What Every College Girl Needs in Her Purse

As if you weren’t already carrying around your entire life.

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Picture of my purse with everything taken out (portable phone charger, lip liner, hand sanitizer, safety pins, healthy snack, enough juice)
Yup, everything fits.

I am extremely jealous of girls who don’t feel the need to carry large bags. My work bff, for example, carries a cute little crossbody bag with her keys, her wallet, and maybe some hand lotion. And that’s all she needs!

I, however, hear alarm bells go off in my head if my bag feels sorta light.

Sometimes, this is a curse – trying to find exact change while digging through a crust of compressed receipts, sticky notes, and doodles, for example.

But sometimes, it’s also a beautiful blessing – like when you have a brilliant idea for a poem and you’re able to jot it down in your notepad, or you have a tissue for someone on the elevator with a bad case of the sniffles.

Once you’ve found the one bag to rule them all, filling it with the things you need on a day-to-day basis can help you feel just one step further along on your path to adulthood and.

What Should You Keep in Your Purse?

1. A makeup bag

I do my makeup on the go a lot, so a makeup bag is necessary for me. (I’m not so fond of finding foundation or powder all over my belongings, thx.)

Even if a makeup bag is not your thing, keeping a couple of the basics or your favorite red lipstick fixer on hand is nice for touch-ups throughout the day or going from day to night.

Related reading: Our all-time favorite makeup bags for college women.

2. A pair of earrings / jewelry

You’re out running errands with no makeup, greasy hair, and a beanie and bae invites you to lunch with their parents, but you don’t have time to race back to your apartment to freshen up.

A cool pair of earrings or a sparkly necklace won’t cover your undereye bags or tame your flyaways, but it will help you look a little more put-together in a rush.

Related reading: The timeless jewelry every girl needs.

 3. Hair ties and bobby pins

They’ll eventually get lost in the black hole where all hair ties and bobby pins go, so stock up.

4. A hair brush

Your purse, your desk, your car…keep one everywhere so you’re never without one, because tangles are the worst!

This cute wet brush is perfectly purse-size and a total game-changer as it can be used on wet or dry hair.

5. A notebook / sketchbook

I am a constant doodler and idea jotter, and nothing frustrates me more than having an idea or wanting to draw something and having nothing to get it down on.

Yeah, sure, you could use your phone, but there’s something magical to me about having a single place for all your most precious creative thoughts and scribbles that you carry around with you just for when inspiration strikes.

6. A pen and a pencil

So you can write down all your brilliant ideas and sketch your masterpieces, obvi!

This cool one from Bic is actually both pen and pencil in one, so it’s a perfect space-saver.

7. A planner

I find that I’m much more organized and focused throughout the day if I write a to-do list and a done list, and having a cute planner that I take with me everywhere makes me more likely to use it throughout the day.

Of course, you could also use your phone for this purpose if planners aren’t your thing, but I just like writing in things, okay?

Also read: 5 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Planner

8. Pack of tissues

For winter colds, crying during sad movies, and showing kindness to strangers. You’re welcome.

9. Face wipes / baby wipes

I have greasy skin, so there are some days when I just need to clean the slate and start anew, if you know what I mean. These Simple wipes are my fave.

Baby wipes are also super great for the small messes that can befall you throughout the day, like spilling a drink in your car or getting makeup on your black pants.

10. A personal item

Buy from Amazon.com

Whether you believe in luck or not, a personal item or a lucky charm is a lovely thing to keep on your person.

This could be a particularly sweet note your SO has written you, a fortune cookie fortune, a trinket that your best friend gave you, a lucky penny – whatever gives you the fuzzies or will make you smile when you’re having an icky day.

Mine are two lucky pennies and a heart the husdude made for me out of a straw wrapper.

11. Feminine product of your choice


12. And an extra

What if you use your extra and another girl asks for one in the bathroom and you don’t have one ?! The wooooooooorst.

13. Lip Balm and Hand lotion

This is more of a winter thing for me, because greasy skin, but I hate the feeling of chapped lips and itchy dry hands in the winter. Dry skin havers, how do you do it?

14. Mints or Gum

Because no one likes to be smelly, right?

Bonus: This yummy Xylitol gum actually reduces cavity bacteria in your mouth, so it helps keep the dentist away!

15. A snack

I am v. pro-snack. A hungry Sara is a hangry Sara, so I try to keep an energy drink or a snack in my purse on the days when I’m on the go.

P.S. I highly, highly recommend the LaraBar chocolate chip cookie dough flavor.

16. A book

I like keeping a book in my purse because 1) I love to read and 2) I love having something to do in public while I’m waiting for someone or found a cute coffee shop that I want to spend some time in.

I particularly like books of poetry, short stories, or novels with short chapters or sections to keep with me, so it’s easy to start and stop when I have a rare free moment.


