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 adulthoodland.
Here are the 17 things you should carry 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?
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
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
Because YOU NEVER KNOW.
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.
17. A cute wallet THAT’S ALSO A PURSE WHAAAAT
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!