1. If you have just a small clutch
Cash: Take extra — cab fare, cover, who knows what else you’ll need to buy before the year is through. And you know that whatever you need most will be someplace where they don’t take credit cards.
Wisps: A little tiny portable toothbrush will be your friend the morning after, or when you’ve had three whiskeys and a white Russian and feel disgusting but are now expected to kiss somebody. You can also substitute mints or plain old gum if you’re feeling less fancy.
Advil: You’ll need it in the morning.
Concealer: Covers blemishes before your night out and giant dark circles the day after.
Drivers license and credit card: You already know this, but you don’t need to stuff your whole wallet in a clutch — just pull out the relevant cards, whatever they are. And when you go back to your regular bag, don’t forget they’re there.
Keys and phone: Do not throw these in a drunken rage. You’ll need them later.
2. If you have a medium-sized purse
All of the above, plus:
Lipstick OR lip moisturizer: You may not have room for both, but you’ll want one or the other for the purposes of either kissing someone or looking cool while everyone else is kissing.
Deodorant: Good to have, especially if you’ll be dancing the night away.
Small sweater: For when you’re tired of looking cute and just want to be warm.
Extra underwear: These fold up small, and if you end up staying out all night, a fresh pair of underwear in the morning will go a long way toward making you feel human again.
Condoms: Be safe! (If you just brought a clutch, you can always pick some up at a drugstore.)
Sunglasses: If there’s any chance you’ll be coming home in the harsh light of day, you’ll want these.
Wallet: Go ahead and bring the whole thing. Who knows when you might need your library card?
3. If you have a great big bag
All of the above plus:
Kleenex: If you don’t break down crying at some point in the night, you’ll probably catch a cold instead.
Mascara: For reapplying after the aforementioned sneezing and/or crying.
Flats-to-go: Those little ballet flats that roll up and fit in your purse. Good for chasing cabs, friends, cats, your destiny. Or just for dancing after your heels start to hurt.
Hand sanitizer: For gross bar bathrooms with no soap.
Baby wipes: For gross bar bathrooms with no toilet paper. In a pinch, you can also use them to remove makeup.
Tampons: If you don’t need them, somebody does.
Band aids: For covering shoe-induced blisters and all manner of other injuries. If you get cool ones they can double as accessories.
Body glitter: Because you can never have too much.
Tide To Go pen: You think you’re going to get through the night without spilling red wine, ketchup, or spaghetti sauce on yourself? If so, you haven’t lived.
Leggings: For when your tights rip or your legs get cold.
Granola bar: For all those parties with drinks but no food.
Wine Wipes: The solution to red wine mouth.
Contact case and mini bottle of solution: One BuzzFeed Shift editor recalls having to take her contacts out in (mercifully clean) shot glasses one New Year’s Eve. Don’t let this be you.
5-Hour Energy: For when your friends insist on going to just one more party.
Lighter: Even if you don’t smoke, you may be called upon to light some candles.
Earplugs: For when you find yourself at a super-loud New Year’s Eve show without obvious means of escape.
Emergen-C: Wards off colds at night, might make you feel less hungover in the morning — or at least healthier, since you’re taking vitamins.