The Handbag Survival Kit

Today’s blog takes us somewhere dark, mysterious and to some of you a little bit frightening.
Following yesterday’s blog I have been beginning to wonder just what women do have in their handbags. According to this article a woman’s handbag contains 40 to 63 items! I think I have travelled halfway across the world with less items than that in my rucksac!
This weekend’s unpleasant experiences have led me to conclude that handbags need to be smaller and that many ladies need to have a pragmatic look at what they are actually carrying and how much they need it.
Below is a list of common handbag contents and items recommended as essentials on some other webpages, with my observations and comments.
Hand Sanitizer
Unless you work in healthcare, carrying around hand sanitizer does seem a little neurotic to me. A little bit of grime is good for your immune system.
Safety pins/ Sewing kit
I can see the merit in this, but keep it to the minimum. A single needle already threaded with a couple of feet of “invisible thread” should suffice for most emergency repairs. Stick the point into a short piece of matchstick and place in a small ziplock bag with a few buttons and safety pins.
Nail File/Emery Board.
Some metal nail files can serve as emergency self-defence weapons, providing you can actually find them in the depths of your handbag.
A few aspirin are a useful thing to have. Carry a reasonable amount, not a whole box. The same applies to levels of other medication that you may need.
The nature of women’s shoes means that a few of these are a useful addition to a woman’s bag. As above, a reasonable amount should be carried.
Money/ Cards
You are not going to get far in the modern world without these. As described in yesterday’s  blog, keep a written note of your IMEI number and the account numbers and hotline numbers you will need to cancel your cards in the event of loss or theft. It is prudent to not have all of your money/cards in your bag if possible. Having an emergency £20 on you is a good tip, but logically this perhaps should be carried somewhere other than your bag.
Vital for getting around in some cities. My lady and myself often play a game where she loses hers and searches frantically until it turns out in a random pocket, her boot or some such. Get into the habit of always keeping important things in the same place.
Sunglasses and/or Glasses
While I am recommending small handbags, they need to be large enough to comfortably accommodate such items.
Oddly most lists I have seen did not include a phone. Presumably this is because most modern women never let go of their phones long enough to put them in their bags?
iPod/ Mp3 Player
Or if you use your phone to listen to music, the associated earphones.
Feminine Products
A reasonable number of tampons or pads. Devices such as the “Mooncup” may be worth considering.
Spare Underwear
Some ladies like a change of underwear in their bags. Hopefully you will not need more than one pair.
Tissues/ Toilet Roll
I can see that this would be useful. Carry a handbag pack of tissues rather than an entire roll.
Hair Bands and Pins
Makes sense. Could be carried in the same little plastic bag used for the safety pins and sewing kit.
Lighter/ Matches
Handy even if you are not a smoker.
Diary/ Address Book/ Notebook and Pen
Many of the functions of these items can be taken by modern phones but the desire for actual paper and pen often came up. Our modern computer world often generates a lot of scrap paper and it is a simple thing to recycle this to create a notebook of ideal size to fit in your bag. A single A4 sheet can be easily folded to create eight 4 x 3" pages.
How much make-up different women will carry in a handbag is probably going to vary considerablly and is thus one of the areas where weight and bulk can be cut down. Some women get by with just a lipstick/ gloss. If prudently selected some foundation and a mascara will take up little extra room.
Compact/ Mirror/ Brush
A mirror will be handy for touching up your lipstick and other purposes too. I brought my girlfriend a little folding mirror that also incorporated a hairbrush, which I thought was pretty neat.
A few mints are worth carrying if you have room. Avoid chewing gum. It makes you look like a moron, is a waste of money and is made from such things as latex and petroleum products.
Snacks/ Emergency Food/ Chocolate
A couple of webpages mention these as “essentials”. A snack can be defined as an unnecessary meal, eaten for entertainment rather than sustenance so given the prevalent weight problems in our society I have my reservations as to how essential this is. If you have a medical condition such as diabetes then emergency food is a prudent edition to your handbag, however.
I am in two minds about the carrying of keys in handbags. If you do, ensure there is no way a thief who may steal your bag can find out your home address from the other contents.
This is an item not mentioned on any lists of handbag essentials, but highly recommended. A little knife such as the Swiss Army Classic makes a useful addition to a keychain and includes a nail file and scissors.
Length of Chain with Screw Gate Clips or Combination Locks.
If you do not know what this is for, read yesterday’s blog!
Some self-defence instructors advocate carrying a compact flashlight that can be used to illuminate dark corners an attacker might hide. Some designs can also be used as kongos.