What’s In My Purse? The Everyday Essentials Inside My Bag

You might be surprised at whats in my purse -- I've got a lot of little essentials!

I’m always curious about the contents of other women’s purses, so I thought I’d share what’s in my purse with you in this post! After all, there’s a lot you can glean from what’s inside someone’s handbag, whether you’re learning more about their lifestyle or encountering some really cool item you didn’t know about before.

While I try to limit the contents of my bag to a reasonable number, quite a few items have earned a spot in my EDC. (That stands for “everyday carry,” which is apparently modern slang referring to what you keep in your purse, work bag, or pockets. The more you know!)

Since I do like to keep a number of items in my bag, I now swear by using purse organizers — they make everything easy to find, and make it quick and easy to switch bags as often as I like! Without further ado, here’s a list of what’s in my bag, or the items that I consider my purse essentials.

Sometimes a simple tote is all you need! Find out how I store my totes so they keep their shape in the video at the end of this post.

 24 Things I Keep In My Purse (AKA My Everyday Carry) In 2024

I always carry a phone battery charger in my bag.

1. Magnetic Portable Charger

Nothing is worse than a dead phone, and it always seems to happen at the worst possible time! To avoid such calamities, this Anker magnetic portable charger is one of my purse must haves. It attaches magnetically to my phone (no tangled wires!) and has enough juice for a full charge, even when my phone battery is completely dead.

2. Small Adhesive Bandages

You never know when you’re going to get scratched or those new shoes are going to give you a blister. I like to keep a couple of adhesive bandages in my purse for those kinds of emergencies. They hardly take up any room at all — you can even put one in your wallet!

This travel-sized tube of Atrac-Tain lotion for dry skin will always find a place in my purse.

3. Lotion For Extremely Dry Skin

If you’ve read my blog post about using Atrac-Tain to heal seriously dry skin, you probably won’t be surprised to see that I keep it in my purse! I was so happy when I found a purse-sized bottle of Atrac-Tain — anyone who suffers from dry skin would benefit from having this lotion in their bag!

4. AirPods

I’m an avid audiobook listener, because I find it a great way to entertain myself when I’m doing chores or working on something that doesn’t require all of my attention. Between listening to audiobooks, making calls, and making videos for people on Pinterest and Instagram, my AirPods are never out of my reach!

5. Healthy Snack

It’s all too easy for me to get so busy that I accidentally forget about lunch, so I like to keep a healthy snack in my purse for just such emergencies, whether it’s a small bag of trail mix, a granola bar, or some dried fruit. It’s something I started doing as a new mom, but you never know when you might need a snack — at any stage of life!

This little pill organizer doesn't look like a pill organizer, which is why I like to keep it in my purse.

6. Pill Box

I had the hardest time finding a pill box that wasn’t obviously a pill box, but I eventually succeeded a few years ago when I found this pill box from Port and Polish at Nordstrom. It has a full week of compartments to keep things organized, plus it looks nice and neat from the outside.

7. Compact Mirror

A compact mirror always comes in handy, whether to check your teeth after a meal or for those quick beauty touchups. I like this compact mirror because it’s lightweight, the perfect size, and has a 10x magnifying mirror on one side that’s helpful for finding those eyelashes that get stuck in your eye.

8. Complete Relief Roll-On

I keep a Complete Relief essential oil roll-on in my bag to nip headaches in the bud. When I feel one coming on, I can just swipe some Complete Relief on my temples and the back of my neck for blissful relief. It has saved my day many times!

I feel a safer now that my husband convinced me to carry pepper spray in my purse.

9. Pepper Spray

I started carrying pepper spray at my husband’s suggestion, and I must admit it does make me feel safer to have it with me. I found this small Mace brand pepper spray on Amazon, and they’re available in three different sizes. You might choose to carry a personal alarm instead.

10. Sunglasses

Sunglasses can be a fun accessory, but they’re also essential eye protection, even in winter — the glare that comes off of snow is no joke! I make sure to keep a pair of sunglasses (in a hard plastic case so I don’t mess up the lenses) with me at all times to protect my eyes from UV rays, and to make a fashion statement when I need to! ;-)

11. Mini Notebooks

You never know when a great idea will strike, so I’ve learned to keep a mini notebook or two with me at all times. I use them to make lists, jot down important information, and make note of any ideas that come up that I don’t want to forget about.

My favorite Zebra pens are always in my purse.

12. My Favorite Pen

What good is a mini notebook if you don’t have anything to write with? These Zebra pens are my absolute favorite pens, no contest! They always write perfectly smoothly, and it’s gotten to the point where I resent having to use any other pen.

13. Comb

My long hair can get out of control fairly quickly, especially on windy days. A small comb with wide teeth is all I need to get my tresses back under control. 

14. Stain Remover Wipes

I wouldn’t say that I frequently spill things, but I do it often enough that I’d rather be prepared for them to happen. These Tide stain wipes are definitely worth the space they take up, which isn’t very much at all. (Tide pens work just as well, but I find the wipes slightly easier to use.)

