How To Prepare For An Emergency

Some links in this post may contain affiliates.  For more information, please read our disclosure agreement.

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!


5 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS


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… 


5 THINGS TO DO TODAY FOR EMERGENCY PREPARATION


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

FIVE ESSENTIAL ITEMS TO HAVE ON HAND


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! 

Water

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!


We Organized Safiya Nygaard’s Makeup Room On YouTube

Some links in this post may contain affiliates.  For more information, please read our disclosure agreement.

Last month, Practically Perfect had the opportunity to organize with YouTuber Safiya Nygaard, a fashion and makeup-savvy vlogger extraordinaire, who wanted to makeover her makeup room.  Check out some of the details below, including a quick DIY on how to transform your own space.  And click here to see the full video!

Photo credit Safiya Nygaard – Left to right: Joni, Kitt, and Safiya

THE DETAILS

Safiya’s makeup room was a former videography/editing/storage room that had recently been emptied and was housing just a single dresser (which Kitt immediately identified as an IKEA piece!)  Much of Safiya’s extensive makeup collection was contained in a variety of anonymous bins and jars on a shelving unit in her closet. There was more makeup in her dresser… and more on top of the dresser… and some on her desk in the other room.  We knew that we needed to create a Practically Perfect solution!

Photo credit Safiya Nygaard

THE WISH LIST

Safiya’s first priority was having a way to store and display all of the beauty products so that each item would be accessible.  Because finding certain products required her to dig through her collection, she found that they weren’t winding up in her videos.  She wanted to be able to use everything that she owns.

Her second request was that the display should “raise the overall level of cuteness.”  As professional organizers, Pinterest-addicts and Instagram aficionados, we’re all about the cuteness.

Safiya also needed a workspace to apply her makeup.  The current system of lugging armfuls of makeup to her editing room was just not feasible.

And lastly, she wanted a space to sit and film her makeup application.  Design time!

THE DESIGN

Once we had an overview of the room and Safiya’s needs, we were ready to create the design for the overall workspace.  We decided to incorporate the Alex Dresser, which was similar to the one that was already in use, to add additional storage for all of Safiya’s beauty products.  We also procured a tabletop for makeup application and video creation. And of course, no makeup room would be complete without the perfect vanity.

(We’ll show you the finished piece and all of the items that we used at the end of the post. Feel free to scroll down now if you just can’t wait!)

THE LOGISTICS

Once we had a design plan and some lovely open floor space, our next move was to SORT. ALL. OF. THE. MAKEUP.

Photo credit Safiya Nygaard – Say hello to Ashton and Caylie, two of our Practically Perfect organizers!
Photo credit Safiya Nygaard – The lipstick extravaganza

Our team jumped right into the sorting and editing process with Safiya.  She was a rockstar at separating and tossing, sometimes with a little help from her boyfriend Tyler.

Eventually, all of the lipsticks, eye products, concealers, foundations, blushers, highlighters, etc. were sorted and edited.  Then we began placing them into the containers we had purchased.

To meet Safiya’s goals, we knew that we needed items that would both categorize and display her products in the drawers and on the table… ensuring maximum cuteness!

Photo credit Safiya Nygaard

Next, it was time to assemble the vanity table and start placing the collection into its new home.

Although IKEA assembly is the bane of many people’s existence, we pretty much love it.

Photo credit Safiya Nygaard

With a little bit of elbow grease, some meticulous placement, and a whole lot of Safiya’s comedic spirit keeping us laughing, we moved every makeup and beauty product into her new workspace.  Voilá!

Photo credit Safiya Nygaard

We turned some of Safiya’s favorite makeup into a beautiful display on the tops of the dressers and minimally decorated the table with some of her favorite brushes and a magnifying mirror.  We also added a few floating book ledges to display some of Safiya’s treasured items, giving the space a personal touch.

Below, we give you a peek of what’s inside the drawers!

Photo credit Practically Perfect
Photo credit Safiya Nygaard
Photo credit Practically Perfect

Our Practically Perfect team deeply loved this project.  It was a fantastic few days of organizing and filming, thanks to the lovely Safiya Nygaard and Tyler Williams.  

