what's in my bag, small leather backpack

What’s in My Bag? Minimalist Mum with a 3-Year-Old

Before embracing a minimalist lifestyle, my bag was filled with countless items, thinking they might come in handy one day. But, as it turned out, that day never came. It might seem trivial, yet these little things can add up, adding unnecessary weight and making it hard to find what you need in your bag. Just like decluttering my home, I decluttered my bag and discovered items that had been travelling with me for years, untouched. Now, as a mum, my bag holds a few selected items that are used on a regular basis and gives me peace of mind. Let me walk you through “what’s in my bag”. I’ve divided it into two categories: items for me and items for my little one. Plus, I’ll give you a glimpse of what used to be in my bag but did not serve me well.

what's in my bag, items laid out

What’s in My Bag: For Me

  1. Hair bands – I frequently wear my hair up, and there’s nothing worse than when a hair band unexpectedly snaps. Instead of my hair falling into a lovely cascade of locks, it’s more of a wild, untamed mane. So, I always make sure to carry an extra hair band in my “what’s in my bag” arsenal. It’s a small, yet essential item to prevent any hair disasters and keep me looking (semi) presentable throughout the day.
  2. Lip salve – an absolute must-have, no matter the season. Weather can be unpredictable and often leads to dry lips. Hence, my “what’s in my bag” list will always feature a handy lip salve to keep my lips moisturised and comfortable throughout the day.
  3. A shopping bag – This item is a frequent flier in my bag. It’s always good to have a shopping bag on hand for those impromptu shopping trips, or for collecting beach shells and woodland treasures during outdoor adventures with my little one. It’s a small but crucial part of my “what’s in my bag” essentials.
  4. Wallet – A small essential in my “what’s in my bag” collection is my minimalistic wallet. I intentionally keep it small and clutter-free, tucking in only my debit card and library card. While I’m not usually one for hoarding loyalty cards, I do have Tesco’s Clubcard. It’s my go-to place for weekly shopping, after all! Along with these cards, I also carry a small stash of cash for those spur-of-the-moment pickups.
  5. Plasters/Band-aids – Having a three-year-old who loves to explore means bumps and scrapes are part of the adventure. While these little lifesavers aren’t in constant use, their occasional necessity certainly earns them a spot in my “what’s in my bag” lineup.
  6. A mirror – While it’s not an absolute essential, I’ve found having a mirror in my bag quite handy, especially for those quick teeth checks after meals. It’s one of those little comforts that contributes to my ‘what’s in my bag’ collection. However, if I had to remove one item from my bag, it would be this.
  7. Sunglasses – I have sensitive eyes, my eyes are blue and I have been told that blue eyes can be sensitive. Do you know if this true? Anyways, I find it comforting to always have my sunglasses within arm’s reach in my bag. You never know when the sun might decide to make an appearance, and I like to be ready for those bright moments.
  8. An umbrella – Living in Scotland, you quickly learn that no matter what the season, you’re never too far from a rain shower. It’s always reassuring to have an umbrella tucked away in my bag, ready to shield me and my little one from those unexpected drizzles.
  9. Wet Wipes – Since we graduated from the nappy phase, I no longer felt the need to lug around those hefty wet wipe packs. Now, I keep a small pack of them in my bag, always at the ready for those unexpected moments of messy hands or faces. It’s one of those “what’s in my bag” items that, while not used daily, is a real life-saver when needed.
  10. A pack of tissues – an absolute lifesaver that’s always in my bag. Whether it’s for wiping a runny nose on a cold day or cleaning up unexpected spills, these little helpers are always at my fingertips.
  11. My mobile phone – While I make a conscious effort to minimise my phone usage, I always have it in my bag.
  12. Earphones – On those precious moments when I have some time to myself (like those intervals after dropping my little one off at nursery), I enjoy listening to audiobooks or diving into podcasts. My earphones, therefore, are an indispensable part of my ‘what’s in my bag’ collection. They offer an immediate access to knowledge, amusement, and a short, essential respite.
what's in my bag, items for my 3 year old

