How To Prepare For An Emergency

In honor of National Preparedness Month, we teamed up with our friend Cari Butler from Emergency Cafe to pull together some tips and tasks help you get prepared.  

If you’re a beginner to emergency preparation, have no fear!  We have 5 actionable steps you can take TODAY to get started (and an entire shop of items if you need to create or add to your emergency kit). 

And if you’re already an emergency pro, we salute you (and we may still have a tip or two for you to use).  Read on… or watch below!


Always Have At Least Half A Tank Of Gas In Your Car

This is a no-brainer as an idea, but it’s sometimes hard to put in practice.  

Some of us at Practically Perfect (OK, it’s Kitt) still struggle to make sure this happens!

We know it can be the last thing you want to do at the end of a long day or in between all the daily to-dos, but having at least ½ tank of gas means that if an evacuation or emergency does happen, you’ll be able to go at least 100 miles without heading to a gas station.

Joni’s trick?  Shift your thinking, and make the ½ tank of gas your new empty line.  This will ensure that you’re never too low on gas!

Keep Cash Securely Stored In Your Home

As our friend Cari says, in the case of an emergency, “cash is king.”  If the electricity goes down, you’ll want enough cash to get you through it.  And small bills are the way to go!

We can’t say how much you should keep, but consider what you’ll need to get you and your family through at least a few weeks.

Keep Paper Copies Of Your Documents In One Place

We’re all about a paperless filing system — but paper is the way to go for emergencies.  

You’ll want to store important documents in a fireproof safe or box in your home, in an easily-accessible spot.  Think passports, birth certificates, home and life insurance policy statements, car titles… any items you may need, should a disaster strike.

Have A One-Month Backup Supply Of Daily Medication

If you take any medications daily, you’ll want to have a supply of them on-hand.  If you’re already thinking “that’s not going to be possible with my insurance plan,” Cari’s got you covered!

She recommends storing 3-4 pills toward the end of each month, as that’s likely when you’ll be able to refill your prescription.  Eventually, you’ll have a large enough supply for your emergency kit.

Water, Water, Water!

We probably don’t need to say it, but we will — have a backup stock of water!  Of all the items to have in your kit, this one is the most important.

The recommendation is 1 gallon of water, per person, per day.  Cari let us know that disaster experts are now recommending that you have 2-3 WEEKS worth of water stored.  

There are tons of great options, from water storage barrels to pre-packaged water pouches or even bottled water, although you’ll need to keep swapping it out to ensure that the plastic doesn’t leach into your drinking supply.  

However you choose to store it is up to you — just make sure that you have it!

Now, if you’re feeling antsy, this next part is for you!  Here are a few things that you can do today to get prepared… 


Learn Where Your Gas Shut Off Valve Is

No matter where you live, this is an important one.  These will be outside of your home, in the area where the gas company usually checks your meter. 

If you have an automatic gas shut-off (which is fantastic!) you’ll see a little red dome on your meter.  That ensures that the gas line will be blocked if it’s disrupted by movement, i.e. an earthquake. There’s also an emergency lever that you can move just to be sure!

If you don’t have the auto-shut off feature, make sure you have this handy tool.  You can keep it attached to your gas meter with a rope or chain. 

Pick A Family Meeting Place

If there are multiple people in your household, sit down tonight and decide on a location where you can all meet if something should happen.  

As Cari told us, “keep it simple but specific.”  Choose a particular bench, sign, tree, what-have-you at the location so that everyone knows precisely where to meet.  

Make Grab-And-Go Bags

Not to be confused with emergency kits, these bags contain the clothes and items you would take if you had 30 seconds to get out of your house.  Add a few shirts, a few pants, a jacket, sturdy shoes, and at least SEVEN DAYS worth of underwear (it’s the one item you really don’t want to have to rewear).  

For kiddos, always size up for the clothing that you pack to ensure a comfortable fit! 

Strap Your Furniture Down

Okay, maybe you won’t be able to do this one completely today, but you can add straps to your shopping cart right now and also pop this task onto your to-do list for the very near future.  

The rules for what to strap down are: anything that has a gas line, anything that’s taller than it is wide, anything near a bed and anything that would block an exit or entrance.  Think about your dryers, bookshelves, dressers, etc.  

