What other home “kits” can I assemble?
December 30, 2017 10:41 AM   Subscribe

What all-in-one home “kits” could I assemble?

A few Christmases ago, I bought a gift wrap bag (like this one) and stocked it with paper, dedicated scissors and tape, gift tags, etc. It works amazingly well for gift wrapping - I pull it out and everything I need is all in one place.

What other “kits” like this could I assemble? Obviously a cleaning supplies kit, and I was thinking of a mailing supplies box (after we spent ten minutes this morning looking for packing tape). Hope me, MeFites!
posted by timetoevolve to Home & Garden (37 answers total) 60 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: What about a bill paying/paperwork kit? I've got a folder that's got envelopes, stamps, checks, return address labels, a 3x5 card with some account info I always forget. It's very helpful.
posted by mcduff at 10:48 AM on December 30, 2017 [3 favorites]

Blackout kit: wind up torch, card games, spirit stove, candles.
posted by glitter at 10:49 AM on December 30, 2017 [3 favorites]

Emergency, visitors (overnight, as well as activity/toys for kids), minor repairs, at-home 'spa day,' winter weather, pantry-stable assembly meals...
posted by Iris Gambol at 10:49 AM on December 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Winter car kit. Chains, blankets, granola bars, work gloves, something to kneel on, etc. Keep it in your garage most of the year, and in the fall you can just check the contents and toss it in your trunk.
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:53 AM on December 30, 2017

A little sewing repairs kit is a lifesaver for me. Make your own don't get one of those crappy cheap ones. I keep mine in a jar wit a pincushion glued to the lid. Various threads needles & pins, little pointy sharp scissors, tape measure, seam ripper, assorted buttons, safetypins etc. Got the idea from here
posted by wwax at 11:02 AM on December 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

I have an origami kit. It's a box with origami paper, a small cutting mat to use as a flat surface, some instructions, and a bone folder (not to be confused with a bone-folder). For emergency origami situations.
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:16 AM on December 30, 2017 [9 favorites]

Manicure kit! Basket with lotion, socks, cuticle oil, nail file, polish. I grab it on Sunday nights, it's my favorite ritual.
posted by gatorae at 11:26 AM on December 30, 2017 [3 favorites]

Best answer: My kids enjoy swimming so we have mesh bags prepacked for every family member that include just what that person needs -- swimsuit, flip flops, their goggles, etc. When it's time to go to the pool, I just hand everybody their mesh bag and off they go. My boys can go into the pool locker room on their own and change, stuff their street clothes and shoes into the bag, and be ready to swim without forgetting anything. The swimsuit kits live in one big canvas bag so all we need to take a swim is grab towels and go.
posted by selfmedicating at 11:27 AM on December 30, 2017 [4 favorites]

picture hanging kit, sewing kit, thank you/birthday card kit, car cleanup kit, pet evac kit (if you have pets)
posted by irisclara at 11:28 AM on December 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

I am an infrequent baker and our kitchen is small. I keep a baking kit (flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, tapioca flour and other specialty flours, brown sugar, etc) in a less accessible part of my kitchen. Because it’s all in one place, it feels easy to use, even though it’s all stored in a hard-to-reach spot.

Toiletry kit for when you travel - I have a pre-packed toiletry kit with all the standard essentials stored, so when I’m packing for an overnight I just toss that kit in my bag and know I have everything.
posted by samthemander at 11:30 AM on December 30, 2017 [3 favorites]

Cards/correspondence: blank or occasion-specific cards for birthdays, congratulations, thank yous, and other occasions; a couple nice pens; stamps, return address labels.

Host gifts with gift bags etc.
posted by lalex at 11:38 AM on December 30, 2017

The obvious answer is to make your own spice blends, which is hella easy and useful.

From there, you can assemble ingredient kits. Think like Blue Apron, but DIY: just enough of each ingredient for the recipe.

Other than that, your options are limited by interests. I could tell you how to make a furniture refinishing kit, but if you're not interested in refinishing furniture, it won't be much help.

