Friday, September 02, 2011

Of First-Aid Kits and Lunch Boxes

I'm a creator.  A dreamer.  A planner-aheader.  I'm even sometimes a thinker.  But I am not, however, always adept at making my creative dreams and plans a reality.

Take, for example, my first-aid kit debacle.  After purchasing a really nice kit at work for work, I realized we probably should have some sort of to-go kits in our cars.  We're usually driving up and down I-5, but for the rare outing to the mountains, beach, or in between, it might be nice if we had a few Band-Aids, some gloves, and maybe a deck of cards or something to play with while we wait for help.

So I started planning.  I researched supplies until I could tell you the differences between brands of CPR face masks, the average size of gauze rolls, and how effective instant cold packs are as time goes on.  I checked out all sorts of pre-made kits and bundles.  I wondered about soft-sided kits versus hard cases.  I've been to the end of the Internet and back looking at what other people put in their car kits.

And let me tell you, there are some weird people out there!

After days of tinkering, I came up with my "Ultimate List of Car Kit Supplies" (or something like that).  But I didn't want to throw all of these supplies into a random bin or bag and have to go digging every time I wanted to find a simple Band-Aid.  Because bleeding all over everything in the kit didn't exactly seem like a happy time.

I came up with a brilliant plan to sew my own kit!  Just get some red canvas "duck" fabric, some clear plastic stuff to make see-through pockets, and stitch it all up, right?  Easy.  Well, except that some of my items are bulky and don't fit into flat pockets, and I'm not very good at making bulky-pocket-openings still, and the whole project just got more and more complicated and had far too many doo-dads and got to be overwhelming.  And expensive.

So I started researching containers.  Paramedics get these really neat ultra-pockety bags for all of their little supplies, and that was just about exactly what I wanted size-wise, but the price was far more than I was willing to spend.  A tackle box was my next option, but it's hard to find a medium-sized box with just one lift-up tray in it (huge? easy to find; little tiny bins for little tiny things? also easy to find; medium box with medium spaces? ugh!).  Thus a trip to the craft store for craft storage.  Non-pink, non-frilly craft storage.  On-sale-because-I-live-on-a-budget storage.

I searched high and low, and waaaay down on a shelf behind some other bins was the perfect case.  It has medium bins and larger bins for the CPR mask and dust masks.  Everything has a home in the case, plus the clear lid makes finding supplies easy.  Even though I was determined to make my own case, sometimes I need to learn to save myself the time and effort and just buy what I really need.  Well, with coupons and on sale, which is how I scored my bins for less than $10 each!

Between ordering a few hard-to-find supplies on Amazon (CPR masks, Life Hammers, and cheap cards), the spree to Fred Meyer for basic supplies, and some ingenuity with other little bits and pieces, I think I came in under $60 for both of the kits.  That seems like a lot of money, but I have a lot of extra supplies in our bathroom cabinet now as well.  We won't need to buy Neosporin or Hydrocortizone cream for years.

Oh, and that red duck fabric that I bought?  Turning that into custom lunch bags.  More on that later though.

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