One of the essential lessons adulthood has taught us about going out of the house is “to always leave prepared.” A handbag is a must-have for any woman. It doesn’t matter if it’s a purse, a tote, a sling bag, or a handbag – they are always a part of us when we’re outside the house. Bags are portable spaces for stashing everything you may need on the go.
But of course, we can’t put everything inside our handbag. It’s not only dragging, but it can also ruin our outfits and can be pretty inconvenient than helpful. To help prepare you for any surprise that life may throw at you without overstuffing your bag and overloading your shoulders, here are the essentials you must carry in your purse before leaving home:
1. Spare house keys
This must be at the top of the list for everyone, but somehow, we often forget and get locked out. It’s a nightmare to forget your keys inside your apartment or house, so having a spare key or two inside your bag is a total lifesaver. When we’re in a rush, we tend to forget to bring it, so make sure you have a spare and keep it inside the bag. It doesn’t only make our lives easier, but it also makes us mentally at peace.
And whenever you get home, make it a habit to slide the keys back into your bag. The inside zippered compartment or an external zipper pocket is the perfect place for your house keys.
A phone is a must for all of us. Our daily life is dependent on that gadget. Need to contact and update the friend you’re going to meet? You need a phone. Need to take photos of your shopping trip to check in with your spouse to make sure you buy the right thing? You need a phone. Bored while queuing at the counter or want to listen to music on the commute? You need a phone. So, don’t forget to grab your phone from the charging port whenever you’re about to leave your house.
It’s best to put your phone in an easily accessible but secure part of your bag (like the exterior pocket at the back), so you can easily grab it whenever you receive a call or a message. And when picking a phone case, make sure it does not only protect the phone but must also fit into the pockets.
3. Wallet or card holder
Never forget your wallet when leaving home, even when you’re driving and not planning to spend any money. You may need it for emergencies. People usually keep some cash, debit or credit cards, business cards, and IDs in their wallets – all of which can come in handy.
But in this modern age of cashless transactions, a wallet may not be necessary. Debit cards, credit cards, business cards, IDs, loyalty cards, and discount cards can be conveniently organized and secured by a cardholder. It’s more compact than a wallet, so that it can be a preferable choice.
4. Hand sanitizer or rubbing alcohol
Whatever you do, wherever you go, a hand sanitizer will always come in handy. Having a hand sanitizer tucked inside your handbag will help protect you from viruses and bacteria that may come in contact with other people.
If you’re not a fan of gel-like hand sanitizers, rubbing alcohol in a small bottle can come in handy. Hand sanitizers and rubbing alcohol are also ideal for disinfecting your stuff after being in contact with dirt and other contaminants.
5. Hair ties, hair brushes, or comb
We can’t always have picture-perfect hair, as it can become unruly throughout the day, mostly due to weather conditions. You can worry less about having dry and frizzy hair by always carrying hair ties and a compact hair brush or comb with you. Having this handy stuff is essential for those unexpected moments when you need to be in your best look. Imagine coming for an interview with your hair tossed in all angles and having no way of fixing it! If you have short hair, a few bobby pins and hair clips might be worth tossing in your everyday bag.
A travel pack of tissues can be useful if you have allergies. It’s also useful for making sure you’re ready to use any public restroom without worrying if they have tissues or not. Besides these, a small pack of tissues can be useful for cleaning up spills during an unexpected cold or when your child decides to eat ice cream while on the go.
7. Wet wipes
Wet wipes are convenient items that you can use multi-purposely. You can use it to wipe off stains on your dress, disinfect your hands, and wipe your face clean. It can also clean your bottom better than tissues if you happen to poop in a public restroom (we never want to do it outside the house, but sometimes it can’t wait!). However, make sure that the wet wipes are safe for your skin, as some people might be allergic to chemicals and fragrances present in them. To be on the safe side, choose a small pack of baby wipes – they are designed to be hypoallergenic, anyway.
8. Moisturizer or sunscreen
Another basic stuff that should be in your handbag is a moisturizer. Having a skin moisturizer ready keeps your skin feeling fresh and hydrated all day long. You need not worry about dry elbows and flaky skin when you have a tube of moisturizing cream on the go.
