I’m at that weird time in life where I still need a lot of things for my kids but maybe not enough to fill a diaper bag. Since I work full time, I don’t typically carry my diaper bag with me–I don’t want it to sit in a hot car all day with snacks, sunscreen, and diaper rash cream going bad. Unfortunately, I’ve found myself picking up the kids from daycare and going straight to dinner and being caught without a diaper, a sweater, or a pacifier for an overtired baby. Since using my diaper bag as a purse isn’t an option for me, (although there are really great ones out there today that could, theoretically, work for some professionals,) I found a nice middle ground for transitioning from full-time diaper bag to a regular purse.
My first move was to think about all the things I could potentially need on an emergency basis and separate those from things I regularly use.
For Car Emergency Kit
I created a small plastic bin (shoebox size) for the trunk of my car. It has the following:
- Two diapers in baby’s current size.
- One muslin blanket.
- One weather-appropriate change of clothes for each kid, socks and underwear included.
- Travel-size first aid kit.
- Dirty diaper trash bag.
There are two important pieces to this. First, replace items as you use them. If I use a diaper while we’re out, I set myself a reminder on my phone for later that night so I remember to throw a new one in there. Second, either cover all seasons or remember to change out outfits by season. In California, I basically only need a pair of leggings, t-shirt, and sweater to cover any emergency needs year around.
For the Purse
There are a million different “diaper clutches” out there that are meant to carry just the basics. However, most of them are still too bulky for my everyday purse when I don’t have the kids. I found this one that is relatively slim but holds what you need. My goal is to always have two diapers. If I’m going somewhere that I need more than that, I’m bringing the diaper bag instead of the purse anyway.
- Two diapers in baby’s current size.
- Travel-size wipes: I never figured out how to successfully transfer wipes from our Kirkland wipes box to a reusable travel case, so now I just buy a small case of travel-size wipes boxes.
- Travel-size diaper rash cream: Since I don’t keep one in the car, I like to have one in the purse. This isn’t too bulky to carry around.
- Sunscreen stick: I like the California Baby sunscreen stick for quick applications to faces, hands, and feet that are unexpectedly exposed to the sun.
- Hand/face wipes: I love the Babyganics hand and face wipes, and they don’t take a lot of room. An easy way to nix this is to use a natural baby wipe that doubles for faces and bottoms.
- Hand sanitizer: I was carrying regular gel sanitizer in my purse and foam sanitizer in my diaper bag. I have since switched to the Babyganics full time and everyone is covered.
- Small toy/book: My baby thinks my wallet is a toy, and my toddler is really into telling me how everything is “boring” now, so I try to keep one item in my purse that can entertain both of them. I love these magnetic blocks. Between being magnetic and coming in a case, they’re less likely to go missing. The best part is both the baby and toddler love playing with them equally.
- Dirty diaper trash bags: I love these because they come in a compact container, but I typically just put two bags loose into the car kit.
I still keep a fully stocked diaper bag ready to go so I don’t end up forgetting something while trying to get out of the house when I need the diaper bag. I am a minimalist, so this isn’t as easy for the Doomsdayist who packs everything but the kitchen sink. But it’s oh-so-liberating to keep just the essentials and carry a normal purse again, at least sometimes.