If you have a lot of items hanging in your home, consider using some museum putty to keep those safely on your walls! 

Have Adequate Fire Extinguishers

Cari’s recommendation is to have at least TWO fire extinguishers, possibly even three or more, depending on the size of your home.  And the areas to store them are:

  • Under The Sink – for any cooking fires that may occur
  • In The Laundry Room – for any dryer/gas related fires
  • In The Garage – for any workshop/tool fire occurrences


Emergency Food

This one may seem quite obvious, but the amount of options can sometimes make it more challenging to decide which food route to take!  From dehydrated to canned to food bars… how do you decide? 

Consider the way your family functions… do you have food allergies or picky eaters?  Maybe you want to consider stocking up on your favorite canned goods. Pick items that are high in protein + fat, plus some fruits and veggies to round it out. 

Or, if you’re a one and done kind of person, prepackaged meal kits may be the way to go.  The options with these are also endless, but this is one of our favorites.  

Whichever route you choose, be sure to note expiration dates and set reminders to swap it out at least a month in advance so that you can either use or donate the products and eliminate any waste! 


We said it earlier but we’ll say it again — water is vital!  Whether you choose water barrels or pre-packaged pouches, make sure to store your supply in a cool, dry place.  And remember that more is better!

Don’t forget to eye these expiration dates, as well.  

Light Sources

Never underestimate the power of a good flashlight/lantern.  There are a lot of different options out there — and again, what’s practical for you is perfect for you.  Would you prefer to have a flashlight in every room?  Or power failure lights in your outlets?  Want a wearable headlamp for hands-free access?  You do you!  

Go for LED if you can, to get the longest-lasting light.  If you opt for battery-operated light sources, be sure you check on those periodically for any leakage.  Whatever you choose, be sure to keep them in an accessible location!

First Aid

Your first aid kit should have all your medical necessities — bandages, antibiotic ointment, pain relievers… whatever you’d like to have on hand for minor medical emergencies.  

Remember, in the case of a disaster, hospitals and emergency services may not be readily available for non-life threatening issues.  So make sure your home is well-stocked!

While it’s certainly not a requirement to have First Aid + CPR training, Cari does recommend it… and hands-on is the best!

Shelter + Warmth

We do recommend being prepared for cold weather and the possibility of leaving your home behind.  This means blankets + tents!

You can certainly stock up on blankets you may already own; but as Cari says, a mylar blanket can help hold in up to 90% of your body heat! 

And don’t forget about a tent — shelter is a necessary item for that emergency kit.  These don’t need to be camping supply quality, as this should be for emergency use only.  Think utility. (But if you want to splurge on some cozy, comfy options, go for it!)

We hope these tips are helping you feel a bit more comfortable with your own emergency preparation.  We’re deeply grateful to Cari for her knowledge, and we highly encourage you to check out Emergency Cafe and all her services! 

And just remember — YOU CAN NEVER BE TOO PREPARED!

Packing Tips For Every Trip

Kitt and I just wrapped up our Summer Packing Series, and now we’re breaking down our top tips for packing and preparing for a trip. 

Click below to watch the first video in our series!

We know it can be both thrilling and exhausting to plan for travel, especially when there are multiple family members involved.  So, here’s hoping that this will help to reduce some of the stress and simplify the process for you.  

Without further ado, tip number one is… 


And by ahead of time, we don’t just mean the night before.

Kitt and I are early packers.  For bigger trips, our packing process can begin as much as a week prior to our departure.  

While it might sound crazy to pack your suitcase a week early, just remember that the last thing you want to do before rushing to catch a plane or jump in the car is to haphazardly pack a bag and forget the essentials that will make your trip comfortable. 

If a week just isn’t feasible, try to give yourself at least two days… but the more, the better!  Sometimes you need an extra day to mull over what you’ve packed. Maybe you don’t need that third party dress?  

And on that note…


We can’t emphasize this enough — use a list when you pack!  It’s so much easier for me to pack when I’m not having to reinvent the wheel each time around.