What’s in My Bag: For My 3 Year Old

  1. Hair bands – similar to mine above, it’s always frustrating when a hair band breaks and you don’t have a spare.
  2. Purse – Now that my little one is 3 years old, we often find that family and friends gift her a few pennies. To keep these safe, she uses a little panda purse that I keep in my bag for her. This way, when we’re out and about, she has her little fund for any treats she fancies.
  3. Activity sheets and pens – I always make sure to pack a few engaging activity sheets and pens in my bag. They’re my secret weapon for those times when we’re out and about, and my little one needs something to keep her entertained. This little touch of preparation goes a long way in turning potentially stressful moments into peaceful ones.
  4. A spare set of clothes – One of the steadfast items in my “what’s in my bag” collection is an extra set of clothes. The beauty of spontaneous trips and adventures with my little one means that we often don’t know where the day might lead us. Having spare clothes on hand gives me peace of mind knowing that should she decide to jump in a puddle, play at the beach, or encounter any other unexpected situation, I have a set of dry, clean clothes ready for her. It’s my little safety net stashed away in my bag, ready for whatever the day brings!
  • In the summer I also add a small bottle of SPF

I neatly tuck all my daughter’s items into a compact wet bag. This method is particularly handy as these items may not always be in use, and it keeps everything organised yet separate from my personal items. Plus, the wet bag serves a dual purpose – if there’s a need to change her clothes for any reason, the used clothes can go straight into the wet bag, preventing the rest of my bag from getting dirty. It’s all about making life as a mum just a little bit easier!

what's in my bag, no longer in my bag

What’s in My Bag: No Longer

For Me

  1. Tablet – I used to take my tablet everywhere, but in an effort to minimise my digital clutter and limit device usage, I’ve made some changes. Now, I only want instant access to the book I’m reading and the podcasts or audiobooks I’m listening to. I can comfortably do all of this on my phone using the Kindle app, Audible, and Castbox for podcasts. So, there’s no need to unnecessarily carry around a tablet.
  2. Paracetamol – I used to carry a small amount of paracetamol and ibuprofen. Over time, however, I realised I seldom needed these. Without chronic pain to manage and a preference for taking medication only when absolutely necessary, these items just occupied space and expired. In the rare instances when I might need them, I’m never too far from home or a shop. So, I chose to remove them, making my bag a bit lighter.
  3. A sewing kit – This was a long-time resident of my bag. At first glance, it seemed like a practical essential for my “what’s in my bag” collection. In reality, though, it remained untouched for years. While it may have seemed important, it simply didn’t serve a purpose in my day-to-day life.
  4. Hairbrush – While this might be a necessity for some, it’s not for me. My hair is typically tied up throughout the day, and I find myself simply pulling it back with my hands rather than reaching for a hairbrush. I realised that once I’ve brushed my hair in the morning, I don’t use it again. So, in the spirit of keeping my “what’s in my bag” essentials minimal and practical, I decided to leave the hairbrush out.
  5. Perfume – While it used to find its place in my bag, I’ve moved away from using perfume altogether. So, it’s no longer a part of my ‘what’s in my bag’ essentials.

For My 3 Year Old

  1. Toys – I used to bring a few toys for our young child, but as she has grown older, activity sheets or an “I spy” game seem to alleviate her boredom when necessary.
  2. Child paracetamol – Although it’s often handy to have children’s paracetamol in our bags, we realised they were mostly used when we were at home. Now, they only make it onto my packing list when we’re planning to stay overnight away from home. So, in my everyday bag, these are no longer a staple.

The journey towards a minimalist lifestyle can start with something as simple as decluttering your bag. As a mum, it can feel like you need to be prepared for every possible scenario that might come our way, but in reality, less truly is more. By focusing on the essentials and letting go of the unnecessary, you can lighten your load and navigate your day with greater ease and peace of mind. Remember, it’s about finding what works best for you and your little one. So, go ahead, take a peek inside your bag – you might just be surprised at what you’ll find! Here’s to lighter bags and happier days!

What’s in your bag? I’d love to hear about it in the comments 🤍

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