Business Survival Kit




Introduction: Business Survival Kit

About: I'm just a guy that knows stuff about things.

There are instructables for all manner of survival kits to keep you alive if you get caught in the wilds. But, given that 5 days a week I spend working in a business setting, I need a survival kit of a different sort to keep me alive and rolling when catastrophe strikes. Lately, my job has included a lot of travel, customer visits, conferences and days in the office. So, with that in mind, I set out to build a survival kit with a few goals.

The kit:

  1. Has to cover issues that might afflict me at home or on the road
  2. Only needs to get me home, to the hotel or somewhere I can buy what I need
  3. First aid doesn't need to be covered *
  4. Has to fit into a mint tin

Sounds like a fun weekend project. Shall we build one?

* I carry an augmented mini first aid kit already

Step 1: What You'll Need

Here is a list of what you'll need to build a kit exactly like mine. I've included links in places but most things are available from a variety of stores and websites. Check out the end for ideas on how to expand and customize your kit.

Shopping List

  1. Mint Tin - Specialty Bottle
  2. Assorted Medicine
  3. Small Plastic Container (Lacons® 150750) - Lacons *
  4. Small 7 Day Pill Box - Container Store
  5. Handful of Ibuprofen (or your preferred pain medicine)
  6. Flossers or a Small Spool of Dental Floss
  7. Foam Ear Plugs
  8. Collar Stays
  9. Cardboard Emery Board Nail Files
  10. Sewing Needles
  11. Safety Pins
  12. Buttons - Both Shirt and Pant
  13. Micro Flash Light

* I got mine at a local hardware store. Container store has similar but they're slightly different size.

Not Pictured

  1. Cash
  2. Mints
  3. Thread

Pro Tips

  1. If you take your shirts and/or pants to a dry cleaner to be pressed, you WILL have a button get crushed at some point.
  2. I like metal collar stays. They let you bend them slightly and give your shirt a bit more character.
  3. Safety pins are like duct tape for clothing. You don't know exactly why you need to have them until the moment you need to have them.
  4. Shirt buttons - Don't forget to check cuff, collar and placket (center) buttons, they're often different sizes. Every shirt should have spares sewn to one of the tails.
  5. Pant buttons - Brown and black should solve most problems. Plus, if you're wearing a belt, the button is hidden anyway. A spare pant button comes with most pairs of dress pants (and sometimes both pocket and fly if required).

Step 2: Cut Down the Pill Container

The pill container is a bit large for this build so you'll need to cut it down to make two small containers with three "days" each. Sorry, Wednesday, we don't need you for this one.

  1. Using a utility knife or x-acto, cut off the lid from the Wednesday pod.
  2. Trim out the Wednesday pod.
  3. Trim up the edges of your newly created smaller pill boxes.
  4. Using the x-acto carefully shave off the day and braille markings.
  5. Label properly and fill appropriately.

Step 3: Trim the Emery Board and Make the Sewing Kit

Emery Board

The emery boards I found were a couple inches too long, so they need to be shortened. Be sure to use your least favorite scissors. Cutting sand paper can be brutal on nice scissors.

Sewing Kit

For the sewing kit, you'll need a spare business card, two needles and about 8 feet of thread in the colors you need. I went with black, white and tan. Sorry, no detail picture but the final picture includes a good view.

  1. Cut the business card into a piece about 1" x 2" (about a third of the business card's width)
  2. Cut out 3 small notches on the long sides (or however many colors of thread you have)
  3. Pierce the needles through the card to keep them in place
  4. Wrap each color of thread around the card and slip the loose end into a small cut at one end

Pro Tips

  1. I chose two styles of needles. A narrow gauge shorter needle for shirts and a heftier needle should I need to repair pants.
  2. Thread color, like buttons, is pretty flexible. You just need to make it through the day/trip so you can get things repaired properly.

Step 4: Pill Box and Trimmed Down Medicine

I like to carry medicine to get me through the day/trip. As with everything, I'd rather be safe than sorry so this list includes a broad range:

  1. Pseudoephedrine - 12 hour
  2. Motion Sickness
  3. Antidiarrheal
  4. Laxative

Trim down each pill's blister pack until only the smallest amount is left. For pills that aren't easily identified by their package, use a sharpie to label them. Toss them all in the plastic container and you're all set.


  1. I don't include cough drops on this list, but they're great if you're talking a lot, either public speaking or working a conference booth. I keep a small supply in my first aid kit and bring more when I know I'll be speaking.
  2. I also don't include standard cold medicine. The pseudoephedrine will get me through pretty much anything I need on the road or will, at least, get me to a pharmacy.

Step 5: Put It All Together

You're done with the hard work, so now put it all in the tin and you're ready to roll. Mine has a bit of free space where I could possibly add a couple extra things but they'd have to be small.

Notes on Items Not Detailed

  1. I wrapped the collar stays to keep them from getting shaved down by the emery board.
  2. I folded a $20 bill this way to include. Cash is essential to keep on hand. It never gets stolen online, it's always accepted and, never forget, cash is king.
  3. Ear plugs are great for those thankfully few times when my hotel walls are much thinner than I'd like or I want some quick sleep on an airplane.
  4. A small flash light is probably optional given that most of us have a smart phone, but I had a few on hand and figured I'd toss one in.

Step 6: Things to Add

The sky is the limit on things you could add to this kit. You really need to tailor it to fit the sort of issues you might run into. Here are some thoughts that have popped into my head through the day:

  1. Subway/Metro Card with Some Credit
  2. Emergency Contacts
  3. Spare Contact Lenses and/or Case
  4. Eye Drops in Single Use Dropper
  5. Toothpicks
  6. USB Drive
  7. Shorty Phone Charging Cable
  8. House Key
  9. Car Key
  10. Micro Pen
  11. Business Cards
  12. Tampons
  13. Prescription Medications
  14. Allergy Medications
  15. Bandaids
  16. Alcohol Wipes
  17. Eyeglass Cloth
  18. Nail Clipper
  19. Watch/Hearing Aid Batteries
  20. Antacids
  21. Small Knife
  22. Blank Check (unsigned please ;)
  23. Coins
  24. Hair Tie
  25. Bobby Pin
  26. ????

What else will you put in? I'm always interested in expanding my kit!

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    5 years ago

    Ive saved altoid tins for a couple of years, thinking im sure I could find a use for them. I could easily paint them and think they might may a cute little or additional gift for a new coworker, teacher or friend. Great idea, many thanks.


    5 years ago

    I keep a couple of saftey pins in the waistband of my trousers they often come in handy


    Reply 5 years ago

    That's a cool tip. I worry I'd forget them and end up with a dryer full of safety pins ;)