September is National Preparedness Month, created by the Department of Homeland Security and supported by many organizations, including the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO).
There have been numerous fires and floods in the news, with people unable to verify their identity or quickly make an insurance claim. You could be faced with a similar emergency, where you would have to leave your home quickly. Do you have a grab-and go-box?
Basic paperwork for your grab-and go-box includes birth certificates, drivers’ licenses, marriage certificates, adoption and naturalization paperwork, car title, home deed, property tax information, insurance cards and health records. That might sound like a lot; however, you don’t need huge stacks of paper.
Whether you keep these documents in a safe or file cabinet, make copies of just the information you need:
- Copy only the page with account information on multi-page documents like insurance policies
- Put the contents of your wallet on the copier and have one sheet with everything on it
- Type dates of medical procedures in a simple word processing document and continue to add to it
Keep the paperwork in a three-ring binder, tote bag or box, near the door you use to exit your home. Or skip the paper altogether and scan your documents, putting them on a thumb drive that you keep on your key ring or near the door. Either way, make sure everyone in the family knows where it is.
Creating a set of documents that proves who you are and where you live is vital. Hopefully, you’ll never have to use it; but if you do, you’ll be glad you have it.