All right, Survival Moms, what one thing do we ladies always have within easy reach? Our purses, of course. If you’ve never thought of using your purse as your Everyday Carry (EDC) bag, I encourage you to consider just that.
Most of us store preparedness items at home, at our BOL (Bug Out Location), and in the car. But Get Home Bags and Car Kits carried in the car or perhaps at our place of work if we commute via mass transit aren’t any help if we’re out and about. And the supplies we’ve stocked at home can’t help us unless we can get home.
If we’re in the mall or at the park when an emergency situation occurs, our purses should contain the resources to help us survive and enable us to reach our next level of preparedness. That might be returning to our vehicle or work, or it might be another place altogether.
If you’ve never thought of things to always have in your purse, here’s my list to get you started:
Things To Have In Your Purse
It’s important to remember that the contents of your purse are unique to you and your circumstances, as illustrated here. In addition to those things most of us carry all the time, such as wallet with ID, credit cards, cell phone, etc., I chose to carry these survival necessities in my purse:
- Emergency whistle (with a compass)
- A mirror
- LED flashlight with strobe feature
- BIC lighter
- Pill box containing 2 of each: Tylenol, Advil, Tums, Benadryl
- A few Bandaids
- Two alcohol swabs
- Always some small bills ($1, $5), and quarters for machines and Aldi!
- Tic Tacs
- Two moist wipes
- Small crossword puzzle book, Sudoku, anything to help you pass the time
- Small writing pad
- Pen and pencil
- Package of Kleenex
- Package of 6 Ritz cracker sandwiches or an energy bar
- Eight ounces of water
Remember most of us already carry many of the items on the list (mirror, pillbox, Kleenex, writing pad, pen/pencil, cash). I even carried the comfort/entertainment items long before I knew about “prepping.” So, while the list looks like quite a load, it actually takes up minimal space.
How to Organize the Contents of Your Purse
Organizing the things in your purse depends on a lot of factors. What kind of purse you carry, its size, how much you want to carry, and so on, all impact how you choose to organize things.
The items specifically for an emergency in my purse live in a small makeup bag (whistle, flashlight, pillbox, Swiss knife, medical supplies, Bic lighter). You may wish to further separate items, such as medical supplies. Selecting bags that are different in some way, like color, allows you to reach for the desired bag without delay.
Small makeup bags like the one I use, Altoid tins, zip-up or hard-sided eyeglass cases, and empty prescription bottles are all possibilities. Look around your house and see what you already have that might work.
What if I don’t like carrying a purse?
Are purses not your thing? No problem! Try backpacks, slings, or crossbody bags. So many styles, from sophisticated to trendy to sporty to casual, are available. There’s something that fulfills both form and function for everyone. These versions also offer the additional advantage of leaving your hands free.
How do I personalize what I carry in my purse?
My purse survival kit enables me to meet immediate needs if an emergency occurs while I’m away from my car or home. As long as I have my purse, I know I’m prepared not only for big disasters but also for the little bumps of life. Think about what items will allow you to better accomplish this purpose.
Here are some other things that you might consider important enough to carry:
- Lip balm
- Tampons or pads
- Daily medications
- Special medical needs items (for diabetes, allergies, etc.)
- Pepper spray
- Tactical pen
- N-95 face mask
- Hand sanitizer
- Safety pins
Food and water are the most difficult to accommodate in a purse. Sometimes I might carry a package of Ritz crackers because they’re inexpensive, easily rotated, packaged adequately, and easily shared. Currently, though, my preference is a KIND high-energy bar with nuts.
I’ve carried water in a small plastic bottle, but it sometimes leaked and was awkwardly shaped. My solution? Use an object designed for carrying liquids in tricky places: an ordinary stainless steel flask, available in sizes from 4 oz to 18 oz. It’s easy and inexpensive to refill once a week. Another option is heavy-duty mylar pouches filled with water. They’re a one-time-use item but are small and easy to carry.
And while we’re on the subject, do your kids have an EDC? Here’s some info to get you started gathering items for your children. And here is a free printable checklist to make the process even simpler.
How I’ve Used the Things I Carry in My Purse
Over the years I’ve needed most of these items at one time or another: a thunderstorm once knocked out the lights in the theater and I was the only person with a flashlight, new shoes rubbed a blister and I had a Bandaid, a two-hour wait in the doctor’s office was less miserable because I had the crossword puzzle book and the crackers. The Swiss army knife has been the single most useful item I carry. I’ve used it to cut threads, pull out splinters, tighten glasses, and file broken fingernails.
It’s funny how having just the right set of small, versatile, and handy supplies and gear can make all the difference in the world when one of those pesky little emergencies happens. And it only takes a few minutes to equip your own purse so you’ll be ready.
What things do you carry in your purse?
This post was updated 10/1/2021.