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What Is In Your Purse? | Top Essentials Women With ADHD Should Have In Her Purse

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Make An Every Day Go-To Item Into The Integral Part Of A Woman With ADHD's Command Center


Living with ADHD is often a struggle. However, it is the coming to terms with the diagnosis and learning how to cope that can help alleviate deep-seated feelings of inadequacy. These feelings of inadequacy are the underlying issues that most people living with ADHD endure. The stress, the frustration, the worry, and being overwhelmed can make any person feel like they can't cope or deal with life. For example, they forget to pay a bill, they forget to pick up the dry cleaning, and they also forgot to drop off the library book that's already overdue. Most of people would think that they might be having a bad day, but this is what people with ADHD go through daily.

Those examples may not seem life threatening, but what happens if it is that they forgot to pick their children from school? That bill they forgot to pay was the electricity bill and since they're already late on their past payments the electricity company decides to shut off their electricity. That dry cleaning they forgot to pick up was for their husband's important event for their job. They forgot to pick up groceries from the store and now they have nothing to fix their family for dinner.

Everything starts adding up and the consequences will start weighing down upon them. Hence, the feelings of inadequacy whether as a person, or a mother, or a father, or a daughter, or a son, or a sister, or a brother, or a friend, and or whichever relationship that person has with another person begins to mount due to ADHD.

"Women with ADHD often struggle with time management, organization, anxiety or depression, and feelings of stress. Managing critical aspects of everyday life including paying bills, managing money, laundry, chores, work tasks and planning may be impacted. This struggle to keep up with tasks and feeling disorganized often leads to significant stress and feeling overwhelmed..."


Women With ADHD

Now, I am not a mother. However, I do know what it's like to deal with just myself. I can only imagine what it's like to have full responsibility of a family to take care of. Although the concept of women not being in the kitchen is evolving more now, women are still viewed and known to be the caregiver of the family while the father is the breadwinner. There are many cases that women are now more focused on their careers rather than being the caregiver while the husband takes up that role instead. In either case, women (whether as the caregiver or breadwinner) have responsibilities that need to be fulfilled.

According to an article Coping Strategies For ADHD, there were three distinct problem areas that were addressed:

  • Organization
  • Routine
  • Planning

The one thing that women are known for owning (other than that little black dress and shoes) is a purse. I'm a going to make an every day go-to item into the integral part of a woman with ADHD's command center. In most cases, a purse will go everywhere with a woman so it's the most viable item to make into a command center.

The command center will consist of four core items:

  1. Cellphone ID Wallet Wristlet
  2. Coupon Wallet
  3. Double Zipper Makeup Bag
  4. Poly Plastic Envelope With A Closure



This handy cellphone ID wallet wristlet contains everything that you need for your daily excursions. You'll need to hook your keys on this wristlet to make it the mini-keeper of everything you need.

This is where you put:

  • your most used cards (debit and credit)
  • your driving license
  • your cellphone
  • some money (cash and coins)
  • appointment cards

You can leave your purse in the car for the quick errands that need to be done by just slipping the strap on your wrist and you're good to go. Now say you need your entire purse for a specific errand, all you have to do is drop it into your purse or just keep it on your wrist.

What it will contain:

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  • coupons
  • receipts
  • reward cards
  • cards you don't use regularly (like gift cards and credit cards)
  • your checkbook

This item you probably will use occasionally compared to the cellphone ID wallet wristlet. This is meant for the back-up important items. The coupon wallet consists of an accordion-style organizer with dividers you can mark accordingly. There are some of these coupon wallets that come with pre-labelled tabs like the Savvycents one. I'm incredibly impressed with that one. I have a different one, but I'm actually considering purchasing that coupon wallet (especially after reading the review).

I'm not you. I have no idea what type of store rewards card you have or what type of coupons you have either. You would have to assign each slot corresponding to your lifestyle. However, I would definitely assign one slot in the organizer for receipts!

