One of the things that stinks about being a grown-up is all of the shoulds … you should buy a house, you should have life insurance, you should have a will and you should definitely be prepared for a disaster. I’m about to turn 45 so I can check most of those boxes. But when it comes to emergency preparedness, I tend to freeze. Maybe it’s because I had recurring tornado nightmares as a child. Or maybe it’s just too overwhelming and I don’t know where to start. This “just-in-case” project stumps me. So I came up with a solution—the Slacker’s Edition. Here it is:
Home Inventory: There are numerous ways to go about doing a comprehensive home inventory that include walking around your home with a very detailed insurance form, snapping photos and writing down serial numbers. Truly, you “should” be that thorough. My Slacker’s Edition includes walking around my home, about once a year, with my iPhone and videotaping our stuff. I talk about significant items, particularly if they’re new-ish. I include what we paid for it (if I know … which sometimes I don’t), and where and when we purchased it. I back up this information in Dropbox, and call it a year.
Important Papers: I rate papers on a very scientific PIA-to-replace-scale. If they’re a pain in the a** to replace, I consider them important and in need of safekeeping. I keep all of these documents in a fire safe. I don’t have the time or energy to drive to a safety deposit box if I need a social security card or passport. I also stash a copy of our homeowners’ insurance, wills (yes, we do have those), marriage/birth certificates and anything else that would require waiting in a long line or having to call the Social Security Administration to replace. You can purchase a fire safe on Amazon and consider yourself safe enough. If you want to kick it up a notch, scan these documents and keep a copy in a secure online location.
Data Backup: I’ve always heard it’s not “if” your hard drive crashes, but “when.” Better back up that data! We have a backup drive in our house, but if you asked me how to actually find our data on there I’m not sure that I could. I physically know where it is, and if the house was burning down and I had an extra 10 minutes after getting my kids, cats, paper calendar (don’t judge) and favorite pair of shoes out of the house, I would likely grab it. But the Slacker’s Edition calls for something easier. I pay around $100/year for a terabyte (I don’t know how much space that is, but I’m guessing it’s a lot) of Dropbox storage and I keep all of my data there. I also have Dropbox Carousel, which automatically backs up my photos and videos (and is cool because it lets me see every single digital picture I’ve ever taken on my mobile phone, which just blows my mind!). Is this system foolproof? Of course not. But it’s good enough for this slacker.
I won’t win any awards on Doomsday Preppers, but this plan lets me sleep at night. What other emergency preparedness techniques do you use? Share them in the comments … but remember, anything too complicated may trigger an anxiety attack in this slacker!