The Right Stuff: What to Tote in Your Bag

by Liza Herz on 4 July 2012 · 12 comments

The bigger the bag, the more stuff you’ll jam into it.
– universal law of tote bags

When you’re zooming from work to the gym to drinks with the girls or dinner with the boy, a well-stocked tote bag is your best traveling companion. But what’s essential and what’s just a space-hog?

We asked Sidney Sproule of Clean Slate Organizing to help identify must-haves that don’t require pulling a wheelie suitcase behind you daily.

The Bright Way  Express your inner OCD and put everything in zippered pouches. Coloured mesh bags are lightweight and easily spotted in your bag.

Every Day  Yes, you get to keep your mini makeup kit: tinted lip balm, concealer, powder and eye shadow. You also want a small fine-toothed comb (lighter than a brush), mini dry shampoo, emery board, bandages or blister pads, and Tampax® Radiant individually wrapped re-sealable feminine protection so you have them on hand for yourself or a friend in need.

Any Night Can be Date Night  Add lightweight chandelier earrings to your makeup bag along with a bright lipstick and some bobby pins or hair elastics so you can twist your hair into a low bun. (The super-prepared also keep a sequined top at the office for instant evening sparkle.)

Non-Essential Essentials  For some, a Tide to Go Stain Remover pen should be an every-day totable. But if you’re fairly graceful, consider it optional (unless you hang around with clumsy people). Be prepared for air-conditioning excess, though — a big drapey scarf or light sweater will come in handy more often than you expect. A small collapsible umbrella’s a good idea, too — I’ve been caught in the rain enough times to warrant carrying one even on sunny days. A protein bar or almonds in a resealable baggie is a must to prevent accidental consumption of chips/cookies/cake/pie. And a novel or magazine is just the thing to avoid pointless fuming if you’re stuck in a cab or doctor’s office — or waiting for that sweet-but-hopelessly-tardy friend. (She knows who she is.)

Lighten Up  Keep a change purse separate from your paper money and dump the contents every night so change won’t weigh you down. Go through your bag once a week and remove items you’ve amassed: receipts, business cards and trash.

Not that this has ever happened to us, but to prevent water bottle leaks (and drowned phones) Sproule suggests you “avoid bottles with sports tops; have a lid that screws on and off.  That way you’re more conscious that your water bottle is properly closed.”

There. Now rather than rummage endlessly through a black hole of stuff, you can reach into your spiffy tote to withdraw what you need in an instant. And you can spend all your free time on more Radiant pursuits, like drinks with the girls or dinner with the boy.

This is a sponsored post. Also, it’s Made-in-Canada month on Beautygeeks. Liza Herz and Sidney Sproule were made in Canada.

Enter to win ChickAdvisor’s Girl on the Go contest happening this month for your chance to win a luxe bag, products from the Always® & Tampax® Radiant collection, and other goodies.

*Contest ends July 17, 2012. Approximate retail value of prize is $300 CAD. Offer open to Canadian residents of the legal age of majority. Winners will be notified by email during the week of July 18, 2012. ChickAdvisor is the contest sponsor and has sole authority to award prizes or disqualify users for any reason. Click through for full contest rules.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Jane 4 July 2012 at 8:24 am

So true! But I can jam an amazing amount of cr@p into a small bag as well…..


Liza 4 July 2012 at 9:01 am

Good for you. Make that small bag your bee-otch.

My small bag too is a tardis (nerd reference: and I insist on jamming in all sorts of ‘just in case’ items. Honestly, I’m like a child needing to be constantly entertained. Maybe I should have included ‘colouring book and crayons.’


Janine 4 July 2012 at 11:49 am

Um… I drowned my previous phone. In my purse. With a bottle of water. It had a screw-top. I put it on crooked. *sigh*


aarya 5 July 2012 at 6:32 am

I soo need some of those.meshbags though i already have 2 in my bag right now but when i have to search for stuff it drives me insane lol

Thanks for sharing this… i still have to get in the habit of cleaning mybag every week…. ^_^


Liza 8 July 2012 at 7:48 pm

The mesh bags appeal to my latent OCD. And you’re right, tipping your bag out is hard to remember. Maybe we need to enact a reward system: I am not watching this trashy tv show, I am cleaning out my purse. (Then you have a rationalization for whatever guilty pleasure pleases you the most. I think the latest Bachelorette series is winding down now…)


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