6 steps to protect your computer in your handbag

When you bring your laptop back and forth between the house and the office, there's always a risk of doing something to destroy it. That's also the case if you have to bring it to meetings or take it in your carry-on for overnight trips.

Telling you to never pack food or water, or that you can't make any sudden moves seems incredibly unrealistic. After all, you're using a handbag so it can be practical, not to build your life around it.

But there are other smaller steps you can take to minimise the risk of ruining your screen or hard drive when your laptop is in your bag.

1. Use a structured laptop compartment

open handbag with laptop compartment

If the pocket is too big or too loose, your computer risks tilting from side to side. That can end with it falling over and your laptop breaking, and you don't want that.

That's why it's helpful to avoid storing computers in a loose "hobo" style bag.

If there's no support from the bag, your computer is basically left balancing on its own against anything you find to lean it up against. 

2. Use extra padding or a sleeve

Many laptop sleeves or pockets also come with a bit of padding for extra protection for your laptop. If you don't have that, you can also use a separate sleeve to wrap around your computer before putting it in.

This gives a bit of extra cushion should it hit anything as you walk around with it, and it also stops anything from scratching the surface.

3. Don't leave small loose items in the same pocket as your computer or iPad

You should also avoid having small and sharp items like makeup containers, keys or pens next to your laptop. These can scratch the surface as they're moving around.

This is especially important if you have an iPad or anything with an exposed screen, as a key down the front of your screen will certainly destroy it.

4. Make sure your water bottle is either empty or upright

Bottle with strap around it

Keeping water bottles in the same bag as your laptop is high-risk behaviour.

If you suddenly need to run to catch a train or do any sudden movements and the lid isn't properly screwed on, you can end up spilling water everywhere and destroying your computer in the process. Trust me; it's happened before.

There are a few things you can do to avoid that. First, you can get a bag with several compartments so you can keep the laptop in a separate room from the water bottle. To find the optimal number of compartments for you, read here.

You can also try to empty the bottle before putting it in the bag or covering it in plastic.

An elegant way is to keep it upright with a bottle holder. This is a strap that you wrap around the bottle and then fasten to the wall of the bag, stopping it from falling over.

5. Keep food wrapped in more than one layer

If you're tired of having to buy lunch at the local café every day, you might also want to bring food with you to work. The same rules apply to food as to water.

Make sure you have a container that is tight, so nothing spills out. To be safe, you should also add a layer of plastic on the outside and keep the food in a different compartment from any electronics.

Sushi with soy sauce might be excellent lunch leftovers, but a soy sauce-filled keyboard isn't very effective when all it can type is "aaaaaaaaa".

6. Wrap up your charger

One final thing to mention is that you can risk breaking your charger if the cables are left either connected to your computer or just lying around below something else.

You can often take off one part of the charger so it's able to lay flat in a side pocket. You can also wrap it and secure it with a strap so it doesn't run wild.

If you have already been unlucky enough to spill something inside your purse, check out these articles on how to clean it up again:

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