Helpful Tips

  • I do find it awkward to go into a women's public bathroom and start brushing your teeth. However, I picked up some Colgate Wisps that have been my lifesaver. They are mini-toothbrushes that have a pick at the end of the handle. They also have this freshening bead that helps freshen up your breath!
  • You can use a quick mouthful of mouthwash to swirl around and dispose of just as quickly! You can use this in a public bathroom without being noticed.
  • Find makeup that has a dual purpose. I have Pacifica's Coconut Multiples and this palette is cream-based. I wasn't certain what to make of it, because it is said that you can use it on your eyes, your cheeks, your lips, and on your body. I use two of the shades for my eyelids and one as a blush.
  • Whether you use tinted moisturizer or foundation make certain there's SPF in it, it combines two steps into one which means more time for you!
  • Bring a small travel-sized spray bottle filled with water, you can spray your face down or spray a cotton ball to saturate it with water to clean off your face. You can spay down your hair to tame it.
  • Makeup remover wipes (especially natural ones) can be used for quick cleansing before prepping your face for lotion, makeup, or whatever next in your routine
  • Get a small travel-sized container that has a twist top and wide mouth so you can pour your favorite facial toner inside. You can use this with a cotton ball to ensure that your face is extra clean paired with the wipes.
  • On a hot day, don't bother doing your makeup until you're where you're supposed to be. Sitting with the air conditioner on or the windows down for a few moments to apply some eyeshadow, eyeliner, blush, and lipbalm (or lipstick, lipgloss, or whichever) will help keep you looking freshly 'made' instead of drowned out.
  • Some items will not fit in your makeup bag due to bulk size and that's fine. Those items are easier to find then say looking for chapstick especially if you have pens in your purse.

I do demand that the makeup bag has TWO EQUALLY PROPORTIONED COMPARTMENTS and IS CLOSED BY ZIPPERS. Yes, I do insist on that! You will understand my madness momentarily. Now the size of the makeup bag itself depends on the contents you will be placing in the compartments.

The makeup bag will consist of two compartments:

  1. makeup
  2. cleansing & grooming items

Makeup Compartment

contains items like:

  • tinted lipbalm
  • foundation/tinted moisturizer with SPF
  • universal eyeshadow palette that goes with EVERYTHING
  • eyeliner
  • mascara
  • blush
  • brushes, tools, and cottons balls
  • makeup remover wipes
  • perfume (travel-sized)

Cleansing & Grooming Items Compartment

contains items like:

  • Colgate Wisps
  • lotion (travel-sized)
  • deodorant (travel-sized)
  • mouthwash (travel-sized)
  • tissues (travel-sized)
  • hand sanitizer (travel-sized)
  • hand wipes (travel-sized)
  • nail buffer
  • nail clippers
  • nail file
  • cuticle cream
  • fashion tape

More often than not, I tend to be pressed for time even when I plan to get up early. I tend to only get the chance to clean my face in the morning then hurry off (Yes, without brushing my teeth and I'm fully aware that's gross!). I used to show up to appointments, work, and be out in public looking like a total mess. So not only did I look awful, I felt awful as well. I looked not put together and I felt it as well. It's an unsettling feeling too, because you almost feel like you haven't grown up if you can't take care of yourself.

To look put together, a person usually has a firm handle on great personal hygiene. It's not that people with ADHD don't strive for personal hygiene, it's more that they are pressed for time. Now, if you are a busy person and you have appointments from morning to evening, the last thing you're going to care about is putting makeup on. I'm aware that presentation of self is the first impression that people will have of you. At best, you'll get the basics down like brushing your teeth, taking a shower, eating breakfast, and then leaving before you're late.

These items are not to replace your morning and night grooming routine. If you have time, take the time to take a shower, brush your teeth, and put on makeup. I envy you! But there are some of us (I'm hoping there's more than just me!) that may take that extra hour to sleep in, because they couldn't get to sleep the night before. People that are racing out the door the moment they wake up, because they have things to do and things to get done.

These items are to help you to look your best when you're pressed for time! Being a woman with ADHD, I can attest that I am always pressed for time. As I mentioned above, there are times when I've forgotten to brush my teeth. There are times when I haven't brushed my hair or even washed my face. So what do I do? I come prepared!

It doesn't matter which closure you get, just as long as you get one of these poly envelopes. This envelope will consist of all your miscellaneous documents you receive during the day. So when you don't have time to put away certain things like receipts, appointment cards, documentation, and whatever else you accumulate throughout the day in the right spot, you put everything in this envelope (instead of the bottom of your purse where it will swim about unnoticed until it's too late). This envelope you know will get sorted at home so it'll be a safe way to put everything into it.