Or, as I like to call it, purse-ception! Keeping a small, crossbody purse in your bag that acts as your wallet makes quick changes from day to night so. much. easier. Take purse/wallet out of bag; leave bag at home. Done!

Look for wallets with detachable straps or crossbody purses with slots for cards or pockets. I particularly like crossbody bags with chains rather than straps, because they are generally easier to store in the purse during the day when it’s doing wallet duty.

What do you think?

What do you keep in your purse? Are you a tiny purse person or a big bag person? What books are you reading right now? Let me know in the comments below!

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18 thoughts on “What Every College Girl Needs in Her Purse”

  1. For anyone with a small shoulder bag like me, I carry
    💙 Travel Size Perfume
    💙 Mints, Lollipop
    💙 Wallet, Airpods
    💙 Pen
    💙 Tazer
    💙 Lip Gloss
    💙 Tissues, Sanitizer

    • Me i have

      1 gum
      2 pads (just in case you never know )
      3 mini perfume
      4 lip gloss
      5 chapstick
      6 vasiline
      7 candy
      8 hair ties
      9 phone

  2. Here are things in my handbag that were not listed here:
    1. Purse light 💡
    2. Pepper spray 🌶️
    3. Swiss army knife 🔪
    4. Apple air tag 🍎
    5. Measuring tape 🧮
    6. First aid kit ⛑️
    7. Mini umbrella ☂️
    8. Mini fan 💨
    9. Power bank ⚡
    10. Ear phones 🎧

    Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

  3. I love carrying big shoulder/shopping bags because I like to take stuff with me everyday. I carry face wash and face moisturizer, a toothbrush and toothpaste, a notepad or notebook, my collection of key chain ornaments, candy or chocolate, coupons, post its and books or magazines. Plus other stuff. (Hard on the shoulder though).

  4. I prefer medium to large bags that fit everything I carry and coordinate with my large bust (I am a 34HH in UK sizing and a 34L in US sizing and small bags would look ridiculous on me). I carry a binder I use for game and general notes (I have what information I tend to look up online about games for times I can’t go online like at my father-in-law’s house; I used to use small notebooks but kept running out of space so I needed something expandable), large composition book I use for journaling, bag I store thin things in (pictures, cards, etc), bag I store personal care items in (pop up brush, hair ties, menstrual cup, lip balm, hair scissors, tweezers, tissues, and anti motion sickness supplies), Nintendo 2DS in it’s own case which carries it along with all my games (I primarily play three franchises) and accessories, Kindle Fire 10, basic Kindle e-reader, cell phone, glasses, sunglasses, and wallet. I currently am carrying the L.L Bean medium size Tote in Bright Navy. It’s waterproof which is important because it rains often here. Blue and green is my favorite color combination lately. It has a long key lanyard inside the inner zipper pocket which holds my keys. Sometimes I also sometimes carry my son’s tablet and play dough. I’m 90% geeky tomboy and 10% girly. I carry my large bags everywhere with me. They fit my portable hobbies which are perfect for any and every free moments like waiting in line or for an appointment. That’s how I have time for them each day

  5. For me: cellphone charger; small camera (I like photography); panties; menstrual pad for backup (I use the cup which I don’t carry around with me); toothpicks, sunglasses; small roll of toilet paper (way more versatile than kleenex for spills, nose, when there’s none in the bathroom, to use as a napkin…); cough drops; Sulfa brush; pouch with herbal tea sachets and stevia packets;keys; pens; wipes for screens and glasses; glasses; sunglasses; credit cards on a wristlet; coin purse; ponytail holder; cellphone; sometimes tablet and Kindle; sometimes power bank; allergy meds (seasonal); supplements; lip balm; eye liner; nail file; nail clip; pouch for receipts; hand cream; notebook; sometimes my journal

  6. there are not 17 thins to keep in your purse,
    and the another import thing is buy fashion at cheap store
    from amazon or http://ootdshare.com/bags

  7. definitely a lot of unnecessary extras (how heavy is your purse?? haha) but good inclusion of essentials that us gals need. notebook i dont personally find vital (do you really get the insatiable urge to draw or write when youre going out to brunch with the fam?) and planner i use an app on my phone. again, the book is totally unnecessary unless you are personally fond of carrying a bag of rocks on your shoulder but apart from that, makes sense!!

  8. I pretty much keep the same things in my purse and I freak out when I don’t have it. it doesn’t fail that the day I forget to bring one thing is the day I need it

  9. My everyday bag is a small black cambridge satchel (which is THE bag in my opinion) and surprisingly I can fit a lot in there! Among basics and a lot of stuff you mentioned in the post, I also carry a nail file, a small perfume vial/deodorant, some drugs (for my allergies, anxiety and some painkillers), some kind of spot treatment (Advil if there’s nothing better) for my acne, a just-in-case pair of gloves/sunglasses depending on the season, and if I switch to a backpack I also pack some warm tea or cold lemonade.


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