One thing that's kind of related is to pre-pack a suitcase. Buy travel-sized toiletries, or pour your existing toiletries into travel containers. Get extra chargers for your electronics. Keep all these in your suitcase, and leave some grocery bags and dryer sheets in it. That way, when you need to travel, you just throw a couple days of clothes in and you're ready to go. Especially in you travel a lot, this is helpful.
posted by kevinbelt at 11:44 AM on December 30, 2017 [5 favorites]

For my mail kit, I have 3 boxes of cards: birthday (sorted by adult/child), general (sorted by get well, baby, wedding, sympathy, thank you), and holiday. Then I have a seperate box of stamps, address stamp and labels, address book, envelopes, and stationary/ blank note cards. It sounds like a lot, but the boxes are clearly labeled and this way I only ever need to grab 1 or 2 of the boxes at a time to send anything.
posted by gatorae at 12:12 PM on December 30, 2017

Best answer: Mailing/shipping kit was the first one I ever did, and heck yes, do that! It eliminated all the "Honey, did you have the tape last?" and "Do we even have any stamps?!"

If you ship packages often (I used to, when I was doing a lot of eBay and Amazon Marketplace selling, and also of course around the holidays), you can even order bulk free or low-cost boxes and other shipping supplies from USPS to have on hand so you never have to take the extra step to go acquire the box.

Somewhat relatedly, I also have a greeting card box. Whenever I see a card I like or think is perfect for a certain person, I buy it and it goes in the box. A box of blank cards and a box of thank-you cards rounds it out, and I try to always keep a couple of the nice pens in there, too. Then when that person's birthday comes around, or one of my teammates gets engaged/married, or when I'm just too dang tired to go buy more holiday cards, I have something on-hand.

And it might not be quite the same thing, but I also have a small homemade "fancy dress emergency" kit that can slip into the pocket of my dress coat or my nice purse. It contains: fashion tape to prevent or quickly repair wardrobe malfunctions, a small stick of bodyglide or trial-size tube of silicone lube for when the dress shoes start rubbing me raw, a couple nail polish remover wipes, a small tin of breath mints, and an individually-wrapped Nuun hydration tablet to help mitigate the effects of overindulging. Saved my ass (well, my feet and my dignity!) at my work holiday party this year.
posted by rhiannonstone at 12:15 PM on December 30, 2017 [3 favorites]

I have a box with postcards, postcards stamps, a pen, and the addresses of my Representatives and Senators, both in Congress and in state.
posted by Margalo Epps at 1:02 PM on December 30, 2017 [7 favorites]

You are all my kind of people.
posted by ALeaflikeStructure at 1:12 PM on December 30, 2017 [14 favorites]

Best answer: Travel kit. Duplicate toiletries, chargers, some protein bars, bandaids, otc meds in your carry on bag.

Beach kit. A bag full of kit for the beach (blanket, towel, sunscreen, beach games, etc).

Pet kit. Dump all grooming, treats, etc into one bucket.

Tool kit. Self explanatory.

My mail kit is very small. It has letter envelopes, stamps, and my chequebook. There is an art bucket with fancier blank cards in a cabinet.
posted by crazycanuck at 1:41 PM on December 30, 2017

Gym bag. Duplicates of all relevant toiletries, spare headphones, lock, spare socks. (I don't put clothes in there in advance, because that doesn't fit my routine, but it might yours.)
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:35 PM on December 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I'm not sure if this 100% is the same but: battery kit. Having all batteries and chargers and accessories in one Tupperware bin is a delight.

Glove compartment first aid: one of the little plastic kits they sell in supermarket check-out lines along with Bonine, Advil, and Xanax. You never know.

Household first aid: all in a tackle box under the sink.

Keychain "kit": all in one Leatherman gadget along with a high powered tiny flashlight. Sounds minor but the number of times I've found earrings on the floor with that flashlight, opened a beer bottle with the gadget, cut a tag off something in the car with the scissors...there is a pair of tweezers on mine I've never had to resort to but I rest more easily just knowing there's an emergency pair of tweezers on my person.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 2:59 PM on December 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

Dog hiking kit. Fanny pack with poop bags, collapsible bowl, citronella/pepper spray or similar, treats, whistle, etc.
posted by HotToddy at 3:16 PM on December 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

