Tag Archive | home organization

A Nerd’s Guide to Preparing Your Home for an Emergency

I had way too much thinking about this post. It does, after all, combine three of my greatest loves:

  • planning
  • emergencies
  • telling people they need to plan for an emergency

Which is why I truly missed my life’s calling to be a meteorologist in Tornado Alley.

See, there are two types of people in the world.  Pretend with me that we’re in school again, and there’s a tornado warning. (That’s the bad one, people. Learn your watches and warnings!) There are two kinds of people:

  1. the student who reaches her target heart rate sprinting up and down to the teacher’s desk asking for radar updates
  2. the student who, relieved the overhead projector doesn’t work and there is no quiz, decides to take a nap.

Ask me what happens when #1 student marries #2. Ask me why #2 acts so surprised every time #1 herds the family in the closet for a tornado warning, when he knew ahead of time what she was like.

But I think I’ve gotten off-topic.

The point is, something inside me is invigorated caring, preparing, and protecting. This is a deep-seeded personality trait, hearkening way back to childhood, when I had fantasies that my little sister was going on a sleepover and I needed to go, too, to care for her eyeglasses. Yup, eyeglasses. That’s what I said. I feel closer to you, now that I admitted that, and you’re still reading this. Hello? Anyone there?

This urge was recently revived as my husband and I have been watching “Revolution.” It’s a TV show in which the power goes out for fifteen years or so.

It was a terrifying realization to think that I am hardly prepared for a snowstorm, nonethless if we lost electricity forever. (!!!) So recently google and I spent some time on “preparing for an emergency,” and, can I just say, WOW.

The sheer depth and breadth of this topic is staggering. There are people who – prepare yourself – have basement-like trenches dug to store self-defense ammunition and warfare, have dried enough jerky for 10 years, have located a tarp and chemical-mask for every member of the family, purchased a generator, installed a water purification system, determined some sort of “bartering” goods to use in a new civilization (??), stored seeds, bio-hazard bags, an axe, and a map of how to get somewhere using signs of the moon (or something along those lines?).

Wow. Are you feeling way behind, or is it just me?

In all seriousness, no one knows what the chances really that we’d lose power, gas, or resources for a long time. But I think it’s worth preparing an “insurance policy” just in case. From what I’ve heard, you could easily lose power for a few weeks from a icestorm, and if a nuclear plant was damaged or a MAJOR hurricane/earthquake hit, it could feasibly be up to a year before power was restored. (Anyone more knowledgeable than me want to amend those numbers?)

Thinking about this has motivated me to come up with a disaster plan better than my previous one: “worst case – hitchhike to my cousins’ farm in Maryland and live off their deer and chickens.” There really were some helpful (albeit dramatic) sources on the internet. Here is a good one if you’re motivated to spend 52 weeks preparing for a disaster.

Here are my goals/wish list/projects to start as I contemplate how to prepare my family for an emergency.

  1. Clear out a pantry in my house to store emergency supplies.
  2. Start buying a few extra grocery items each week to stash in there when they’re on sale. Some things I know I want to include: sunbutter, crackers, dried fruit, canned beans, canned fruits, and canned vegetables, cartons of (coconut) milk, first aid items including alcohol and peroxide, water, canned tuna/chicken, canned soup, olive oil, salt, granola bars, bleach, vinegar, toilet paper, diapers, wipes, soap,  toothpaste/toothbrushes, dried rice and beans, disposable plates, trash bags, and feminine products 🙂
  3. Make sure I have the emergency staples everyone should have that I don’t actually have: matches, candles, flashlights, batteries, a list of everyone’s phone numbers, and a radio.
  4. Make sure I have plenty of backups of asthma medications, epi-pens, or medications we use regularly.
  5. Get enough backup propane that we could use our grill for a while.
  6. Get a generator and a water purification system.  I sent an email to Todd telling him we should get each other these for Christmas. He has ignored that email, so I’m pretty sure he’s on board.
  7. Make sure Todd has ammunition for the gun that is stashed away somewhere. Don’t make fun, people. Worst case, I’ll eat a squirrel.

Phew! So those are my thoughts. Anyone in? Did I miss anything? Am I crazy? 🙂

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home organizing

My family makes fun of me for a few reasons. I am going to assume that it is because they love me. Among these things: how I eat like my food is literally going to sprint from the plate unless I devour it like the Passover, the little cheer-thing I do after half a glass of wine, games I invent and make everyone play (ask me about the one I’m going to copyright and make millions off of), and lastly, how I discover hip new trends two years late. But seriously, anyone…Jack Johnson? Isn’t he great? Speaking of, if you don’t have an ipod you should get one.
Anyway, in keeping with this trend I am going to go out on a limb here and recommend something amazing, which I’m sure 95% of the free world has already discovered: HOME ORGANIZATION!!!!! Humor me here.
But I need to start by telling you this. My husband and I, like most married couples, have some long-standing arguments. Things like, is K & W a restaurant, what defines “clean,” “spicy,” and “yelling,” if one should consume a Mountain Dew everyday of the year, and whether or not the world will come to an end if there are dishes in the sink overnight. (It will.) I will let you guess which side of the fence yours truly falls for most of those. Anyway, another argument is over our townhome, whether it was a mistake to buy. I say we were suckers. Todd, Mr. Always Positive, claims it was a good decision. Who is right really matters little, because like it or not we are stuck with it, apparently, for the next decade or two.
It’s interesting, because what began as minor peeves and the inklings of should-we-sell conversations, now, after approximately two boys, four years, two realtors, eight showings, one job transfer, and, oh yes, one wife who is confined to these 1950-square-foot walls 24 hours a day with aforementioned boys, eventually fermented into full-blown NEED TO SELL discontment. It keeps reminding me of this quote by Martin Luther. “First the Germans killed the Jews because they hated them. Then they hated them because they killed them.” Forgive me for making a comparision of the Holocaust to something as petty as unwanted real estate. But it’s true. Actions breed feelings, perhaps more than vice versa.

But it’s true in a good way, too, and that is the point of my blog today. Act like you love something, and you will. What this means in practical terms, is that sometimes, the very best, productive, and prudent thing to do, is to spend a few hundred of unbudgeted dollars in home organization paraphernalia at Ikea. Yes, that is what I said.
I am learning, here in our little townhome, a very, very precious lesson. More precious than, dare I say it, a nice big yard, or a guest room, or lower HOA fees, or whatever. This lesson is contentment. I know I sound like a spoiled brat, that I need to learn this lesson over something so silly as living in a perfectly good home, but it is what it is. I am learning to be happy, here. To be happy now.
And I am loving this. Come visit. I dare you to open my coat closet, to find a pen in my kitche, to wrap a present, to peak in my laundry space, to step in my closet. My house is getting organized!!! Again, at the risk of sounding embarassingly old news, I am having the time of my life finding a “home” for everything, maxamizing storage space, putting things where I logically need to find them, installing shelves (why did I not do this before??), and, to put it simply, making myself at home. Making peace with my present. It is much easier to live in a house if you aren’t worried about what the next buyer is going to think of it. Which makes sense, because, apparently, there IS no next buyer. At least not until we retire. But that’s fine. I’m happy here.
Unless, that is, that any of you are so moved by this awesome sales job that you’re interested in viewing a Lake Norman luxury townhome at a steal of a price. In which case, send me an email and we’ll see what we can do. 🙂