See this bag?

It hangs over the back of my chair in the office.


You never know where life is going to take you. A trip to the library. A walk around the lake. A coffee date that turns into a work date. A last-minute shopping trip.

And the amazing thing about this bag? It’s always ready for an adventure. It’s ready to go at a moment’s notice.

I’m always on the go and along the way I had to learn to be prepared.

So I filled this bag (and the bag before this bag and the bag before that) with my on-the-go essentials.

You know.

The kind of things that you didn’t know you needed until they weren’t there and then you wish that you had them.

Want to see what’s inside?

Here are 17 things I always take with me in this bag.

17 Amazingly Useful Things to Keep In Your Bag

1. This laptop stand

I had to start with this portable laptop stand.

It goes with me everywhere. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love it. It folds flat and fits perfectly in the bag without taking up too much space. It puts your laptop at the perfect height for ZOOM calls. The stand allows your wrists to be at the perfect height when you are typing. I’ve used it at coffee shops and restaurants and my office and so many other places.

You can see the laptop stand here.

2. Gold hair clip

When I’m working or going for a walk my hair gets in my way. I also use them if I’m having a bad hair day and need to look cute for a ZOOM or lunch with a friend.

I found gold clips like these a couple of years ago and I love them.

My favorite one is the rectangle one at the top. It goes with me everywhere.

You can see the hair clips here.

3. Clip on video light

A friend recommended this light and it’s kind of a game-changer.

You can clip it on your phone when you’re face-timing or on a ZOOM call.

You can clip the light on your laptop too. It’s so good and lights up your face and there are three different settings depending on the light around you. There are so many versions of this and I’ve tried several this clip on light is the best.

You can see the clip on video light here.

4. This laptop charger (and cord organizer)

I wish I could tell you I was squared away enough to keep everything charged.

But I don’t.

Not even close. I keep a laptop charger in my bag (I have another one at my desk, too) along with a cord organizer to prevent tangled cables. This way, I can charge my laptop whenever I need to. I LOVE this collapsable charger organizer that attaches to the charger. All you have to do is pull it out and you can wind the charger cord around it to keep it organized in the bag.

You can see the collapsable charger organizer here.

5. Listerine strips

When I was growing up we weren’t allowed to chew gum.

My mother was NOT about it (and still isn’t about it now).

So I never really got in the gum-chewing habit and mints taste too much like candy. So what’s a person who wants fresh breath to do? I found these Listerine strips. You just put one on your tongue and it melts and leaves behind fresh breath.

You can see the Listerine strips here.

6. Hand lotion for dry skin

You can thank me later for this one.

This No. 7 hand lotion is amazing. It’s not greasy, but not too creamy. It’s kind of thick and glides over the skin and adds a layer of protection. I always use it before a photo shoot so my hands look smooth and hydrated.

And it’s small enough to fit perfectly in the bag.

You can see the hand lotion here.

7. Notebook

I am old school.

In a world of screens, I use a pen and paper. Having a small notebook like these in your bag can be incredibly useful for jotting down important notes, ideas, or to-do lists.

Having a dedicated space like this for putting down whatever I’m thinking helps me stay organized and I never forget anything.

You can see the notebooks here.

8. Pen

If I have a notebook, I have to have a pen.

And these are my favorite.

They glide and don’t leak (which is super important when you keep them in your bag).

You can see my favorite pens here.

9. Tide Pen

I am a spiller with extra spills on top.

This Tide Pen is an amazing stain remover that gets rid of fresh stains on clothing or fabrics. I have one of these in my laundry room, my upstairs closet and my bag.

You can see the Tide Pen here.

10. Hand sanitizer

Watching out for germs is more important than ever.

Carry a travel-sized hand sanitizer in your bag to keep germs at bay. This hand sanitizer spray from the Honest Company is made with aloe and other botanical extracts to prevent your skin from drying out. It has plant-derived ingredients and it isn’t sticky.

You can see the hand sanitizer here.

11. Mini pack of tissues

One thing you might forget about for your bag?

A mini pack of tissues. Whether it’s for wiping your hands, cleaning surfaces, or dealing with unexpected sneezes, tissues can come to the rescue. Choose a compact and easily resealable pack to keep them clean and easily accessible.

