Organizing Wisdom

Ready for the Next Storm?

“Ladies and gentlemen, there is another storm in the forecast.” At this point, the weather people are as welcome as the grim reaper! Here in the Northeast, we are battle-weary from these major winter storms. Right now, I’d rather be talking about tulips and jelly beans, but it’s still winter and the best way to not lose our minds is to be prepared for the next storm.

Physical preparedness is key and when we feel as though we have done the basics, we can focus on our mental preparedness. Mental preparedness is a state of knowing readiness. Given, there are issues you will not be able to factor in, but you can control much of the physical preparedness, such as the purchases of batteries and water. This way, your brain is able to deal with the emergencies, those things you cannot control, like when the electric crews will show up on your street. When we are prepared, there are fewer loose ends to be dealt with and, therefore, better ability to manage the stress of these emergencies as they come up. Let me share a couple of examples.

At one point last year, our family lost power for six hours, but when it began, we were confident that all would be restored in a timely fashion and later that day, it was. It was unpleasant but not all that disruptive. Later that year when our neighborhood lost power overnight, it became like a camping episode: uncomfortable but not unmanageable. Last week when we lost power for three days, it became like a siege and we had to hunker down, marshal our resources and parse out our energy accordingly. However, when we lost power for a week, it became like a hostage situation and it took all of our wherewithal to maintain an even keel and a functioning home.

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Are you ready for the next emergency?

Obviously the basic nature of an emergency is that you don’t know all the ramifications, but there are some basics to check off so that when the power goes out and the house goes cold, you have what you need to get through it.

• Loss of power: batteries, lanterns powered up, candles, matches, lighters;

• Basic fuel sources: Oil for the furnace, gas for the stove, wood for the fireplace, gas for the car;

• Devices powered up, especially cell phones, laptops and where to go when you need to recharge;

• Water for drinking and bathing, flushing;

• Canned food, can opener and dry goods that need no cooking;

• Ice for freezer, ice chests;

• Keep insurance policies handy, homeowners and auto;

• Evacuation plan, local and out of town, and a list of what to take.

Even those homes with generators will need much of what’s on this prep list and also be prepared for the loss of cable and internet. If you have school-aged kids, then you have another whole layer to the family emergency plan. How will you manage kids at home with no power or internet? For instance, daily trips to the store could change up the day and reduce the stress. Inversely, for those folks who are very senior or in fragile health, they would do well to evacuate to a relative’s home or a hotel. Friends told me of a 92-year-old who refused to leave home in Somers and died. Maybe it was his time, but then maybe it wasn’t. I wish he had erred on the side of caution because then maybe he would have lived to see the spring and the tulips. 

In closing, I want to thank everyone who helped out during these storms: our neighbors near and virtual, all the town services and officials. We were able to keep in touch with Facebook and emails, which made us really feel like a community and gave us the strength and resolve to keep up our spirits. Here’s wishing you a quiet weather week and speedy spring!

Happy organizing!

Andréa Deinstadt is a professional organizer serving families in Westchester and Fairfield counties. Contact: Andrea@OrganizingWisdom.com914.391.8816

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

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