One quirky thing I always carry in my bag is a small salt and pepper shaker.

15. Compact Salt And Pepper Shaker

This one may sound strange, but finding a purse-friendly salt and pepper shaker has been a total game-changer for me! While I can’t seem to find the exact one I got online anymore, I’m sure any travel salt/pepper shaker would work just as well.

16. Small Multi-Tool

These tiny Swiss Army multi-tools can go on your key ring and you’ll have tweezers, a tooth pick, a small knife, a screw driver, and even a little pair of scissors all in one. I can’t tell you how many times those scissors have saved the day, and the small knife blade is ideal for jobs that would break your nails. They come in a lot of fun colors, too!

A pink lip liner is an essential everyday carry item in my bag.

17. Lip Liner

I always keep a simple pink lip liner in my bag for quick touch-ups. Lip liner is great for those of us with fine lines around our lips because it acts as a barrier and helps prevent your lipstick from “feathering”.

18. Travel-Size Hairspray

My hair is so fine that it doesn’t take much to become out-of-control frizzy, so I like to carry my favorite hairspray to tame any wayward strands before meetings or lunch meetups. I like the Sexy Hair Spray & Play variety because it has great hold but doesn’t feel stiff.

A business card holder makes you look more professional and I always have mine in my purse.

19. Business Card Holder

I keep my business cards in this cute little leather wallet. Few things make me feel as professional as fishing out a business card from my business card holder to hand to someone I’ve met. (It’s a lot more suave than digging around my purse for a loose card, anyway!)

20. Magnetic Purse Holder

Ever been in a public restroom with nowhere to put your purse but the floor? Me too. Now I have a Bagnet magnetic purse holder that simply lets me hang my bag on any steel surface (like a stall door!)

Tissues are a must-have in any purse!

21. Tissues

Having a pack or two of travel tissues in my purse is an absolute must. From touchups to runny noses, having tissues in my purse comes in handy multiple times a day.

22. Leather Wallet

I absolutely love my Mark & Graham Soho wallet, but unfortunately, they don’t seem to make it anymore. However, there are plenty of similar-looking leather wallets available online, like this Itslife RFID blocking wallet.

Keeping throat lozenges in my purse means I don't have to worry about a dry mouth or bad breath.

23. Throat Lozenges Or Mints

I don’t know if it’s an age thing, but I find that my mouth and throat feel dry more often these days. These throat lozenges help eliminate that dry, parched feeling, and they leave my breath fresher as well. (Gum works too!)

24. Hand Sanitizer

The number of things you touch every day would astound you, and not all of those things are scrupulously clean. A small bottle of hand sanitizer is a lifesaver, especially when you want to eat that little snack you’ve been carrying around! I make a DIY non-drying hand sanitizer that works great without bothering my notoriously sensitive skin.

The purse I carry all these essentials in was a HUGE splurge for me, but one I don't regret at all.

BONUS: The Purse Itself

As the container for all the items above, I thought my purse deserved an honorable mention in my EDC list. My Creagh Workbag was a HUGE splurge, but it has proven to be such a durable workhorse of a bag that I’ve never felt a drop of buyer’s remorse. (Looking for a similar bag at a more affordable price point? Check out this vegan leather bag from Etsy or the Mark & Graham Caroline leather bag.)

Not everyone likes or needs a large bag — in fact, when I asked my readers about their favorites, a variety of different types ended up in the list of 9 must-have bag styles I posted afterward. If caring for a nice leather bag seems daunting, rest assured that it’s not that difficult to clean a leather purse, so don’t let that put you off of getting one!

So, what’s in your purse?

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Bright Ideas

  • I quit carrying a traditional purse over 40 years ago. I replaced it with a literal tool bag with EVERYTHING in it comparable to Mary Poppins!!! However it remained in my vehicle. Because wherever my vehicle was, I was. I would just grab my phone and keys and go. I was ready for anything within just a few steps.
    Today I don’t even have that anymore. I don’t use most of the things in her list. But there are various necessities in my truck. I realized possessions were keeping me insecure. So it’s still grab the phone and keys and go.

  • I actually recently got lucky and found an expensive name brand purse – the Sak when I was at a thrift store a few weeks ago. I washed it and put leather polish and conditioned it. I lately have carried wet ones, Altoids. I did buy a portable phone charger about a year ago. I’ve traveling but l tried to use it , and it wasn’t charging very fast. I’ll have to ask my sister if she has the charger in the picture. It looks a lot like it.

  • It varies slightly but I always have lip balm, tissues, water, pen, emery board, chewing gum, painkillers, money, credit card, phone, reading glasses and sun glasses. Oh, and a mini Swiss army knife in a pink case. That’s the basics

  • My purse contents can vary . A lot of it depends on where I’m going for the day. I’ve been carrying small travel size makeup wipes- because l live in an area where it’s very humid in warmer weather. I actually did a few months ago buy a portable charger. It won’t work with my iPad. I was starting a job and my phone was about ready to bite the dust., Also a few years ago my sisters area had a power outage for s few days. We were able to communicate with them because they use the chargers all the time..That’s when I decided it to get one for emergencies.

