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The Work Bag Essentials You Need For Your 9-5 Job

Two people eat lunch out of bento box containers, a Stanley cup sits on a tree trunk, and a spray bottle of hand sanitizer is surrounded by lavender.

Tumble out of bed and stumble to the kitchen, pour yourself a cup of ambition, and then…pack up your work bag! If you have a 9-5 job (and know you have a little Dolly stuck in your head), you know how important it is to have the work essentials on you at all times. The last thing you want is to be stuck at your desk all day without some creature comforts.

While you might have some personal items near and dear to you that you can’t imagine going anywhere without, there are also a few basics your work tote should contain every day. So, let’s cover a few work bag essentials for your 9-5 job, so you’ll never feel like you’re missing out on the necessities.

Lip Balm

A woman applies skin care to her face, and a tube of Elta MD lip balm is on a white background.

Lip balm will hardly take up any space in your bag, and it should always be considered a necessity! It moisturizes your lips and can protect against harmful UV rays. Plus, a tinted balm can give you a subtle pop of color that’s perfect for the office.

EltaMD UV SPF 36 Lip Balm Sunscreen

Moisturize and protect your lips any time!

Water Bottle

A Stanley cup sits on a wooden bench, and multiple Stanley cups sit on top of a succulent.

Never underestimate the importance of staying hydrated! Choose something durable that will stay closed when it gets jostled around like the Stanley cup, and with the right work bag, you’ll probably even have a designated space to store your water bottle so there’s no spillage.


A woman smiles with her mouth slightly open, and a toothbrush features black bristles and a blue handle.

If you’re working a 9-5 job, chances are you’re also interacting with people throughout the day. The last thing you want is for your lunch to linger on your breath or in your teeth during your afternoon meeting. Keeping a toothbrush (and paste and floss!) in your bag will allow you to clean your teeth quickly after lunch and be minty fresh for the rest of the day.

Lunch Container

Two people sit at a wooden table and share a lunch from a Bentgo to-go container, and a man sits at a desk on a computer as he eats from a food container.

Speaking of lunch, you’ll need something to keep it fresh until your break. Bringing your lunch to work will save you time, money, and you’ll be in full control over the quality of your food and the ingredients, so you’re likely to eat healthier than you would if you went out every day.

A lunch cooler is a great way to store your midday meal and keep it as fresh as possible until you’re ready to eat.

Bentgo Modern Versatile 4-Compartment Bento-Style Lunch Box

Pack fresh, healthy lunches with a compartment-style lunch box.

Hand Sanitizer

A woman holds a bottle of hand sanitizer up to her face, and a bottle of Touchland hand sanitizer sits among pieces of lavender.

Germs are still everywhere—especially in a public setting. One of the best ways to keep yourself protected throughout the day when you can’t always wash your hands is to carry hand sanitizer in your work tote. You can use it yourself and offer it to others who come into the office.

Touchland Power Mist Hydrating Hand Sanitizer Spray

Who knew a chic hand sanitizer existed?


A woman applies lotion to her hands, and a splash of water frames a bottle of GoldBond lotion.

Hand lotion might not seem like a necessity, but there are more benefits to it than you might think. It provides a protective barrier to your skin that can keep your hands from drying and cracking. It also improves elasticity and can reduce the effects of aging. So, pamper yourself a bit by using lotion a few times throughout the workday.

Gold Bond Healing Hand Cream

A travel-sized hand cream is perfect for your work tote.


Black and white graphic tissue holders sit on a counter top and are placed in a car's cup holders.
Winoo Design Store

You might have a box of tissues at your desk, but either way, carrying a small pack in your work bag will ensure that you never have to deal with a runny nose or that awkward feeling of not knowing what to do after you’ve sneezed on your morning commute.

Tissue Holder with Facial Tissues

Keep your tissues at the ready and adorable with this set.

Blotting Papers

A package of Tatcha blotting sits on wooden table, and blotting papers are flecked with gold.

Whether you wear makeup or just stick to skin care, oil is going to appear on your skin throughout the day. If you want to take care of it, keeping a pack of blotting papers in your bag is a great idea. They absorb excess oil without disturbing makeup and won’t rub away your skin care either.

Tatcha Aburatorigami Blotting Papers

Stay shine-free throughout the day.

Tide To-Go Pen

A Tide to-go pen is inside jean pocket.

Sometimes, accidents happen. You get the spaghetti leftovers you had for lunch on your white button-down, or you spill coffee first thing in the morning. That’s why you need a Tide To-Go Pen in your work bag. This little miracle worker can save your work outfit from disaster.

Tide To Go Instant Travel Stain Remover Pen

Say goodbye to accidental stains.


A person pulls a Kind bar from a bag filled with headphones and a notebook.

Okay, keeping snacks in your work bag might sound a little soccer mom-ish, but when you’re ravenous in the middle of the afternoon and don’t want to hit up the vending machine, you’ll be glad they’re in there! Try to pack something with protein to keep you satiated until it’s time to head home.

KIND Crunchy Peanut Butter Protein Bars

A satiating solution to afternoon hunger pangs.


A woman wears a pair of Apple AirPods Gen 3 while running.

Having headphones or earbuds in your work tote can help you to eliminate distractions in the office and focus solely on your work. Some people are more productive when they listen to calming music, and headphones allow you to do so without bothering anyone else.

Apple AirPods (3rd Generation) Wireless Earbuds

Block out the noise with these popular headphones from Apple.

Mini First Aid Kit

A person holds a Welly first aid kit out of the water, and first aid kit products float above a welly first aid kit.

Paper cut? Unfortunately stapler incident? A mini first aid kit is just what you (or maybe your coworker) need. While your office might have its own stash of first aid, there’s really no way to know just how long that office first aid kit has been sitting in a closet somewhere. Keep your own available with this adorable kit from Welly. Because who said first aid had to be so boring?

Welly Human Repair Kit

No more paper cut pain for you.

There are so many other things that belong in your work bag, but keep these in mind as a few essentials to get started. The more prepared you are with your “bag of tricks,” the easier it will be to get through the daily grind.

Stacey Koziel Stacey Koziel
Stacey Koziel is a news writer at LifeSavvy. She's worked as a freelance writer for over ten years, focusing on family and lifestyle content. She also has a background in marketing and social media, and is always eager to talk (and write!) about the latest TikTok trends. Read Full Bio »
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