It’s a secret all women know. All but the tiniest handbags serve a dual purpose. Yes, a beautiful purse can pull an outfit together. With some forward planning, a bag can be a first aid kit, a freshening up station, even a snack bar.
Stock your bag with the items below and never again will you be caught out without the right tool to handle whatever emergency life throws at you. It may seem like a lot, but you’d be surprised what a purse can hold. It just takes creativity and organization.
Essential purse items cover all of the basics. They are the kinds of things we need often but aren’t exactly sold on every street corner. Thanks to COVID, the list of items on the essentials list has grown even larger.
- Over the counter medicine
Carrying a small vial of ibuprofen or another pain reliever can be a lifesaver. You can find slim, stylish pillboxes in portable shapes and sizes online or in most pharmacies. To avoid mixing up medications, store only one type of pill in each container.
Other medications that are great to have on hand include antihistamines for allergy sufferers, eye drops, and vitamins.
- Wipes and sanitizers
This is a no-brainer. The outside world can be downright gross. If you encounter a mysterious sticky substance on the subway, it may be a while before you’ll find a bathroom to wash your hands. Avoid this scenario altogether by keeping a packet of baby wipes and hand sanitizer in your bag at all times.
While the alcohol in these products will vaporize any nasty germs, it can also wick moisture away from your skin. Bring along a rich travel-sized hand lotion to prevent irritation and dryness.
Many cities still require people to mask up indoors. Even if that’s not the case where you are at the moment, rule changes can be unpredictable. It makes sense to carry a few extra masks with you, just in case.
If the thought of leaving a mask loose in your bag gives you the heebie-jeebies, invest in a mask holder. These sturdy, slim containers can hold two or three masks at a time. You can protect your mask from dust without taking up too much valuable space.
Beauty and Hygiene
SPF protection is an all-year-round necessity, even in the winter. To receive the highest level of protection, you need to reapply at least every two hours.
The only way to do this is to have access to your sunscreen or SPF lotion at all times. If your favorite brand only offers its products in large bottles, create your own travel-size using empty 100ml containers meant for flying.
Folding brush and mirror combos save space but can be too flimsy for thicker hair types. If you need something more substantial, consider a handleless brush with nylon or boar hair bristles.
Pillboxes are perfect for corralling bobby pins and hair elastics and preventing them from disappearing into the abyss at the bottom of your bag.
- Oral health
In addition to the mainstays of gum and mints, you should consider adding a portable toothbrush set to your daily essentials.
The best travel kits resemble a thinner version of an eyeglass case and can hold your brush and a tube of travel-sized toothpaste. If your bag is running out of room, you can pop a protective cap over your brush and place it in an inner pocket.
At this point, access to wifi hovers just below water and oxygen on the list of human needs. Is there a worse feeling than having to rely on your phone when the battery is dangerously close to one percent? Plan ahead by packing a portable charger.
The right portable technology can also turn your work bag into an office on the go. If your bag doesn’t already have sections to store your laptop, dongles, and charging cords, you can DIY a system using standalone organizers.
Soft pencil cases or makeup bags can also work in a pinch for holding smaller items, like pens, memory cards, or USB drives.
This category is probably the most important. The contents of your bag should also reflect your unique interests and needs. If you feel naked without lipstick, carry around your favorite color.
Moms need a bag that can hold everything to keep their child content, including snacks, water, and all the necessities to handle a toileting emergency. (Dog moms can also relate!)
Other items that fall under this category are any essential prescription medications or personal care items. These items can be carried discreetly in makeup bags or decorative tins.