Monday, August 31, 2009

National Preparedness Month

September is National Preparedness Month. I think this specifically means that this month a spotlight is put on disaster and emergency preparedness by federal agencies. But preparedness is always a good policy, so I think this is a great opportunity to talk about all kinds of preparedness.

I’ve already written about preparing for every day, as well as a bit about preparing for emergencies. Preparedness means being physically and mentally ready for something that is coming down the road. In this sense, organized people are almost always preparing for something. Brushing our teeth and flossing in the morning means we’re preparing to get good marks from our dentist at our check up in three months, as well as preparing to show off our smile to our significant other and to have a successful day at work not worried about our breath. Preparation takes forethought and a bit of effort, but much less effort than it takes to scramble to get something done that could have been done ahead of time.

Preparedness comes in many forms. It can mean preparing for your child to be ready for the school year by stocking up on school supplies, new shoes and getting them a haircut. It can mean preparing for an earthquake by making sure you have adequate earthquake insurance in addition to food, water, cash, battery powered lights, etc. located in your home, office and car. Preparedness can also mean being ready for a flash of inspiration by keeping pen and paper in your purse. You can write down ideas for your blog, phone numbers and email address and a reminder that you need an oil change—something you might remember in the car, but forget by the time you get into your house.

So, in honor of National Preparedness Month, take a moment to think about your life. Are you prepared for dinner tonight (meal prep, clean dishes)? How about for work tomorrow (clean clothes, lunch, presentation materials)? What about for the possibility of getting in a fender bender on the freeway (insurance and registration, paper and pen to exchange details in your glove box) or having your hard drive fail (external back up hard drive or remote storage via the Internet)? Pick one thing you’ve been putting off getting prepared for (making a will, figuring out Thanksgiving plans) and decide to do it this month!

Screenshot from National Preparedness Month website.

Creative Commons photo posted to Flickr by Seattle Municipal Archives

Lelah Baker-Rabe is a Los Angeles-based professional organizer. To discuss your organizing needs, call her at 818.269.6671 or email

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