Men just don’t get it. They make fun of women for carrying large bags not realizing that there is a reason for it. Because, of course, we are the more organized gender, we want to make sure we have everything we need at all times. It only takes once to realize you could have really used a Band-Aid when you need one or a pain killer for a migraine to make you get your bag organized. And let’s face it, there are so many great designers that it is easy to drop half a paycheck on a new bag. But are you including all the essentials in it? Thankfully, this list of lifesavers will make your task easier. None are expensive and all are fairly small and lightweight. Write down the items you're missing and get them in your purse ASAP. If you have the space, why not? You’ll be thankful later.
There are three reasons to carry aspirin: pain, pain, and pain. From tension headaches and hangovers to workplace backaches to toothaches and joint pain, you never know when you’re going to need pain relief. Some of us are not as able to pop out during work hours to the nearest Rite Aid, or it’s not convenient to leave where we are to buy some. Good news is that a couple pills take up almost no room and can fit in any size purse. Just make sure to replenish your stock if you use them. Keep a bottle in the bathroom within eyesight so you always remember to pop a few in a pill case. If you’re really organized, stock up all the bags you use frequently so you never have to worry about not having medication when you’re in dire need. This goes for other medication too—especially if you need to carry around an EpiPen, inhaler for asthma, or another real lifesaving device.
I know what you’re thinking—I have a phone to write down numbers, scribble notes, or even work on writing assignments for work. But it’s not the same. Relying solely on your electronic device is not a good idea and here are the reasons: What if your battery dies? No explanation needed for how often this occurs. What if it malfunctions? We have all gotten the pinwheel that keeps spinning probably dozens of times (love you iPhone but you’re not perfect.) What if someone steals your phone? What if you leave it somewhere? What if you really need to do something with a pen that you can’t do on your phone, like, say, sign something. There are so many times a waiter doesn’t give you a pen, but if one is in your purse, you can grab it easily. Pens are also useful for writing someone a note on a napkin and leaving it by them without talking to them. Haven’t done this personally, just reciting a friend’s actions… yeah.
If you’re single, and you like to do more than mingle, protect yourself and carry a condom around at all times. Yes, there was a time when men were expected to be the ones to carry condoms, and women wouldn’t dare offer one. But that is not the norm nowadays as women are feeling more comfortable than ever with their intimate health. And do you really want to trust a man to be that responsible? Kidding aside, it’s important that you protect your health if you want to engage in pleasurable activity. If you’re in a relationship and use condoms, show your partner you care about your agreements and be the one to supply protection. If you don’t use condoms, you can still carry one around and encourage your single friends to use it if they decide to go home with someone. Men will be happier too if they know you are being responsible with your health and their health. It doesn’t hurt to be safe.
12 Lip Balm
These kind of lists used to always have lipstick or lip gloss on them, but with all the movements to wear no makeup, women are no longer feeling like it is a necessity to be made up constantly. And we shouldn’t feel that way. If we don’t want to wear makeup, we shouldn’t. That’s why lip balm is so important to have on hand at all times. Lips get chapped in the winter and burned more frequently in the summer. There’s nothing worse than realizing that your chapped lips have caused you to pick, peel, and bite the skin off until they are red and bleeding. Lip balm will keep your lips soft and kissable and you’ll be glad you have it when you feel them cracking. Drugstore lip balms are only a couple bucks and work just as well as the $20 ones as long as you reapply frequently.
11 Healthy Snack
When hunger comes on strong and we can’t grab something to eat, it’s important that we have something in our purse to snack on. If you leave the food up to your office, most likely you will only be eating crap. If you leave the choice up to your mind to pick up a snack somewhere when you’re famished, you will most likely pick something unhealthy—like the whole chocolate bar, a donut, or Cheetos. Force yourself to always eat the healthy option in your purse. When your hunger has calmed down, then ask yourself what you are really in the mood for and you will be able to evaluate your preference more accurately. But the best option is not to let yourself get so hungry that you are unaware of what you’re really putting in your body. If you have to keep a few healthy snacks in your purse, then do that. No judgment here.
Sure, headphones are great for listening to music when you are walking to work, bored, anxious, or heading to the gym. But most importantly, when you need to make calls on the go, it’s best to use headphones so you can have your hands free and actually be able to hear something clearly. Headphones also come in handy for the opposite reason—when you are trying to ignore someone. We have all struggled with this and didn’t know what the polite gesture would be for a refusal. Whether it’s a friend, family member, or a complete stranger who is trying to hit on you, pull out your headphones and plug them into your ears. If you’re too polite to say you don’t feel like talking, this signal will get your point across effectively without having to be rude. Are headphones lifesavers? Absolutely, unless you want to hear cheesy pickup lines on the subway for fun.
9 Oil Blotting Sheets
If you have a powder compact in your purse to keep your makeup looking fresh and not oily, ditch it. Rubbing powder over an oily face only makes your face makeup cakey and the shine shows up again shortly after because it seeps through again. A more effective way to keep your skin looking fresh is to use oil blotting sheets when you start to get sweaty and shiny. The sheets soak up the oil to reveal the makeup you put on in the morning. There’s no need to add more makeup if you only want to get rid of the shine. Taking it away is better than masking it and ruining your foundation. If you have redness during the day, carry a small concealer so you can touch up specific parts of your face without having to apply fresh powder to your whole face. Blotting sheets are very thin and if you’re carrying a smaller purse, you can take out a few sheets instead of bringing the whole bunch.
