creating an essentials bag

CreatingAnEssentailsBagThough I don’t have many purses, I do like to match my purse to my outfit. Due to this daily bag rotation, I have tried over the years to create an essentials bag that could corral the smaller items I use in one place.

In theory, my essentials bags were always helpful. But I either stopped swapping them from bag to bag after about a week, or I would never even open the essentials bag to begin with, which rendered the whole concept useless.

However, this past month I’ve finally successfully created an essentials bag that I actually use and continue to grab before I head out the door.

For me, I found the following guidelines helpful:

EssentialBagGuidelinesBack in the day, I used to include everything under the sun – Tide sticks, sewing kits, bug spray, the kitchen sink, you name it. But really, I don’t ever use those things, and they just made the bag bulkier and less likely to fit in all of my purses.

So if you consider making an essentials bag and use a Tide stick religiously, be sure to include one! But I don’t suggest adding a mini flashlight unless you find yourself stuck in the dark on a regular basis.

By literally paring back to these five essentials, I have exactly what I need and use daily.

TheEssentialsAs far as the essentials bag itself, I am now using this little J.Crew pouch. In its past life it was a super-duper sized business card holder for Alt Summit. But really, I don’t need a huge business card caddy day-to-day. Instead, a smaller one from college works better and fits within the pouch.

Now, when I need to head out the door, I just toss my sunglasses, keys, wallet, and essentials pouch into a purse and leave.



ClutchEssentialsBagDoes anyone else have an essentials pouch? If so, did you have trouble finding the right mix of products and bag selection, too?


This Post Has 0 Comments

  1. Brittany

    I love my little pouch!! It’s a 5x7ish little bag that I got with a deluxe beauty sample kit. It’s gold and pretty and goes with everything 🙂 And it even fits my phone & keys if I just want to take the pouch. I always have lip chap & gloss, nail clippers, a glasses cleaning cloth and bandaids if I haven’t used them up haha

    1. Jess Lively

      So cute! You know I’ve never met a gold bag I didn’t like. ; )

      Nail clippers, interesting! Do you find they come in handy a lot?

      1. Brittany

        Often enough that I keep them in there haha Hangnails drive me crazy and jagged/ripped nails are no fun – but they come in handy if there’s every anything that needs opened or cut too.

  2. Lisa

    Yup, I have an essentials pouch! It used to be this ugly mesh thing I got for free with a backpack until I saved up to buy a little black Kate Spade pouch. I still struggle with not overloading it with unnecessary things – right now I have 2 lip glosses and a lip balm (2 of these are unnecessary), blotting papers, concealer, a mirror, a hair tie and travel perfume. The nice about my pouch is that it’s big enough to put money and my cell phone in case I just want a clutch for the day. 🙂

    1. Jess Lively

      That’s awesome! I have a friend that uses this same polka dot pouch as a clutch just like you mentioned, too!

      I imagine your KS pouch must be adorable! What does it look like?

  3. Yasmine

    I have two essentials pouches! One is a purple&white fabric pouch from Sonia Kashuk, in which I carry extra lipsticks (I have a Tarte lipstain like yours in there, too! Mine is purple-ish, though, so I rarely wear it; I miss my pink one, and your photo reminded me I need a replacement).

    The second pouch is turquoise leather (pleather?? it’s totally falling apart, I just noticed!) from Sephora. It’s long and narrow, but just big enough to fit bandaids, a small bottle of contact-lens solution, hair ties, floss, ibuprofen or sudafed, and hearing aid batteries (the last being my MOST essential item!).

    1. Jess Lively

      That’s great to hear! I have a lanolin allergy, so the Tarte stain is one of the few things that doesn’t wreck my lips. Love!

      It sounds like you have a great system there. : )

  4. Jacki

    Great idea, I think I’m going to give it a try to help get my purse situation under control! 🙂

    1. Jess Lively

      For sure! I suggest doing the three things mentioned above to make sure that it’s something you use consistently. : )

  5. Anne

    I’ve been looking for an essentials pouch for months! Besides J Crew (which has 1 pouch available now), does anyone have suggestions of where to find one?

    1. Jess Lively

      Hmm… J.Crew comes out with these little guys every now and then (I’m surprised there aren’t any on their site now). You might also want to check their factory outlet from time to time. And other people in the comments have mentioned using sample makeup bags, too.

      Also, maybe Pinterest might have some cute options? Try searching things like “small pouch” or “makeup pouch?”

      1. Anne

        Thanks for the suggestions! Loving your blog as always 🙂

  6. Kelsey

    I love this idea! I have an essentials bag that I switch between my work bag and purse. It is a bright orange leather zip pouch, that I bought at a Dooney Outlet store. It holds chap stick, hand lotion, hand sanitizer, and a pill box with my daily vitamin and some ibuprophen (just in case). It took some doing to find the right sized containers to fit in the bag, without it begin too snug or awkward to close, but now it is a great way to stay organized and simplify my day.

  7. Lisa

    I have one of these as well. They are a great idea but your purse is cuter than mine. Lisa xo

  8. chantelle

    This is a great concept. I tend to have the same problem you had: shove a lot of stuff I don’t need, then never transfer. My essentials are pretty much just concealer, chapstick, and some lady things.

  9. Jess Lively

    It sounds like you are an essentials bag pro! What would you include in your bag that is different from what you’ve found?

    1. Mandy

      Everything is completely loose in the bag at the moment. I would love it if the bag had credit card slots sewn on the inside and another small zippered pouch inside for change, hairbands, and cash. It would also be nice if there was a flap to cover the top and the zipper to dress it up a little and if it was a little smaller with a removable wrist strap. And while I love gold and silver it would be nice to have other color options such as a solid navy or light tan.

      1. Jess Lively

        Very nice! It sounds like you have it all figured out. It sounds like an interesting project!

    1. Mandy

      I did not mean to post twice. Now I feel like a dork. I got an error message the first time I tried to post and thought I had lost it.

  10. lina

    i definitely need to do this! i think it will be my project this afternoon. also, i have a question – where did you find such a cute business card holder? i’m searching for one right now!

    1. Jess Lively

      Awesome! I got mine about 6 years ago from Banana Republic. I’d search Pinterest to find some cute options.

  11. JSKF

    I just bought 5 of each thing that is “essential” and keep a set in each purse so I don’t have to move anything!

Leave a Reply