AM on September 19, 2017


I have a new Kia Niro, and while I got it instead of a Prius (the Niro is also a hybrid hatchback), I did love the Prius' purse-holder in the front console. Such good design.

I usually leave my bag on the passenger seat or, if I have passengers, propped on the little hump between the feet of passengers in the rear seats. I may have to buy those hooks, that looks super-convenient.
posted by suelac at 11:37 AM on September 19, 2017


I bought one of those purse hooks - which had a more prominent prong than the ones linked here - but only used it until my SO freaked out at the possibility that I would forget it was there when a kid was in the back seat, crash, and have the prong impale an eye socket, at which point I also was too freaked out to consider using it again.

Now my purse goes on the passenger seat (I virtually never drive with windows down) if I'm alone, or in the center of the back seat footwell if not (reachable by flailing backward between the two front seats).
posted by lakeroon at 11:40 AM on September 19, 2017


Messenger bag, backpack, and/or yoga gear go on the driver's side back seat or back seat footwell (I can reach for them when stopped). Purse either goes on the seat behind me or on the front passenger seat depending on what else I have with me. When I have small passengers who are close friends with me up front, my purse can go in their footwell; otherwise, I toss it in the passenger backsweat footwell so I don't have to reach as far to get it.

I always keep my doors locked when I drive and only my window is down when I'm alone in the car.
posted by TwoStride at 11:43 AM on September 19, 2017


No passenger: on passenger seat
SO = passenger: on floor in front of SO
Other passenger: behind passenger seat in rear footwell so I can still reach it.
posted by matildaben at 11:46 AM on September 19, 2017


My minivan is pretty explicitly designed for moms, and I can fit a big ol' diaper bag on the center console, or on a little floor platform that's clearly designed to be a purse stash.

Minivans in general are crap to drive but it's been a revelation what's different when cars are designed for moms as the primary use case they consider.
posted by potrzebie at 12:39 PM on September 19, 2017 [1 favorite]


Passenger side, regardless of passenger. I am driving them, they can live with my bag :) (If it's a really big bag I'll throw it in the back)
posted by goodbyewaffles at 1:04 PM on September 19, 2017


Probably not a good idea to put bags on top of the console either, unless you're okay with your passenger side airbag killing your passenger with a purse-shaped projectile.
posted by Aleyn at 2:45 PM on September 19, 2017


They also make these sorts of things, a cargo net for your passenger seat that will hold your purse in place. I have also seen these made of lycra, they look like a belly band for a pregnant woman, but for your car seat, and they come in colors that blend with your upholstery. The lycra ones you just leave there when not in use and a passenger can just sit there without anything poking them in the back. I can't for the life of me figure out the right search term.

Me, I only buy zip-top purses because I keep them on the passenger seat and I've spilled other types way, way too many times!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 3:13 PM on September 19, 2017 [2 favorites]


Footwell of passenger seat. I almost never have a passenger; in the rare circumstance that I do, my purse goes on the backseat behind me. Since my car auto-locks when I shift to drive, I don't worry overmuch about theft.
posted by epj at 3:19 PM on September 19, 2017


I don't drive so I am mostly a passenger. If you try and put your bag in my footwell I will definitely be moving it to the backseat and I'll think you're rude.
posted by jennybento at 3:37 PM on September 19, 2017


Anyone who can't reasonably fit my purse down among their feet is welcome to walk wherever it is I'm driving them to instead.
posted by TwoStride at 3:49 PM on September 19, 2017 [8 favorites]


Probably not a good idea to put bags on top of the console either, unless you're okay with your passenger side airbag killing your passenger with a purse-shaped projectile.

The centre console is the bit between the front seats. The airbags are in the dash, so this isn't an issue.

