Why Not . . . Be Extra Prepared?

Jul 16, 2014


When life runs smoothly, it is a very sweet ride. But when hiccups occur – a flat tire while traveling, coming down with the flu in the middle of a demanding week, or losing your passport while traveling abroad, it immediately seems that we’re up a creek without a way to retreat. And at that moment, a feeling of panic may set in if we don’t have a back-up plan which doesn’t help in making the best decisions to navigate through the detour.

Of this fact I am certain, life will throw us curveballs, and depending upon our preparation, we can either swing and miss or knock it out of the park and turn what could have been a dire situation into an adventure or minor road bump.

Today I’d like to share with you a 16 ways and lists of items to have stocked and ready to go for a wide variety of life uncertainties. Here you go:

1. A well stocked medicine cabinet

Nobody wants to get sick, get cut or have to deal with a headache, but it does happen from time to time. And speaking as someone who knows, when you don’t have that basic Tylenol to bring down your fever at the ready, a regular everyday flu can be prolonged miserably unnecessarily.

2. Copy of your passport

Whenever traveling with your passport abroad, pack a copy just in case it should be lost or stolen as a means to identify who you are to the embassy or proper authorities so that you can indeed return home.

3. Extra contacts and/or glasses

If you are someone like me who requires contacts or glasses in order to see, when you travel, be sure to pack an extra pair. Also, at work, perhaps keep an extra pair in your desk for that inevitable day when the contact you are wearing goes haywire.

4. Fire extinguisher

If you own or rent a house (or even an apartment for that matter) that has a wood burning fireplace (and even if it doesn’t, just in case), having a fire extinguisher on hand can keep a small problem from turning into a significant problem.

5. Toolbox

One of the best ideas I was given when I purchased my first home was to have a small toolbox and keep the basic supplies stocked – hammer, Phillips screwdriver, flathead screwdriver, pliers, wrench, tape measure, etc. Your supply list will most likely grow based on the needs of your home, but knowing you can fix a leaky faucet or upgrade light fixtures without calling for assistance saves money.

6. Well-packed carry-on tote

Even if you check your luggage, having the necessary items with you should you have a long lay-over or in a worst case scenario, your luggage is lost, is a way to give peace of mind and comfort in unfamiliar surroundings. Items to include:

  • comfort essentials – scarf, ear plugs, eye mask, socks, slippers, pjs (Why not? If it’s a long flight)
  • one change of clothes
  • necessary toiletries – make-up, moisturizer, painkillers, meds, chapstick, etc
  • entertainment material – books, iPad, earphones, charger, notebook, pen, etc
  • travel essentials – wallet, passport, tickets, cash, credit cards, iPhone
  • food/drink – water bottle, tea bags, snacks – almonds, protein bar, granola, etc

7. Stain removal kit

No matter how careful we are, wine gets spilled on our favorite blouse, the dogs walk through the house with muddy foot prints, you name it, it eventually happens. But if you are armed with the indispensable stain removal kit and a book to guide you, your favorite clothes and interiors will be restored without spending a penny. Two guides for removing stains: (1) print this chart off from Martha Stewart and keep it handy, (2) Purchase Heloise from A to Z Updated to guide you through any housekeeping question especially stains in clothing. Invaluable!

8. Tide To Go Instant Stain Remover

I have never been more grateful and made more friends quickly than I have with the Tide-to-Go stain-removal pen. There are a few other brands that offer the same device, but either way, have one in your handbag at all times. Why? These pens need to be used immediately when the stain occurs (when it’s still wet). Don’t worry, it doesn’t bleach out anything, it truly removes the stain and dries in minutes. My students, my friends, and my family, have used my Tide-to-Go pen, and outfits and good days that almost weren’t to be have occurred.

9. Car emergency kit

Depending upon where you live and if you drive, you will want to stock your car with the necessary items. Traveling during the winter? Pack snow boots, chains, and a blanket. Traveling extensively? Pack road flares, Seatbelt Cutter and Window Breaker Emergency Escape Tool (for Christmas one year, my mom purchased one of these for each member of our family – safety first!), flash light, first-aid kit.

