A work bag is a near-constant companion. Your daily commute, client meetings, and travel- your work bag does it all. So what are the work bag essentials you need for all of these occasions?
Well, your laptop, wallet, and keys to start.
And a great work bag.
Other work bag essentials will really depend on your lifestyle.
Besides those basics, here are my recommendations on what to consider for your work bag essentials.
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1. Laptop Case
If your work bag has a sleeve built in for a laptop, you don't need a laptop case.
If you have a tote bag or similar, where there is no specific compartment for your laptop, then you should strongly consider getting a laptop case to protect it from all of the other things in your bag.
I like laptop cases that are slim. I hate bulk and added weight that serves no functional purpose.
This faux leather case from Mosiso is simple, slim, professional-looking, inexpensive, and comes in a variety of colors and sizes.
2. Charging Cords
You will want to make sure you carry charging cords for your laptop and phone, at a minimum.
If you are traveling, make sure to also grab your cords for your tablet/Kindle.
The problem with cords is that they create a crazy, tangled mess at the bottom of the bag if you don't use ties for them.
I like these hook and loop ties to keep my cords organized in my bag.
3. Portable Charger
If your phone, tablet, or laptop is running out of juice towards the end of the day you should consider getting a portable charger.
Luckily, these have gotten much smaller in recent years so they don't add a lot of bulk.
Personally, I only carry a portable charger if I am traveling or have a day of meetings outside of the office. If you spend your days in the office, you can easily charge your devices at your desk.
4. Tile Pro
I used to not be a fan of Tile for the longest time, because their batteries were not replaceable.
Meaning you would have to get a new one every time the battery died (which is once a year). Although not often, that seemed wasteful to me.
Thankfully they have addressed the issue, and you can now replace the battery.
Now, I am a big fan of the Tile Pro.
I misplace my keys all the dang time. So the Tile Pro makes my mornings much easier...I am no longer running around looking for my keys.
So if you misplace your key and wallet and find yourself searching for them, put a Tile on it.
I have recommended the Bose over-the-ear headphones as a home office essential. And they are still my favorite headphones for travel as well.
For everyday, I carry my AirPods in my work bag. They are small and take up very little space.
I use my AirPods for teleconferences, especially in the car (the car audio is not ideal), and listening to music at my desk when I am working on something that requires a lot of focus.
I also keep a case on my AirPods as the plastic housing gets easily scratched.
The clip that is on the case is great too.
I clip it on a hook inside my bag so it doesn't get lost somewhere at the bottom of my bag.
6. Flash Drive
I actually keep a flash drive on my keys.
It comes in handy when I am dealing with large files that I would like to share (too large to email) that can get problematic with network drives, etc.
I also sometimes use it to back up important files from my computer that I haven't had an opportunity to put on a network drive at work yet.
7. Kindle (or Audible)
Reading is something that I talk about all the time. And a Kindle is one of my home office essentials.
It is no different for my work bag essentials list.
So, set yourself up for success in making reading a consistent habit by carrying a Kindle. I like the Kindle Paperwhite because it provides the most similar experience to reading a hardcopy book.
If you prefer audiobooks, Audible on your phone is great as well (and make sure you have your headphones!).
Personally, I carry both.
8. Static Remover
I can't think of anything that drives me crazier than my dress or skirt clinging to my legs.
This especially happens during the dry winter when I am wearing sheers under my dress/skirt.
I use to go the whole day trying to pull my skirt from my legs. Madness.
My co-worker actually made me aware of this anti-static spray. It conveniently comes in a travel container too.
I now keep a full sized one at my desk and a small one in my bag.
No more clingy clothes.
Nothing overly exciting here, folks.
I use these to blot my makeup and you know, for my nose.
10. Hand Sanitizer
We are living in a post-pandemic world.
Continue the good habit of keeping your hands clean. It really does reduce the risk of catching many diseases.
Who has time to be sick?
I love these hand sanitizers from Touchland. They smell great and best of all they do not dry out my hands.
As someone with very dry hands, especially in the winter time, I can't stress how important this is. The Aloe one in particular is great.
