6 Must-Have Purse Essentials: All You Really Need Pared Down to Perfection

What are the basic purse essentials?

The purse essentials for paring down your bag (you know, without freaking out).

Are you like me? Every year, it seems I choose a bigger and bigger handbag. At this point, I am carrying around an overnight bag as a purse, and that’s clearly just too big.

The problem: I take the motto “always be prepared” to heart and my bag contains items for every possible scenario from getting a headache to surviving the zombie apocalypse. Clearly I have some wiggle room for downsizing my purse essentials (and a smaller bag is easier to tote on the run from zombies, no?) After suffering through a year of neck issues, visiting both the chiropractor and going to physical therapy to solve the problem, I think I might have finally caught on–I’m carrying around too much stuff in my giant bag.

With the trend on decluttering, downsizing, and choosing to live a more streamlined and less consumerist existence, why are so many of us still carrying around such big purses and bags?The purse may be the last great frontier for downsizing, but it’s possible to get down to just the essentials in your purse. If I can do it, you can do it. Here’s a list of what I consider to be the purse essentials necessary for everyday life. My bag might not function as a “go bag” for the zombie apocalypse anymore, but I think that’s okay.

What Are the Purse Essentials?

1. Wallet

A wallet is a necessity to hold your cash, cards, checks, receipts, and more. Ideally, choose one with multiple sections and compartments to keep you organized and more portable. I use a wallet that doubles a clutch and has a compartment for my phone that allows me the flexibility of not schlepping around my whole bag.

2. Makeup Bag

Those who wear makeup often find that they are carrying around too much makeup. Trim down to one make-up bag to just the bare necessities, like a powder compact, lip gloss, and mascara. I use the bags from Blue Q as makeup bags. They are fun and functional.

3. Self-Care, Toiletries, and Mending Bag

Keep another small bag for hair-ties, travel bottles of hand lotion, bobby pins, a nail file, band-aids, your pain reliever of choice, mints, a contact case, packet of tissues, a mending kit, and tampons, pads, or menstrual cup case if needed.

4. Glasses/Sunglasses

You must have sunnies. And a case to protect them is a must too. If you wear contacts or glasses, keep a backup case and travel-sized contact solutions in your bag too. You must be able to see. That is essential!

5. Phone/Case/Earbuds

Keep your phone in handy in a side pocket in your bag in a protective case. Also, keep earbuds handy for when you want to tune people out while at the grocery store or at the gym.

6. Keys

Of course, you must carry your keys in your bag, but do you really need all those keys? Pare them down to the absolute essential keys. Get rid of all those keys you have no idea what they belong to–if you haven’t needed them in 4 years, then it’s safe to say you never will.

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Image: Burgundy Bag via Shutterstock

Jen Wallace

Jen Wallace shares her indie life by writing about making, creating, cooking, learning, playing, decorating, and pretty much anything else that strikes her fancy from indie biz tips to the modern history of the American hemline.