Saturday, September 27, 2008

Coat Closet Becomes Emergency Evacuation Closet

We live close to the mountains where fires and mudslides can occur. After the recent fire in Draper, Utah, I made some emergency changes in our home. If a disaster strikes, I may not be home and I want my kids to have easy access to food and water, and emergency supplies. I moved coats out of the coat closet, and emergency supplies in. Before, I had these items in our Utah basement. But what if an earthquake or flood occurs? Did I really want kids (or me) running downstairs, and then trying to get out? After talking to several people who have actually lived through evacuations, easy access to emergency supplies makes more sense. Believe me. You don't want to run through your house looking for everything. The time to prepare for the disaster is before it strikes.
AN EMERGENCY PLAN (practice every 6 months, General Conference) - Every family needs to create an emergency plan with the thought that Mom or Dad may not be home when disaster strikes. Such as: In a smaller emergency, the kids will go to a neighbor's house for help. If my teen son has to drive to evacuate, they will go to their aunt's house in a neighboring town. If they have to go on foot, they will probably follow neighbors to the local school or church. Each teen needs phone numbers to a relative living in state, and one out of state. If cell phone lines are jammed, at least they have a contact number they can call, and you can also call. Eventually you will get connected. Post this plan on the wall, since people forget.
PORTABLE RADIO - It's important to have an AM radio with spare batteries to listen to local radio reports when disaster threatens. Your power may be out. I wrote the local emergency radio station channel on the radio with permanent marker. Then, I put it in a baggie with the batteries, and hung it on the edge of the closet shelf.
FIRE EXTINGUISHER - You can mount on a wall or stand on a shelf in the same area.
BEDDING - Consider storing your blankets or sleeping bags near emergency packs. I placed some of our blankets on the top shelf.
PORTABLE SAFE - The other day, a friend told me that a relative had to leave her home after an earthquake in China. She ran outside, and couldn't go back in. She had no ID! So, a small safe or a portable file box such as the one from which can hold important documents and CD's with family photo's is a good idea to grab and go.
Include: emergency cash ($10's, $5's, $1's), home mortgage, insurance policies, home inventory, marriage certificate, birth certificates, immunization records, family medical history, driver’s license copy, passports, social security #'s of kids, automobile ownership, wills & other legal documents, bank account #'s, credit card companies & account #'s, etc.
EMERGENCY BACKPACKS - Each family member should have an emergency backpack. Lest expensive time to buy a backpack is the end of September during the school clearances. Items in the emergency packs should be updated yearly, as clothing sizes and needs change, and food can be rotated. I looked in my 3 year-old's backpack the other day, and found diapers, a baby blanket, etc. Items she doesn't even use anymore! Time to update. An easy way to remember when to update is every October General Conference or perhaps around somone's birthday.
Items should be stored in Ziploc baggies to protect them from moisture.
  • emergency rain poncho, thermal reflective blanket
  • jr. legal pad of paper, 5 x 8 and pen, small games for kids
  • medical & dust mask, comb, toothpaste, travel toothbrush, 4 antibacterial hand wipes, pocket tissues, lip balm
  • travel sized: liquid body soap, shampoo/conditioner, deodorant, lotion
  • toilet paper roll in Ziploc
  • Clothing includes shoes, socks, undergarments, sweat pants, long-sleeved-shirt, and sweat jacket. If an emergency happens in the summer, you can cut pants into shorts and cut off the long-sleeves. Buy at WalMart, K-Mart, or a used clothing store in a larger size than kids actually wear. Since this is a coat closet, we store our running shoes here all the time.
  • Food Packs - (store what your family will eat)
    6 - 16.9 oz. bottles of water, 12 oz. enamel camp cup, 3 plastic spoons, 3 antibacterial hand wipes, 3 instant oatmeal packets, 3 packets hot cocoa, 2 Lowry's beef jerky, 2 granola bar, 2 Trail Mix bars, 2 Handi Snacks crackers 'n cheez, 2 fruit snacks, 1 package gum, 10 pieces of hard candy, 3 Del Monte fruit cups 4 oz., 3 Chef Boyarde Ravioli or Lasagna 7.5 oz. mini
FAMILY EMERGENCY BUCKET - A 5 gal bucket w/lid (can be used as seat, or toilet), First Aid Kit, Flashlight with 4 D batteries in a Ziploc, Portable Radio with 6 AA batteries in a Ziploc, 40 Coleman Waterproof matches, 50 Potable Aqua Water purification tablets, Can opener, Winchester 12-Function Army Knife, Rope, coil of 50 ft., Duct tape, Work gloves, 3 - large trash bags & 3 - 13 gal. plastic garbage bags (line the bucket for a toilet), wick chafing fuel, Map of city and vicinity, Disaster tips handouts, American Red Cross brochures
EMERGENCY PET BACKPACK (update every 6 months) - Each pet needs an emergency pack: Water, pet food, leash, collars with identification tags, medications, vaccine information, plastic bags for poop, name and number of veterinarian, toys
IDEAS FOR INFANT EMERGENCY PACK (update every 3 months) - water, food, juices, formula, bottles, pacifier, diapers, wipes, baby soap and baby powder, change of clothing including gloves, jacket, shoes, blankets, towel, medications, toys

