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5 DIY Mini Emergency Kits For Any Disaster

Mini Emergency Kits

I am that person who usually ends up in some sort of unexpected “situation” almost everywhere I go. I guess that’s why I carry a big tote filled with anything and everything I might need “in case of an emergency.” I really do need to downsize. That’s why I fell in love with these MINI emergency kits that Britta came up with…and I just know you will too!

Britta writes…  In the world of photography, they say that the best camera is the one you carry with you. Even the best-quality camera becomes worthless if you aren’t taking pictures with it! The same idea applies to emergency kits; you can have emergency kits in your home that are well-stocked, but those kits aren’t going to do you any good if you’re faced with an emergency away from home!

But none of us wants to carry around a big ol’ emergency kit, full of things you might not actually need. So imagine if you had an emergency kit so compact that you could carry it around in the pocket of your jeans if you wanted to? And that kit would have exactly the things you might need, with nothing extraneous. You’d be way more likely to carry that around with you, right?

That’s where this comes in – the humble mint tin. Small, reusable, and durable, these mint tins make the perfect container for emergency kits. While at first glance they appear to be too small to hold anything useful, by the end of this post you’ll see just how much these tins are capable of holding!

Emergency Kits

Kit #1 – First Aid

No matter where you roam, a first aid kit can always come in handy. Keeping this kit with you will have you handling minor aches and injuries such as headaches, bruises, blisters, scrapes, and cuts with no sweat.

Emergency Kits


  • Bandaids
  • Moleskin patches
  • Butterfly closures
  • Ibuprofen
  • Bacitracin ointment
  • Gauze pads
  • Alcohol prep wipes
  • Hand cleansing wipes

Emergency Kits

Kit #2 – Sewing Kit

As we all know, wardrobe malfunctions happen. Especially before or during significant events, like important business meetings and first dates. This small sewing kit has everything you’ll need to quickly repair or secure small tears or holes.

Emergency Kits


  • Seam ripper
  • Needle threader
  • Thimble
  • Scissors
  • Needles
  • Safety pins
  • Various colors of thread

Emergency Kits

Kit #3 – Emergency Candle

Maybe this isn’t quite a “kit”, but having a candle around can be extremely useful! Especially if you’re stranded overnight in your car, home, or office with no power. This little candle will burn for several hours, providing light and heat when you need it most. (For full instructions on making a candle, see my post about making your own citronella candles.)

Quick note: Keeping matches next to a lit candle is a hazard, which is why I detached the lid from the tin. That way, you can keep the matches away from the candle when it is lit. After the wax cools and solidifies, you can replace the lid and secure it with a couple of rubber bands.

Emergency Kits


  • Candle
  • Matches
  • Match strikers

Emergency Kits

Kit #4 – Wilderness Survival

If you participate in outdoor activities like trail running, mountain biking, or hiking, keeping a few wilderness survival items with you makes good sense! These basic items can help you navigate your way, signal for help, or even start a fire for warmth should you become lost or stranded outdoors.

Emergency Kits


  • Water purification tablets
  • Flashlight
  • Signaling mirror
  • Whistle
  • Ibuprofen
  • Swiss Army Knife
  • Compass
  • Firestarter
  • Dryer lint (for fire-starting)
  • Rubber bands

Emergency Kits

Kit #5 – “Urban Survival”

This kit is certainly the most practical of the bunch. It probably won’t do you much good in a real emergency like the candle or the Wilderness Survival kit, but it well help you navigate the day-to-day of city/suburban life! Whether you need a bit of extra cash, some essential oils to calm your nerves, or a way to save an important file, this kit has you covered.

Emergency Kits


  • Quarters
  • Ibuprofen
  • Lens cleaning wipe
  • Mini bottle of Lavender essential oil
  • Chapstick
  • USB drive
  • Safety pins
  • Cash
  • Rubber bands

Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.
I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

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  • These ideas are great!!!! I think I am going to do the first aid one and the urban survival one as soon as I have 2 of those tins. Thanks Jillee!!!!

  • There is another post I read and she puts links so you could purchase what you would put in kits. Makes it so much easier . By the way if you need bigger kits you can buy bigger ones with clear tops.

  • These would be great gifts for the person going off to college or even as stocking stuffers! I love the candle idea. Also the urban box…great for he young women in your life…..”break a bad date” box….calling card, whistle…….

  • Love these ideas…well done. trouble is that I am in Australia and haven’t sen any little tins like these here. Where do I get them from? Regards Jenny

    • You don’t have Altoids or sucrets, or other small tins of candy or lozenges that are about the size of a deck of playing cards in Australia?

    • You could also use an eyeglass case that has a strong spring closure. I use these for “ladies’ essential” items, first aid items, snack bars, etc. You know, anything I don’t want to be smashed or lost in the bottom of my purse. Easy to organize in a bag, too.

  • I have been following your blog for quite some time and I must say, this is one of my favorite posts. Love, love, love it. I do not enjoy Altoids but I am going to see if I can find some little tins like this. They would also make great little Christmas gifts for family and friends as well. Thank you for all of the ideas. I especially enjoy your cleaning product posts.

