Credit cards should be good for something, even if it’s just stealing their tag line for a blog post title.

The news has been full of stranded people this week. They were stranded on mountains, in cars, in airports and under the English Channel (how’s that for a nightmare my claustrophobic friends?). This made me give some new thought to what I carry in my purse. Sorry guys. If you aren’t willing to carry a men’s European style handbag, I can’t help you. Oh wait! A backpack. You guys can carry a backpack!

I went through a stage of wanting to pare down to the bare minimum in my purse. I envied men who could carry all they needed in a pocket. It seemed so simple but I had to rethink this. There are some necessities I think we should all have. This is different from a car kit. This is the stuff you want to carry should you have to make yourself comfortable and there is no car kit to fall back on.

For a couple of bucks, you can pick up both a space blanket and a rain poncho. You will find them in the sporting goods department of any discount store. They come in flat packages that will slip in a purse adding very little weight or bulk. I will warn you that,once used, they will not refold. In fact, they are pretty flimsy and probably single use.

Get a Leatherman or Swiss Army Knife. You can’t take one on an airplane bur I keep mine in my pocketbook all the time. Buy a good one. You don’t want a broken blade.

A lighter is another must have.I used to carry matches but they get damp and won’t work.

Money. I keep a couple bucks in small bills and coins. You probably won’t be able to make a phone call anymore but there are vending machines everywhere.

A full charged cell phone. Since the phone booths have been removed, the cell phone is a necessity.

A bottle of water. My kids all got lovely, stainless steel water bottles for Christmas. The only problem is the size. For your purse, you could get a small water bottle.

Food. A couple of grain bars, some raisins, whatever. There are a lot of options. We are talking wilderness survival here. We are talking about finding yourself stranded for 6 hours and wanting something to keep you going.

A pad of paper, a pen and a deck of cards.

A small flashlight.

A pack of tissues.

The list could go on but your space is limited. You just want the most important things here. If you have kids, get in the habit of carrying a backpack with similar items. Remove the lighter and put in a hand-held video game or some crayons and paper.

On a cheerful, happy, wonderful note. Today is the winter solstice. Yippee!!!! It is all down hill from here. The seed catalogs are coming. The days are gotting longer and soon I will be starting seeds.