Every so often there is an event in daily life that serves as a wake-up call. This happened to this Professional Organizer in NYC a couple of weeks ago…. It was a typical Thursday. Both my husband and I had left home at our usual hours to start our respective days. When I checked my phone at mid-day once my client meeting had wrapped, there was a “Call Me” text from my husband. I immediately reached out to him as I had “that” feeling. Jay proceeded to tell me that he was on the way home to check our apartment because there was a fire that morning in one of the apartments in our building.
As I was headed home, I took on the job of assessing and addressing any impact on our apartment. Fortunately, no one was injured. There was, however, significant property damage to the apartment where the fire originated and to those apartments in the vicinity of the fire. As the fire was a couple of floors below ours and in a different line of apartments, we only had to deal with a smoky elevator and hallway.
This is the first time (and hopefully the last) when we’ll have a fire so close to home. It was a wake-up call…. I had been meaning to update the list of contents for our apartment and just hadn’t gotten to it. This task has now gone to the top of my to-do list. I typically share tips and resources for being prepared during an emergency, hurricane or other disaster in conjunction with National Preparedness Month in September. Due to these recent circumstances, I decided to get a jump on this and wanted to share some tips now.
I would highly recommend that you request input from your insurance broker concerning the type of information you will need should there ever be a need to file a claim. Once you have identified the tasks that need to be done, schedule time to tackle them. You can start in your home and home office and also consider creating a disaster plan for your office. Here are some tips to get you started.
Create a master inventory. Documenting the contents of your home can be as simple or complex a task as needed. This can be done simply by taking pictures or shooting short videos on your phone of the contents of each room and storing them in the cloud. Those items that are kept in drawers or buried in the back of your closet should also be included. If you want to take a more detailed, comprehensive approach, a home inventory software program like Home Zada is an excellent option to explore.
Collect your passwords. As security concerns have dictated that we setup unique passwords for each of the sites that we access, our lists of passwords have gotten quite long. It is difficult to remember all of these passwords so they need to be recorded somewhere. While jotting them down may be an immediate solution, gathering up this information should you need to leave your home unexpectedly may not be possible. If you prefer a paper solution, you may want to consider creating a go bag and storing a copy of all the log-in information (along with other important documents) in it. A cloud based solution like LastPass is a great alternative as you will only have to remember your LastPass login information and can then easily access all of your frequently visited sites.
Gather legal and financial documents. If you have the only copies of key legal or financial documents, consider putting them in a fire and water proof file box like this one. Whenever possible, store these types of documents offsite either with a trusted advisor or family member or in another secure location. Documents like passports, insurance policies and leases could also be included in the go bag.
If you need a customized tip to get started on this task, reach out to your Professional Organizer in NYC and I’d be happy to share one.