Five Must-Have Items for Your Purse

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Besides the obvious – keys, wallet, phone – there are five other things I feel naked without if they aren’t in my bag. (And before you ask, why yes, my bag is frequently a little heavy.) These things aren’t necessary the way the previous three are, but they certainly add convenience and comfort for me wherever I go.


With all the hand-washing we are now required to add to our days, my hands are beginning to feel the lack of hydration. I notice whenever my hands are dry, because they feel rough, but also because my nails begin to break quite easily. When I put on Hand Food, I make sure not only to rub it into my hands, but also to rub it into my nails and cuticles. Hydrated hands and nails are healthy hands and nails.

Chapstick falls into this category, as well. Dry lips are not only unattractive, they are also uncomfortable. When mine begin to chap, they feel rough and have a slight burning feeling to them. My favorite chapstick for the last year or so has been this one, from a shop outside Chicago, where a good friend lives who generously supplies me.

Pen and paper

Despite all the evidence otherwise, I am, in fact, a writer. Having a pen and paper handy is essential for me, both for jotting down ideas and emotions, but also for easing my anxieties. I do calculations of budgets in my journal, regular journal entries, to-do lists, anything I can and need to write down quickly, I have the means to do so. 


With my synesthesia, listening to music can be an immersive experience, complete with colors, textures, or scenes evoked by melodies and harmonies. And, because I don’t want to irritate other people by playing my music aloud (it’s not cool, it’s rude! No one wants to hear your crappy music!), I carry headphones at all times. Because my synesthesia makes music so enveloping, listening to it can help me pass the time quickly if ever I find myself waiting somewhere.

Hair accessories

This usually includes a hair tie or two, and a few heavy-duty bobby pins (my hair is surprisingly thick for a natural blonde). I typically leave my hair down, so if I need a hair tie or bobby pin to get it off my neck and/or out of my face, I have that option. Another hair accessory I keep in my bag is my miniature wet brush. It helps on the days I drive with the windows down, or when I just need to feel like I have to do something to look a little more put together.


I think it was the Gilmore Girls character Rory Gilmore who coined the phrase “purse-book,” but I may be wrong. Having a book in my bag is a balm for me. I have something to do if I find free or waiting time that takes my eyes away from a screen. Additionally, I have always considered books to be friends. It’s lovely to have a friend with you in any situation, and books can be the quietest, most engaging, and most accepting friends around. Even if I don’t touch the book, it is a comfort to me to know that it’s there by my side. 

These are the five items I must have in my purse to feel prepared for any situation. We all need our phone, wallet, and keys, but these things prevent dehydration, boredom, and annoyance, which is great for your comfort and convenience.

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