You can find ideas for an Emergency kit at
Or our local Emergency Preparedness at

Monday, September 22, 2008

Kid to Kid: New and Used clothing and toys

KID TO KID - Over the years I've tried to keep my heart open to shopping at used clothing stores, even when my income didn't require it. Sometimes I feel this will help me prepare for decreases in income, or financial calamities. I don't like that musty clothing smell, but pride should never get in the way of a good deal. Since moving to Utah, I've found a great store that I enjoy shopping at: Kid to Kid. Their philosophy is that kids outgrow their clothes faster then they wear through them. I haven't really sold any of my own items there since I usually give to the Deseret Industries, however, I do enjoy buying used items in great condition. The other day I was planning to go to Kohl's for a particular pair of jeans, but found it at Kid to Kid for one quarter of the retail price! And since I run a preschool, I was excited to find used toys, some a few years old, but in great shape. Here are some of my bargain finds:
  • Large bag of 3"plastic balls for $3.99 retails $12.99
  • Little People farm with animals $8.99 retails $33.00
  • Step2 Blocks table $5.99 retails $28.00
  • Barbie Magical Folding House $8.99 retails $15.99
  • 2 Nightgowns $9.99 retails $48.00
  • The Children's Place corduroy skirt $3.99 retails $14.50
  • 2 long sleeved tops $6.99 retail $20.00
  • 1 pair of jeans $5.99 retails $22.00
My Total Cost: $54.92
Retail Total: $194.48
Savings: $139.56

Used Clothing Tips:
  • Clothing should be free of holes, tears under sleeves, fuzzy balls, or washed a million times look.
  • Try on clothes. Kid to Kid has a 7 day return policy which is great if I don't have one of my kids with me.
  • Buy named brands that you know wear well.
  • Don't expect to find the same item the next day, as turnover is high.
Used Toy tips
  • Buy toys that can be easily cleaned.
  • Check to see if product has been recalled online.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Bulk Buying: Utah Case Lot Sales in September

Since I have only lived in Utah for a year, case lot sales are new to me. So I was excited to purchase some items this way, since I am working on stocking up my 3 month food storage supply. I have a list of prices at Sam's Club, so I already know how much each canned item usually costs there.

SMITH'S - September 3rd - I shopped at Smith's September 3rd, and purchased a case of peanut butter, a case of Spaghettios, and a case of cream of chicken soup (which wasn't reduced fat, so I was a bit disappointed.) The signs didn't always show how much each item cost, and that's important to me. They had many items on sale, but you had to search in several parts of the store for the ones advertised in the newspaper ad. I was careful to control myself, since I knew I could beat some of the prices at Sam's Club, and wanted to wait for Dan's sale.

DAN'S (also Macey’s & Dicks) – September 17th - This was a great place to shop! Besides case goods, they carried some of the #10 sized food storage items that you can usually get at emergency supply stores. Also 55-gallon water barrels (though they are cheaper at WalMart), and other food storage supplies. Each item had a clearly printed sign so I knew exactly how much EACH can cost in a case, as well as the case price. Most of the case goods were in the front of the store. It was a little warm by the front windows; however they are constantly restocking the shelves as items disappear. I purchased cases of Western Family black beans, kidney beans, tomato soup, 98% fat-free cream of mushroom soup, and cut corn. Way to go Dan's!

SAM’S CLUB – Since Sam’s sells by the case all the time, I buy there regularly. It helps me continue to restock my 3 month food storage supply. However, my conclusion is that you can get some canned goods cheaper at Smith’s and Dan’s case lot sales, and do fine at Sam's for items such as canned chicken, tuna, water, grape jelly, and 15 oz. tomato sauce.