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There are certain things I remember about my Grandpa Dick. He always wore a grey button shirt with a pocket and a pocketed t-shirt underneath. He wore black working boots, slip-on cowboy style, that went to the middle of his calf. Grandpa Dick was a blue collar worker, in charge of the grain co-op in the small Kansas town where we lived when I was a child.

My grandpa died when I was thirteen. Even having only those few short years with him, many of his mannerisms and habits were ingrained in me. He was the first person I knew who practiced Everyday Carry. Oh, he didn’t call it that, of course. I’m not even sure EDC was a thing back in those days.

He always had specific things in his pockets: a pocket knife, a refillable lighter, and a handkerchief. Every. Single. Day. He never left home without these things.

What is EDC?

You might be wondering what’s this Everyday Carry, commonly referred to as EDC in preparedness circles, thing is. Is it just stuffing your purse or pockets with things you might need?

Yeah. Pretty much.

My grandpa carried those three things every day because he had a need for them. I can’t tell you how many times he pulled out that pocket knife and made use of it. I never saw him use Kleenex, just the handkerchief. And the lighter… did I mention the shirt pocket had a pack of smokes in it? Yes, he knew they were bad for him. Believe me, I made sure he knew it. 😉

Just a Purse?

When I started thinking about my own purse as more than a cute handbag and the vehicle to carry things I couldn’t imagine leaving home without, I realized this was another similarity I had with my grandpa.

EDC isn’t something I focused on until a few years ago. Back in the day, when I had an office job, I had a collection of purses which coordinated with my outfits. Other than moving the wallet into the purse of the day, I rarely thought about other things I might need.

Twenty-some years ago, I watched a Mad About You episode where Jamie accidentally switches purses with her sister. Jamie, always organized and together, had a purse with just about anything in it you could imagine. Things to help her always look pulled together. Her sister, not so much. Throughout the episode it shows how Jamie’s day falls apart without her own bag, and her sister’s day comes up roses. The power of the Everyday Carry!

My EDC Bag

Gone are the days of a purse to match my every outfit. When I began working from home over ten years ago, I discovered I only need one handbag for everyday and a second I keep in the closet for those rare times I dress up.

Until a few weeks ago, I had a super simple black cross-body bag. It served me well for years and I loved it. The cross-body part is important for me so I can carry it securely and hands-free. It also helps me not leave it somewhere! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve left my purse in a restaurant or at a friend’s home. Having it attached to my body is a huge help!

When it was time for a new bag, I stuck with the cross-body but went with something slightly larger. I’m not the type to carry a purse that looks more like an overnight bag, but do need to have room for my day-to-day essentials.

I’ll admit, it took me several months before I found what I wanted. I finally settled on a Kavu bag. I picked out a fun pattern, shocking my adult children who were used to my standard black, and absolutely love the way the bag hangs. It’s super comfortable and carries just the right amount. Not too large, but big enough I was able to add a few things I felt were missing from my old purse.

What’s in the Bag?

Of course, I carry the normal stuff: my wallet containing my license, insurance card, debit card, and a few other things. For a wallet, I highly recommend a RFID blocking wallet or adding a blocking card to your current wallet. Here’s a good article on why these are smart and how they work.

I also carry cash. Even in today’s world of easy-to-use plastic, cash is still king. For years we’ve done some sort of envelope system via Dave Ramsey. Paying cash for groceries and fuel really helps control the budget. But this cash is not part of the envelope system, it’s for unexpected needs; emergencies, if you will. How much emergency cash do you need? Only you can determine this. The amount I’m comfortable with may be way different than the amount you are comfortable with. Here’s a great article from Jim Cobb on his thoughts of keeping cash in a 72-hour kit or Bug-Out Bag.

Depending on where you live, you might also keep a blank check in your wallet. There are still many, many places in my area accepting checks. One example, the tow truck driver. The last company we used gave us a discount for paying with a check instead of our credit card. Something to consider for your location also.

My cellphone and a small Swiss Army knife are part of my EDC. My Swiss Army is similar to this one, but has a light on it doubling as a flashlight. Plus, my cellphone has a flashlight. I  used to carry a penlight, and may add that again in the future. Often times my Kindle, if I think I may have time for a good book while away from home.

A small first aid kit, of sorts. I got this great green burlap bag as part of an order from MadeOn: Skin Care Products. The little bag is the perfect size for my purse and easily holds a few band-aids, a MadeOn lip balm, hard lotion, a small container of analgesic, a ring of elastic (an excellent rubber band, compliments of my LuLaRoe lady), a couple of handy wipes, a make-up remover packet, and a handkerchief — just like Grandpa!

A few other miscellaneous items include a small notebook, pen, a small mirror (is there something in my teeth?), a comb, a second hard lotion (this one is scented and can double as an emergency deodorant after a quick use of the handy wipe), and a pocketpak of Listerine strips.

What Else?

That’s about it for my small bag. If you have a larger purse, backpack, specialty EDC pouch, a mini pocket-sized EDC pouch, or something similar, there may be other things you’d wish to consider. Maybe you need an umbrella as part of your EDC, a tablet (as opposed to a simple eReader), a folding knife, or a full make-up kit. The idea is to create a EDC perfect for you and your lifestyle. The perfect EDC likely won’t happen on your first try.

Next Step

After you get a general idea of the items you need to help make your time away from home go smoother, think a little further. What if you are away from home and something happens? There is a section of road between my rural home and town without cell service. If I end up with car trouble, I want to have additional items on hand, things that are too large for my little purse. I’ll share more information on this in a future post.

What about at home? FEMA recommends a 72-hour kit for each person. This kit should have supplies to last at least three days without assistance. I’ll share our version of a FEMA kit in a future post.

What do you make a point of not leaving home without?

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