We don’t have a specific list of items that we think you must bring, since packing is such a personal process.  Instead, we recommend that you create your own custom list for your next upcoming trip that you can continue to revise and reuse for future traveling.  

When you’re making your list, think about what you’ll actually wear… are you likely to just throw on leggings and t-shirt each day, or do you prefer to feel more dressed up while you travel?  

Be sure to consider elements like the material and weight of your items… will you have access to an iron for clothing that wrinkles easily… will you really want to iron?  Cold weather clothing takes up more space.. can you re-wear those items more than once while you’re away?

Thinking about these things while you are creating your list will help you curate it to perfection.  

And if you need a little assistance, check out our customizable packing lists here!

Pro Tip = Edit your packing list BEFORE and AFTER you travel!  Maybe you didn’t have enough tops but too many pants — or perhaps you wish you’d had a neck pillow?   Record these notes and make edits to your packing list as soon as you get back home so that you’ll be more prepared the next time around.


Packing cubes are favorites of mine and Kitt’s because we always feel strongly that every item needs a home — and the inside of a suitcase is no different! 

Regardless of how you like to pack — by day, by item, by activity — packing cubes help you keep your items separated.  And the bonus? This method also compresses clothing to give you just a bit more space, which no one ever doesn’t want!

File folding and rolling are both great ways of storing your clothing in the cubes, as items will take up the least amount of space and wrinkles will be reduced as much as possible. 

Pro Tip = Consider layering clothing pieces made of extra delicate fabrics with tissue paper and placing them on the very top of your bag.   Watch me demonstrate this in our Packing Cube Video above!


Sometimes our personal item can be an afterthought.  The trip is booked, the suitcase is packed, the house is clean… what else is left? 

Don’t underestimate that planning out what to bring in that small bag can really pay off.  Whether you’re traveling by plane or car, this is the bag that you’ll have the quickest access to.  If you devote just a little time to thoughtfully packing it, we really think that you’ll be happier in the long run!

Our top tips for this item are:

  • Bring A Change Of Clothes – You never know what can happen, and having an extra set of clean clothes can be a game changer in a number of scenarios (oh, the stories we could tell you!)  Store these extras in a packing cube or reusable bag of some kind… just make sure they’re easy to access. 
  • Wrangle Your Cords – Use cable ties and zippered pouches to contain your cords and electronic accessories.  You’ll thank us later!
  • Bags Within Your Bags – Utilize smaller bags or zippered pouches to contain and separate items so that it’s easy to find what you need.  Think of these the same way that you would packing cubes, giving every item a home.
  • Always Have Snacks Do you have special dietary restrictions?  Would a bar of chocolate feel like salvation during a long day of travel?  Pack whatever snack will delight you and get you through those rougher travel moment.

These are just a few of our suggestions.  Your personal bag is just that… personal. Only you know what you’ll need in those moments.  

Finally, I know we keep emphasizing pre-planning, but at the same time…


Ultimately, we always want you to do what works best for you.  Packing doesn’t have to be stressful.  It can even be fun! 

Pack in stages, revise as you go along and stay excited about your travels.  

If you’re feeling inspired to uplevel your own packing systems and are looking for some product recommendations, we’ve got you covered right here.

Wishing you safe + happy travels!



Our Favorite Packing List Downloadables

We’ve been having so much fun putting together our packing + travel series this summer! 

Our latest video “How To Pack With Packing Cubes” is now live (check it out on YouTube!) and as a bonus, we’ve added a few of our favorite packing lists below.

If you’re looking for even more packing tips, watch our full Travel Series, complete with all our favorite packing tips + hacks. 

Wishing you Safe Travels + Happy Packing!


Joni + Kitt

A Practically Perfect Pantry Makeover

This post was created in partnership with The Container Store and may contain affiliate links.  For more information, please read our disclosure agreement.

We absolutely love to organize pantry spaces, and we’re thrilled to have teamed up with The Container Store to share our top five pantry organization tips + favorite containers!  Here’s to keeping your pantry well-organized and Practically Perfect this holiday season!


This might seem fairly obvious, but we’ve encountered many a pantry that simply needed a few extra jars and baskets to go from disorganized to dapper.  The more items you can decant into containers, the more contained your pantry will be… and the fresher your products will stay!  So say “goodbye” to excess packaging!

