I've been seeing a lot of "What's in my bag" posts lately, and felt inspired to join the masses and show you all what lives in the dark expanses of an interior designers bag! Prepare yourselves; we don't have rippling arm muscles from the gym. Our bags are stuffed.
If a designer only carries ONE thing, one single thing, it had better be measuring tape. I'd say something like "you never know when you're going to need it!" but guess what? You ALWAYS need it.
Personally, I like the FatMax 25' Tape Rule. It's sturdy enough to stand on it's own (great for measuring ceiling heights) and rolls back up without pinching any fingers. Also, I've dropped it about 100 times and it hasn't broke! For longer spans, Toban & I use the reel measuring tape or a laser measure. These can be a bit finicky so it's best to measure twice and ensure the correct number is taken.
Pen/Pencil & Paper
Having a writing utensil and paper (or a stylus & tablet, whatever!) is also a "need" in a designers bag. Whether you're using it to take notes, jot down addresses or paint colours, or sketch out a quick concept for a client, it's always handy. All three of us Revolving gals use the Staples Arc Customizable Leather Notebook.
It has a pen holder inside, which protects my pen from being eaten by my purse, business card holders (3 slots---perfect!) and an interior folder. I also bought the expansion rings to allow for more paper to be added. My favourite feature of this notebook is the fact that you can add and remove paper & dividers as you please. We usually have to add our client notes to binders or files, and ripping pages out of traditional notepads can get messy. The tabbed papers come out clean, and more are easily added. There are also lots of types of papers to put in, ruled, blank, and everything in between!
I think at any given time, I usually have about 3 pens in my bag. People are pen thieves. They might not even realize it, but seriously. Stop stealing my pens. Anyways, the lesson is, always pack a spare! I'm not big on pencils as they get smudged easily, but if we're doing a measure I will usually use a pencil to accommodate my juvenile drawing skills.
Nature Valley Granola Bars. Crackers. Apple. A bagel. Starbucks Chai Tea Latte w. Coconut Milk. Trail Mix. Grapes.
...I'm hungry, okay?
Cell Phone & Backup Charger
When you're a gal on the go, a cell is always with you (duh, it's 2016). But after calling the plumber, drywall guy, electrician, painter, and client, your iPhone battery is probably around that horrifying 12% line. Ta-daaa backup charger to the rescue!
Cell phones are great and all, but sometimes you need a quality flash on a decent camera to really "capture the moment".
Spare socks are a lifesaver. They can be used in many situations. Like during a particularly grimy consultation when you've worn heels with no socks and the homeowner asks that you remove your shoes. Or when you arrive at site and have to pull your steel-toes out of your truck. Or even when the office is just too damn cold to handle!
And not just your own! I have a collection of our general office cards, Kendall, Toban, and my own cards from Revolving Rooms, as well as our Flooring Specialist and General Contractor's cards! Because you truly never know
Okay now this one is kind of a cheat, because we have a sort of separate bag for paint swatches. BUT they are always in our trunks! This way, when your client says "hmm...but how will that look with the paint?" or your site manager calls and says "I need a paint colour right now" or you definitely need to show someone the difference between a blue-tone grey and a red-tone grey and a true grey, you are ALWAYS prepared.
And that's the necessities! Bags may also contain any amount of lipstick, anti-bac wipes or liquid, random screws or parts of power tools, a fake nail that snapped right off, a wallet dedicated to receipts for items that may or may not be returned, and/or random gum.