Cold kit:
Mucinex, nasel spray, cough drops, vicks, packets of ginger drink crystals, cold season tea, magic sore throat cure ingredients & recipe and a note that says buy lemons, honey, bourbon because hot toddys are my "family home remedy".
Child box for when I have child visitors:
Crayons, card stock, paper, Jr. Mastermind, cards, hand puppets, plastic animals, books etc.
Not a kit exactly, but I have a basket where I put things that I come across that I don't know what they're from, or I was looking for at one time and couldn't find. Now when I'm missing a part from something and think" dammit, I just saw that, where was it?" It's in the "I know I'm gonna need this" basket
posted by BoscosMom at 3:23 PM on December 30, 2017 [5 favorites]

I used to have a very small crafty home business, and I made up several organizer boxes, each containing all the tools and hardware I would need to make a particular item. So I could just grab a box and the appropriate materials and go to work.
posted by adamrice at 4:20 PM on December 30, 2017

I have a "personal hygiene kit" for my desk at work. Travel size of hairbrush, hair spray/gel, Bobby pins and ponytail holder, wet wipes, concealer, lip gloss, those minty dental floss sticks, body spray, detergent wipes, blister pads/ band aids, nail polish remover wipes, nail clippers and file.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 4:39 PM on December 30, 2017

Best answer: Oh great suggestion on the battery kit! Might I add to that, especially if you have small children: a set of tiny jewellers screwdrivers to get the battery plates off childproofed items. My battery kit brings me joy now that it's so easy to use.
posted by gatorae at 4:42 PM on December 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: We also have a carwashing kit in a bucket that holds the soap, RainX, sponges, cloths, wax, etc. Then the bucket holds the soapy water when you clean the car.
posted by gatorae at 4:50 PM on December 30, 2017 [3 favorites]

Oh! We have another labeled taxonomy item you might find useful: 'Things that hang other things'
posted by A Terrible Llama at 4:59 PM on December 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

Box of Boredom for a child during long car rides -- markers or colored pencils that won't make a mess if stuck for weeks between cushions; tablets with drawing paper, patterned sheets and solid color sheets; coloring books and puzzle books; blunt end scissors and Ziploc bags for messes; portable games (tiny playing pieces can be lost); and electronic devices (batteries and chargers stored separately). How-to books (origami, snowflakes, drawing cartoon characters, etc.) On multi-day trips have a toy exchange -- a toy is given until boredom sets in, then exchanged for another toy.
posted by TrishaU at 5:26 PM on December 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

Shoeshine kit!
posted by Liesl at 6:03 PM on December 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: All my suggestions boil down to this: organize all your Stuff so that things are packed with other things for the same task.

So we have a small box of “tape and scissors” and a big tub of Boy Scout gear and a pair of boxes with the sewing stuff (next to the sewing machine, on a basement shelf) and a tall box of glues (under my work bench) and a couple boxes of seeds in the garage, etc., etc.

Watch batteries should be with that tiny damn tool for removing the watch back (plus a piece of paper listing the battery size you use). My bread baking book is in the pastic tub where I cold-raise the no-knead dough. My Kam Snaps are in the same box as the snap-setter, next to the box of jewelry tools & supplies.

The best time to do this is at the end of a given activity as you clean up: find a box to hold the stuff you just used.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:44 PM on December 30, 2017 [2 favorites]

Emergency sleepover kit - I have a plastic bin in my guest room that has samples of random stuff an impromptu overnight guest might need - tampons, travel size deodorant, travel size contact lens solution, benadryl, tylenol, lip balm, lotion, toothbrushes, etc. It's nice to have one central place for all that kind of junk so, for example, if the dentist gives me a cheap toothbrush that I'm not going to use I have a place to put it instead of throwing it out. And if I'm about to go on a trip I can always find last minute stuff in there without having to think about buying it before the trip. Tomorrow is NY eve so if one of my friends ends up crashing here I am ready.

Guest wifi/charging kit - I have a drawer in our computer room with the wifi password, power strip, various flavors of charging cables (various iphone types, android, that weird new android one).

Also, I guess I am a kit kind of person because my house has literally every kit mentioned in this thread. Another word for "kit kind of person" might be "mom."
posted by selfmedicating at 6:50 PM on December 30, 2017 [3 favorites]

Another word for "kit kind of person" might be "mom."

