The treasures we keep in our homes

The word “evacuation” seems to be popping up more and more in the news these days, with wildfires, ice storms, earthquakes, floods and hurricanes threatening cities and towns all over the world.

Often these disasters come on fast and furious and families are rushing to get out of their homes with what belongings they can.

It got me thinking about what a home really means. I think we can easily take for granted the intangible benefits of owning a home. Somewhere you can customize and personalize. A place that is the backdrop for so many good memories with family and friends. A place that feels safe and comfortable, where you can just be yourself.

Of course, the most important thing is for everyone to get out safe if disaster does hit. But in those few moments you have to collect your belongings, what do you choose?

Those that know me well know I am a pretty ruthless purger. My collection of physical belongings has decreased significantly over the years and I’ve put time and effort into donating things I don’t truly need/want and creating digital recordings of things I want to remember but don’t necessarily need to hold on to.

A trick I learned from my sister when she was purging & packing up to move her family to Africa was to take digital photos of physical items – memorabilia.

So I laid out trophies and medals from high school sports, favourite toys from childhood, cards from my grandparents, pages from yearbooks, old t-shirts with sentimental value, etc and took photos of them, both front and back.

And now I have a folder in my Google Drive (so it’s always backed up) called Memorabilia. And I can easily go on a trip down memory lane at any time on any device!

I also used a scanning service to scan all of my childhood photo albums so they are also securely backed up.

All this effort frees up space in my basement and lessens the number of boxes I would ever need to move. But a side benefit to putting this effort in is that if I did ever lose all my belongings in a fire or flood, I have my most important memories saved.

If you lose your home, you can never get back the time you spent perfectly mounting that gorgeous floating shelf or designing your gallery wall or painstakingly painting stripes on your daughter’s bedroom walls. You can’t get back those granite countertops that you got a smoking deal on or the antique doorknobs that you picked up on a trip and retrofitted onto your own doors.

But what you can do is take photos of all of your favourite things, both memorabilia and current items you have all around your house. Put them in a folder where you can always retrieve them.

And should anything ever happen to your home, you will have a treasure trove of inspiration to use when crafting your next house into your next home.

-Amie