9 Handbag Essentials That Every Woman Needs

Purse? Check. Keys? Check. Cell phone? Check. That’s all a woman needs in her handbag, right? Well, you may need nothing more for the school run or a quick shopping trip, but if you’re heading out for a day at the office or about town, there’s a whole host of items that every woman should have in her handbag to ensure she’s ready for whatever the day has to throw at her. Here are 9 of the most important.

1. Wallet

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Naturally you’ll need your cards, but don’t forget to keep a little loose change too (to pay for a carton of milk or for parking). A well-equipped wallet should also include emergency contact details, a note of any regular medication in case of an accident, and maybe an organ donor card as well.

2. Cell phone

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Nowadays, your cell phone is so much more than just a way to contact people. You may have a payment system installed, a calendar with alerts set up, push notifications from your social media, and your “to do” lists. Your phone may also function as your personal trainer, fitness tracker and news feed, so keep your phone handy and invest in a portable charger or charging phone case to avoid sudden battery failure.

3. Make-up essentials

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If you’re heading out straight from the office or merely need a quick spruce up during the day, make-up essentials are just what you need. Keep a basic supply including foundation or BB cream, blusher, eyeliner, mascara and lipstick. You can fit all of these into a small zipped purse. Buy miniature travel versions of your moisturizer, and don’t forget to pack makeup removal wipes. For the finishing touch, keep a small perfume atomizer to hand as well.

4. Key ring

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At the very least, you’ll probably need house keys, and maybe car keys too. But with a little forethought, your key ring can become a mini toolkit in itself. Attach a tiny torch (no more fumbling with the keyhole in the dark!), a cutter, a bottle opener if you like a drink, and perhaps a universal screwdriver or similar for those annoying emergencies.

5. First aid kit

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You don’t need to carry a full kit here. Look for a mini version with tiny tubes of antiseptic ointment, a couple of Band-Aids (handy for cushioning heels against shoes that rub), and some individual antiseptic wipes. Safety pins are also useful, if only for replacing a missing button or hook.

6. Personal hygiene

Staying fresh and clean on the move is easy. Breath mints or chewing gum will banish bad breath (or the tell-tale scent of your lunchtime balti!), whilst hand gel gives you instantly clean hands whenever you need them. And a supply of feminine items is always a good idea, in case your monthly “buddy” decides to visit unexpectedly.

7. Beauty essentials

A little zipped bag with beauty essentials ensures you’ll always look your best. Spare hair accessories will prevent embarrassingly uncontrollable hair, and storing a few plastic earring backs means you’ll never lose an earring again. Spare nylons also avoids an unexpected wardrobe malfunction.

8. Pen and notebook

Even if you keep everything on your cell phone, you never know when a pen and notebook could come in handy. It’s sometimes easier to jot down some details for a friend, note the name of a new restaurant or assemble a list of project materials on paper, and you can buy tiny books with integral pens that hardly take up space at all.

9. Healthy snack

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Finally, it’s all too easy to succumb to a sugary donut or chocolate bar when hunger strikes but you don’t have time to look for something healthy. Combat this possibility by carrying a small snack with you. Cereal bars, dried fruit and nut snack packs, and fresh fruit are all great—perhaps invest in a fruit carrier if you prefer softer items such as bananas or grapes.

Now you may think you’ll need a bag the size of Santa’s sack to carry all these essential items around with you, but in reality a shopper or tote bag has all the space you need. If you prefer a smaller version, it’s amazing how much you can squeeze into a little bag if you really try. So there’s no excuse for not being totally prepared at all times, is there?