We wear 20 per cent of the clothes we own 80 per cent of the time. The rest hangs there, just in case.
– Calgary Herald (Alberta, Canada)
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National Preparedness Month

By Teine Kenney, CPO
Founder, organizethis®

Are you prepared for a real emergency? You may have the latest electronic gadget or fashion accessory, but have you taken the energy, time and money to prepare for a real emergency? It's easy to avoid thinking about a disaster, but denial won't stop a disaster from happening. You know exactly what I'm talking about, so I won't take your time to list the possible scenarios.

Can you survive in your home for more than two weeks without electricity or shopping for water and food? Have you thought about what you might do if your toilets stopped flushing? What would you do if you were caught in a disaster while commuting home from work? These questions that are better addressed before an emergency occurs. Fortunately for you, a lot of the supply lists and planning work has been done for you. If you read up on a few basic survival skills and implement the necessities that have been researched, you will be prepared.

September is National Preparedness Month and the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) has signed on as a national coalition member of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's National Preparedness Month. Take a look at the websites and do a little planning.

When we work with clients we frequently find multiple books on organization. Our Client will give us a sheepish look and ask if they should just get rid of the whole collection. Often times we suggest they keep the best book and implement just three tips that the book teaches. If our clients would take just a couple of pointers and put them in place, they will reap wonderful rewards.

This same principle of 'picking just a few pointers' works for disaster preparedness. If your first crack at preparedness is too complicated; like attempting to build a bomb shelter and equip it with a water powered generator, you will most likely fail. I suggest taking two or three small steps and building on your success.

  1. Get a kit
  2. Make a plan
  3. Be informed

I already owned Organize for Disaster, by Judith Kohlberg (and have had survival kits in my home and car for the last 25 years), but recently while on a new preparedness kick, I ordered these three additional books online The Complete Book of Survival, Crisis Preparedness Handbook, and 98.6 The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive. I learned that we can survive for many days with out food and even water if we keep our core body temperature as close to 98.6 degrees as possible. I learned that eventually having goods to barter is more important than having cash. I learned that I'm not really as prepared as I thought I was.

Here's a suggestion for a first step: go buy bottled water, flashlights and extra batteries and a couple of space blankets. Put these items and in your home and car. If you frequently drive wearing delicate shoes, put a pair of sturdy walking shoes in your car too. Applaud your progress now, you will thank yourself later.

Teine Kenney

founder, organizethis®