When you’re going to be out in the sun or if you live in a place where the sun tends to be harsh, you may need to touch up your sunscreen while on the go. Keep a small bottle in your bag and leave the bigger bottle at home.
9. Compact powder
Sometimes, you need to excuse yourself so you can powder your nose. If you have an oily face or if you have a long day ahead of you and you need to keep looking fresh, a compact powder with a mirror is a must to keep in a bag. If you need to touch up your other makeup items, it’s up to you, but don’t go out without a powder.
10. Lip balm
If you’re looking to avoid dry and chapped lips, lip balm is a must. You can always have a lush, hydrated lip when you constantly carry a lip balm stick in your purse, no matter the season. When choosing a travel lip balm, it’s best to choose a lip balm stick, so you can avoid dipping your finger, which will be carrying germs, into a lip balm pot and then applying it to your lips.
11. Phone charger and power bank
Since we’re using our phones most of the time, we must ensure they won’t run out of juice while on the road. Most of us spend most of our time with our smartphones scrolling social media to pass the time and relieve boredom during a commute or any time where on the wait. When leaving the house, make sure that you have brought your phone charger or a power bank to keep your phone charged so you stay updated with the latest happenings or to stay connected with your friends, family, or followers.
More importantly, a charged phone comes in handy during unprecedented occasions as well. We never want to be in an emergency situation while our phone is dead. Likewise, you can always be prepared to take photos and videos when necessary.
12. Meds and plaster
We can’t undermine the importance of having these items in our handbags. It is only sensible to bring just the right amount of meds, especially if you have ongoing treatments for allergies and illnesses. Plasters are also pretty handy for accidental slips and minor cuts that need immediate care.
If you plan on going somewhere that might take a long ride, you better leave prepared with medicines that will help you get through motion sickness or unexpected diarrhea attacks.
13. Water bottle
Staying hydrated is important, so if you’re going to be out for a long while, it’s best to keep a water bottle with you. A reusable water bottle will not only keep you hydrated, especially during hot days – it can also be a statement-making accessory. Nowadays, there are lots of water bottles in pretty colors and designs so you can show a bit more of your personality.
Insulated water bottles, flasks, and stainless steel water bottles are better choices than reusable plastic bottles. They tend to maintain the temperature of your water (or any other liquid you want to store there, like coffee, tea, or juice).
14. A healthy snack
Avoid getting hunger pangs on the go by keeping a small snack in your purse, like protein bars or small packets of biscuits. These things come in handy when you need something quick and easy to eat without getting your hands dirty.
Nowadays, the weather can be very, very unpredictable. One minute it’s super sunny; the next one, it’s a massive downpour. So, unless you plan to dance through the rain on your way home, make sure to bring a foldable umbrella that fits inside your handbag.
Choose an umbrella that fits perfectly in your handbag and ensure that it doesn’t consume most of the space. If you do, you will end up with a bulky bag with items bulging from the inside. Select a small but functional one that matches your fashion and personality.
16. Face mask
The recent pandemic has made us comfortable wearing a mask. Face masks also protect you and the people around you, especially when you’re feeling sick. Wearing a mask when commuting or driving to work or school keeps you from the threat of pollution. It limits the spread of the sickness-causing virus, which can be life-threatening for people whose immune system is weak.
17. Mints or gum
You’ll never know who you’re going to run into, so make sure you have mints or gum with you to keep your breath fresh, especially if you are planning to eat out for lunch.
18. Spare pads or tampons
If you’re a menstruating woman, it’s best to always keep an extra pad or tampon in your everyday bag, whether or not your period is coming. Sometimes, hormones get crazy, and you may get your period earlier than expected. It’s also nice to be that person who can say “yes” when someone needs a tampon or pad.
Headphones can help make your commute less boring and more enjoyable. Whether you’re using it to listen to music, talk in a call hands-free, or as a social cue that you’re not in the mood for conversation – headphones can be a lifesaver.
20. Pen and paper
We’ve all been there – we’re out in public, and we need something to write on. Typing in the notes app of your phone is never the same. It’s always a good thing to bring a pen or a small notebook or notepad so you can use it when you need them.