Everyday preparedness

  • You hear a crash and a scream. Your daughter's hand is badly cut, and she needs to go to the emergency room. Where are your first aid supplies? Do you have any clean towels or washcloths? Where are your purse and keys? 
  • A friend has had an emergency and needs a place to stay with her children—tonight. Do you have enough clean blankets and sheets? How many months' build-up has been stacked on the guest room bed?
  • Your husband calls. He's been in a bike accident and needs you to come pick him up and take him to the emergency room. Where are your purse and keys? Where are your two-year-old's shoes? What are you going to do with your two-year-old? Do you have a list of people you can call to help out?
  • You've all overslept, and you need to get out the door in record time. Does everyone have clean clothes? What will you have for breakfast? Where are everyone's backpacks, coats, homework, etc.?
  • You realize that you forgot a key ingredient for tonight's dinner. Do you have to run to the store during rush hour? Do you just order pizza? Or do you have a back-up meal you can make from pantry supplies?
  • Your kids start throwing up during the night. Do you have clean bedding? Is your washing machine empty and ready to go, or will you have to take care of yesterday's wet laundry first? Is your child's room so messy that you will now have to clean its entire contents as well as the bedding and carpet? Do you have basic medications and remedies on hand, or will you have to make a midnight pharmacy run?

All of these scenarios have happened to me. I handled some of them better than others, and here is what I have noticed: when I am mostly caught up on basic housework, crises are easier to handle, whether they are big or small.

Dealing with vomit is miserable enough without having to shift laundry out of the washer and dryer before you can use them. If there's an emergency and you need to be somewhere in a hurry, the last thing you want to waste time on is finding everyone's shoes. A bad morning is made ten times worse by a filthy kitchen and last night's dinner dishes still on the table.

Here are the top five things that I have found to be the most helpful in everyday emergencies:

  • Having a landing spot for essential items like keys, purses, backpacks, and shoes—and using it consistently.
  • Being caught up on laundry and dishes.
  • Having food in the pantry, and plans in place for quick meals using pantry items.
  • Having the house mostly picked up most of the time, especially living areas and bedrooms.
  • Having a list of friends and neighbors that you can call on in an emergency.

What everyday emergencies have you had to deal with lately? What helped you through them, or what do you wish had been different when they happened?


  1. I so totally agree with you... If our everyday chores are caught up, when those emergencies pop up, it really helps.

    I try to do these things on a regular basis:
    1- Before going to bed each night-- take a quick look through the main living areas , and pick up any item that doesn't belong, and put it, in it's place.. This only take a minute or two.

    2- I try to always get the laundry out of the washer and dryer and put away, so its free for the next use.[This does not always happen, but I try!!!]

    3- Supper dishes... I try to always clean the dishes/kitchen before going to bed.. No matter , how tired I am.. My mama always
    told us girls--- Never go to bed with a dirty kitchen... you don't know what will happen in the middle of the night, and who will have to enter your house [such as ambulance,etc]

    4- Mornings.. I make my bed before ever leaving the bedroom.. It makes for a better day, and you never know, when that emergency will happen and take you away from the house? And who will have to come to your house while your out?

    5- Clothes-- I am awful at keeping the ironing done..[I hate this chore]. But, I try to always make sure that Kenny and I both have nice clothes [such as clothes to wear to the hospital or doctors,etc] ironed and ready to go.. Also, everyday clothes available , if one or the other ,was to be in the hospital, [usually this is me], we could make it for awhile with out laundry .

    6- Keys and purse............ Oh, I need to work on this problem. I am so bad, to put my keys 'everywhere" , and I can never find them.. Kenny always tells me, I need a call button on my keys.. And I am about as bad with my purse.. I need help!!!!

    7- Guest bedrooms.. I really need to work on keeping them ready, for emergency visits.. I am really bad to over look them.. And they tend to get a lot of clutter.

    ps.. I want you to know, I am by no means "clean as a pin", "spotless Housekeeper".. But, I have discovered that house keeping chores are so much easier to keep up, if you stay on that schedule [what ever works for you}. You know, you have to wash dishes, you have to make the beds, you have to do laundry, you have to pick up, so why not make a habit of doing it BEFORE it gets out of control? [Well, that is what I tell myself, anyways, ha]

    Thanks for a great post..

  2. Scott and I always keep a few thing on hand in the car too, especially during the summer when we are always outdoors or travelling to family. We keep the basics, like a tire jack and spare tire, but also jumper cables, first aid kit, flashlights, a blanket (especially in the winter), and other car things that I don't know the name of, but Scott could tell you :). During the summer we always keep sunscreen and mosquito repellent.

    One thing we've been thinking we need to change is the habit of not carrying cash. We always just use debit cards, but technology can be fickle, and we've been thinking it would be a good idea to have small bills and such in the car, or on our person for those sorts of circumstances (in addition to what is part of our "food" storage).

    1. I like your ideas! I could do better at keeping useful things in the car. :)

  3. I have two queen size blow up beds and one twin size blow up bed for friends needing emergency sleepover, or perhaps for tagalong friends during a hurricane evacuation. As for keys, I have hammered a hook by the front door where they always go. If I ever run out of laundry soap (rare, with my couponing), I call the old woman in the complex that does it for people. She uses her own soap. I've called her when extremely busy, too. Could you imagine if all this stuff happened at once? PS, a sewing question. I'm making Annalise the summer dress she wanted out of that plaid colorful fabric from the cheap fabric bags. How do you transfer pattern markings? I did mine with a black permanent marker, which is fine for my own daughter but wouldn't be for the industry. The fabric pens and pencils NEVER work for me. Thanks.

    1. I use a fabric marker. I've heard good things about tailor's chalk, but I have a hard time getting it to work for me. I've also tried colored pencils, but there's no guarantee they'll come out when you're done. Sorry, I don't have any really great ideas here!

      Oh, but I did just remember that I think my mom used to transfer some markings with thread in a different color, then she'd pull it out when she was done. That would work for sure although it takes a little longer.

  4. Having a landing spot for essential items like keys, purses, backpacks, and shoes—and using it consistently. - We're good at keeping shoes in one place, but I am terrible about my purse and keys. *B* has a box that he keeps all of his things in.

    Being caught up on laundry and dishes. - This is a lot harder now that we're not using a dryer. We're about half caught up at any given time.

    Having food in the pantry, and plans in place for quick meals using pantry items. - This is one of the few things that I've got covered 6 times over! I cook in huge batches and freeze. We always have food at the ready.

    Having the house mostly picked up most of the time, especially living areas and bedrooms. - Not as well as I should, especially with respect to laundry.

    Having a list of friends and neighbors that you can call on in an emergency. - We don't actually know any of our neighbors. The closest friend/relative is 14 miles away. We should probably do something about that...

  5. When we lived in a small apartment and all the kids' toys were located in their room there were days when it was a sty in there at bedtime. But I always made sure to at least clear a path to their beds from the door so they could safely get to the bathroom or we could get to them in an emergency.
    It's so true that having dishes and laundry caught up keeps us on top of things in an emergency. I struggle with having anyone to watch my kids if need be. No family around and it seems like there are so few moms at home during the day anymore! That is definitely a good one to take care of.
    I'd also do better if I had a plan for quick and easy meals with food I always have on hand. I guess I did just buy a bunch of Stouffer's lasagnes to keep in the freezer for those times when I'm out of options!

    1. We still have to clear paths a lot! I'm not sure we will ever get my son's room under control long-term, ugh.