What I Carry When I Go Outside

Depending on the size of the purse I’m using, my list of items can vary. If I’m carrying a small purse, I prefer to keep only the essential things like my phone, sunscreen, my wallet, home keys, and some skin care products. For larger bags, I include items like my Kindle Paperwhite, a portable fan, my power bank, a small notebook and pen, a coin purse, and a pouch of essentials.

1. Work and Travel
For work or if I’m out all day, my bag includes a tablet or Kindle, earbuds, a paper planner with a pen, a fine fragrance mist, and sometimes a water bottle. If I’m traveling, I add a pouch with chargers, snacks, and possibly a paper book, and I remove the fine fragrance mist. When I’m with my 3-year-old, I include two pull-ups and a pack of wet wipes or a change of clothes.

2. Switching Bags
Switching bags frequently means I have to stay organized. I usually take almost everything out of my bag when I get home and store items in designated spots. Lip products go in a container on my wall, keys hang by the front door, and sunglasses sit on top of the wardrobe. My planner, tablet, and Kindle usually end up in a stack by my bed. Most of my bags have their own tissue and hand sanitizer, which makes switching easier.

3. Smaller Bags
I’m a fan of small or mini purses, so I often carry just my cardholder, keys, AirPods, phone, tissues, gum, travel spray, chapstick, and lipstick. If I have extra space, I throw in a hand sanitizer. For larger bags, I add a water bottle, extra hand wipes, a small pack of nuts, a small umbrella, and some extra plastic bags.

4. Emergency and Essentials
In my vehicle, I keep a first aid kit, extra clothes, emergency tampons, water, snacks, a blanket, a pillow, and a battery jumper. My larger bags carry my card holder with car key attached, a full-sized wallet, my glasses, a small contact lens case, solution, lip balm, hand lotion, phone, small water bottle, tampons, travel perfume, and travel deodorant. I always keep a brush and a hair tie when I leave my home.

5. Public Transit and Commuting
Since I use public transit, I often wear a tote bag. When I don’t, I carry a small crossbody and a canvas tote. I always have with me a small makeup pouch, a book or iPad, my small agenda, card holder, key pouch, tissues, sanitizer, and hand lotion. On most days, I also carry random things like facial spray or a Tide pen, especially when I’m wearing white because I’m clumsy!

6. Daily Carry
On a typical day with a small to medium-sized bag, I carry my phone, two sets of keys, lip balm, lip gloss or lipstick, a small pill case with Tylenol and ibuprofen, a pack of gum, hand wipes, sunglasses in a soft case, a small wallet, a pack of tissues, a small bottle of lotion, and a face mirror.

7. Kid-Friendly Essentials
Having kids means carrying a lot. My bag usually contains my wallet, phone, inhaler, a tin of Tylenol, a tin of pills for my husband, band-aids, spare sanitary pads, two sets of car keys, chapstick, lip gloss, gum, Listerine packs, fingernail clippers, a glass file, a small tube of lotion, a soft sunglasses pouch, pens, a pencil, a small Post-it pad, a tape measure, a fidget toy, hand sanitizer, tissues, and spare hair ties and clips. Despite this, I can still throw in more random stuff that the kids need, plus snacks, my e-reader, and a water bottle. I feel like I have a Mary Poppins shoulder bag!

8. Extras and Organization
I carry a small retractable measuring tape, which is efficient for measuring things before trying them on. Sometimes I switch between my few different bags so that I can keep things as I want. I only carry one pen, a Caran d’Ache, because I’m confident it won’t leak. This helps prevent ruining my bags with cheap pens.

9. Everyday Bag
My everyday bag includes a small zippered wallet, my meds, my phone, tweezers, lip balm, sunglasses, a small tube of Aquaphor, an extra day’s worth of my meds, a couple of snacks, hand sanitizer, an external battery and charger, headband/hair clips, a foldable tote, breath strips, wireless earbuds, and a bottle of water or tea.

11. Work and School
For work, I carry my every day essentials plus my laptop, Avene face spray, headphones, charging cable, hair clip, extra Listerine strips, and a Lilly Pulitzer calendar book. If I’m carrying a bigger purse, I throw in some or all of the following: my Kindle Paperwhite, a portable fan, my power bank, a small notebook and pen, a coin purse, and a pouch of my essentials (sunscreen stick, volcanic roller, Matomage Hair Styling Stick, small comb, small compact, hair tie, two tinted lip balms, and my Loop earplugs).

12. Ready for Anything
In a large tote bag, I also bring water, extra hand wipes, a small pack of nuts, my small umbrella, and some extra plastic bags. I keep a fair amount of items in a big clear zip organizer in my car like hair clips, hair ties, a small lint roller, first aid kits, extra tampons, pens, extra OTC meds, a whole dispenser of face masks, and tissues. I also carry a couple of reusable Envirosax bags, a small flashlight, and a Clippa purse hanger.