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…

(Note: Many of the links below are affiliate links to things I obviously buy and believe in… if you decide to purchase anything through these links you have my sincere thanks for supporting my blog. This public service announcement brought to you by the new FCC guidelines.)

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. Jean Avatar

    I wanted that tote in the Dark Coffee Color but it was retired before I could save enough money. I do have the Love 41 Simple Tote in the Coffee color but I needed something waterproof and with a closure since we often get soaking rains where I live. and sometimes my items would tip out of my bag if it landed upsides down. The open closure was good though when my son Daniel would try to run off while I was paying at the register. I have been loving the combination of blue and green lately. I found the L.L. Bean Everyday Tri-Color Tote in Bright Navy. The medium was out of stock in that colorway so I got the large. I have realized it’s larger than I need for everyday so I ordered the medium when it came back in stock and it’s supposed arrive in five days. Love that it’s waterproof, lightweight, and the long key lanyard that’s located inside the inner zipper pocket. The outside slip pocket can fit an entry level Kindle Fire and e-reader or slightly larger. I can still use the large as an overnight or carry on bag. I usually carry a full size binder until I can switch over to two Rite in the Rain Field Planner which I use for gaming information I usually look up online but for times I can’t go online and general notes, a composition notebook I use as a dream journal, my Kindle Fire 10, sometimes my son’s Kindle Fire 7, my basic Kindle e-reader, my Nintendo 2DS which I keep in a case that hold it, all my games, and accessories, my wallet which is in three different cases until I can afford a wallet that is RFID shielded can carry my paper money, change, my cards, and my passport as well for next time I visit my relatives in the Philippines, my keys, pens and pencils, lip balm, tweezers, toenail nail clippers as I prefer to use them on all my nails since it cuts a wider section and I’m less likely to cut to the point where it hurts, hair scissors as I see my split ends best when in the car, my menstrual cup in a pouch, a spare sleep bonnet, hair ties, a wide headband, a visor headband, a pop up brush, anti-motion sickness medicine, and Healing-Scents Anti Motion Sickness and Nausea inhaler (I get motion sickness sometimes). I sometimes bring my regular brush which is a boar/nylon bristle brush I got from Morocco Method , the two wide toothed combs I use when my hair is wet, and my Primal Life Organics Tooth Powder in Spearmint, tooth brush. Right now have a Chameleon Handbag Insert in Lime in but it’s already showing wear and tear and isn’t sturdy enough to not cause the bag to sag so I will replace it with a sturdier felt one when I can. Budget is tight since I’m a full time stay at home mother and Lee was temporarily retired until recently. They also raised rent and one of our bills. When we move we’ll lose the rent, water, and sewer. Also I want to raise some rabbit and quail and if we’re zoned for it two dwarf Nigerian goats.

  2. Melissa Siceloff Avatar
    Melissa Siceloff

    HOLY COW! I cannot even fathom the amount of things you carry around in your purse. It legit sounds like it is 40 pounds ? Your next post needs to be ‘What Packing For Eight Looks Like’ for when you travel. I’m currently writing an article on packing for me and my two toddlers when I travel solo with them and it is slim pickings in comparison to just your purse contents LOL.

    I love your blog and have followed you for some time. I’ll be trying my hand at the Tart Cheery Gummies for the kids soon. Thank you for all the research you do and amazing content you put out on the world wide web for everyone!

  3. Sarah Cooley Avatar
    Sarah Cooley

    I was reading your post on minimalism and clicked a link in the post that brought me here… quite ironic! LOL! I could never carry all of that around; I even get tired of carrying a small purse around everywhere. I did make a little “emergency kit” for the car with some of the things you mentioned and more, but honestly, it’s been there for two years and I’ve never once needed any of it. I do like the idea of having some things available in case you need them, but you don’t need to have all of that stuff weighing you down. Most of it can be kept in the car where it will be just as handy if and when it’s needed.

  4. Soumya Avatar

    Hello Katie,
    I fell in love with your blog from the day I started reading them (I don’t even remember how many years it has been).
    I love what all you keep in your purse and was concerned if you do not use the EMF protector cell phone case (
    I am assuming an Otterbox case doesn’t stop radiation.

    Please advice how do you avoid radiation on-the-go?

  5. Rochelle Avatar

    I just want to tell you that I love your blogs! I share them all the time! any-who..
    Since I started college I moved all belongings into a small cramped room that I share with someone else. (Angry Face)
    I have since then gave all my purses to my younger sister and mother and have graduated to the back pack method!
    I spent what seemed a fortune on my back pack (it includes a side cooler pocket for drinks), but since I carry it pretty much everywhere I didn’t want something that would hurt me in the long run! I have no children as of now but we are very similar in what we carry and I love it. All my friends call me Mama Ro because I also have a Mary Poopin’s back pack.
    Along with all my school supplies (pens, pencils, calculator, sharpies, small stapler, single hole punch, notebooks (vary), text books (vary), a binder or two…. I also carry these items
    First Aid (band-aids of all sizes, gauze and tape, a small scissors, lavender oil, pan away oil, capobia oil)
    Others (sun screen, EO bug spray, granola bars/protein balls, nail clippers, lip balm, extra socks, water, peppermint stick (for headaches)), I’m sure that I am missing something.
    With all that I am still as “healthy as an ox” I am now out of college (for 1 year) and to be honest I still use my back pack just with out all the books. I now just use a wallet and toss it in and out.
    And, I wouldn’t change it! Ill just add all the kiddo stuff when the time comes!

  6. Karen Avatar

    I’ve wanted a Saddleback purse ever since I originally read this post from you. Now I finally have the money to make the purchase! 🙂 But I am torturing over which one–I think your comments say this one is the small tote. But I saw on your Instagram that you also have a different Saddleback purse (sorry to seem like a stalker!). If I were to choose one bag to be my all-purpose purse (I’m a mom of five kids), which Saddleback bag would you recommend? Thank you SO much!!

  7. Jessica Avatar

    I just wanted to say something regarding the knife. I’m friends with a cop and he said if a cop ever finds a knife on you and asks what it’s for, don’t say self-defense because then you’ll need a concealed weapons permit. Just say it’s for opening things or cutting fruit when you’re away from home.

  8. Britt Avatar

    I received this bag in the chestnut color/large size for Christmas. SO excited for it to be my last bag! Love it!

  9. Jill Schmitt Avatar
    Jill Schmitt

    Hi, do you use Mountain Rose Essential Oils? How did you decide to use that company with so many out there? Thanks!

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar

      I purchase from a lot of different companies, but primarily from them. Their quality is excellent and they aren’t a network marketing company (which I’m not a fan of).

  10. Jessica Avatar

    Ok, how big IS this purse????

    Love following you! (Wow that sounds creepy… You know what I mean.)

  11. Cindy Avatar

    Since my son was born I switched from carrying a purse that seemed to attack random items to carrying just a wallet/wristlet that has a compartment to fit my cellphone (in an otter box) and has just enough space to fit my checkbook. Since I rarely leave he house alone that usually goes into my son’s diaper bag (a medium sized canvas tote). I keep everything needed for a diaper change to its own smaller bag. I have a smaller cooler style bag for milk and food and utensils for my son. Snacks for me go into side pockets and then the bag itself gets filled with toys, extra clothes, etc!

  12. Colleen Avatar

    Hi Katie!
    Thanks again for all your awesome info!! I really do appreciate it! Thanks for helping my family and I get healthy! Where did you get your pill container? is it stainless steel on the inside ?
    Thank you!

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