Evacuating your Home 101 – Box 8 -The Personal Wardrobe

Box # 8 – The Personal Wardrobe

Container suggestions:  Duffel bag, Suitcase, Footlocker


Clothing choices for evacuating your home

(If you jumped into this series on this post, you’ll want to head back to the beginning so it makes sense.  The first post in the series is here, then follow the links for the rest of the series.)

If you are like most people, there is only room in a 72-hour kit for one change of clothes.  I like to keep my kit just as light as possible, because if I have to go very far on foot, it’s not going to be fun to carry a ton of stuff, and the weight that goes with that stuff.  Now that one change of clothes is just not going to cut it if that’s all you have to start over.

One large suitcase per person will allow you to pick the best of your wardrobe.  Now by ‘best’ I don’t mean the fanciest or most formal, I mean a good variety of types of clothing.   These clothes will cover and protect your body when you feel the most vulnerable.

One suitcase, or even one large trunk, will not hold a closet full of clothes, but with planning you can meet your needs and get by, having something appropriate to wear to a job interview, to work, to church or for wherever you need to go.

Make sure you include good, sturdy shoes, your toiletries, a washcloth and towel, underclothing, street clothes and a minimum of cold weather clothing, even if it is summer right now.  Hopefully you have a hat or two in your 72-hour kit.

Rather than packing this box now, this is one where you want to keep the container handy but have the contents wherever they usually live. That might be in the bedroom, bathroom, closet, drawers, etc.  You’ll need a system in place for moving quickly from dresser to closet to bathroom counter, tossing items in (hangers and all), close it up and go.

An evacuation is not the time to be deciding what goes and what stays.  Remember your brain will turn to mush and your decisions won’t be rational.  Forget about wrinkles, the only reason to fold something is because it takes up less space.  In fact rolling takes up even less than folding, so if your vehicle is on the smaller side, plan on rolling your clothing.

To make your get-away a trouble and decision free as possible, make some decisions now.  What will go and what will stay?  Then segregate ‘Stay vs Go’ by location.  For example, Items in the top two drawers, items on the closet rod from the wall  to the red ribbon and the basket in the top drawer in the bathroom all go, the rest stay.

If you want it neat, then get it ready now.  Once the evacuation order is given you grab it, stuff it, and run.  The closer you live to a state of being ready to go, the easier it will be.  You’ll not panic as quickly (although you will have adrenalin pumping for sure) and your TIBM (trauma induced brain mush) will be much less.  After all, with this system you are just counting boxes and following your plan instead of making hundreds of individual choices under stress.

What we don’t want to be doing is scrounging a container, spending precious time weeding out what won’t fit, and then wrenching your back muscles loading your choices into the car.  Solve those problems now by separating out the best wardrobe and letting it live in or near your container.

For me this is probably the most daunting of the boxes to prepare.  It’s not just me I have to worry about,  I have 6 kidlets in varying stages of maturity.  For the littles (7 & 8 year olds) I keep the hand me downs in their next size handy in their closet,  I’ll be taking a few of those too.   If you don’t have the blessing of hand-me-downs take a jaunt to the thrift store and buy a variety in your child’s next size, remember to get things for church, play and work.  Hopefully you’ll never have to grab these items and run but you’ll have them if you do, and if not then you just rotate them though when they are grown into.

I know that you all have that favorite item of clothing that you are attached to, just for fun, share what it is in the comments.  Mine is that awesome pair of jeans that got holes in the knees and have been patched several times.  It’s not that they are much to look at but they FIT me perfectly and they’ll either be on me or the first thing in the bag.


Next up – Box # 10, The Kitchen Box


  1. Cindy says:

    Hmmm, I think I’ve seen those jeans on you? 🙂 I would definitely need to have (in winter) one of my fuzzy, fleece sweaters. Just to keep out the cold, ya know. Not to comfort me. No, never that … just to stay warm. 🙂

  2. Mindy says:

    At the very least, perhaps a list, or better yet, a photo list accessible inside your closet could be helpful. Grab the list, and grab the clothing items on the list and toss them in your bag. It would be one way of deciding ahead of time what you will take, and help you in the stress of the moment to make sure you got it all.

    • Andrea says:

      I love the photo list idea. Being a visual person, that makes a ton of sense and would work well for me. I can also see this working for kids if they’ll be helping with the packing 🙂 Thanks for the idea.

  3. April says:

    For kids I read a great tip a while ago to buy a pair of sweat pants in a couple of sizes too big and keep that in their 72 hour bag or clothing bag already packed – because the elastic waist and draw string allows it to fit a variety of sizes and can be rolled up or cut off for length. Plus if you have multiple kids passed down from kit to kit.

  4. Angela Wusk says:

    Thanks so much for sharing! My husband and I also have 6 kiddos and the mere thought of planning and preparing my family for an emergency is daunting to say the least. Your blog is so helpful!


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