032 Disaster Preparedness: Ready and Organized Home

Declutter for Change Podcast episode 032 Disaster Preparedness

Today’s episode is for you, the powerhouse entrepreneur who might secretly feel a little overwhelmed by the idea of disaster preparedness. Because let’s face it, fires, floods, tornadoes, etc. – they don’t discriminate. 

Decluttering for disaster preparedness is absolutely a form of self-care. We’re going to conquer the clutter and create a safe, organized haven you can truly relax in – even when the weather forecast looks iffy.

Conquer Clutter, Conquer Chaos

Alright, let’s be honest. We all know we should be prepared for emergencies. But for many of you, super successful in your businesses, but maybe not so much in your personal life organization, the idea of disaster preparedness can feel like just another thing on your already overflowing to-do list. It can feel overwhelming, like one more task you just can’t seem to tackle.

But here’s the thing: disasters don’t care how organized you are.

A tornado ripping through your town isn’t going to care about the overflowing laundry basket in your guest room. A flood overflowing the riverbanks isn’t going to wait for you to finish colour-coding your spice rack.

Disasters can strike at any time, and when they do, the last thing you want to be dealing with is the chaos in your own home. Now, I’m not suggesting you need to turn your entire house into a prepper’s paradise. But there are some simple steps you can take to declutter your home in a way that makes it safer and easier to navigate in an emergency.

Think of it as an investment in your own peace of mind. By decluttering for disaster preparedness, you’re taking control of a situation that can feel inherently uncontrollable. You’re creating a safe space for yourself, your loved ones, and even your furry (or feathery, or scaly) family members.

The Clutter Zones: High-Risk Areas

So, where do you start? Let’s talk about minimizing possessions in high-risk areas. The specific risks you face will depend on where you live. Maybe you’re in tornado alley, where flying debris from unsecured objects is a major concern. Perhaps you live on the coast, where hurricanes and flooding are a constant threat. Or maybe you’re in a fire-prone region, where cluttered spaces can become deadly infernos.

The key is to identify the high-risk areas in your home and then ruthlessly declutter them. A great place to start is your garage. 

Is it a collection of boxes, overflowing with forgotten exercise equipment and that dusty childhood swing set? 

That’s a fire hazard waiting to happen. Not only can all that stuff hinder your ability to evacuate quickly in an emergency, but it can also fuel a fire and make it harder for firefighters to do their jobs.

So, this week’s mission: declutter your garage (or basement, shed, wherever your “stuff graveyard” might be). Sort through those boxes, be honest with yourself about what you truly need and use, and recycle what you don’t. Consider donating gently used items to charity – it’s a great way to declutter while giving back to the community. Remember, a clear path to your car and the ability to exit your home quickly is crucial in an emergency.

The Taming of the Kitchen Catch-All

Don’t stop at the garage! The kitchen is another common clutter culprit, and it can be especially dangerous in an earthquake. Think about all those heavy canisters on the top shelf. A good earthquake could send them crashing down, shattering glass and creating a dangerous obstacle course during an evacuation.

So, declutter your kitchen cabinets and pantry. Consolidate like items, get rid of expired spices and condiments, and invest in some sturdy shelving or organizers to keep everything secure. Here’s the neurodiversity twist: Labels are your friend! Clear labels on shelves and containers can make it so much easier to find what you need in a hurry, especially during a stressful situation.

Now, the living room. For many of us, it’s the relaxation zone, the place to unwind after a long day. But let’s be real, sometimes it can become a cluttered catch-all for toys, magazines, and that never-ending pile of throw blankets. All that clutter can not only be visually overwhelming, but it can also block walkways and become a tripping hazard in an emergency.

So, tackle the living room clutter! Put away toys after playtime, sort through magazines and recycle old ones, and find designated storage for those cozy throws. A little decluttering can make a big difference in the overall safety and feel of your space.

Disaster Preparedness: The Essential Emergency Kit

Alright, let’s move on from decluttering your home to building your defences – your emergency kit. We all know we should have one, but for many of you, it often ends up on the back burner, another item on that ever-growing to-do list. Here’s the thing: think of your emergency kit as your foundation for emergencies.

The beauty of an emergency kit is that you don’t need to build a giant doomsday bunker’s worth of supplies all at once. Start small. This week, focus on gathering the essentials – a gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, non-perishable food that’s easy to prepare and eat without heat, a first-aid kit with a good variety of bandages and medications, a battery-powered radio to stay informed in case of power outages, and a flashlight with extra batteries.

We all know how easy it is to get overwhelmed and then paralyzed by indecision. So, create a system that works for you. Maybe it’s a designated bin you add a little extra to each grocery trip. Perhaps a checklist on your phone helps you stay on track. There’s no right or wrong way to do this, as long as you’re gradually building your kit over time.

Tailoring Your Disaster Preparedness Kit to Your Needs

The basic emergency kit is a great starting point, but it’s important to tailor it to your specific needs and circumstances. Do you have any medical conditions that require specific medications or equipment? Do you have infants or young children who need diapers, formula, or special food? Consider these factors and add the necessary supplies to your kit.

Your animals are important too! Include pet food, water, and bowls in your kit. Having a designated pet carrier on hand is also a lifesaver in an emergency. Check with your vet or local animal shelter for a special pet emergency kit checklist.

