You’ve seen the TV news interviews: “I never thought this could happen to my family,” says the numb survivor of a tragedy that instantly changed life as she knew it. You watch the interview, shake your head and for an instant, wonder what you would do in her shoes. Unfortunately, the feeling passes and you get on with your busy life. Time to make a change that has the potential to save your sanity and your life. Morph The World Capitol of Clutter – otherwise known as the coat closet adjacent to your front door — into a family nerve center, so should tragedy strike and you find yourself incapable of conjuring a cohesive thought, you can act fast. Sure, you’ve lavished time and money decorating your home, but undertake this challenge and your coat closet stands to become the single most important “room” in your home.
Make Safety a Shoe In
Your kids may be onto something when they fly in the door, kick off their shoes and head for their rooms. You, of course, call them back, reminding them that their shoes have a place in their bedroom closet – a room that may be so far away from the front door that retrieving them in an emergency could put them at risk. For that reason, always keep at least one pair of seasonally-appropriate shoes for each family member in the closet that’s closest to your door so if you must vacate the premises immediately for safety reasons, nobody goes in bare feet. This tip is particularly important for families living in northern climates where ice and snow can compound a tragedy, leaving you and your kids at the mercy of the elements.
Easy-to-Retrieve Medical Data
Where’s your first aid kit? Better yet, where are your family’s medical records? If your answers are “In the back bathroom” and “somewhere in the filing cabinet in our home office,” you’ve stacked the deck and it’s not in your family’s favor should an emergency strike. Pharmacy websites make it easy to replace your prescriptions on the fly if a fire or flood consume the information needed for a refill and your doctor’s chart has some of the basics, but wouldn’t a metal briefcase with important family medical records, certificates and data that’s a pain in the neck to replace make your life simpler if you have to leave home fast? A briefcase is easy to grab and toss as you’re heading for the door and if it’s situated in an adjacent closet, you don’t even have to think. Just grab, toss and run.
Quick Pet Carrier Access
It’s enough to bring tears to your eyes: the local news broadcast tells the tale of the family that tried, but was unable to get their pets out of a burning home. There’s never a guarantee that your frightened cat will come to you in a state of emergency or that your dog won’t panic, but if you’ve stowed your pet carriers inside the closet nearest your door, you’ll increase your chances of getting your furry family member to safety, too. You may be wondering how you’re going to fit carriers into your coat closet, and of course, the answer is to use your emergency preparedness effort to do what’s been needed for years: banishing the clutter and putting items that aren’t critical to your survival into closets in other rooms of the house.
Your Survival Stash
When Jason Bourne races from his hotel and leaves every stitch of clothing behind, he manages to show up in a clean change of underwear minutes later, a sure sign the dude’s thought out his survival options. You may not be running from underworld thugs, but once you escape danger, you’re going to need help. Few things can leave you feeling as vulnerable as having only the clothing on your back, but there’s no reason to find yourself without assets. Turn things around on a dime by stashing some cash and a free-and-clear credit card in the metal suitcase that holds your family’s medical records so you have immediate spending power should there be no Red Cross or family around to help you pay for a meal, clothing or shelter. Sure, you’ve got insurance. But that won’t kick in when you most need it, so get what you need immediately by adding a little cash assurance to the equation.
A Closet Full of Peace of Mind
It’s a heartbreaking reality: people escaping from a fire, flood or catastrophic accident can carry just so much and when there’s only one opportunity to grab and run from the scene, it’s critical to take essentials. Your shoes are there, as are your coats. A briefcase has cash, passports, a credit card and the family medical records and you have the wherewithal to save your pets. If there’s anything else you can’t live without – family photos, heirlooms, your computer, for example – you may wish to store them off-site in a bank vault or join the growing number of families investing in fireproof vaults that stay intact despite being subjected to all sorts of assaults. Here’s the heart and soul of the matter: Use your closet as your grab-and-go headquarters and reap the benefits. Including the ability to sleep all night, every night, knowing you’ve upped your family’s chances of surviving myriad situations.