  • It would be great if the magnetic phone charger worked for Android phones, but it doesn’t. The manufacturer doesn’t seem to sell one for Android phones, either.

  • When it comes to my purse, I believe in packing only the essentials.

    One feature that matters to me first is the size of the purse I carry. In addition, my must-haves include my wallet, phone, and keys, as they are the pillars of my daily life.

    Furthermore, I always carry lip balm, hand sanitizer, and a small notebook and pen for those spontaneous ideas.

    Lastly, a compact mirror and a pack of mints complete my arsenal, ensuring I’m ready for any situation that comes my way.

  • Hmmm. I go back and forth between a small and a medium bag. But currently carrying a medium one all the time bc I live in an earthquake zone and always have a small kit to get me home if the need arises.
    So that’s first aid, meal bars, small water, hand tool and emergency blanket all in a ziplock. Then wallet, compact mirror, pen, tissues, ginger tabs for settling my stomach on public transport, business cards, extra cash just in case. Handy wipes and disinfectant.
    I made the bag myself so it is convertible- two shoulder or one which helps with weight!

  • I have always disliked carrying a purse. My husband likes me to. So I told him if I ever had a purse it would have to be big enough for my files. Like receipts and the like. So he and my daughter picked out a lovely Harry Potter bag large enough for a file. A smallish portable file. I carry my purse when going out for date night and if I’m going to need my file. There are lots of things in my purse but not anything that Jillee has in hers.

  • Rarely carry a purse! I usually have on pants with pocket, wallet in one back pocket, phone in the other, lip balm, a tissue and keys in the front. So much easier than finding a place to put a purse down that’s sanitary!

  • I am elderly and I carry a very small purse. I always have a small vinyl envelope (from a filofax Pocket wallet) with a lined note page in it on which I printed my doctor, my meds, and my diagnoses. It is slender and very important in case of emergency. I often carry the tiny purse but leave in the car: a large concealed carry purse (I no longer carry a weapon) with many pockets holding anything you would normally carry in a large purse, like your phone charger, mirror, lotion, tissue packet, etc., so they are in my car but not in the tiny purse. I carry about 3 folded tissues in the tiny, knowing that I can replenish my supply when I go to my car. Have you tried the Office Depot “Tul” needle point gel pens? Love the extra fine nib!

  • I’m also one that has gone smaller the older I’ve gotten. I now exclusively use small crossbody purses. Inside is a pack of tissues, my keys, a minimalist wallet, an asthma inhaler, sunglasses, gum, lip balm in a squeeze tube & soap in another squeeze tube (allergic to SLS in most soaps, also think the tiny empty squeeze tubes you can buy from amazon that are the size of the Vaseline lip balm tubes). Anything else first aid items, phone chargers, small manicure set, wipes or sanitizer live in my center console in the car. Any lists are on apps on my phone, so it’s in my hand or in my purse.

  • I carry a phone charging cable and charging block always! I don’t have a portable charger and found myself with a loved one in the er/hospital with a phone losing power. The hospital provided cables and a charging station but all cables for my phone were broken. I couldn’t leave the er to buy a new cable or charge in my car and all phone my numbers, etc, were on my dying phone. Scary as I needed to share updates with family.

  • I carry a very small Coach satchel. Inside you’ll find: the strap to make the purse a crossbody, a pen, my wallet, my keys, and my lip balm. That’s it. Phone is usually in my hand or plugged into the car.

  • This is curious to me because my purse keeps getting smaller and smaller the older I get. The weight was enormous years ago and have been downsizing ever since. Now I carry a very small change purse with cash and some coins, a small foldable fabric credit card holder, my eyeglasses and case, phone and a pen once in awhile if I take a list with me, tube of lip balm, and small portable garage door opener. Ladies, never leave your garage door opener in your car, if your car is stolen they will have access to your home. Most people carry insurance or registration in their glove box with your address. No one would think to call the cops if neighbors see your car going into your garage. Keys are attached to the belt loop at the back of my jeans (former security guard) with my shirt over them and usually kleenex in my pocket. This also keeps me from having to carry anyone else’s things, as I don’t have room.

    • A tip from my local PD: Scan or photocopy your registration, black out your address in the scan or on the copy, then print the scan (or copy the copy). Put the original in a safe place and put the blacked-out address one in your car. You only need the original for things like going to court and the DMV.

  • I also for work have the tiny individual makeup wipes. Never know how much I’ll have to be outside and also the single feminine wipes – both are great for our hot humid Midwest Summers.

  • I always have Kleenex packets – I learned years ago to carry because of allergies, hand sanitizer on my purse handle, eye drops – for contact lenses, compact mirror,Altoids, and my sunglasses. For work I carry wet ones and stain wipes. I use the Shout packets. I’ll have to see if I can locate the Tide ones because the Shout ones are hard to find – usually at Walmart or Walgreens. I did have the Pepper spray years ago but it was too bulky for my purse.

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