The packaging and spray is nifty too. I just wish they were refillable as the packaging seems pretty wasteful to throw out each time.
11. Business Portfolio
I really hate paper, except for taking notes.
There is nothing that quite replaces taking notes on paper. It has been shown that writing things down helps memory retention.
So I carry a portfolio for that reason, I use it to take notes. I also use it to carry paper handouts that people provide during meetings.
It's particularly useful at conferences and client meetings, but I tend to carry it everywhere.
I work at a startup now, but when I worked at a large office I also loved this because it allowed me to carry my card (for when I went to the cafeteria) and my phone in one place with my notepad.
12. Pens & Highlighters
I usually keep one of each in my business portfolio.
It's funny how many people have strong preferences on pens.
I personally love the G2 gel pens and have been using them since...like high school. A very long time.
Did you know erasable highlighters exist? They are pretty cool.
13. Business Card Case
I use to carry my business cards in my wallet, but I didn't like how bulky they made my wallet.
Instead, I got a business card case and I much prefer it.
I don't hand out business cards all that often so it doesn't make sense for me to take up space in an everyday item like my wallet. Instead, I just keep these around in my work bag for when a need arises.
I again gravitate to something small, sleek, and professional looking.
I like this card case which checks all the boxes, and comes in multiple colors.
14. Small Umbrella
You're not going to catch me in the rain without an umbrella!
I carry a small one around in my bag at all times, except in the winter.
When I carry a snow shovel in my bag instead (I'm kidding!).
15. Cosmetic Bag
Everything else I carry in my bag (#14 and beyond) goes in a small cosmetic bag.
It keeps all of these small items organized and not swimming around in my bag.
I like cosmetic bags to have a faux leather exterior, as they tend to get dirty and need to be wiped down.
16. Hand Cream
As I mentioned, my hands get very very dry. Especially in the winter time.
I always have hand cream near me, no matter where I go.
My favorite one for my bag is the L'Occitane Almond one.
It absorbs into my hands quickly (a must) and doesn't leave that terrible greasy feeling. Or worse, handprints on everything I touch.
I have been using this one for years.
17. Lip Balm
Just like my hands get dry, my lips get chapped very easily.
For days when my lips are feeling extra dry, I skip lip gloss or lipstick and just wear lip balm for the day.
In the summer, I tend to wear less makeup in general so lip balm days are even more frequent.
My favorite lip balm is from Laneige. I also use their lip mask at night. The berry scent in particular is very nice and not overpowering.
It really moisturizes your lips and doesn't disappear quickly like many other lip balms.
18. Perfume RollerBall
I find perfume rollerballs very convenient to carry.
They are also less obnoxious to use when other people are around, and more discrete.
One of my favorite scents that I have been wearing for years is Elizabeth and James Nirvana.
I am terrible at describing scents, but it is very pleasant and not overpowering. It also lasts all day on me.
19. Nail File
I am a former nail biter so I need to keep one around in order to take care of broken nails to avoid biting them.
20. Clear Nail Polish
I keep clear nail polish around for two reasons:
- If my nail polish chips, I put some clear nail polish on to prevent further chipping
- If my sheer tights get a snag, putting clear nail polish on helps the tear not get bigger
21. Small Hair Brush
I have long hair and I wear it down a lot, so brushing it occasionally throughout the day is a must.
At home, I love the Wet Brush. It is the only brush I have found that I can brush my easily tangled hair without it seeming like torture.
So, in my bag I carry a mini Wet Brush. I keep a large one in my desk.
22. Breath Strips
Because your breath will be bad after lunch, at least occasionally.
Mints, strips, whatever you prefer.
I like the strips because they take up very little space.
23. Small Deodorant
We are getting really real here.
Sometimes I just flat out forget to put on deodorant on after my morning shower.
The WORST feeling is getting to work and realizing I forgot to put it on.
So now I carry a small one with me everywhere. Problem solved.
So those are my recommendations for work bag essentials!
What do you carry in your work bag that I missed? Let me know your recommendations below!
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