Friday, September 10, 2010

The Evacuation Game

As I was watching the news coverage of the tragedy in San Bruno, CA, I was, yet again, struck by the realization that our possessions are all so very temporal. In the blink of an eye, all of the stuff you've worked so hard to accumulate could disappear. EVERYTHING. 

This got me thinking about what things-- not people or animals, but things-- are most important to me. What items would I be devastated to lose. When I see tragedies like wild fires and hurricanes and the like, I play a game in my head, which I call the Evacuation Game.

The Evacuation Game

You have 15 minutes to load your car & evacuate your home. Everything left behind will be destroyed. What do you take with you? (In the Evacuation Game, it is assumed all people & animals are out of harms way, so they do NOT get counted on the list. Clearly, nothing compares to losing a family member in a tragedy and for me, saving my loved ones would trump saving any and all possessions.)

My list contains only a few items that are of KEY importance. I didn't include clothes and bedding and the like, because I view that as replaceable stuff-- plus, in 15 minutes, I'm pretty sure I could grab the key items and still have time to grab clothes, shoes & what not. Instead, the items on my list are MUST HAVE items for me. I did not include items for other members of the household, because everyone's list will be different. I also didn't include "sensible" stuff like I.D.s and deeds and insurance paperwork, my list focuses on things that would devastate me to lose, not things that would be a pain to replace or to not have.

So without further ado, this is just MY evacuation list.

My Evacuation List:
  1. Photos in all their forms-- framed, albums, scrapbooks, boxed loose photos
  2. Memory boxes
  3. The computer & external hard drive-- our home movies & pictures are on there
  4. A few key pieces of jewelry
  5. My white Bible-- because my mom gave it to me & it has a note from her in it
  6. My blankey-- because, to me, it is extremely valuable and irreplaceable
I was actually surprised at how short my list was. I kept mentally going over the house and thinking "there has to be something else..." and there wasn't. There are definitely items I'd be really sad to lose, but pretty much everything else is replaceable.

I think I'm going to keep this list in my head as I continue to purge items from the house. While I don't plan to live a Spartan existence, with only these 6 items to my name, I think I will use the "would I save this in a fire" scenario to help me along and to temper my purchasing.

So, what is on YOUR evacuation list?


  1. Oh, good idea. I have the urge to purge this weekend (along with a million other things.) I'll keep this question in mind.

  2. I find doing small purges to be just as satifsying, and less overwhelming, then doing a BIG purge, so maybe just try to squeeze a cupboard in with your million things! :) And then say "would I save this in a fire?" & "does it serve a purpose in my non-burned-down house?" as you purge!

  3. You know the weird thing... Last night I dreamed that our house caught on fire and we had to get out quick. Now you ready for me to freak your freak? I didn't hear about the San Bruno fires until this morning!
    In my dream as I was standing outside my home in my bare feet holding my baby with Guy by my side watching it burn I remember thinking, "Oh shit! I left this... and this... and how am I ever going to replace this?" I woke up with this sense that I needed to consolidate the important "Grab me quick" stuff that I would hate to lose. shiver - god forbid!

  4. That does freak my freak!!! I'm going to try to put all my "save me" stuff together in one place-- and keep it light! I remember Mom had that family living with her after their house had burned down, and the mom had made a save in a fire box, but it was too heavy & she couldn't carry it. That made me so sad.


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