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13 Things You Need to Have in Your Purse (but Probably Don’t)

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Large ''Sandra'' Vitalio Vera HoboAre you prepared for anything life might throw your way? Keeping calm in emergency situations depends greatly on your preparation to deal with them. We all know that a woman’s purse is her arsenal of tools that help her take on the world, but there are things you need in your purse that probably aren’t in there.

There are many items that might be in a typical homemaker’s purse right now, from makeup to pacifiers, but it’s probably missing some of the essentials that will make her invincible!

“Be Prepared. That’s the motto of the Boy Scouts. “Be prepared for what?” someone once asked Baden-Powell, the founder of Scouting, “Why, for any old thing.” said Baden-Powell.”

-Excerpt from the Boy Scout Handbook

First, let’s make sure your purse is organized.  Many handy purse organizers can be moved from purse to purse so that you can stay organized but change purses quickly.

The list below of 13 Things You Need to Have in Your Purse contains not only emergency tools, but also items to make you more productive and allow you to use your time more effectively.

13 Things You Need in Your Purse

1. Allergy medicine. Allergic reactions – to foods, animals, materials, or anything else – almost always come on unexpectedly and when you are not at home. I have used the Benadryl in my purse on multiple occasions, not only for myself, but for my children also.

2. Swiss army knife (or other multipurpose tool). There is a pink multipurpose tool in my purse which has been used to extract a broken key from a lock, among other things. The multitude of tools packed onto this gadget, such as tweezers, knife, bottle opener, and more, come in handy all the time.

3. Address labels. Never fill out this repetitive information by hand if you don’t have to! Save the time and energy by carrying your preprinted address labels (remember the ones that come unsolicited in the mail?) in your purse. Whenever you need to fill in mailing info (movie store, drawings/giveaways, registrations, etc.) just peel and stick an adhesive address label.

Time for a new purse to freshen up your style?  Here are some hot handbags that won’t break the bank:

Pink Lillian Quilted Chain Strap Purse ''Flowerburst'' Small Hobo

4. Traveler’s check. Everyone knows that carrying cash in your purse is not only a security risk, but a spending temptation as well! Many people don’t want to carry credit cards or cash with them, and traveler’s checks are a great alternative. If you really need money for an emergency (not a clearance sale – those are NOT emergencies!), you’ll have a traveler’s check that can be spent like cash. An added security bonus is that traveler’s checks are refundable if lost or stolen.

5. Spare car key and house key. Locking your keys in the house or car is a huge inconvenience, and can be expensive if you have to hire a locksmith. Do yourself a favor and keep an extra set in your purse that is not attached to your keychain. Chances are good that even if you lock your keys in the car, you’ll still have your purse on your shoulder.

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6. Pen and paper. You never know when you’ll need to write something down (think directions, address, phone number, insurance information).

7. Cell phone and/or address book. Accident, flat tire, lost… with a multitude of possible circumstances, it’s not practical to be away from home without either your cell phone or at least a mini address book with important phone numbers.

8. Lighter or matches. Anything can happen, and you never know when you’ll need to make fire. If you don’t carry around flint and tinder (aside: I don’t in real life, but in World of Warcraft I do- and it takes up 2 bag slots! Hey- you never know when you’re going to need to cook something!) then it will be nice to have matches or a lighter to make a quick fire. Uses: Burn off a leech, create smoke signal, scare away angry bees, etc.

9. Emergency snacks. Stranded? Hungry? Having food in your purse will protect your finances and health by keeping you from hitting a drive-thru. Having food if you are ever stranded away from businesses/people will keep you from going hungry. Lastly, having snacks in your purse can prevent a serious toddler melt-down in public for a hungry little one!

Maybe you’re tired of your same old boring purse and are ready for a quirky new purse that’s a little more adventurous.  Check out these crazy purses:

Cupcake Purse Rubber Chicken Purse Henbag Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich Purse Strawberry Purse

10. Tissues. Nose bleeds, runny noses, crying child, liquid spills, oily skin – tissues come in handy all the time.

11. Kindle, book, magazine, or blog posts. How often do you spend time waiting- time that is wasted because you just sit or stand there thinking about the fact that you’re waiting?! You could be doing something productive with that wait-time. Bring along a book or magazine that you haven’t had time to read. I used to print out blog posts from my feed reader in the morning and take them in my purse to read throughout the day while I was waiting.

The time I spend waiting at school to drop off/ pick up my daughter, in the bank drive-thru, at the doctor’s office, at the pharmacy, and in line at the post office could be spent reading on your Kindle!

12. To do list. You’re constantly thinking and usually remember things you need to do while you’re away from home. Sound familiar? Keep your to do list with you, so you can add items to it when you think of them.

13. Safety pins. Buttons fall off, zippers break, seams come apart, hems fall down. Having a spare safety pin in your purse can save you from a wardrobe malfunction when you need it the most!

Purses come in all shapes, colors and sizes, but you can never judge a purse by it’s cover – er, outside! If it’s going to go everywhere with you, it may as well serve you as a storage spot for useful tools. The above list of 13 useful items that probably aren’t in your purse right now should get you started in your purse contents-makeover. Print out this list and get your purse up to speed today!

These purses will definitely break the bank, but will turn heads…

Versace Handbags Purple Leather DBFB748 Coach Limited Edition Kristin Croc Embossed Leather Business Satchel Bag Purse Tote 16795 Denim Blue


We originally published “13 Things You Need to Have in Your Purse (but Probably Don’t)” on Home Ever After on February 5th, 2010. Disclaimer: contains affiliate links and readers may assume that receives compensation when affiliate links are used.

