The contents of your wallet say a lot about where you are in life and what you value. In college, I always kept my cell phone, wallet, keys, and ID with me wherever I went.
When I graduate, I add my work-related items, such as an ID badge, a laptop, a notebook, and a pen to my wallet. Now that I have taken the dog, it is very full of canine accouterments such as handling, folding food, and water containers, leash, and dogs.
All in all, I have tried to walk the line between carrying a few essentials and 15 pounds of “if possible” things that never work.
And with that, I’ve found that the keys to knowing what to keep in your bag are things that fall under the category of importance, integration, and multiple uses.
To help you prepare for the surprises that come with life without overcrowding your bag (and overloading your shoulders), here are 12 things you should always put in your bag before leaving the house:
Table of Contents
Tissue travel package
Only about 8% of adults in the US should experience hay fever, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.
But even if you do not have allergies, a small packet of tissue can be helpful after a breakdown, during an unexpected cold, or when your child decides to eat jelly with his or her hands.
Personal stylist and V-Style founder Vanessa Valiente say you can find many uses for this. Vaseline can act as a lip balm, balm, makeup remover, and moisturizer all in one small container that will fit many bags.
Just think of all the germs you may encounter during the day, whether they are hidden in public transportation handrails, in the bathroom doorcase, or on your phone screen. A hand disinfectant should not take the place of a hand wash, but it is best to be there when you can get to the sink immediately.
In bad weather, cabinet failure, or an unexpected trip to the gym – hair bands can save a little life. Although, if you have short hair, a few bobby pins or clips may also be worth throwing in your daily bag.
Healthy snacks and a bottle of water
These are important things that will keep you dehydrated or on an unhealthy diet, according to clinical nutritionist Jennie Miremadi recommends keeping something rich in protein, such as packets of almond butter or beef sticks, snacks, in your bag.
You never know who you will meet on a particular day, so business cards are on stylist Valiente’s list of things to have. “I’ve been that naughty person looking for a business card many times because I’m out,” he said.
Minutes for breathing
Because you never know who you’re going to meet, especially after you treat yourself to a pasta lunch stuffed with garlic.
This will depend on your circumstances, but it is always a good idea to have a few OTC medications that eliminate inflammation or pain in your pocket in case of an emergency.
Even if you use them to listen to music or as an indication that you are not in a position to talk to a stranger, this is not negotiable.
Portable phone battery charger
There’s nothing as bad as that feeling lost when you’re out and your phone dies.
Spare pad or tampon
If you are menstruating, it is always best to have an extra tampon in case the hormones are gone haywire. It is also good to have one person who knows “yes” when someone asks if anyone has a tampon.
If you do your makeup on the go, so a makeup bag is a must for me. (I don’t really like getting foundation or powder in all my stuff, thx.)
Even if the makeup bag is not your thing, keeping a few basic items or your favorite red lipstick fixer on hand is a good idea to touch all day or go day and night.
A pair of earrings/jewelry
You go out busy with no makeup, oily hair, and beer and bae invite you to lunch with their parents, but you don’t have time to run back to your house to relax.
A cool pair of earrings or a shiny necklace will not cover your underwear or lighten your flyways but will help you look a little more compact in a hurry.
Hair braids and bobby pins
Eventually, they will get lost in the black hole where all the hair ties and bobby pins go, so keep it.
Your wallet, your desk, your car keep it everywhere so you never have it because conflicts are so bad!
This beautiful wet brush is the size of a bag and completely changes the game as it can be used on wet or dry hair.
I’m a progressive doodler and idea jotter, and there’s nothing that frustrates me more than having an idea or wanting to draw something and have nothing to take away.
Yes, you are sure, you can use your phone, but there is something wonderful about me about having one place for all your precious creative ideas and texts that you carry with you as soon as inspiration comes.
Pen and pencil
So you can write down all your clever ideas and draw your masterpiece, of course!
This cool one from Bic is a pen and pencil in one place, so it can save you perfect space.
I find that I am very organized and very focused all day when I make a list of things to do and a list of things I have done, and having a good planner with me everywhere can enable me to use it all day.
Yes, you can also use your phone for this purpose if the editors are not your thing, but I like to write on things, okay?
Wipes for the face/baby
I have oily skin, so there are some days when I just need to clean the slate and start over if you know what I mean. These simple wipes are my favorites.
Baby wipes are also great for minor injuries that can happen to you all day, such as spilling a drink in your car or putting makeup on your black pants.
Whether you believe in luck or not, a personal thing or a charm of luck is a good thing to stay in your person.
This could be a wonderful note your SO has written for you, a cookie treasure, a trinket given to your best friend, a lucky cent – anything that gives you fuzziest or will make you smile when you have a great day.