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“You Are NOT Taking That With You!”


I’ve completely borrowed this post title from a SurvivalistBoards thread with the same title as it got me thinking about the inevitable, last-minute, pull your hair out “discussion” that I’m sure my wife and I would have (and probably you and yours too) about exactly what we will and will NOT be taking with us in the event that we ever have to evacuate.

If you’re anything but new to prepping, you’re definitely come to the conclusion that you may well need to evacuate in a variety of circumstances and very shortly thereafter you’ll realize that there just isn’t enough room for everything you wanted to take, so you need to prioritize… and prioritize I did.

While I’ve tried to simply this process with a ready-referenced list (which you can utilize as well with the reThinkIt! Preparedness Tools if you like) it goes without saying that I’m sure a few items will find their way into the “necessary” gear that winds up in the cars as we pack. In fact, I’m worried that a lot of unnecessary stuff will end up there. For example, there are a few things that my wife generally refuses to part with, including her numerous photo albums and other hanging pictures. While I don’t see them as even remotely necessary my wife does. I’m sure she will see them as very necessary in all but the most dire “get out immediately” scenarios.

Granted, photo albums are on the “pack it if we have time and space” list but they’re way down there. To be honest, I’ve never tried a full dry run to pack all of the items we would want to take with us, which is a mistake, I know. I have tried to pack the high priority list items and, along with the children, wife, and pet, we’ll all fit. To get everything on our list we would need both cars and a UPS team to play tetris with our gear.

I should be fair, there are likely a few items (especially equipment bins) that I would want to take in place of a wide variety of items my wife may choose instead. In this instance, however, I do believe I would win the argument as prepping is my domain and, although she does typically hold veto power in my life, sometimes you just gotta’ put your foot down.

The question, obviously, is what can you do when a family member feels very strongly about including something deemed “unnecessary”?

Certainly, the first thing one should do to alleviate this problem is to make a list. Sit and think about precisely what you need/want to take with you. I like to break it down into lists of 15 minutes, 1 hour, and 24 hours to prepare and you can see the idea in the reThinkIt! Preparedness Tools referenced previously.

The other important thing you should do is to actually talk to your significant other (and maybe the whole family) about what’s important to them so that everyone is on board with the decisions made. I’m guilty as charged with not doing this one. I merely ran it by my wife and she generally says “whatever” and I go on my merry way. That’s not the right plan.

The last thing one can (and should) do is a dry run. As I’ve mentioned earlier, I haven’t tried to pack everything we would take and probably won’t. I really don’t want to haul all of our stuff to the cars and try to arrange them to fit properly only to drag them immediately back to where I got them. I know I should I just don’t want to! If you have the time and inclination then consider it. You and I may be surprised at exactly what DOES NOT fit.

So, back to the question/statement. Expect an argument from your family members about what they’re trying to take with them if you haven’t actually talked to them about it beforehand. Who knows, maybe they have some good ideas that you haven’t considered.

8 comments to “You Are NOT Taking That With You!”

  • Pam

    What to take really depends on why you are evacuating. We certainly ran various scenarios through our ‘plan calculator’ over the years. If you are escaping post-collapse, angry mobs you take basic survival gear and emergency rations. If you are essentially moving to your second home you include storable food, the equipment bins AND the photos. Perhaps a trailer or camper trailer are in order. I know several people with well stocked bug-out campers and extra tents to be used as sheds once they arrive.
    We were recently ordered to evacuate because of forest fire. We moved family heirlooms, photos, important documents, the business computer and records, a few of our prized biblical writings, a tent and sleeping bags and enough clothes, toiletries, etc. to get us through a few months if need be. Then we returned to defend our home. We were saving history for our children and grandchildren. The priority when facing natural disasters is the things money can’t replace, providing time allows. The priority when facing ‘man’ disasters is preserving lives.
    In a nutshell, some things deemed unnecessary for physical survival are necessary for spiritual grounding or psychological well-being.

    • I never really looked at bug out as depending on the type situation. It was always a “how much time do I have?” consideration for me. If we have the time and space then we can take more gear and maybe even the sentimental stuff, which is all pre-planned.

  • Jennifer

    I can’t get the pages bigger for preparation tools. I don’t know how to get them to my Excel Page. Don’t know the computer very well.
    I can do some excel, but don’t know how to get it from your spot to my excel.

  • Suni

    We (husband and I) will stay in place, no Bug out plan for us. So that wont be a problem. As to your wife’s wanting all the pictures maybe a compromise say 10 of her favorites and leave the rest in a secure location for later retrieval. If all the pictures are in albums maybe 1 of all her favorites. I think pictures are important to most women but if you think about it they are also a picture history of your family. Albums really don’t take a lot of room and as someone has already stated “if Momma isn’t happy then nobody’s happy”

  • T.R.

    Hard thing ………no easy answers , just be prepared for things to be brought up again over and over after its all over . If she is happy , you are happy , if she isn’t …….either are you . just sayin

  • Eddie B

    Regarding your wife and all of the photos she would like to take, could it be a nice compromise to convert all of the photo albums and hanging pictures into digital form, and put them all on a thumb drive? That way none of them would end up lost, and you could print them back out when able. Maybe you could even upload all of them on a digital frame and set it up as a slide show. That is a huge space saver for packing. Although, it only works if there is power when you need to leave. Just a thought.

    • I should have pointed out that we do keep a lot of our personal info, including pictures, on an external hard drive for this very reason. There are, however, plenty of pictures that were printed before they were digital and in photo albums. Regardless, I’m sure my wife would still want to take the albums. :)