If the firemen knocked on your door to say you had to evacuate, what would you do first?
My friend and professional organizing colleague Molly Brady, who lives in San Bruno, CA, was under an evacuation order on the night of September 9th this year, after a Pacific Gas and Electric pipeline exploded in a residential area, sending flames over 60 feet into the air and taking eight lives.
Molly was one of the fortunate ones: her family and house were unharmed when the fire was brought under control. Recently I had an opportunity to ask this veteran organizer what she did (and didn’t do) when faced with the possibility of losing everything in her home.
Molly recounted, “To me my most valuable thing is my photos. I’m not that attached to stuff.” First she put her camera and her vital records by the front door. (Molly uses the Vital Records PortaVault, the same vital records organizer that I favor.) then she packed a suitcase.
Her computer, which stores much of her collection of digital photos, is backed up offsite using Mozy and onsite to an external hard drive in her home office, so her data was in good shape.
“I grabbed extra glasses and my meds,” Molly said, and she was ready to go. One change she’s making as a result of the experience: she’s adding a password list to her vital records binder (and so am I.)
Molly told me she has a friend in southern California who lost her home in a fire that ravaged the Rancho Bernardo and Ramona area in 2007. Her friend told her the thing she missed most was her mother’s handwriting.
Hearing this, I’m moving a few letters and recipes into my vital records binder, too. They are not, strictly speaking, vital, but they are irreplaceable.