Nah, because I also have all the "kits" mentioned in this thread and don't have kids.
posted by mrmurbles at 9:16 PM on December 30, 2017 [5 favorites]

I was coming in to say that I recently made a shoe shining kit for myself using an small, interesting lidded basket I found at the thrift store. I try and do this as I make "kits", finding attractive containers that can be left out to hold some of the more used kits- like sewing baskets of yesteryear, but for more modern conveniences. I have an old tin candy box on my nightstand that holds my magnifying mirror, tweezers and nail clippers.
posted by momochan at 10:42 PM on December 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

Thank you for introducing me to that hanging wrapping kit, I never knew that existed! Some other kits I haven’t seen listed: a bicycle repair kit, a ski wax kit, a dongle kit for video projectors (including a wireless remote/pointer).
posted by furtive at 1:54 AM on December 31, 2017

All my coffee-making stuff is together, so I open one cupboard door and it’s all there (apart from the kettle, who lives on the countertop). Beans, grinder, filters, Aeropress, giant-ass mug for pour-overs, pour-over thingie, Aerolatte foamer dingus, and Moka pot.
posted by wenestvedt at 8:01 AM on December 31, 2017 [1 favorite]

I have a cabinet full of boxes.
New tunes of toothpaste and toothbrushes, travel size, too. Floss, listerine, etc. labeled DENTAL.
BATTERIES of all sorts and tiny screwdrivers.
LOTIONS includes sunscreen and Solarcaine, etc
PAIN for Tylenol, Advil, Naproxen, Asporin
COLDS has cough medicine and throat soothers.
EARS has wax removers, q-tips, and an ear scope. My kids had a lot of ear infections
posted by SLC Mom at 9:00 AM on December 31, 2017

Best answer: Thrift shop/yard sale/flea market kit: Tape measure, loupe or magnifying glass, list of things I'm hoping to find (I found them all!), list of problems I'd like to solve (A few years back I needed something for under my desk to put the scanner on -- I saw a hinged picnic basket at a church sale, and it attractively does the job -- with added storage!. I wasn't *looking* for a hinged picnic basket.) Also a list of measurements in related to the hope-to-find and problem-to-solve items -- frame sizes needed, measurements for area I want to put something, and the like.

Get out the door kit: The Marie Kondo-advised purse station has really upped the game here, but before that I kept (and still do) a couple of lipsticks and a pair of all-purpose earrings in an unobtrusive spot on the top of my bookcase near the door.

Clothing tools kit: This is not the full-blown sewing kit. It's the snag-repair thing, moleskin and lambswool for shoes, bra and waistband extenders, shoe laces, shoe stretch spray, spare buttons that came with the clothes regularly worn.

Card-making kit: This is not the full-blown art-supply stash. It's markers, some calligraphy nibs and holders, watercolor pencils, and any blank cards in a tote bag I can carry to group card-making sessions. (My former DAR chapter makes cards for hospitalized service members.)

Note/postcard-writing kit: This is not the full-blown mailing/correspondence kit. Carry a few cards with you and write a keeping-in-touch note while waiting at an appointment or on public transit. People will be glad to hear from you! (Does MeFi still do that postcard thing?)

Outdoor kit: Poncho, hot pads, portable Scrabble, outdoor wallet (as opposed to very nice leather one regularly used), bike lights.

A lot of this sort of thing goes back to my "What do I want and need in this place" advice from previous questions.

I have a box with postcards, postcards stamps, a pen, and the addresses of my Representatives and Senators, both in Congress and in state.

As a former congressional staffer, I have seen constituents use pre-made labels to send their mail. So if you want to go all out, you could order or print some labels reading
Hon. [then you fill in]
U.S. House of Representatives (or Senate)
Washington, DC 20515 (or 20510)

(This question takes me back to the days of my beloved AOL org boards and then my beloved Organizedhome.com forum!)
posted by jgirl at 9:32 AM on December 31, 2017 [2 favorites]

there is a pair of tweezers on mine I've never had to resort to but I rest more easily just knowing there's an emergency pair of tweezers on my person.

Leatherman micro tweezers should be in any good emergency kit. Shards of glass in your hands, splinter in your foot, bristle-ey ear hair driving you nuts...
posted by notsnot at 1:59 PM on January 4, 2018

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