Even a Minimalist Needs at Least One Basic Emergency Kit

FEMA produced photo of emergency kit

“Experts suggest having an emergency kit prepared that will help you survive for 3 days, but you may need to survive on your own for as long as a week.”

– National Weather Service

Those decluttering “rules” you hear, the ones about getting rid of everything you haven’t used in a year? Everything you’re holding on to “just in case”? All duplicates? Ignore them. An emergency kit violates all these rules, but keeping one may save your life.

According to Wirecutter, though, you should make your own emergency kit instead of relying on the prepackaged variety: “The easiest way to feel prepared for an emergency is to go to your local big-box store and pick up a ready-made emergency kit. Unfortunately, after studying the contents of a dozen such kits online and getting four to rip apart in person, we can say with certainty that none of them are worth your money.”

Note that I say you should have “at least one” emergency kit, because ideally you will keep emergency kits in your car and workplace as well (assuming, of course, that you have a car and workplace).

The Department of Homeland Security provides a basic list of emergency supplies, as well as more recommended items.

The Red Cross and the CDC also offer lists, and the CDC has some resources specific to children.

Do you or someone you live with have special needs? The Red Cross has a special booklet called Preparing for Disaster for People with Disabilities and other Special Needs.

Have pets? Check out the ASPCA’s page on disaster preparedness with pets.

Consider working with your neighbors, so you can share certain items. Or organize a neighborhood-wide group for emergency preparedness.

What kind of emergency kit (or kits) do you keep? And how do you organize your emergency supplies?

I'd love for you to share your ideas and experiences.