8 Hand Sanitizer
We touch thousands of things every day, but the worst thing is when we are somewhere that is supposed to have soap and doesn’t. Public restrooms often run out of soap without knowing it, so if you have sanitizer in your purse, you can at least rub some on your hands to make you feel a little better. It is still advisable to tell an employee and wash your hands properly, but the gel can at least kill something as you rub your hands across the door handle that dozens of people have opened without washing their hands either. Another good option if you have room is to carry antibacterial wipes. At least you feel like you are getting rid of something, especially if there is something on your hands (no, not talking about the bathroom anymore.) For example, how many times do you eat at your computer and get sticky food on your fingers? A paper towel does not get that off, but a wet wipe will.
7 Phone Charger
Because our entire lives are on our phones, we would be walking around clueless if the batteries died. Even the cell phones of 5 years ago only had big, chunky chargers and long cords, but now they make them small and easy to carry around. The best way to avoid running out of juice is to always have a charger by your bed, at your office, and in your bag. This is especially important for people who do not work in an office. If you do not have access to plug in your charger, try carrying around a portable power bank. You can get them online for only $15. If you really do not want to carry around a charger, at least get a Mophie case that makes your battery last much longer than it would normally. A little more costly, but totally worth it. And think about it, if ever you get lost having a phone that is fully charged can really help you out!
6 Business Cards
Millennials like to change jobs often. It seems we are never happy and always looking for the next exciting gig. But in the meantime, try to get ahead. It’s important that you carry around a business card with you at all times. It’s really not the same to give someone your email and ask them to plug it into their phone, google you, or try to add you on social media. You should always keep your first impressions professional if you want to be taken seriously. Remain optimistic about your current situation and don’t neglect to bring a card with you because you are planning on finding a new job anyway. You might meet someone who is able to improve your current position or offer you a new job based on the way they perceive you. Always be grateful for what you have and know that things can change at any moment.
5 Pepper Spray
Unless you are a black belt in karate, it is best to carry something to protect yourself. You can never be too careful these days, as it seems like we are hearing about robberies and kidnapping constantly in the news. Pepper spray is an effective way to get out of a bad situation, and it is cheap enough ($10) that you can buy several, throw them in your bags, and forget about them. Many come with a key ring so you can hook them on the side of your purse for easier access. If you do not feel comfortable with pepper spray, carry something else in your purse like a device that activates an alarm, or a light that temporarily blinds someone enough for you to get away. You might not be thinking about carrying such a thing in your bag, but it is always better to be safe than sorry.
4 Feminine Products
So many women don’t carry them around. It might be because they don’t want to accidentally drop one as they reach for their wallet. Or maybe they think they know their cycle and on what exact day menstruation will begin. But even if you’re really regular, there’s always a month where it’s completely off. Stress, anxiety, and depression can change your hormones and cycle easily. Whether it’s a tampon or pad, carrying one around is a necessity. There is absolutely no worse feeling than realizing too late that you started your monthly cycle and have nothing to take care of the problem. Because we all know, toilet paper doesn’t cut it. You should also think about stocking up on these items in your office, locker, any wherever else you work or play. Even if you don’t need them, you might have a friend that asks you for one. Will you be her lifesaver? Indeed.
We cut ourselves all the time, but more importantly, Band-Aids save our feet when we develop blisters that immobilize us. We all have that one pair of shoes that will never become comfortable no matter how many times we "break them in." Every woman knows the pain that comes with a blister from a brand new pair of shoes. In New York City, there are plenty of women carrying around their heels daily for this very reason. It’s best to throw a few different sizes of Band-Aids in your bag just so you have them if you need them for your feet, fingers, or anywhere in between. It goes without saying that everyone, no matter male or female, knows the value of Band-Aids. They probably have a million other uses too, which you can google if you really want to justify carrying them around in your bag. Since they take up almost no room, it can’t hurt.
2 Breath Mints
Pretty sure every woman has a single breath mint floating around at the bottom of one of her purses. That’s how much we value them and how important they are. Breath mints are not only important for kissable, fresh breath, they can be used to mask other offensive odors. If you’re a smoker, carrying breath mints is a must. There’s nothing worse for a non-smoker than to be speaking to someone who has smoker’s breath, especially in the workforce. Respect others by keeping your habit away from them as much as possible. Did you know that mints can even help you stop smoking? Known as an oral fixation habit, smoking can be replaced by putting something else in your mouth to make the transition easier. If you plan to do this, you might go through a lot of mints, so get sugar-free, low-calorie options! Other obvious offensive odors cured by breath mints are coffee breath, garlic-and-onion-lunch breath, and of course, alcohol breath.
Everywhere takes credit card, right? Wrong. Did you know there are still places on this earth that only take cash? Amazing. But it is true. And many smaller shops will only take credit cards if the total is $10-$15 or more. Just when you were dying for a bottle of water after the gym, you end up having to buy some groceries with it as well. Or worse, your cab has a broken credit machine and will not let you leave the cab without paying. The list of reasons why you need cash in your purse is endless. A tip to always have $20 in your bag is to hide it in the inside zipper and forget about it. Do not spend it unless you really need it. Or, you know all those extra slots in your wallet, put a 20 where you do not usually keep your cash. It will really save you one day!