We’re all guilty of carrying a little baggage. And yes, I mean literal baggage. Carrying a purse is an inconspicuous way to be prepared for unplanned sleepovers, wardrobe mishaps, and spur-of-the-moment road trips. Your twenties are a time of freedom, new experiences, and spontaneous plans, but this life stage can feel suffocating at times. Deadlines at work, group meetings, and family obligations are all competing for your time, and sometimes it seems impossible to get away. That’s why it’s crucial to make the most of the little things, and be prepared to accept any invite that might entice you. You don’t need to pack a suitcase every time you leave the house, but having a few essentials in your bag can make impromptu invitations a lot easier to accept. The key is to keep your purse full of essentials that won’t weight you down.

  • A clean pair of cotton undies: Keep a pair of practical underwear tucked away with your tampons. If you’ve ever found your way into an unplanned sleepover after the bar, then you know how crucial this is. That lace thong might look cute tonight, but your bottom will thank you for those briefs during brunch tomorrow morning.
  • Baby wipes, dry shampoo, and mouthwash: All of these items come in travel sizes, which are perfect to stow away in your purse. Even if you’ve had to skip a shower or two, these items can temporarily fix smeared lipstick, oily roots, and bad breath. The baby wipes can be used to clean up your makeup, wash your face, and even freshen up your pits. Use the dry shampoo to touch up your roots on the go, and the mouthwash for in between brushes.
  • Cash and quarters: In a world where almost anything can be purchased with plastic, it’s still a good idea to have some cash on you. You never know when you might run across an establishment that doesn’t take credit cards. Many food carts, farmers markets, vending machines, and locally-owned businesses only accept cash, so keep a few small bills at all times. ATM fees can be brutal, so avoid them altogether by carrying cash. If you don’t mind carrying a little pocket change, quarters are great to have for parking meters, laundry-mats, and coin-operated showers.
  • Pen and paper: These items add almost no weight to your bag, but always come in handy. If you ever need to jot down directions, a clever poem that just came to mind, or the name of a great coffee shop that you want to revisit, having these on hand will keep you from forgetting the little things.
  • Medicine: It’s a good idea to keep your birth control, allergy medicines, antidepressants, or whatever you might use on you at all times. In case you get invited to a weekend getaway with no time to pack, you won’t have to decline because you left your meds at home. Don’t forget to have a few pain relievers and cough drops on hand as well.
  • Reading material: Never underestimate the worth of a good book. Literature is essential for long rides, airport terminals, and even as a means to look busy when someone you don’t want to talk to comes around. Try to find something lightweight, but impactful. T.S. Eliot’s The Four Quartets is one option for impactful reading. The book itself is slim and easy to carry, but the subject matter can keep you occupied for years.
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Just because you’re spending more time in an office cubicle than on the beach, doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of the little pleasures in life. Your twenties should be full of spontaneous destinations (whether this means Japan or just the new sushi bar downtown), and your purse should be full of the essentials that get you there.