You’ve probably seen those mini emergency kits at like Fireworks and Bed Bath and Beyond that are really cute and tiny and such a good idea right? Well I don’t not agree, but I have two concerns: 1) I have heard that getting everything back into that tiny bag is basically a tedious game of Tetris and 2) Once you’ve used something, it’s a onetime done deal/use of a product, so shouldn’t you replace it? But it’s such a tiny bag…

That’s why I prefer to make my own 'mini' emergency kit. Over the years, I have learned what is a must to have when building your emergency kit. Most of us have a main bag or backpack that we like to use on a day to day basis that already has our normal stuff in it. I like to keep my emergency kit to be not any bigger than an average pencil pouch so I can easily move it from bag to bag (for example my school backpack to my night-out type bag). Here’s what you need:

1. The actual bag

Pencil pouches, small makeup bags, those bags you get from Bath and Body Works gift sets, etc. Those will work.

2. A pocket knife

I’m serious; this thing is so handy for everybody. Even if it is as simple as a pocket knife with only 3 tools, you might only use those 3 tools anyways. The most used tools on mine are the knife, the scissors and the nail file. Have a loose thread you need to cut? Need to cut some tags off of something (the ones you can’t just pull off)? Is that chipped nail driving you crazy?

3. Bands Aids/Mini medical kit

This one should be self-explanatory. I at least keep a couple of band aids in my kit and sometimes single-packaged disinfecting/alcohol wipes when I can get my hands on some free ones.

4. Medical tape

This one I cannot stress enough. We all have a pair of shoes that cause blisters. Most people turn to band aids for this, but within a couple of hours, they usually fall off or rub off. Trust me on this: use medical tape for places that will get blisters. Medical tape is meant to stay on the skin and it will stay in place until you rip it off. I also use it to cover irritating bra-strap adjusters and to keep busted wire from piercing into my chest on the fly.

5. Ibuprofen

There will always be a time when you need this or a friend will ask you if you have any (shout out to the common cramps and headaches!). There are plenty of places that carry travel sized or even emergency kit sized Advil (or any other brand of Ibuprofen you prefer) packets/containers that you can refill once they’re empty. As someone who gets frequent headaches, I almost never leave the house without some.

6. Lip Balm

Because who loves the feeling of chapped and cracked lips?

7. Tampons/Sanitary pads:

This is for everyone as well, vagina or not. Help a homie out when Mother Nature comes to ruin someone’s underwear, even if it’s not yours.

8. A small tin of bobby pins, paper clips and safety pins:

You have no idea how many times someone has asked for a bobby pin and I just happen to save the day. I also keep paper clips and safety pins for clothing/fashion “emergencies”.

9. (optional) Hand Lotion:

As someone who has chronically dry hands that are always cracked during the winter, I always keep a sample-sized tube/container of hand moisturizer in my kit. The samples I have are made to relieve the irritation or itchiness of chronically dry skin, so I try to only use it when my hands are itchy or burning (due to the dryness).

As you may be able to tell, the "optional" ones are more catered to me and my needs. I highly encourage you to do the same and fill your emergency kit with things that you know are essential to carry around with you (for example an inhaler, EpiPen, eyedrops, etc.).