Evacuating your home 101, Box 5 – The Portable Office Kit

Box 5 – The Portable Office Kit

Container suggestions: Large brief Case, portable file box, plastic accordion file (waterproof is a good thing here)  FYI Ikea has some great large plastic zip close bags to put your accordion file in.


Metal Lockable file box for important personal finacial info and records

Lockablility is a feature you want for an office box

(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 can be found here, then follow the links for the rest of the series.)

The stuff in this box will help you to continue to pay the bills, manage credit cards, correspond with creditors, clients, insurers, and other institutions, even file your income taxes,  even after being displaced from your home.  Those things don’t magically disappear during an evacuation event. Darn it.

This is  part of your usual home office where you normally take care of these tasks, but it’s housed in a briefcase, 2-drawer file cabinet, or other location where it is easily removed for travel, so it’s ready to load up at all times.  This container should be protected from rain and from thieves.

Items you should include in the Portable Office Kit:

  • A box of new checks
  • Account info for-banks, credit cards, utilities ( acct. numbers, phone numbers, etc)
  • Last years tax return
  • this years Paycheck stubs
  • deductible receipts
  • stamps and envelopes
  • medical records
  • employment records
  • wills
  • deeds
  • car titles
  • Insurance policies, (at least the declaration page  and agent contact info)
  • Home Inventory for insurance purposes, Include photos taken from each corner in each room of your home.
  • Passports
  • Social Security Records
  • Copies of State issued ID cards, or Driver Licenses
  • Birth Certificates for all members of the family (helpful for enrolling in school)
  • Marriage, Divorce, Adoption, Guardianship records
  • Vaccination records or exemption forms (helpful for enrolling in school)
  • A copy of your Resumé

In addition to the papers above, if you have time, bring your digital stuff too.

  • a thumb drive with scanned versions of each of these documents would also be helpful.
  • Laptop, notebook, ipad etc.
  • power cords, both wall chargers and car chargers
  • Back-ups, external hard drives if you don’t use offsite storage.

This is not your everyday take-to-work briefcase — you would not carry this stuff around all the time, but you’ll need it to get a new job or buy a new house, or enroll children in a new school.

What other important piece of paper would you be sure to include? Leave your suggestions in the comment box below because I probably forgot something.

*Linda (in the comments) had a great tip, so good that I am including it in the post.  Use file folders with sides not just regular manila folders, that way small things, like passports or photo CD’s don’t fall out in the rush to leave. Great TIP! See below for some other options to contain all the papers.


Click here for box # 6….the Camping Box




  1. Kenneth says:

    Can I also suggest if at all possible to make your box a fireproof one hour rated box?

    • ready1 says:

      Great idea on the fireproof box, not the lightest option, but these are certainly papers that we want to protect. Thanks for the reminder!

  2. Pam says:

    I would suggest adding your portable electronics to this list, the laptop, the external drives, the flash drives, it iPads and assorted stuff. Just on the off chance that their might be intermittent power to charge things (or have a solar charger), and access to the internet. If your data files are on flash drives or external drives you will have all your records with you for when you need them again.

  3. Mary Urban says:

    Should these items be scanned copies of, or the originals??

    • ready1 says:

      This would be personal preference. I have my originals in my portable office but I also have scanned copies on a thumb drive. When I get to it, I’ll also email myself a copy of the scanned documents so I can access them from any computer that has internet. Does that help you decide, or just give you more to choose from? 🙂

  4. Donna says:

    Also include pictures to prove who you are, & to comfort you. Include pictures & info on pets.

    • ready1 says:

      Good reminder Donna, a family portrait will prove relationships too. Thanks

  5. Linda says:

    I keep most of these records in a fire proof box but they can be easily lifted out and placed in a large carry file box more like the one in your posting if needed and is much lighter. Also my files have closed sides or are in large colored plastic envelopes (different color for each record type) which would help when in a hurry not to loose smaller items like a passport out one side of an open file folder. We also have a flash drive with a photo and pdf. household inventory list to use for insurance claims. You also did not mention apraisials, marriage, divorce or adoption papers. Great series.

    • Andrea says:

      That is a fantastic tip on having folders with closed sides. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve taken a folder out with my passport in it and have to be oh so careful how I hold it so it doesn’t slip out. I think I’ll even add that in the post. Thanks so much for the other ideas too.

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