what's in the bag

What’s In My Bag? How to do a Game-Changing Handbag Audit

Do you ever stop to ask yourself, “What’s in my bag?” For so many of us, our handbags are black holes – junk magnets.

They’re also a great place to check how much plastic has snuck into your day-to-day lifestyle and a great place to look for ways to improve or avoid it in the future. If you feel like you’re always hunting through your handbag for something, but it’s buried under who knows what, this handbag audit is perfect for you!

What’s in my bag? Step-by-step audit process

As you audit your handbag, it’s important that you approach it from a place of learning. Asking yourself not just “what’s in my bag” but also why is it in there, how often do you use it, and are there more eco-friendly alternatives?

Here’s how to take action:

  1. Begin with your current well-used and loved handbag. This won’t be as effective if you’ve recently cleaned out your bag.
  2. Empty the contents of your entire bag on a flat surface.
  3. Separate any trash, like receipts or gum wrappers.
  4. Take note of how much “trash” you have collected – what could have been avoided? Could you have asked for an e-receipt or no receipt at all?
  5. Identify the staples that you keep in your bag at all times, no matter what. For me, that’s my cork purse with forms of ID and payment, keys, reusable hand sanitiser, DIY lip balm, chopsticks, straw and a foldable bag. In this process, I would note that these are my items of most use, so they should be reusable or low waste. I use lipstick that comes in a paper tube and a refillable tin of lip balm, so there’s no plastic use.
  6. Of your stables, ask yourself what swaps you might make to avoid plastic. For makeup swaps, take a read of this blog post. 
  7. Consider any additional plastic items in your bag – do you need to keep them in your purse? If yes, is there a reusable swap? If no, how did you come into this item? Is there a way you could avoid it in the future?
  8. Finally, add your necessities and swaps back into your purse. Maintain the changes you’ve made by doing handbag audits a few times per year, aiming to keep the standards you set for yourself year-round!

Common handbag swaps

Unsure of what swaps you can make? Consider these:

reusable body cream
plastic free lip balm
cotton handkerchiefs
plastic free lip balm
  • Swap plastic nail files for the metal variety
  • Swap pen and paper with the notes app on your phone
  • Swap mini bottles of hand sanitiser with a refillable glass bottle (refilled at home, using bulk store sanitiser if possible)
Once you’ve completed your own handbag audit, leave a comment below and let me know what you find! What surprised you? What swaps are you committing to?

I hope you’ve found this blog helpful! As always, you can support me and the site by buying me a cup of tea or sharing the site with a friend. Your support means the world to me!


Mia Hadrill

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