    • Paula, I don’t care for Altoids either so I just give the mints to friends and family members and keep the tins for all my projects. I also put the word out for any of my acquaintances who do buy the mints to save the tins for me. I do the same for Tic Tac, Mentos, and Mini M & M tubes.

  • If I didn’t know better I’d swear you’ve been peeking into my windows for ideas! I’ve been putting together tin kits for a while now. I’ve got some other ideas to put in there too if your interested. Those tins hold more than we think.
    Way to go Jillee! Very good

  • Duct tape is my favorite emergency go-to item. You can wrap a length of duct tape around the chapstick, a small spool, short pencil or other similar item to put in several of these kits.

  • Great post! Very useful and practical! I had a tin once which I literally picked up from the street and re-used as a coin-holder. My hubby unfortunately lost it though..I think I am going to make one of these too! Thanks for sharing! :-)

  • I have a few small tobacco tins that my husband would leave everywhere. I started using them to discard my used scented warming wax. I didn’t want to get the warm wax on the trash bag. It sounds like it would be the perfect thing to use for emergency candles in calming scents. :)

  • Thanks for the great ideas. I just bought some items to make up some mini first aid kits, but since reading this, I like the idea of making up the survival and emergency kits as well.

    If you don’t have tins on hand, I’ve seen these mini kits made up with pill bottles too.

  • This is an absolutely amazing idea!! I especial love the Urban Survival kit. It has to be the one I would most use. I now want to buy lots of containers of mints. LOL.

  • And how cute for the crafty people out there to paint and decorate the tins. My husband is addicted to these things so I have a great supply. I’m starting on Christmas right now. My siblings don’t exchange big gifts, but I’m thinking these would be perfect! Thanks.

  • In college I carried a “lady’s kit” with Midol and other lady’s essentials. I was never caught out in an emergency and it came to the aid of many of my female friends. Plus the little tin was very discreet.

  • I would add one more item to the First Aid kit: some regular Bayer aspirin. Hopefully you will never need them to abort a heart attack, but handy to have if you do.

  • I found a little tin that you could use if you don’t like Altoids or similar candies. Some retail stores have tins to put your gift cards into. I have one and it works just like the Altoids tin.

  • You know what? These are fantastic! I can think up a couple of ways to make a kit… How about making up a nail kit? Small file, nail polish (there are small bottles out there) cotton balls, remover if you could find it in a swab, clippers… Oh the list could go on and on!

  • […] Do you have a bunch of tins from Altoids laying round because you think wow this would make a great craft? Maybe you just throw them away. I came across a blog post about a great idea for use of the empty tins. The original blog post can found at https://onegoodthingbyjillee.com/2015/03/5-diy-mini-emergency-kits.html […]

  • After studying and practicing outdoor survival, I’ve made and tested 9 different altoids kits. Each time I end finding out that they amount to what the army refers to as ”pocket junk”. A single altoids tin is simply too small to have any amount of kit of any real value to keeping you alive. After all, fire and signalling are only a fraction of what one needs. What about water and shelter, not to mention food. Unless you’ve received training in primitive survival techniques, you won’t make it with just fire and signalling.

    Smallest kit anyone should have is a rectangular 8 oz tin with a hinged lid, which you can find on eBay for around $5 and free shipping. That kit should contain:
    6 lifeboat matches, to supplement a bic lighter;
    1 tea light candle, for both starting damp twigs and as a light source;
    1 ferro rod (3/8 x 4) and a 3 inch length of hacksaw blade as a scraper;
    1 canvas needle and a disposable bobbin of thread;
    1 good or fair quality button compass if you have to leave the wreck/crash site/point of being stranded, which you should never do unless it’s too hazardous to stay;
    1sheet of waterproof paper and golf pencil, to give direction of travel and other information if you do have to leave;
    2-3 feet of 20 gauge brass wire, for snares or repairing gear;
    2 wire saws (in case one breaks) and a pair of 1 inch split rings for handles;
    6 to 12 water purification tablets, or a small vial of potassium permanganate (a few crystals turn water pink for treating, more turn it red for an antiseptic);
    1 large unlubricated condom to carry water in;
    cotton wool packing to prevent rattling and as fire starter when combined with chapstick or Vaseline;
    1 pea-less whistle, for signalling;
    black vinyl “electrical” tape to seal the tin shut, to prevent water leaking in. You can either use the inside of the lid as a heliograph, or tape a star flash signal mirror on the top, with the face taped over to prevent scratches. Along with this, carry a 3 1/2 to 4 inch lock back knife for making a shelter, carving traps, or whatever else you need to do at camp.

    The kit, knife and bic should be with you at all times; no matter if you’re walking the dog, ballroom dancing, taking a stroll in the woods, at home, or on a short road trip. Everything you need to live will be in that tin.

    More important than that is this one thing when you leave civilisation; never, and I mean NEVER, travel ANYWHERE without telling someone where you’re going, the rout you’ll take, how long you expect to be gone, and when you expect be back. Then stick to that plan. That and dress for the weather or any unexpected weather, within reason of course, and make sure to bring a 40 oz bottle of water per person in the vehicle with you; along with a box of granola bars per person too. Being stranded with no immediate food or water can be problematic at best, or deadly at worst.

  • Great ideas. We had thought about using this idea several years ago. We try to keep a few tins around. They are great for gift cards at Christmas or using to give money.

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