If you were a Boy Scout or Girl Scout growing up, you’re likely familiar with the motto ‘Be Prepared’. My own motto is Keep Calm and Carry the Kit! Today’s post is about being calm and ready – in more ways than one!
The minute the weather improves (and even when it doesn’t), Hubs and I are on the hunt for things to upcycle! Our favourite outdoor jaunt is Aberfoyle Antique Market in Guelph Ontario. One day when Hubs was carrying an item back to the car while I browsed, he came across an old metal tool box buried amongst the wares. It was similar to this one: The toolbox was in great shape and a bargain at just a few dollars. Hubs hid it in the car, then snuck it into the garage when we got home so he could surprise me with it later. After the coast was clear, he cleaned and repainted it with grey car paint.
The handy plastic tote inside was begging to be loaded with stuff!
Transforming the Toolbox
Of course you could use it as a toolbox, but in the second phase of this upcycle, I turned it into something even better! Since it is from Aberfoyle, and I like to be prepared for any eventuality, it’s fitting to upcycle it in a way that keeps it true to its origins.
I knew exactly how I wanted to embellish it too! You see, the scouts have their motto, but I have one too: ‘carry the kit‘. So with all that in mind, I designed the lable you see below (minus the green ribbon) and my toolbox became a Flea Market Survival Kit. Something you can use almost every weekend if you’re into junking!
It serves us well when we’re on the hunt for items to turn from trash to treasure! As you’ll see in the reveal, after packing the survival kit full of essentials, I applied the graphic to the front (cutting for the opening).
How Carry the Kit Has Come Full Circle
Carry the Kit is more than a motto that adorns our survival kit. It was really intended as a trigger to get us to remember to take a tick kit with us whenever we were planning on being outdoors. Little did I know that my catchphrase would also inspire the rallying call for a Lyme disease prevention ad campaign in Canada!
The Back Story
The daughter of an acquaintance of ours was working on a year-end assignment in graphic design. Since her Mom has chronic Lyme disease, she wanted to focus on a public safety campaign to ultimately reduce the number of people affected by tick bites.
When she was brainstorming ideas for her thesis, I suggested she build the campaign around the importance of carrying a tick kit and use my carry the kit catchphrase. And that’s how the Carry the Kit campaign was born!
I think Nickole does the subject matter justice and she did a fantastic job in executing the Carry the Kit concept. Watch her brief video below!
The MVP: The Tick Kit
Anyway, that’s the long way of explaining why the most important item we’ve included in our survival kit is a tick kit. As a matter of fact, since It’s the MVP of the entire survival kit, it’s front and centre on the outside of the box. We’ve chained it right through the zipper pull and handle for easy access!
By the way, we don’t make money on your purchase. Your $’s will go directly toward funding CanLyme’s research programs for Lyme disease – and of course building awareness through programs like the one Nickole created (with a little help from yours truly). It’s a win-win for everyone!
If you’re doing ANY outdoor activities – even just walking through the grass at flea markets and yard sales – you need to ‘be prepared’ to remove a tick that latches on. The fact of the matter is the faster you remove it, the less chance you have of getting Lyme disease. Lyme disease is a debilitating and potentially chronic disease if not caught early. Inside the tick kit are fine tip tweezers with a magnifying glass, band-aids, antiseptic wipes, rolled paper towels, plastic containers to collect the tick if you happen to remove one and information cards. There’s also a plastic tick puller for your pet. There’s no better way to ‘be prepared’ than to keep a tick kit with you at all times! Or is there?
Insect Repellant Clothing
The best way to prevent tranmissable disease through biting insects is to not get bitten in the first place! As an extra precaution, Hubs and I recently bought insect repellant clothing.
The No Fly Zone line of tick and insect repellent apparel and accessories features insect-repelling Permethrin fabric. It provides superior protection against biting insects that can transmit disease. Not only does it protect, but it lasts for up to 70 washings!
We purchased our clothing in Canada at Marks. However, you can also buy Sawyer spray on repellent to protect your own clothing if you live in the United States (unfortunately the spray is not available in Canada).
We’ve shown you the tick kit and how to prevent bug bites, so what’s inside the rest of our flea market survival kit?
Inside the Survival Kit
If you love to hit the road on the weekend with just a moment’s notice, you’ll find it’s a dream to have everything packed away in the kit ready for action. Just pop it into the back of the car and head out!
Here is a list of what we recommend to keep in the kit. You can find a free printable of the checklist in our new Birdz on the Fly library (details at the end of this post).
Handy Items to Carry
I attached a hair clip onto an edge of the tote tray. That way I have something to control my long hair on windy days. Other essentials are lip balm, insect repellent and sun screen.
We also keep a pill container in the kit for carrying a few pain killers just in case. Having the sun beating down on you for hours at a time can bring on the worst headache. Tylenol and water often save the day! Whenever we go to large outdoor markets, we wear a money belt tucked safely under our clothes. It’s supplied with small bills and change in case that ‘we can’t live without it moment strikes’! It keeps our money safe from ‘sticky fingers’ so to speak.
Hubs is happy with a water bottle in his fanny pack, but I carry the insulated container you saw above. It’s great to have cold water on hot summer days. We also carry jumbo Post-it notes, and something to write with. If we purchase something but can’t take it right away, we can stick a post-it on the item. We tear it in half and mark one piece with our name. The other half gets the location of the booth (we obviously keep that half on the pad)! This makes it easier to remember where to make our way back to in order to pick up our purchase later.
The tape measure and screw driver (with a variety of bits) are a must-have for making sure large items will fit in the car and for taking things apart to make it easier for transport. Gloves (not pictured) are a good-to-have for moving heavy objects!
Sunglasses aren’t always ideal for scavenging antique markets, which is why we tuck away two ball caps in our kit. Having a cap with a visor shields our eyes from the sun, while also allowing us to see perfectly in indoor spaces, so we don’t have to wear sunglasses.
Are You Feeling Lucky?
Some rechargeable batteries are handy too for items, like the clock below, that run on them. Would you want to ‘roll the dice’ on a clock that may not work? That what I call a dicey situation!
A flashlight helps us see under tables, in bins and inside dark stalls so we can shine a light on hard-to-see items. You never know where you’re going to find a diamond in the rough!
Hunting for treasure builds an appetite! After digging around and touching items all day, we usually go back to the car to eat lunch. It’s great to clean up with the hand sanitizer in our kit before we take a break.
If you enjoy the hunt as much as we do, whip up your own flea market survival kit using an old toolbox. You’ll have everything you need for your next jaunt too! Here’s what it looks like after painting then embellishing with my graphic sticker – and, of course, ‘the MVP’.
Keep Calm and Carry the Kit!
Now, with our Flea Market Survival Kit, we’re more than ready for the hunt! Whether we’re visiting a flea market, garage sale, vintage show/market or antique show this summer, we’re good to grab it and go!
Do you have items you consider essential for the kit that I haven’t covered here? Let us know in the comments. If you’re ever in Guelph, Ontario, check out Aberfoyle Antique Market!
CanLyme hosts an informative website if you’re interested in learning more about Lyme disease and prevention. If you want to help spread the work about Lyme disease awareness and prevention, please pin to Pinterest and share on Facebook:
New at BoF: Free Printable Library
The Keep Calm and Carry the Kit graphic is available in our new freebie library, Birdz on the Fly. You can get it in multiple different formats. There’s also the classic version shown below with the crown – like the original motivational poster produced in 1939 by the British government!
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