Anatomy of a Natural Mama’s Purse

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Anatomy of a Natural Moms Purse
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A reader recently emailed and asked:

“Katie, I have loved your blog for months now! In a lot of your posts, you mention that you always keep something-or-other in your purse. Your purse is starting to remind me of Mary Poppins… And I would love to see a post: “what is in Katie’s purse?”

Thanks 🙂

Which gave me a great excuse to go through my purse (*ahem* clean it out) and make a list of everything in there. As I was doing this, I realized that it really is starting to resemble Mary Poppins’ famous bag and I probably have everything but a lamp in there…

On the positive, it weighs so much that I get a workout from carrying it! 🙂

My purse doubles (er.. triples) as a diaper bag and on-the-go survival kit so it has a very random assortment of items at any given time. I’ve included the basics in this list, though there are often other items as well. I was aiming for a post that looked like one of those “What’s in her bag?” profiles in a magazine, but I’m definitely not a throw-a-lipgloss-in-a-clutch-purse kind of girl… If you didn’t already think I was a little strange with the whole making my own deodorant and toothpaste thing, you might now…

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The Purse:

1. My purse, a Saddleback Leather Tote,  is by far the most expensive accessory I’ve ever bought. I saved for it for years but consider it an investment because it comes with a 100 year (yep… you read that right) warranty that can be transferred to your heirs. It is literally the last purse I’ll ever have to buy and I wrote it into my will…

It is extremely well made, comes in three colors, has a removable liner that makes it easy to clean, and a handy inside pouch that is perfect if you ever need to conceal anything 😉 It can be carried cross-body or over the shoulder and has an inside pouch that is perfect for wallet/checkbook and a metal hook that I attach my keys to so I don’t lose them the kids can’t take them.

I also love that this purse holds its shape, doesn’t fall over and has enough room to actually organize things within smaller bags inside. Why would one need bags inside of bags? Read on….

The Basics

2. Two things I always keep with me are my phone (in an Otterbox case since I have kids) and a Moleskine notebook which I use all the time for making lists (because I’m mildly OCD and feel more productive when I do) and for outlining random blog posts as they come to me.

The Bottles

3. Long hours as a doula are the reason I carry these items. I always keep magnesium oil, rescue remedy, and herbal hand sanitizer and herbal breath spray from Tropical Traditions. I’m not one to use hand sanitizer all the time but it does come in handy when the kids decide to feed ducks at the park or we have to use a port-a-potty. (Note to self: should probably start carrying TP too…)

The Survival Gear

4. I married a man with many brothers and they all love anything outdoorsy. If I’ve learned anything from them, it is that you can never be too prepared. I have a small bag (see #9) inside my bag with the following items:

  • A fire steel for starting fires– works great for campfires, not so effective on candles.
  • A para cord bracelet– you know, in case I ever need to repel or tie a Christmas Tree to the roof of the car or whatever… I also carry regular hot pink paracord so I don’t actually have to mess up the bracelet if I ever need paracord (logical, I know).
  • A knife- I have a folding pocket knife which has been excellent for cutting fruit or cheese at picnics and taking those little plastic tag-holders off of new shoes. I’m guessing it would also be useful in a defense situation… I also carry a Swiss Army Knife which I’ve used much more than I ever expected to, especially the phillips head screwdriver.
  • Pepper Spray (not pictured)- because you just never know.
  • A whistle/compass (not pictured)
  • A LED Flashlight (not pictured)

The Essentials

5. With kids, someone is always hungry or thirsty. I keep a klean kanteen full of water and a leak-proof Lunchbot with snacks (like nuts, coconut, dried fruit, etc) in my purse at all times because a hungry two year old in a crowded store is not something to mess with!

The Herbs and Oils

6. I keep another small bag with first aid and health essentials. I have a glass jar full of coconut oil and some little bottles of essential oils and tinctures with me at all times. I use small glass amber bottles filled with whatever I need. I usually carry:

The Diapers

7. I’ve always thought cloth diapering was easier, but especially with two kids still in diapers, it saves time and space. I can keep a couple one-size diapers in a wet bag in my purse and they can be adjusted to whichever child needs them at the time. Then, I just throw in the wash and grab a couple more when I get home.

The Just-In-Case

8. Mainly in case of emergencies or food poisoning, I keep a pill container with capsules of cayenne, activated charcoal, and probiotics in my purse at all times too.

The Bag in a Bag

9. Why does one need a bag-in-a-bag? For organization… My hubby found these Eagle Creek Quarter Cube Pack It Bags and they fit perfectly in the Saddleback purse. I could probably fit up to four of them in the purse if I needed to, but they hold a lot and most of the loose items above fit well in one of these.

The Miscellaneous

The random items in my purse vary daily, but often I carry:

So, that’s a look inside my (40 lb) purse… what do you carry? What is the most unusual item you have in your purse right now?

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


74 responses to “Anatomy of a Natural Mama’s Purse”

  1. Sara Gordon Avatar
    Sara Gordon

    Number 8 – what are the capsules of cayenne for? Assume the activated charcoal is for food posioning? And probiotics… what do you uses these for in an an emergency?

    1. LaraS Avatar

      Cayenne might just be what saves someone’s life after a heart attack while waiting for the ambulance. Great for situations of shock and distress (including road accidents and after labour!) and a powerful anti-inflammatory.

