Most people keep bandages around for when little accidents happen. However, when there’s a bigger injury, they often find themselves running to the drugstore to pick up the necessary supplies. Wouldn’t it be easier if you simply had those supplies on hand when the occasion called for it?

Having a well-stocked first aid kit to keep in both your house and your car can get you out of quite a few scrapes (literally). You could purchase a pre-made kit, but there always seems to be something missing. Instead, you can make your own kit at a comparable price with your own custom choices.

Step 1: Gather the Supplies

Begin by developing a custom list of supplies. Everyone has their preference on the kind of supplies they prefer to use. For example, you might have a preference on the brand of painkiller or bandage. Here’s a general checklist to get you started:

  • first aid book or information cards
  • adhesive bandages in a variety of sizes
  • medical tape
  • large gauze pads
  • small pair of scissors
  • cotton balls
  • alcohol prep wipes
  • tweezers
  • sewing kit
  • small bottle of hydrogen peroxide
  • small bottle of rubbing alcohol
  • antibiotic ointment
  • acetaminophen
  • aspirin/ibuprofen
  • bandage rolls
  • non-latex gloves
  • CPR breathing mask
  • sterile saline
  • thermometer
  • moleskin (for blisters)
  • insect-sting relief treatment
  • instant ice pack
  • superglue
  • safety pins
  • hand sanitizer
  • aloe vera

You choose the brand and consider the amount you’ll need of each. This is your first aid kit, and you can add whatever you want.

Step 2: Find a Container

You’ll need a container to keep all your supplies in one place. It’s best to find a container after you’ve purchased your supplies so you have a general idea of how large the container will need to be. However, be advised that a small first aid kit is usually better because it’s easier to find the supplies you need in a hurry.

You can find a simple plastic container with a snap lid at any craft store or in the organization aisle of any department store. They’re affordable and come in multiple sizes. Some even have small compartments to keep things organized.

You could also use some sort of bag or backpack for your kit, like a professional medical assistant would use. That way, your kit will be ready to go on the road at any time, and you can use the various compartments to keep your kit organized.

Be sure to label the container with a printable sticky label, red cross patch sewn to a bag, or a simple drawing with a permanent marker. That way, you can easily distinguish between your first aid kit and other containers when you’re faced with an emergency.

Step 3: Pack Your Container

As you fill your container, consider the things you’ll need most often. You’ll want to make it easy to grab those without disturbing the other supplies. For most people, bandages, antibiotic ointment, and medication will generally be the most commonly used supplies.

Step 4: Find a Good Storage Location

A first aid kit is no good to you if it can’t easily be found. Choose an easily accessible location that would make sense to you and the rest of your family. For example, babysitters are more likely to look for a first aid kit in your bathroom cupboards or medicine cabinet than under your bed.

It’s also a good idea to keep an additional kit in your car. That way, you’re covered in the event of an accident while traveling. If it’s easily accessible, it will be much easier to control the situation when an accident occurs.

Step 5: Educate Yourself and Your Family

Be prepared for any accidents by learning how to use the supplies in the kit. Glance through a first aid kit manual, watch videos, and read online tutorials. Then, teach the information to your family and make sure they know where the first aid kit is kept in your home. The more you know about how to handle a medical situation, the more easily a crisis can be averted.

Step 6: Restock

Keep a close eye on the levels of each of your first aid supplies. Some supplies you may never use, while others will be used on a weekly basis. As soon as the levels reach one third capacity, restock to make sure you’re always prepared.