As a Residential Organizer, I have asked my clients this question many times: “If a hurricane comes tomorrow what would you take?”

I believe this helps the client to begin to access and think about what really matters in life.

What is most important to us? What is absolutely sentimental and a part of us? Many of us have accumulated so much and it sometimes consumes us.

I had to ask myself the above questions when preparing for Hurricane Irma earlier this month. Yes, there are evacuation lists and hurricane preparedness lists, but what is my list for life? I left my house with the mindset that I may only come back to a shell of a house based on the category 5 storm heading for Miami. My house is a two story and my upstairs is wood and not mad of concrete block. I do have impact glass windows and a 25 kw generator on a slab in the yard since Hurricane Wilma left us without power for over 2 weeks in 2005, but I live in an evacuation zone near the coast. We evacuated.

The storm went west affecting others so horribly, but kept my house standing with debris, discoloration and really only a big mess to clean up. I could unpack what I brought and begin to get back to somewhat normal. The psychological component continues. I am not sure why. I do know not much matters as far as stuff. Being safe and having what you need is all that matters.

In my opinion, these are the most important things:

  • Be safe
  • Sentimental Jewelry
  • Keep trees trimmed during hurricane season to avoid bigger problems in case they topple
    • Bring, photograph or digitize all important documents and or put on an external hard drive too:
      Passports, Birth Certificates, Marriage license, Medical information, Deed to home, Insurances-home, health, flood, life and car.
  • Pictures, albums, framed or boxed (I will be scanning older photos as well as backing them up and perhaps making photo books, videos etc after Irma)
  • Checkbooks, credit cards, purse, pistol, pillow, phone, laptop, chargers
  • Diplomas, Transcripts, Pertinent Business information if home based business
  • Pets/rabies info-get sedatives to take edge off
  • Record and fill all medications, set up a first aid kit
  • Take a video of your house, cars and yard. Pictures of your art, especially children’s art
  • If going or staying, don’t wait until the last minute to prepare. Have water, gas, run down food inventory, but have shelf ready items. Have flash lights, battery operated candles, and battery operated fans. Fill gallons of water and freeze them to keep food safe longer if needed.
    Keep your sense of humor and positive attitude if at home or on the road and throughout. It’s beyond our control and you can’t fool with Mother Nature!

Be safe and organized!  My thoughts, prayers and healing wishes to all affected by Harvey, Irma and Maria this season.