We’re big fans of clear jars and containers for dried goods — and matching ones look especially lovely — but be sure to utilize any products that you already have in your home before you run out to spend money on anything new.  Add a printed or handwritten label to a repurposed jar or bin can give it a whole new purpose… see what we did there?

We almost always add a spin tray/lazy susan (or more than one) to any Practically Perfect pantry.  Storing condiments and other smaller items in a way that makes them both visible and accessible ensures that they’ll actually be used before they expire.  

Photo by Practically Perfect

And speaking of repurposing containers, any extras from your pantry overhaul can be used in practically any area of your home.  There were two beautiful anchor hocking jars that didn’t fit perfectly into this client’s pantry, but they were just what her laundry room was missing!  Baking soda and dryer balls = contained!

Photo by Practically Perfect


Keeping like items together in designated areas means your pantry will be as functional as it is beautiful.

Perhaps this means that you’ll have a breakfast shelf, a canned goods corner, a sweets section… create the areas that are specific to your own needs.  

It’s also helpful to do a full shopping trip before you organize, so that you’re sure to have space for all of the staples.  

Photo by Practically Perfect


We’ve all found mystery items — sometimes expired ones — in the back of our cabinets that we fully intended to use for an exotic recipe but never did.  We’re looking at you, lemon curd…

Be realistic about whether or not you’ll actually use that (insert literally any pantry item here) and consider gifting it or passing it along to friends or family who will.  Take a weekly inventory of what’s in your pantry, and plan your meals around what you have already purchased before it expires.  Commit to only buying what your family will truly eat.


We always advise leaving a little room for growth when you layout the organization of a pantry space.  It’s totally tempting to fill up every free inch of pantry space, but the end result can be an overstuffed pantry which may impact the visibility and accessibility of your staple items.  

Leaving some space (i.e. an extra basket for snacks) helps tremendously with the organizational maintenance of any pantry over time, as different treats and ingredients tend to enter our homes and pantries throughout the seasons.


Start with a clean slate!  When we organize a pantry, we start by pulling everything out and wiping down all of the surfaces.  It’s important to look through all of the contents of your pantry to ensure that you discard expired foods and donate anything that’s still good but that you don’t plan to consume.  

And once your pantry is in order, make sure to check in on it periodically and give it a little tidying up.  Your pantry will thank you!

Photo by Practically Perfect

Below are all the organizational products that we used to organize this pantry. We genuinely love and use all of these items for our clients’ spaces, as well as in our own homes!

Prokeeper Coffee Container

Prokeeper Pasta Container

Prokeeper Cereal Dispenser

Prokeeper Baker’s Storage Set of 6

Tosca Basket With Wooden Handles

Bamboo Spin Tray

Anchor Hocking Glass Canister

Large 64 oz Mason Jar

Wide Mouth Mason Jar Lid

We absolutely love to organize pantry spaces, and we’re thrilled to have teamed up with The Container Store to share our top five pantry organization tips + favorite containers!  Here’s to keeping your pantry well-organized and Practically Perfect this holiday season!


The Great Refrigerator Revamp

Clearly Contained

Favorite Convenience Snacks

Out Of The Box Playroom Storage

Photo by Practically Perfect

This post was created in partnership with The Laundress.  For more information, please read our disclosure agreement.

At Practically Perfect – with six kiddos among the co-founders’ families alone! – we love a good playroom project.  From fort building and book nooks to craft corners and costumery, we’ve seen and organized it all. This month we had fun re-working a playroom with The Laundress’ newly-released line of home organization products.

We decided to tackle just a few areas of the playroom that needed the most love.  If you’re looking for a short and sweet makeover, we recommend picking just one or two spots at a time — perhaps just the toy bins or the craft supplies, or simply an overstuffed shelf.  This will you allow you the time to really dig in without becoming overwhelming.

Photo by Practically Perfect

This bookshelf is a true-to-life example of what a playroom looks like after kids actually play in it.  As both professional organizers and moms, we wholeheartedly believe that creating a home for everything is essential to involving kids in clean up time — and we quickly recognized that The Laundress’ Storage Cubes would be a practical solution for these playroom shelves.