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Danelle Ice is an entrepreneur in Los Angeles and mom of 3. She is the creator of and Danelle is also known as internet personality SimDanelle, the first virtual person. Danelle is a beauty guru on YouTube, vlogger, blogger, and new media darling. She is a current brand ambassador for for Keurig and previous AMD Tech Mom, Kraft Foods Delicious Byte brand ambassador, and Purex Insider.


  1. Ginny
    Feb 06, 2009 @ 07:00:24

    Great list. I actually have most of these in my purse. I always carry a big purse, lol.

    I keep safety pins in my girls dance bag, but I really should add to my purse. I don’t have a swiss army knife, but I do carry little scissors & a little pocket knife. I need to get the swiss army knife. I actually got kicked out of a court because I forgot to take out my little scissors, totally embarrassing, lol.


  2. Home Ever After
    Feb 06, 2009 @ 09:02:04

    @Ginny: Good for you! It’s funny you say that, because I failed the metal detector at the court house once. I completely forgot about my (pink) swiss army knife in my purse, and the guard said sternly, “Ma’am, are you trying to bring a pocket knife in here?”!! Oops!



  3. Johanna B
    Feb 06, 2009 @ 10:06:42

    I carry several of these items in my purse. Am never caught anywhere without something to read. Being caught somewhere and having to wait while not having something to read is my greatest fear. True! I have a Swiss Army knife in my car but not in my purse. After reading your list I think I’ll move it. Thanks.


  4. Shynea @ Penny Pinching Diva
    Feb 07, 2009 @ 15:37:25

    This is actually a really good list. I have some of these things in my diaper bag right now. (I don’t get the chance to carry just a purse to often, because I have two under two. My diaper bag works as my purse sometimes.) I never thought about printing off blog posts to read throughout the day. I am definitely going to have to do that.


  5. Sleepy AVON Lady
    Mar 13, 2009 @ 15:23:01

    Great List, it always pays to be prepared! Thanks for the great advice!


  6. Lana
    Feb 08, 2010 @ 08:15:21

    Always a good idea to have an aspirin on hand too. You may not have a heart attack but when I am out I encounter the elderly everywhere. I always keep OTC pain relievers too for headaches etc.


  7. Kristie
    Feb 08, 2010 @ 16:43:32

    Great list! One other thing that I always carry is a flashlight. It’s a little LED one that is compact and super bright. I’ve had one in my purse ever since a friend was stuck in an airport during that huge east coast blackout a few years ago and told us that there were no lights at all in the bathrooms… It’s also useful if you drop something in a dark parking lot or get stranded at night.


  8. allison
    Apr 11, 2010 @ 09:41:16

    hahah i have all of these things and more!! i have cell, ipod, tide-2-go, bobby pins, flip video camera, regular camera, 5 dollars, germ X, deo, mascara, sunglasses, a notepad, , pencil, 2 card and die games, and my phone charger! haha i have a huge purse!!!!


  9. ditzymudgirl
    Apr 20, 2010 @ 08:40:11

    The only thing I would add is sunscreen!


  10. ID Card Supply
    Jun 15, 2010 @ 11:06:59

    I would think quick cash and something for personal identity such as an ID card for emergency as the top items in this category list. Your list would be perfect if you add these :)


  11. Danelle Ice - Home Ever After
    Jun 15, 2010 @ 11:46:31

    @ID Card: Those aren’t on the list because everyone has those 2 things in their purse! This list is of the things you probably DON’T have in your purse!



  12. priscila
    Jun 19, 2010 @ 20:41:51

    i don’t have pain killers nor asprin in my purse but i do have it in my weekend bag along with tooth brush, extra headphones, ipod, spare handwipes, camera, usual girly stuff, extra thin sweater, body wash in a small bottle hand sanitizer, but i think i should move the pin killers to my purse, especially exedrin cause sometimes i get migraines.
    and tylenal incase i get tension headaches.
    oh and a portable brailler to label stuff too i also keep in the bag


  13. Glory
    Jul 13, 2010 @ 11:07:09

    Consolidate #s: 6, 7, 11, and 12 = iPhone! :-)


  14. C. Garland
    Oct 12, 2010 @ 20:44:59

    These are all great ideas but what about a mini first aid kid?? Bandaid, alcohol swabs, neosporin?? This is one thing I never leave without…


  15. Cassi
    Dec 02, 2010 @ 21:20:11

    Lotion, ladies… ESPECIALLY in winter :)


  16. Daniel
    Jun 16, 2011 @ 06:48:35

    It kills me to see some of the useless stuff women keep in their purses. From a man’s perspective:1.) high quality multi-tool $50; 2.) Iphone with a tiny clip-on microphone for recording conversations; 3.) Utility knife 4.) small permanent marker; 5)First aid kit including a suture kit; 6.) glasses repair kit; 7) (optional) mace or taser gun; 8) stamps


  17. Steve
    Aug 08, 2011 @ 08:54:26

    It might not be a good idea to have spare keys AND your address printed on labels just in case your bag got stolen.


  18. sarah
    Aug 14, 2011 @ 17:02:11

    what about an ace never know when you might need it


  19. momof4
    Sep 01, 2011 @ 16:57:34

    Having just come from the doctor about back pain, I can say forget some of that stuff!! You are damaging your body and heading for real pain.


  20. nicole
    Sep 03, 2011 @ 22:52:54

    good things never would of thought of it.


  21. lacie
    Mar 15, 2012 @ 15:36:59

    nice i have nothing in my purse that you listed


  22. Must-Haves For Your Purse « lipstick chat
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 06:12:45

    [...] Danielle Ice, Thirteen Things You Need to Have in Your Purse (But Probably Don’t). [...]


  23. Marcy Kennedy (@MommyKennedy)
    Mar 19, 2014 @ 17:53:09

    I carry the address labels all the time. They are great to use! Fabulous list!


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