So for the past year or so as we redecorate our entire house my handbag has contained many decorating items from sample pots of paint to "screws we mustn't lose" and other random decorating paraphenalia. I've found though there's five things I wouldn't be without and these are my five handbag essentials:
1. At least one tape measure!
I prefer to use a pocket tape measure as it's much easier to measure something on your own and you can lock the it to any length, so you can measure things against the space you have. Also it says you mean business, especially in builders merchants and the likes, they aren't always ready for you to pull a builder's tape measure from your bag.
However they can be bulky so I usually have a more compact dressmakers tape measure in my bag too for the times when I don't want to carry the larger version. For me that's likely to be a quick pop into Oxford Street ahead of meeting MOH for dinner. Believe me, rummaging through your handbag in a restaurant and pulling out the larger tape measure does illicit strange looks!
Handy tip: if you have tradesmen working in your house make sure they don't mistakenly go off with your larger tape measure. I find a blob of pinky-red nail varnish on the back helps me identify which is mine! Washi tape would also work.
2. Your measurements
Well not your measurements exactly, the ones of the room you're decorating. Get the most out of your tape measure and measure everything and note it down. Measure the room dimensions obviously, the window size and so on but also measure spaces between things. For example, how much room do you have between the bed and the wall? How long, deep, tall is your sofa? How big is the rug in your living room, and what's the largest or smallest it could be?
You'd be surprised at how often you'll refer to your measurements when you're shopping. Or how often you re-measure things because you didn't note them down. And if you're going to note them down then you might as well have them with you, it takes the guesswork out of shopping as you never know when inspiration may strike...
3. Your swatches and paint charts
Keep them in a plastic wallet or a zip-lock plastic bag in your handbag. I use a small sandwich bag, the sort that you take liquids through security in. That means if you pop to the shops in your lunch break or get a chance to unexpectedly browse round the shops, if you see the perfect thing for your room, you'll know if it's perfect or not and you'll save having to make a return trip (either to buy it or return it!). And the plastic bags helps protect them from everyday handbag life!
4. A smartphone
Sometimes it's just easier to snap a picture of the thing you want and aren't sure about - or want to find cheaper elsewhere. As they say a picture speaks a thousand words...
5. A notepad and a pen that works
Yes I know you've got your smartphone but there's times where you'll be able to write faster than you can tap it into your phone - even if you have your phone unlocked and your note app open. Plus, it's much easier to read your own scribbled handwriting than a hastily and incorrectly typed note (spellcheck often gets in the way too), it's even more handy when your pen actually works! Plus it means you'll have found a use for one of those lovely notebooks you've got...
So there's my five handbag essentials during DIY projects, what's yours?