Disaster Preparedness for the Digital Age

In today’s digital world, staying connected is crucial during an emergency. Consider including a portable phone charger in your kit, and don’t forget to keep a paper copy of important documents like passports, insurance information, and medication lists. These can be lifesavers if your electronics are damaged or lost.

The Importance of Documents: Having a Plan

Speaking of documents, it’s important to have a plan in place for what to do in an emergency. Sit down with your family and discuss evacuation routes, meeting places, and communication strategies. Talk to your kids about what to do if they’re home alone during a disaster. Practice your evacuation plan regularly so everyone knows what to expect.

Having a plan and an emergency kit in place will give you peace of mind and a sense of control during a stressful situation. Remember, even a small disaster can disrupt your life – a power outage, a burst pipe, a sudden snowstorm. Being prepared for these everyday emergencies can make a world of difference. 

Decluttering Before a Disaster Strikes

Let’s be honest. Disasters are scary. The idea of a hurricane tearing through your town or a fire ripping through your neighbourhood can send shivers down anyone’s spine. But here’s the thing: feeling prepared can be a huge stress reliever. By decluttering your high-risk zones and building a basic emergency kit, you’re taking control and creating a safe space for yourself and your loved ones.

Remember, decluttering for disaster preparedness isn’t about achieving some Pinterest-perfect level of organization. It’s about taking small, manageable steps towards safety and peace of mind. You are someone who conquers challenges in your business every day. You can conquer the clutter in your home and be prepared for whatever life throws your way.

Taming the Tech Terror: Electronics and Emergencies

We’ve talked a lot about the physical aspects of disaster preparedness, but what about your electronics? Let’s face it, in today’s world, our phones and laptops are lifelines. Here are a few tips for keeping your tech safe and functional during an emergency:

  • Invest in a portable phone charger. A dead phone is useless in an emergency, so having a way to keep it juiced up is crucial.
  • Consider a waterproof phone case. Floods and flash floods are a reality for many of us, and a waterproof case can save your phone from water damage.
  • Back up your data regularly. This one’s a no-brainer. Whether it’s to an external hard drive or a cloud storage service, make sure you have a recent backup of all your important files. A fire or natural disaster could destroy your computer, but your precious memories and documents can be safe in the cloud. 

Financial Preparedness: Because Disasters Cost Money

Let’s not forget the financial side of disaster preparedness. Disasters can be expensive events, whether it’s damage to your property, unexpected evacuation costs, or the need to replace lost or damaged belongings. Here are a few tips to get your finances in order:

  • Review your homeowners or renters insurance policy. Make sure you understand what is and is not covered, and consider flood insurance if you’re in a high-risk area.
  • Have an emergency fund. Experts recommend having enough money saved to cover your living expenses for at least three to six months. This can be a lifesaver if you’re unable to work or displaced from your home due to a disaster.
  • Keep important financial documents safe and accessible. Include copies of your insurance policies, bank statements, and credit card information in your emergency kit or a fire and water-safe deposit box.

Disaster Preparedness for the Whole Family: Including the Kids

We’ve talked a lot about preparing yourself, but what about your kids? Disasters can be scary for children, so it’s important to talk to them about what to expect in a calm and reassuring way. Here are a few tips:

  • Age-appropriate conversations are key. Explain the different types of disasters that could happen in your area, but avoid using overly graphic language or scaring them.
  • Practice your evacuation plan with your kids. Make sure they know where to go and what to do in case of an emergency.
  • Include them in building the emergency kit. Let them pick out a special stuffed animal or comfort item to keep in the kit.
  • Help them create a communication plan. Decide on a family member or friend who lives out of town that they can contact in case they’re separated from you during a disaster.

It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint

Remember, decluttering for disaster preparedness is a journey, not a destination. Don’t try to tackle everything at once. Start small, set achievable goals, and celebrate your progress along the way. Maybe this week you focus on decluttering the garage, next week you tackle the kitchen pantry.

So, take a deep breath and take control. By decluttering your home and building a basic emergency kit, you’re taking a big step towards safety and peace of mind.

You’ve got this!

Episode Timestamps

[1:11] Disasters don’t care how organized you are.

[2:21] The key is to identify the high-risk areas in your home, and then ruthlessly declutter them.

[5:21] Create a system that works for you.

[5:53] Your animals are important too.

[7:12] Feeling prepared can be a huge stress reliever. 

[9:36] Practice your evacuation plan with your kids.

Resources Mentioned in this Episode

Facebook Group

Here are some additional resources that you might find helpful:

USA:

  • The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) website has a wealth of information on disaster preparedness, including checklists and how-to guides: https://www.ready.gov/
  • The American Red Cross also has a lot of great resources on their website, including information on how to build an emergency kit and create a disaster plan: https://www.redcross.org/

Canada:

Australia:

Europe (General):

UK:

Europe (Specific Countries):

Here are some resources for specific European countries. Search for your own country’s emergency management agency or Red Cross chapter for even more tailored information:

Additional Resources by Region:

  • United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR): https://www.unesco.org/en/links/disaster-risk-reductionThis UN website provides resources and information specific to various regions around the world.
  • International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC): https://www.ifrc.org/The IFRC website offers resources and information tailored to different countries and disaster types.

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Heather Clark declutter expert

Heather Clark, Declutter Expert

Helping you navigate the change by decluttering your MIND | BODY | SOUL | HOME.

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