  2. lori Avatar

    Seriously? You are one prepared mama! I can’t imagine carrying all of that, but you would be ideal to get stranded with anywhere. Hats off to you!

  3. Tia Garcia Avatar
    Tia Garcia

    Wow! Your purse sounds a bit like mine. Lol. Although I usually have a foldable brush, a sharpie, and an emergency poncho in mine. Although your list does remind me of a couple of things I need to add to my bag. Now ask me what I keep in my car at all times…..

  4. Stephanie Avatar

    I recently learned (from a female cop that volunteers at my library) that, while pepper spray is great for defense, using chemical mace is even better because it works against dogs. she said postal workers carry it for that reason. honestly not sure what is in chemical mace though, so I don’t know if this was helpful at all!

  5. Victoria H Avatar
    Victoria H

    If I ever go on “let’s Make a Deal,” will you come with me!!! 🙂

  6. Lina Avatar

    I carry phone, tissues, keys, chapstick, water and tube ticket (I live in London). I hate to carry a heavy bag 🙂

  7. Jennifer L. Avatar
    Jennifer L.

    I am clearly under-prepared. I keep a change of clothes for each kid in the trunk, along with 3 cloth diapers, a changing pad, and wipes. We also have a mini-first-aide kit that just lives in the car. When going out, I just pop water bottles and snacks in a basket. We ride our bikes a lot of places, so this has me thinking I should put together a little first aid kit for the bike too. I don’t even tote anything with us usually (except the kids!). This definitely gives me some ideas!

  8. Katie Flynn Avatar
    Katie Flynn

    love this post. i LOVE LOVE LOVE that bag! uh oh…. now i want one 🙂 you are very influential on me!

  9. Jessica Cary Avatar
    Jessica Cary

    I’m in awe and feeling slightly jealous! Though I think I’d get arrested here in Brooklyn for carrying a couple of those items. There’s a ban up here on all sleepytime tinctures. 🙂

  10. Anneliese Etherton Avatar
    Anneliese Etherton

    Yes! I carry super glue too! and duct tape and many other “emergency” essentials. I’m a college student, so my friends generally think it’s weird how much stuff I carry– but they are always grateful when I pull out some obscure item that they need in a pinch.

  11. Brigitta Avatar

    Wow! I carry 5 credit/debit card/license in my back pocket. A diaper and wipes (only one in diapers) are stored in the car. The keys are tucked into my pocket or the spare set (used 50% time) is around my arm. That’s it! I’m working on a stash of basic items in the trunk of the car. I suspect when we leave toddler/baby stage and I get out more the needs will change and I will begin to haul something around…maybe. I’m inclined to obtain a small backpack for my toddler to carry to hold his water, snack, and some EOs. We are SO different! Thanks for sharing.

  12. Alison Greenwald-Horsley Avatar
    Alison Greenwald-Horsley

    Love that someone else feels the same way about not having their purse/diaper bag/first aid kit/emerg kit “purse” fall over or collapse all the time. It has to be one of my biggest pet peeves to not have a sturdy bag. I’ll have to check yours out. Thank you for the post!!

  13. Sarah Warren Avatar
    Sarah Warren

    Hahaha! Glad to know I’m not the only one with a fire starter and essential oils rolling around in the bottom of my purse! 🙂 And I too have had shocked looks when I’ve pulled out my knife and wiped it off with a baby wipe – yes, normally to slice apples and such.

    Cute purse, by the way!

  14. Joy Glass Avatar
    Joy Glass

    Wow that is something. you must feel like a pack mule! lol (you must be talking about camping for a week. 😉 When I take my three kids anywhere, My purse is full of: drum roll please – my wallet, keys, phone, diaper, wipes. Oh yeah, we sometimes take a jug of water a snack if we are gone longer than an hour. I must be a guy lol

  15. Fathom Avatar

    Do you have a purse or a back-pack? lol and thats kinda a mean looking knife 😛

  16. angela Avatar

    I so wish I had a friend like you! Your purse resembles mine. Even down to the cost of the purse which is something I too, saved for and expect it to last a lifetime. I can’t think of anything more unusual than what’s in your purse, but I always carry a Sharpie.

    My friends think I am so weird and can’t believe all I carry in my purse, especially since nothing in my purse has to do with make-up. Which brings me to my reader request…..I’d love for you to do a post on your friends. Are they lifetime friends you’ve known since grammar school or high-school (so they “get” you), or have you moved from where you grew up and now are friends with people in your town or parents whose kids play with your kids. And do you relate to each other? I am at a loss for friends who live this lifestyle. Most everyone thinks it’s a little odd that my daughter has pet the cow who’s milk she drinks and asks for milk like this, “mommy, can I have some of Custard’s milk” (Custard is the name of the cow). I don’t even get into the fact that we drive 50 miles round trip once a week for our milk.

    Thanks for the fun post!

    1. Nichole Avatar

      Angela I agree!! She’s like the best friend we’ve never had!!

  17. Amanda Avatar

    Fascinating! thanks so much for sharing. I can’t carry that much with me all the time, it would kill my neck (I carry a very very small leather purse, barely big enough for my few cards, phone and keys). But I love the insight and might make up an extra bag to carry with me in the car of the extras you mentioned that I don’t already carry.

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