You can see the mini tissues here.

12. Folding brush

The best thing about this brush?

It folds up in half and is so compact that it’s easy to tuck into the pocket of your bag. It has a mirror on one side, but I like a compact mirror instead (see number 14 instead).

You can see the folding brush here.

13. Lighted compact mirror

Isn’t this the cutest compact mirror?

You never know when you’re going to need to fix something or put on lipstick or check to see if there’s anything in your teeth.

You can see the lighted compact mirror here.


14. Earbuds

I’ve been using these super affordable earbuds for four months now and I’m HOOKED. They don’t fall out. They have extra cushioning for the ear and they fit perfectly and the earbuds have different levels of sound depending on how much volume you need and they come in tons of colors. I’m never ever ever using another earbud. I have them in my bag and use them all the time to listen to audio books and music when I’m in a coffee shop.

And in amazing news? I have a 15% off code THISTLEWOOD.

You can see the headphones here.

15. Small lint roller with cover

Lint and pet hair on clothes can be so frustrating. A small lint roller like this can quickly remove fuzz from your clothes.

A roller like this will easily fit in your bag, but make sure you get one with a cover so you don’t waste so many of the peel-off strips.

These small lint rollers.

16. Red lipstick

And of course, it wouldn’t be a bag without red lipstick.

I have about seven of these red lipsticks that I keep everywhere including one in my bag.

My go-to red is Loreal British Red.

If I’m having a tough day? Nothing makes it brighter than a little red lipstick.

You can see my favorite red lipstick here.

And now you know what’s in the bag.

It’s packed and ready to go at a moment’s notice.

Just in case there’s an adventure waiting. 🙂

disclosure: affiliate links are used in this post.

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


  1. Image for Kim Kim

    Great suggestions. Wanted to suggest just one more? A purse hook hanger for tables. I discovered this little gem while dining at a noodle house. The hostess offered one after seeing me trying to balance my purse in my lap. It worked perfectly and I ordered one as soon as I got home. Happy Friday, everyone!

  2. Image for Sherry B Sherry B

    Your bag is all business, filled with essentials! But talk about the bag, a Consuelo if I can see the tag correctly. I am lucky to have one as well, a gift from my daughter. They are beautiful, colorful and sturdy. It is used everyday and comfortable to carry even fully packed.

  3. Image for Ella Ella

    Absolutely, these bags are life savers, have used them for years, one for weekend adventures with my husband, one for my daily walk with our pooch, another for shopping, huge times savers indeed!

  4. Image for KariAnne KariAnne

    It came from a company called Consuela! It's old but you can see similar ones here: happy day! KariAnne

  5. Image for Colleen Colleen

    Oh my goodness! I could not imagine carrying that much stuff in my purse, KariAnne! I have my wallet in there and a couple of Kleenex and that is it! I don’t even like to carry my phone. The smaller the purse the better. I just like a small cross body bag, where I don’t even have to carry it in my hand and I can swing it around to my back so it’s not in my way!

    1. Image for KariAnne Wood KariAnne Wood

      Colleen, I don't have all this stuff in my purse! Just my bag for when I go to work at the coffee shop or run errands! I just have a tiny purse with my wallet in it when I'm shopping! Happy day! KariAnne

  6. Image for Debbie Debbie

    Oh you have thought of everything Dear KariAnne! I have most of those things in my larger shoulder bag. I loved the hair clips and am ordering those, along with that small lighted makeup mirror. I don’t have that and wish I did when we went to visit friends last weekend. Whew. Their lights in their guest bathroom were terrible. I guess a lady didn’t design that bathroom!! I am also ordering your hand cream. I do need a good one in my bag. I have a pretty expensive one that I use at night. It has a pump. This is my second bottle and again the pump stops working with 20% left in the bottom. 😡. I also have this small clip-on light that attaches to one strap and you swing it to the inside of the bag. Since this bag is larger and a bottomless dark pit, I find this helpful and better than spilling everything out to look for that one thing that is most likely on the very bottom. My light is called “Lotta-Lite”….Go Anywhere Light. It has a 60 second auto shut off time in case you forget. I only have this in my big bag because it is very dark way down there. Lol.

Comments are closed.