What Every Woman Should Have in Her Purse

Every month, one of my most popular Google search terms is something along the lines of “What a woman should carry in her purse” or “What should I keep in my purse?” or “What items should a lady have in her purse?”

They always land on an old (since deleted) post, which is all about why you should have Kleenex in your purse at all times because I once witnessed a girl crying in public. But, for the amount of people that land here looking for a concrete list, I know I haven’t helped out much. So now it’s time to give back and tell you what I have in my purse and why.

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In no particular order:

Breathmints: One should always have breathmints or gum at hand (I am not much of a gum chewer) just in case you decide to eat a cheeseburger with onions for lunch or if you forget to brush your teeth in the craziness of making sure that your kids brush theirs. This kind is my favorite breath mint, but my husband likes these best.

Hand Sanitizer: Mine is some fancy stuff from Bath and Body Works, but you can just use Purell or something. A must have with kids who are constantly touching gross stuff and it especially comes in handy when there is a long line to wash your hands in the public restroom. I really like these fancy travel size Purells.

Kleenex: I think we’ve discussed this before, but it’s good for when you have a cold, getting rid of your children’s ABC gum and giving to perfect strangers who are having an emotional breakdown. I seem to use it quite often for storing the boogers my 2-year old likes to give me while we’re driving in the car. I usually stock up on these Kleenex travel packs every couple months or so.

Abreva: Did you know that once you have a cold sore, you always have a cold sore? Tragic, but true. Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve had a cold sore patch on my nose. The Abreva is absolutely necessary if I don’t want it to turn into something truly scary. It is always with me in order to apply at the first tingling. Seriously. If you suffer from cold sores, you should really buy some to have on hand.

Cell phone: I actually try to forget mine as often as possible, as my husband will tell you. However, it is probably a pretty good idea to actually have it in your purse whenever you can.

Sunglasses: My eyes are very sun-sensitive, especially if I am wearing my contacts. Besides, my future’s so bright I gotta wear shades. Isn’t yours?

Wallet: Do I really need to explain this one? Just make sure you have all necessary ID, monies and credit cards in it for whatever errands you need to run.

Checkbook: While it seems we don’t use the checkbook all that much in this day and age, it’s still pretty important for stuff like piano and violin lessons. And if you forget your debit card at WalMart or the grocery store.

Old receipts: My purse is an excellent storing place for the receipts I shouldn’t throw away, but haven’t had time to file. Unfortunately, all the unnecessary receipts kind of get thrown in there, too. I recommend cleaning it out at the end of the day (not that I do or anything).

Small notebook: My planner is too big to fit in my purse, but if things aren’t written down, they are immediately forgotten. This is especially important for those fabulous blogging ideas that strike you while you are sitting in the dentist’s office.

Pen: How can you write checks or jot down great blog ideas without one? You can’t. Make sure you have one.

MP3 player: I admit, mine rarely makes it into my purse, but I always wish it did. (Update: now this is just my phone, which makes things a lot easier.)

Lipstick: Personally, I have three different kinds in my purse. I am prepared for any lip color situation. Plus, I even have some chapstick in there for my girls when they ask.

Mirror: How else are you supposed to use the aforementioned lipstick? I have a compact mirror like this one, but this one is cool, too–it has a magnifying feature.

Hand lotion: Particularly important during the snowy winters when my hands seem to be constantly chapped, but nice to have on hand (pun intended) all the time.

Tampon: Yes, well, I’m sure you all know why this is important. I often try to have two, just in case. And once, because I was so prepared, I was able to help someone out in a female emergency because I had one…even though I was 9 months pregnant. You just never know.

Hair band: Generally, I have a few of these in my purse. Very handy when you get somewhere and realize your child looks like a ragamuffin. You can quickly put her hair back and nobody will think any less of you because you never brush your children’s hair. I have really thick hair myself, so these hair bands for thick hair are my favorite.

Candy wrappers: You shouldn’t have those. Don’t follow my example and throw them away immediately.

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Kristina P.

