MAY “Get It Done” Challenge: Make that binder

This month’s “Get It Done” challenge is something that we feel really strongly about. In our Emergency Preparedness Plan we discuss having a 72 hour kit that you can grab and go in an emergency with 3 days of food and water as well as supplies. One of the key parts of that kit is to have an “Emergency Binder” full of all of your family’s important documents that you would not want to lose should you not be able to return to your home.

The emergency binder part of the plan is often neglected for any of these reasons:

  • It’s a hassle to collect all the documents
  • You don’t know WHERE all your documents are
  • You worry about security
  • You don’t have a good binder, dividers, sheet protectors, etc. on hand
  • You think you will “do it later”
  • You haven’t had time


  • If you haven’t made your emergency binder yet for one of those reasons (or any other), this is the month for you to GET IT DONE!

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    YOUR MAY CHALLENGE

    You’re task this month should you “Accept” the challenge is to do one of the following:

    1. Create an emergency binder and compile all your documents
    2. Buy a Preparedness Planner Kit and compile all your documents
    3. Look through your current binder and make sure everything is current (updated insurance policies, birth certificate for your latest baby, current investment statements, etc.)

    Scroll down for helpful ideas on how to make your binder if you are working on starting an emergency binder from scratch.

    SHARE YOUR SUCCESSES

    We love to see when you guys actually finish the challenges, so here is a little “social” game we will play this month:

    1. Post a picture of your completed Emergency Binder on our facebook fan page.
    2. We will post your photos to our Instagram account throughout the month to highlight all the different ways people do their binders. (follow us @foodstoragemadeeasy on Instagram)

    TWO GREAT BINDER OPTIONS

    1. CREATE YOUR OWN BINDER
    In our May newsletter we gave a full tutorial on how to create your own binder including a list of what to buy, what to include, and free downloads for section dividers and a cover page. Check it out if you are a do-it-yourself type! We also saw these adorable pink zipper binders that would be perfect to use (ok it comes in black too). I love that it has a handle for easy grab and go, and it zips shut in case things fall out of your sheet protectors.

    2. PREPARE MY LIFE PLANNER KIT
    This is a robust complete system that will walk you step-by-step through creating your whole binder. Each item you are told to store has a sheet protector created to exactly fit that item (i.e. passports, insurance cards, etc.) The binder is heavy duty, the sheet protectors are top quality, and the worksheets contained inside really complete the package with full instructions.

    The Prepare My Life Planner is regularly $119.95 but is ON SALE for just $99.95 this month! If you want it made easy for you, this is a great product. If you want to save money and make it yourself, that’s great too. The most important thing is to just GET IT DONE!

    How to Create an Emergency Binder

    With Hurricane Sandy striking so much of the East Coast, we have recently had an influx of readers ask us about preparing for a Natural Disaster. We have talked a lot about this over the years on our blog. Earlier this week we shared 50 Last Minute Ways to Prepare for an Emergency. Last week we posted a Disaster Kit refresher for you to share with your family and friends that will be helpful whether you shelter-in-place or have to evacuate. Today we wanted to do a little refresher on Emergency Binders which are a critical component of Disaster Kits.


    What is an Emergency Binder?
    In our Getting Started, section we talk about how each family should have a plan, food, supplies, and have their Emergency Binder put together. Whether it’s a natural disaster or a death in the family, every household needs a plan in order to survive, cope, and recover. By creating an Emergency Binder, you and your loved ones will be better equipped to endure unexpected adversity and enjoy peace of mind. It’s a great feeling to be prepared!

    You can make your own Emergency Binder, or purchase a pre-made binder to keep all your important documents in place.

    You can purchase your own binder, dividers and sheet protectors and compile your own Emergency Binder. This makes it easier to pull things in and out when you need to access them. You’ll want to include your binder in your list of important things to GRAB should you need to evacuate.

    WHAT TO INCLUDE IN YOUR EMERGENCY BINDER?

    VITAL DOCUMENTS

    • birth certificates
    • passports
    • immunization records
    • CASH – keep a variety of small bills on hand
    • copy of your will, living trust, power of attorney etc
    • medical information including prescriptions
    • military and church papers
    • diplomas and transcripts
    • marriage certificates
    • adoption papers
    • current pictures for family members
    • pet records
    • proof of citizenship

    INSURANCE DOCUMENTS

    • homeowners insurance policy
    • auto insurance policy
    • life insurance policy
    • medical insurance policy
    • pictures and lists of all your personal belongings for insurance

    FINANCIAL DOCUMENTS

    • copies of your credit cards front and back
    • bank statements
    • retirement/social security statements
    • internet passwords (banking, personal, work etc)
    • utility statements
    • work/tax documents that would be difficult to replace
    • deeds to properties
    • titles to cars, boats etc
    • warranty information

    The Prepare My Life Planner is an organized emergency preparedness plan. Not only does is it designed to store and organize all your important documents it ALSO contains a step-by-step plan to help prepare your home and family for an emergency. All of the pages, pockets, pouches, and folders are included.

    “PREPARE MY LIFE” PLANNER FEATURES:

    • Complete with Emergency Preparedness sections: Prepare My Family, Prepare My Home, Gather Supplies, Prepare to Evacuate, Prepare to Stay
    • Also includes comprehensive sections on: Personal, Insurance, Financial, Assets, Final Planning
    • Forms for you to fill out ALL your information that you can access and complete online as well, save to your hard drive, and print copies for loved ones
    • Each section walks you through checklists of things you need to do, and things you need to place in your planner in the appropriate sheet protector. Each sheet protector is unique to the type of document you are storing
    • Comes with emergency cards you can pass around, a calculator and pen
    • FOR FULL REVIEW: Click here for more pictures and details


    COMMON QUESTIONS

    Do I store copies or originals?
    This is a personal choice but we recommend storing the originals IN your emergency binder and store photocopies of them in a filing cabinet, and also scan a digital copy and give it to a trusted friend or put it in a safe deposit box. If your house burnt down or was flooded it would be so relieving to know that you don’t have to go through the hassle of replacing those documents. If you already have a water/fireproof filing cabinet or safe you may choose to just put copies in your binder so that you can have the information on hand in an emergency but know that you can return home and find the originals intact at a later time.

    What should I store my binder in?
    Even though the idea is to grab the disaster kit and bring it with you, there is always the chance that you won’t be home during an emergency. In this scenario you would still want to return home and find your binder in good condition (especially if your original documents are IN the binder). We recommend storing your binder in a fireproof/ waterproof locked box that is small enough to be transported with you in an emergency.