Photo by Practically Perfect

The storage cubes are the perfect size for storing collections of toys.  We love how crisp and clean they look. And as lovers of all things labeling, we especially appreciate the built-in label pocket!

When labeling a play space, it’s important to take into account the ages and stages of the kiddos.  We recommend including text and photos for pre-readers so that they can still be independent at play time as well as clean-up time.  It’s also important to choose a labeling system that can is flexible and can be changed over time, as needed.  As always, consider what would work best for your own kids!

Not only are these storage cubes super functional — they also look beautiful on the shelves!

When choosing containers for your spaces, be sure to consider both your household functionality and aesthetic preferences.  Are your kids likely to put lids back onto bins, or is that not realistic? Would you prefer to see what’s in each container or keep everything tucked away?  Follow your instincts! Whatever you decide, make sure that you’re selecting items that offer both function and fashion.  

Photo by Practically Perfect

This photo was taken post-playdate, when the teepee and surrounding area had enjoyed some intense imagination time and soft materials and stuffed toys were strewn all about.

Photo by Practically Perfect

We always recommend playroom containers that are easy to empty and fill, to ensure a quick clean-up and happy kiddos.  We found the Collapsible Hamper to be the ideal home for the oversized parachute and stuffed animal collection.  It’s attractive enough that it doesn’t need to be stored out of sight when it’s in use, and the collapsibility is also a huge plus — we appreciate anything that takes up less space when it’s not in use.

We also love to find new uses for products, so we chose the Large Zip Laundry Bag to store pillows in.  This bag felt like an easy way to transport fort building supplies from one space to the next.  While traditionally used in a laundry room or linen closet, it’s versatile and neutral enough to use in this playroom, too!  

Don’t be afraid to use products in out-of-the-box spaces or to repurpose them in creative ways.  Consider a toolbox as an art supply organizer, food storage containers for beads or loose toys, a mail sorter as a homework station… the list goes on!

Photo by Practically Perfect

Dressing up is one of our kids’ favorite pastimes, and displaying adorable items is one of ours… so it made sense to also utilize a Collapsible Hamper to organize this collection of costumes. 

We decided to display a few of the kids’ favorites on hooks for easy access — and also to up the cuteness factor!  We often opt for hooks or bins when it comes to setting up organizing systems for costumes and dress-up clothing, as hangers tend to deter the little ones from tidying up.  Dropping something onto a hook or into a bin can feel a lot less intimidating and time-consuming than wiggling it back onto a hanger.

And with that, three of our playroom spaces got a beautiful new refresh!

Remember to start small and be targeted in your organizing.  What works for another home may not be best for yours. Your system just needs to be PRACTICAL and PERFECT for you!

We had a great time incorporating some pieces from this new line of products into this playroom.  If you’re in the market for some quality cotton canvas products to help keep your playroom and home in order, head over to The Laundress for even more inspiration.  And don’t forget to check out their eco-friendly laundry and cleaning products while you’re at it — you won’t be sorry!


Best Bins To Organize IKEA’S Kallax

After-School Afternoons Made Easy

The Artful Way To Organize Your Memories

5 Tried And True Strategies For Keeping A Tidy Home

Use It Or Lose It

Belongings are easy to keep tidy when you don’t have too many of them!  Only owning items that you use and love keeps belongings to a minimum, which keeps clutter at bay.  And that brings us to our next suggestion…

One In, One Out

We highly suggest abiding by a “one in, one out” rule.  For every item that you bring into your space, consider removing another.  For instance, when you purchase a new pair of jeans, contemplate whether you might be able to let go of an older pair.

Don’t Put It Down, Put it Away

Keeping a tidy space is simple when items don’t have the chance to pile up.  It takes almost the same amount of time to put items away where they belong as it does to drop them down in your entryway or on your kitchen table.  So place your shoes in the closet, your purse on a hook by the door and your mail in a basket that’s designated for exactly this purpose.  Which bring us to the next suggestion…

A Place For Everything

Having an obvious place for everything turns tidying up your small apartment from a dreaded chore into a quick and simple activity.  When you know exactly where to put everything, the process if really frustration-free.