We hope you feel inspired to get your own makeup collection organized, too!  Below is a short DIY to create your own makeup station:

Step One: Take A Trip To IKEA

Pick up your Alex Tall Drawers and Alex Short Drawers to combine with the Linnmon Table Top. Keep in mind that an extra table leg is recommended for support.

Step Two: Assemble

Once you’ve gotten those goodies home, get your assembling groove on!  You’ll need a hammer, flat-head and Phillips screwdrivers, a ruler, a pencil, and a little dedication.  If this is not at all your jam, you can of course utilize IKEA’s assembly service.

Step Three: Ordering Your Vanity

Vanity lighting is a must for any makeup station.  We like the Chende Vanity from Amazon (and we love Prime shipping!)  Once it arrives, simply set it up on your new workstation.

Step Four: Get Your Organization On

Grab your favorite makeup containers, and let the organization begin!  There are tons of options to choose from. Here are a few of the Luxe Inserts we used with Safiya:

Step Five: The Final Product

Add your own, personalized finishing touches to your makeup station… and ENJOY!

P.S. If you liked this blog post, join Kitt + Joni for a virtual workshop on beauty organizing on September 13th! Click here to register!

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The Do’s & Do’s Of Donation

Photo by Practically Perfect

Nope, that's not a typo!  We're here to present a fully positive spin on donating goods.  Our goal is to assist you in finding a responsible re-home for your items. 

At Practically Perfect, we're huge fans of overhauling spaces, deep cleaning, spring organizing, organizational maintenance… we could go on and on.  These projects almost always begin with editing belongings. And once we've collected a pile of donations, the next step is figuring out the appropriate place to pass them along.

Our team has created a handy donation guide, which references some our favorite local and national organizations.  But by no means is this list exhaustive, so if you have a favorite drop-off spot, keep using it and send us a DM on Insta (@practicallyperfectla) to let us know too!  

For the full local and national downloadable guide for donations, enter your info below:

And for even more detailed information on local, nationwide, and e-waste recycling, click here for all our spreadsheet goodness.

Below are some quick tips to making donation easier and more successful…

DO – DESIGNATE AN IN-HOME DONATION BOX 

One Practically Perfect tip is to keep a basket/bin for donations (as shown above) in your home at all times, so that you can be adding things anytime that you decide they aren’t needed/wanted.  You don’t have to wait for a special season or project to edit… it can be ongoing!

DO – GIVE AWAY TO FAMILY, FRIENDS, FRIENDS-OF-FRIENDS

Host a clothing swap, put out an offer on social media or post a free ad on Offer Up or Craigslist.  All of these are wonderful ways to get items out the door!  

DO – THINK LOCALLY

We encourage you to consider the most responsible donation options.  One great way to do this is to ensure that you're donating to organizations that allocate resources in your own city.  This will cut down on transportation costs, as some organizations send used goods out of state/out of the country.

Check with nearby shelters, transitional housing organizations and churches – they can often directly allocate your donations, especially when it comes furniture and household items.

Local libraries are a fantastic place to donate your books and audio collections, neighborhood schools might make great use of your extra office supplies, and some pet shelters will happily accept used bedding and towels. (Just imagine your favorite blanket being repurposed as a puppy bed and tell us that you don't want donate it right now!)

DO – GIVE THE GOOD STUFF

'Gently Used' is the key phrase – make sure that what you're donating is something someone else can really use!  Give away clothing that is clean and folded, wipe down household items before tossing them into your donation bin, and spend a few extra minutes tracking down the missing pieces of that toy set.  You'll feel great about saying goodbye to your items in this kind way — and so will the recipients!

Photo by Amy Bartlam

DO – REPURPOSE

For hard-to-donate items, consider whether they might be able to have a second life somewhere else in your home or garden.  Old towels can become great cleaning rags — and various treasures can become supplies in your craft box!

If an electronic item has made its way into your donation bin due to a small technical issue, check out your local repair resources!  One of our FAVORITE options is Repair Cafe – they're a nationwide volunteer-run organization. For no fee, you can bring in your finicky toaster/vacuum/bicycle/you name it, and they can either assist you with the repair or their specialty volunteers can tackle it for you!  They can also help you recycle a non-repairable item, as well. (Los Angelenos, there are two locations in the city!)

We hope you're feel empowered to get more familiar with the local options in your city.  Here's to really upping your donation game!

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