Stupid conflicting edits! Who else is leaving a comment!

Anyway, I had this long comment written, but it basically had to do with looking for a tampon in 110 of my purses before I foudn one.

Annette Lyon

Great list. I have most of those in my purse too. Of course.


I too have most of those in my purse–yes–even the candy wrappers. And when I got to Kleenex I immediatley thought of O screaming at me that she has a booger on her finger.

And I guess I can take the tampons out now. No use for them anymore. I don’t have lipstick either. I don’t wear it. Ever.


i have all of those things in my purse right now. except the lipstick. i don’t wear it either.


Wow. That’s a big purse. I’m still trying to figure out my diaper bag, and my mini diaper bag.
So much so that I forgot my wallet this AM… it is difficult to buy things with no wallet.


Pretty great list! Abreva… good idea. I can tell you are a girly girl. I love it!


I don’t even HAVE a check book anymore. I didn’t realize people still used them!! ;-P Actually, I really like your list. I see some things on there I should add to my purse. About the only things I have in mine are my wallet, phone and tons of receipts that do nothing, but clutter it!!


The receipts–Oh! The receipts! They multiply like bunnies and do it whilst in my purse which is gross.


I’m not the only one who doesn’t comb their child’s hair???
We went to church this past Sunday and Abby’s hair was not touched. So I quickly grabbed a hair clip and put it in her hair after we sat down. Good thing she little. Ha ha!!

Great list!!

Loralee and the gang...

Great list! But don’t forget your car keys! You won’t get far without them, and if you don’t put them back when you get home, you’ll never find them! (I know. I have experience! I even have a backup set for when they get misplaced!)


Wow, my purse is sadly lacking many of these items…


Great tips, Lara! Now if only I can remember to have a big enough purse to hold them all. LOL!


Great list Lara. Now people who Google this will actually know what they “should” have in their purse.

Do you remember what I carry? The teeny tiny credit card holder thing? It holds chapstick and a pack of gum, besides my credit cards. Maybe if I actually used a purse, I would be prepared more often.


i also tend to have coupons, dum-dums, and stray earrings in mine. Oh! And bobby pins SHOULD be in there at all times, but there is never one when i need it.

Heather of the EO

I always have candy wrappers too.

And I was once caught saying (while both boys had major runny noses)
“HEY, there’s no kleenex in here! What kind of mother doesn’t have kleenex at all times???” 🙂


Cute post !
No wonder my purse is so heavy…I have nearly everything on your list plus about 10 more items !!!


When we lived in Seattle, we would often go with visitors down to the waterfront for the day. I usually had most of the things on your list, although this was pre-cell phone. But for some reason, my purse felt extra heavy on those outings. Finally, I found out while riffling through my purse looking for my wallet, that my husband had been putting his GUN in my purse without telling me!! Like I’m licensed to pack heat!! And like I needed another 6 pounds straining at my shoulder! Honestly!

(And now, I would no more leave my house without my phone in my purse than I would leave without oxygen in my lungs.)

Melanie Jacobson

Wait, a cold sore patch on your nose? Hm. I think you may have just solved a major mystery for me. Can you explain this a little bit more? Because I might have this exact same problem.

Small House

I’m not brave enough to share whats in my purse. One’s thing for sure, I need to clean it out.

Just found your blog, and I’m so glad I did.

Have a great day.


Yes, I agree I have most of those things but some I need to add to my purse because there are times that I have needed them and haven’t had them with me.


Sad to say I RARELY carry a purse. I’m so NOT lady like.


I’ve got some new things to add to my purse! Thanks!


Great post. I find a small pair of scissors useful. I seem to need them a lot. I would trim straws down when my kids were little, and now I use them for nails or strings or who knows what.
I like to have essentials in a makeup type bag that I can switch from purse to gym bag to tote as I need it.


Good list! I’m off to make sure I’ve got mine properly stocked. 🙂

Just SO

I haven’t read the other comments so someone may have already said this but for me a great thing to have is a few bandaids. Especially with kids.


Floss is a must!