I try to live my life out of hope and not out of fear, but I’ll admit there are times when being a little prepared can be helpful. 

I remember watching the news when Notre Dame’s roof was burning up in flames. As an architecture student, I remember standing in that cathedral, sitting on a curb sketching this cathedral, and memorizing all sorts of stats about this cathedral. It felt surreal to watch it go up in flames. 

Not even a month later, I had a deja vu moment when I got word that my childhood neighbor’s home was up in flames. One of the neighbors posted a video of the flames engulfing a house that had been part of my childhood memories for longer that I can remember. Both of these instances are extreme situations, but hard things can happen and often without a moment’s notice.

We don’t like to think about horrific things happening like a fire or some other natural disaster, but they do happen. While I would not consider myself a prepper on any extreme level, I do believe in being smart and prepared. So, I researched and considered a few ways we can all be better prepared for those times when disaster strikes.

  1. Photograph and video your home. Walk through your home and take visual documentation of your items. Show the brand and document the year if possible that the item was from.
  2. Make a running list of valuable items. Items of value don’t have to be fine jewels, but might also include things like instruments, technology equipment, collectibles, or specialty tools.  
  3. Store these lists, photos, and videos on the cloud and also a hard drive if possible.
  4. Do an annual call with your insurance company to make sure you have questions answered.
  5. Store valuable papers in a fire-proof safe.
  6. Scan receipts of important purchases.
  7. Scan all of your important documents, including those you’re saving for seven years in case you get audited.
  8. Have access to your contact information for vital people. Think through if there are people you have contact information for only on paper. Add them somehow electronically, via email or via your cell phone contacts, so that you have them if the paper disappears.
  9. Scan and digitize photos and memories now in case they get ruined.
  10. Mark your calendar for a yearly review of these action items. This will help you keep your recent big purchases current in your files.