Spend Time To Save Time

Once everything has a “home,” it likely won’t take more than 5 minutes each day to place items back where they belong.  This small amount of time spent will be time saved at the end of the week, since there won’t be a pile-up to deal with at the end of each week.

Meal Planning Made Easy

We pride ourselves on being highly-organized.  We are are detailed oriented efficiency experts, tried and true.  But to be completely honest -- sometimes we’re frazzled and flustered -- even when we’re hiding it well.  Our homes can feel completely chaotic, albeit organized.  Our to-do lists feel never-ending.

As our business grows, so do our kids.  We’re always moving forward, and we simply can’t stop time.  We want to read more chapters at bedtime.  We want to leave the dishes in the sink and the emails in our inbox.  We smartly schedule our days, but even when we strike the seemingly perfect balance between business and motherhood, we still yearn for more time.  And we all have to eat!

Alas, we’re sharing 3 simple meal-planning tips that provide us with a little sanity and help us to stay ahead in our hectic lives.  These take very little time -- and save you a whole bunch of it!

Shopping List = Sanity

Devote just a few minutes to create a list of your household's "staple" items -- the items that you always purchase every week.  For us, this list includes milk, eggs, bread, apples.  Save this list (we use the Notes app on our phones) and add to it each week.  Each week, take a quick peek in the fridge and pantry to see what items need replenishing (this is easy when your pantry is Clearly Contained!) and add those items as additions to your list of staples.  Finally, determine what ingredients you'll need to prepare an special meals you're making.  We love Prep Dish because it provides you with a menu for each week and automatically generates your shopping list - which it can even add to an Instacart order for you.  So easy!

Slow Cooking = No Cooking

We aspire to plan a meal for each night of the week, but that’s rarely a reality for us.  What we do find to be practical and maintainable is having at least one night covered.  When in doubt, we use our Crock-pot to slow cook a simple, healthy meal.  There’s no shame in easy when it’s healthy!

Tuesday = Take Out

Our kids have enrichment activities that run into the evening on Tuesdays.  So, we’ve instituted “Take Out Tuesdays.”  The kids take turns choosing from a list of parent-approved restaurants, and they love being involved.  Try using an app that allows you to order in advance so that your dinner arrives home right when you do.  Hello, Postmates!

Here’s hoping that one or all of these suggestions can buy you even a few extra moments to snuggle in the week to come.

One Simple Solution For A Cleaner Closet

The hard truth is that getting organized -- and staying organized -- requires an investment of time.  We’re sharing one of our all-time favorite closet organizing tips.  And for those of you who appreciate a closet filled with matching hangers, this one's for you...

The next time that you drop items off at the dry cleaner, leave as many hangers as you do articles of clothing.  2 blouses, 2 dresses & 2 jackets = 6 hangers.  It’s so simple.  Freshly-cleaned clothing goes right back on your own hangers... which means they go straight back into your closet!

Bonus feature: this method not only saves time, but it also helps reduce your environmental footprint, one wire hanger at a time.  Additionally, you may ask your dry cleaner to swap the plastic bags for a reusable cover (which can also double as the bag you use to deliver you clothes to the dry cleaner).  One less step in your day; one more step towards a cleaner planet.  Practical.  Perfect.

Clearly Contained

We love the style and functionality of food storage containers.  And if it’s a Pinterest perfect pantry design you desire, they are a must!  But it’s important to understand that maintaining a pantry with this aesthetic is a commitment requiring an extra step when you put your groceries away.

As organizing experts, we’re fans of these containers because they allow you to see how much of each product you have left.  We’re proponents of anything that reduces over-buying and eliminates wasting of food.  So in our minds, you’re winning on two counts — form and functionality!

We suggest labeling the not-so-obvious items (sugar vs. salt; gluten free crackers vs. glutinous).  Feeling inspired to get started?  You can shop for some of our favorite food storage containers right here…  Happy Pantry Organizing! 

Artisan Canisters

Mason Jars

Pop Canisters


A Practically Perfect Pantry Makeover

Pantry Must-Haves

The Great Refrigerator Revamp