  • make a habit of emptying out the contents of the envelope every evening
  • sort through everything
  • place into the right 'home' (meaning every item should be housed in a specific item whether it be in a binder, a file, inputted on a device, and so on)

To Complete The Transformation...


Amazing APPS To Download For Your Smartphone

Below are videos about certain APPs that I have deemed helpful.


Manilla - Bills And Reminders

Out Of Milk

You will need to say 'hello' to a smartphone (preferably one with a keyboard) if you haven't already done so. I'm not saying you need to do this, but I would certainly consider it. Smartphones have the capability of being your little workhorse. It makes calls, keeps you on track through APPS, keeps you entertained by music, videos, or downloaded games, and let us not forget texting.

Smartphones usually come with calendars fully functioning with alerts and reminders. This is absolutely magic when it comes to people with ADHD. I regularly update my phone hourly if not more than that. I know that may seem strange, but your smartphone can keep you accountable with keeping up with appointments, with tasks, with errands, and with bills to pay. The calendar is amazing. However, when it is paired with great APPs that specializes in your daily to do's and an APP that specializes in when to pay your bills, there is so much stress taken off of your shoulders.

People with ADHD are usually very visual people. More often then not, a person with ADHD will most likely do something by being reminded through a visual reminder (like a sticky note) as opposed to being told to do something. A smartphone is visually equipped to guide a person with ADHD into the right direction.

There are two types of smartphones that I would consider using:

  • androids
  • iphones

Android-based phones and iphones usually have the same APPs in their stores. I would definitely keep an eye out for smartphones that have a lot of internal storage and make sure to ask how the battery life is in case you need to get an extended battery, an extra battery, or possibly look at a different phone.

Did you know that there are a lot of famous people who have ADHD and have impacted millions?

Inspirational Quotes

"There are many positives with ADD, including a surplus of ideas, creativity, excitement, and interest which accompany this kind of mind."
-Sari Solden

"More and more, the concept of ADD as a disorder is being qualified by inclusion of a string of positive qualities -- such as creativity, high intelligence, ability to do many things at once, an aptitude for small business entrepreneurship, and a powerful intuitive sense."
-Susan Burgess

So How Does Reorganizing A Purse Help Women With ADHD?

I mentioned above that there are three problem areas according to an article, which are: organization, routine, and planning. I listed a quotation on a side note from a different article addressing the symptoms of ADHD in women and how it can affect women. I firmly believe that a woman's world can revolve around her purse.

With each core item, it addresses all the problem areas. I have been living with ADHD for my entire life. I stopped taking medication for ADHD almost a decade ago. Trust me, I know how hard it is to deal with these symptoms. It makes you think: why can't I be normal and act normal? Well, the truth of the matter, people with ADHD are programmed differently from a person who doesn't have ADHD.

I understand my behavior as well. I know myself well enough that in order for me to be on time -- I either have to trick myself into thinking the time for the appointment is earlier than it is OR I've learned from prior knowledge that a certain amount of time will get me to POINT A to POINT B. You know what's amazing about my own analysis of my own behavior is that I learned how to PLAN accordingly by knowing my behavior.

I also know that first impressions are a big deal and how you present yourself to the world is paramount in how you will be received by the general public. In order to put your best foot forward, you have to look the part. If you look the part, I can almost guarantee you'll feel like good about yourself. I know looks aren't everything, but when you look into the mirror knowing that you aren't put together appropriately, it wears you down. Self-esteem issues begin to mount on top of each other. Now makeup and grooming won't solve everything obviously, but it can help you make that great impression. Whether you like it or not, we are all creatures in need of respect and admiration.

I've learned to live with the fact that I have ADHD. As a woman, I have learned how to deal with having ADHD. Acceptance of one's diagnosis is the first step in regaining one's momentum and discovering the truth of one's self. I learn differently from others, but that doesn't make me less of a person. In fact, it is knowing myself and my shortcomings that help me reign in the disadvantages of having ADHD.

So organizing a purse may not seem like a huge deal, but it can be! It can be the first step in taking control of yourself, your ADHD symptoms, and your life.


King on October 11, 2015:

This article is awesome & helpful! Thanks

Jodie on October 07, 2013:

Thank-you for such a wonderful article. i have ADD. Forgetting wallet, losing keys (lost them at Target a few weeks ago), missing receipts. Love your article

Victor W. Kwok from Hawaii on June 02, 2013:

This is a very interesting topic. Thanks for sharing!

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