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  • Michelle Jensen

Put together your "Grab and Go" stuff now!

Updated: May 8, 2021

Although I've lived in Southern California almost 50 years near wildfire prone areas, it was not until now - today - I packed and organized storage for "grab and go" bags and bins in my home so my husband and I are prepared to evacuate ASAP in the event of wildfire threat. What prompted my action to pack grab and go stuff today? Early morning we woke to orange-tinted light streaming into our bedroom and walked outside to see a red sun and sprinkling ashes as we looked north up the giant San Gabriel Mountains and could make out flames at the ridge line.

This lit a fire under our @$$es to make the "grab and go" storage happen today - Labor Day. I got the idea from a Professional Organizer colleague who described her utter discombobulation when told to evacuate family and animals from her home. Fortunately, her family and home were untouched by the wildfire. Afterwards, however, she transformed her entryway closet to hold grab and go bags should she and family need to evacuate.

As my husband and I marched back to the house, we called out everything we'd pull together to be ready if we're told to leave. That's when I decided it was high time to change the shoe closet into a grab and go closet. My husband dutifully hustled to Home Depot to buy closet shelving which he installed same day. ❤

Everything stored as grab and go in the entryway closet existed in various places throughout the house - we've made it so what we need to take during evacuation is now in one location. Some items like flashlights, sleeping bags, large water bottles, were pulled from the disaster recovery bins in the garage (disaster recovery is not the same as grab and go). Travel accessories (toothbrushes, paste, shampoo) are stored in the grab and go closet too. My husband and I each packed a bag of clothing to store in the closet.

And, our kitty's medication, pill pockets are now located in the closet for me to administer his meds from this closet instead of elsewhere in the house. The cat carrier, kitty boxes and litter, extra cat and dog food are all now stored in this closet as well. I think we have more pet supplies here compared to our own stuff!

Overall, everything we need to live temporarily during an evacuation is now centrally located and ready to be loaded to the car within minutes before evacuating. Also posted a list on the inside of the closet door of items to grab that aren't stored here:

- laptops, phones, chargers

- purse, wallet, keys

- prescriptions, supplements

- important documents from the fire safe

- dog crate + pillow

- cat crate (large enough for cat litter box and the cat to reside in)

Don't have an entryway closet? No problem - pick a central location in a closet, trunk, and/or armoire in your home to store your grab and go bags and bins. Simply shift item locations so grab and go items are together and easy to move to the car. Remember - the goal is to relocate grab and go items from various locations throughout your home to a central location.

Need ideas? Take advantage of a free, one-time 30-minute consultation call with me - go to for detail.

Stay safe my friends and please don’t wait 50 years to assemble your “grab and go” stuff!

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