10 Essentials For Your Every Day Work Bag

Photo from fashionmagazine.com

Photo from fashionmagazine.com

The day the VP came to visit my college job was on a hot July afternoon in 2012. As we scurried to get ready, I realized, horrified, that I forgot to put on deodorant that morning. How could I have forgotten such a basic, crucial necessity?

I rummaged through my bag. Nope. Not there. I couldn’t find anything helpful at all. Except for my oversized makeup bag.

Luckily, one of the other women I worked with had some. We were close enough that she lent it to me. Ever since that day, I decided I would never be unprepared at work again.

I had to prioritize. Starting with adding an extra emergency deodorant to my bag, and removing any unnecessary makeup I was lugging around. But what else did I need?

Here is a list of the top 10 essentials for your workbag:

Your Wallet

Seems simple enough, right? But when I say wallet, I mean all of the essentials that come inside that as well. Make sure you have the right forms of ID and any type of identification you may need to enter your work building. If you work in a city and take mass transit, double check that you have the right Metro card or Bus pass with you at all times. I personally am not a big fan of carrying cash, but I also have an emergency $20 in my wallet at all times.

Photo from peaceloveshea.com

Photo from peaceloveshea.com


While I do keep appointments on my phone, I also have a physical planner I carry with me at all times. In addition, I sometimes carry a small notepad with me. This can come in handy for meetings, when your electronics conk out on you, or during that lunch break where all you want to do is doodle or write.


This is absolutely essential. The first time I realized I was silly for not carrying a pen was when I was on an international flight and had to fill out a customs form before going through immigration. I had not one writing utensil. How could I be so silly? Ever since, I’ve made sure I have at least one “good” quality pen, and a few back-ups as well.

Photo from wantandwander.com

Photo from wantandwander.com

Makeup Bag and Sunglasses

My makeup bag is another necessity that I always have in my workbag. However, I try to keep it on the small side and pack light. My makeup bag always contains concealer, my contacts case and/or glasses, mascara, and one or two lipsticks. You don’t want to take your whole bathroom supply of makeup with you, but you want to make sure you can freshen up before that meeting later on in the day. I also always make sure I have my sunglasses for sunny days.


While I could include deodorant in my makeup bag, I believe it deserves its own section completely. I absolutely always have deodorant in my workbag, and personal bags. It’s good to have that backup when you forget to put it on in the morning (like me), or want a fresh scent of light perfume to freshen up.

Photo from favim.com

Photo from favim.com

Cell Phone and Emergency Charger

Nobody likes that sinking feeling of realizing your phone has 10% battery left, and you have a few hours before you can get home to restore it. I double-check my bag every morning to make sure I have both my phone and a separate charger. This has relieved many instances where I could or would have been stressed out. It’s also great because you might save someone else’s day by having the charger that they forgot.

Tablet and/or Laptop

Depending on what you need for the type of job you have, a tablet or laptop on hand may be exactly what you need. I personally am not a huge fan of lugging my laptop around, but you can bet my iPad is continuously with me and charged. This has helped me keep up-to-date, been useful in meetings, and bided my time on long commutes.


Those migraines or headaches at work are no joke. They drag out your days, and make you miserable. Packing Advil will solve all of those problems.

Photo from favim.com

Photo from favim.com

Breath Mints

Breath mints are an essential for after your midday lunch or snack. Instead of snapping your gum, enjoy a mint that fixes the garlic breath and melts away.

Change of Shoes and/or Umbrella

A small umbrella feels like a lifesaver on those days where you glance outside, see a downpour, and groan. A change of shoes can also help on those rainy days, or if you walk a decent distance at some point during your commute. When I interned in New York City, I made sure I had flats for work in my bag and wore sneakers during the long walks to the office.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: AMY VAUGHN9d54e19e059511e2a62d1231380fd04a_7

As a Montclair State University graduate with a BA in English, my first love is writing, specifically nonfiction and short stories. International human rights and women’s rights are also strong passions of mine. I hope to someday be able to call myself Chief Editor, human rights advocate, and jewelry designer. I can’t live without Mad Men (er, Netflix), soy chai lattes, or my adorable Wheaten terrier, Pippin. 

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