If you try and put your bag in my footwell I will definitely be moving it to the backseat and I'll think you're rude.
Er. What? How is it 'your' footwell in *their* car. That's pretty entitled. If you moved my bag/stuff to the backseat in my car without asking you'll have plenty of time to consider if I'm rude as you'll be walking to your destination.
posted by Brockles at 3:54 PM on September 19, 2017 [2 favorites]


I definitely ask first, but if you've invited me into your car I think it's super weird to put a bag where my feet are when there's ample room everywhere else in the car. I wouldn't invite someone to my dinner table and then put a bag under their feet. If the entire car is packed, sure, but I also wouldn't get into your car and put my bag in the driver's footwell either.
posted by jennybento at 3:56 PM on September 19, 2017 [2 favorites]


Passenger seat if no passenger. If there is a passenger I shove my purse in their lap and they get to figure out what to do with it. SO I guess passenger seat either way? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Edited to add: 99.9% of the time my passenger is my spouse or a close friend. If I, like, drove Uber or something then obv this would not be a great solution.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 4:09 PM on September 19, 2017


If I am alone, it's on the passenger seat. If I have a passenger and it's a pal, it's at their feet. If I have a bunch of stuff in the car or more than one person, usually I take my wallet, keys, and phone out of my bag and put the bag on the back seat, either in the footwell behind my seat or on the seat itself. The wallet, keys, and phone are in the center console area. If I am planning on exiting the car without my bag, I put it in the trunk out of sight. I like to mostly go bag-free anyway (like while shopping), so staying in the trunk is very common.
posted by clone boulevard at 7:03 PM on September 19, 2017


If I'm alone, passenger seat unless it's one of those days where my bag's heavy enough it sets off the "your passenger isn't buckled!" beep alarm. In that case I either move it to the floor or buckle it in if I'm feeling extra snarky.

If passenger, then bag gets thrown on the backseat.
posted by augustimagination at 7:59 PM on September 19, 2017 [1 favorite]


The safest place to put a bag is on the ground in the boot of the car. Failing that, on the floor behind one of the front seats. If you're in a crash, and your bag is in the front it becomes a projectile.

I drive a two seater pickup, my bag always goes behind the passenger seat.
posted by cholly at 2:32 AM on September 20, 2017


I was at the Toyota dealership last night and the Sienna, their minivan, did have a big gap and tray where the center console usually is between the foot wells. Perfect for purses! But none of the other vehicles in their showroom (no Priuses) had the purse place. Interesting how the minivan - oftentimes assumed as the mom vehicle - has the purse place and the big SUV (Highlander) did *not* have a purse place. There was just the center console between the seats that opened up. The salesman said that was a good spot to put purses, but I would not have wanted to cram my medium-sized purse in that narrow compartment on the regular.

Why that design decision to only have it in "mom-coded" vehicles? Does it impact "man-coded" vehicles to have that gap there or that open area there? What is under that dome of plastic between the two foot wells in most vehicles that only the Sienna and Prius can open up?

Anyhoo, thanks for all of the suggestions!
posted by jillithd at 6:48 AM on September 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


I drive a sienna. I suspect there's only room for that big console because the vehicle itself is extraordinarily wide, which also happens to be why it's otherwise such a pain in the ass.
posted by potrzebie at 7:06 AM on September 20, 2017


I have a smallish purse (think short loaf of bread with a crossbody strap) and while I usually put it on the passenger seat when I'm alone, my other default is in the floor of the drivers side, with the strap laid on the seat such that it's tucked under my leg when I sit down. Thus the bag is resting vertically against the front edge of my seat and can't fall/slide forward. Things that could ruin this plan: bags with only a short strap, straps with a ton of buckles that are uncomfortable to sit on, very short legs or very tall seats that limit the amount of space behind the driver's calves. So YMMV but it works for me.
posted by aimedwander at 7:53 AM on September 20, 2017


What is under that dome of plastic between the two foot wells in most vehicles that only the Sienna and Prius can open up?

Wiring, ducting for the climate control vents, mechanical linkages for the shifter. It's not impossible to move this stuff out of the way (especially if, as in a Prius, the shifter is not mechanical) but it requires the designers to actually think about how to do it. If that area is cleared out, it's because it was specifically prioritized.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 7:57 AM on September 20, 2017


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