10. Candles

If ever the power goes out, having an alternative light source can turn an unwanted evening into a wonderful experience.

11. Umbrella and/hat

Again, depending upon where you live, keep an umbrella or hat handy for those unexpected rain showers.

12. Sunscreen

During the summer months, pack some sunscreen (the higher spf the better). Whether for you or others, coming home with a sunburn is nobody’s idea of a good time.

13. Dog-owners – doggie bags

One thing I have learned having and traveling with dogs is to always have doggie bags on hand for unexpected deposits.

14. Walking safety

Speaking of dogs, now whenever I’m walking with them, I keep pepper spray at-the-ready. Also, keep a key to your home on your person.

15. Extra keys

Whether you choose to give a copy of your key to your home to someone you trust or hide it somewhere safe, make sure you have a back-up plan just in case you lock yourself out. Also, if you have a car, keep a spare key in your purse or in your house. I prefer to have one in my handbag because if ever I get locked out of my car, I’m usually not at home, and my handbag is always with me.

16.  Download helpful apps

Depending upon what your life’s routine is or where your journeys take you, download appropriate apps to keep you safe and informed. For example, whenever I travel to Paris or New York City, I make sure to find the appropriate subway/metro apps for ease of navigation. Also, while in a foreign country which speaks another language, upload a translator, and why not have a compass handy? Our phones can be a very powerful emergency kit if we prepare it ahead of time.

As you can see, nobody wants any of these mishaps to occur, but from time to time, they do. So long as we’re prepared ahead of time, we can reduce our stress and continue to go about our business without wasting unnecessary money and still enjoy the journey we wished to initially travel.

~Please Share! What extra preparedness have you discovered that has helped during an expected and unwanted moment? Share below in the comments.

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10 thoughts on “Why Not . . . Be Extra Prepared?

  1. Great list! My contribution (and in particular for those of us that work in high rise office towers) – keep a spare pair of ballet flats at your desk at all times! No one wants to have to walk down 40 storeys of stairs in high heels when there is an unexpected fire drill exercise… It also gives you a back up pair of shoes in case the ones you are wearing during the day break unexpectedly (speaking from experience) or get wet in the rain etc.

  2. This post really hit home, as I live in the very earthquake-prone country of New Zealand! After the last big earthquake, a lot of us sleep with a fully-packed backpack survival kit under the bed, just in case we have to leave at a moment’s notice. You never know quite when you might be allowed home again!

  3. An extremely helpful list! I would also recommend a small sewing kit or at least a couple safety pins for minor wardrobe emergencies such as a lost button.

  4. Water and food storage…and Don’t forget your pet’s food as well. We had a horrible winter last year and the power sometimes goes out during a bad storm, or the pipes can freeze, so I always have plenty of shelf stable foods and canned foods on hand. I also keep bottled water and at least two weeks of my cat’s food and medication.

  5. In addition to keeping a copy of your passport, travel documents and insurance at home, I scan them and email them to myself so I always have access to them when I’m away.

  6. I agree completely with this post; always be prepared. I have everything on your list (except things like snow shoes which are not needed in India). Like Charlotte, I also have a scanned copy of ALL my important documents on my email account. One more thing that I have done is a printout of all important numbers like doctor/lawyer/neighbour(s)/hospital/taxi etc and placed one on the fridge, one in my diary, one given to my husband and two sent to my mum and friend respectively. In today’s age of sudden mishaps, i’d like to be prepared for most eventualities. And what im not prepared for, I know God has my back: )

  7. Expanding on the Fire Extinguisher idea–I have one in the kitchen (most likely place for a fire), one (next to the door) in the garage (second most likely place for a fire), and a third in the bedroom (so I can get out of the house!). Next, I have planned alternate routes on how to get out of the house no matter which room I am in during a fire emergency. It’s good to go over this plan at least yearly with everyone who resides in the house too. Also, I have double key lock deadbolts (no, I didn’t install these), so I’ve got a spare set of keys hidden next to each door to enable emergency egress.

    Thanks for this great and very useful list!

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