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How to Organize Emergency Supplies

by Denise Lee, Professional Organizer

We’ve had a lot of rain lately. Luckily it hasn’t been cold or else we would have been digging out from heaps of snow – or tons of ice. Still it made be think about being prepared for a nasty winter storm or a nasty bout of the flu when I won’t be able to leave the house.

Ideally, everyone should have a disaster preparedness plan and supplies. But if disaster preparedness is still on your to-do list, a good first step is to get some pantry items and first aid supplies together. If you do not have an emergency pantry, it’s easy to make one by putting up a bookshelf in the basement or unused closet. Giving things a dedicated home is an important step in organizing.

Canned food is the backbone of an emergency pantry because it’s easy to store and does not rely on a power source to maintain freshness. Although it’s not tantalizing, canned food does not need heating for safe consumption. Please make sure you have a hand-operated can opener in your pantry so you can eat during a power-failure. Dry foods such as cereal, crackers and pasta are also great pantry items.

The Red Cross recommends having at least three days of food and water on hand for emergencies. Stock up on food that your family enjoys and will not upset a sick tummy. To keep the pantry fresh, periodically incorporate its contents into your normal meal plan. Take from the front, and put the replacement items in back. You will also want extra paper towels, tissues and toilet paper in your pantry. Add any special items for your baby and pets. Keep a few bottles of electrolyte solution like Gatorade and Pedialyte to prevent dehydration in sick family members.

Expand your first aid kit with some items that will help you survive the flu.

  • Vinyl gloves and facemasks can help prevent one person’s illness from becoming a shared family event
  • A digital thermometer-before someone is sick make sure it’s working properly by testing it. Replace your thermometer if it does not register a normal 98.6° F/ 37.0° C when tested.
  • Probe covers to keep your thermometer germ-free
  • Fever reducing medicine such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen
  • Cough drops
  • Anti-diarrheal medicine
  • Extra prescription medicine so you have enough for several days

Being prepared for bad weather or illness won’t prevent them from happening, but you will be able to face them with coolness. You can find out more about preparedness from the Red Cross. Look for updates on the flu at Flu.gov.

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Clear Spaces owner Denise Lee merges seven years of social service experience and seventeen years experience in Information Technology to bring you effective and personal organizing solutions for the home, the small business and the student. The Clear Spaces approach is holistic -- empowering you to live the life you want to live.

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