The purpose of this blog post is to provide the fourth installment in my disaster preparedness series, establish a memory tote and the importance in doing so. 

“Preserve your memories, keep them well, what you forget you can never retell.” – Louis May Alcott

What is a memory tote?

A memory tote is a 66 quart clear storage container that holds the “must keep indefinitely” items specific to each family member within the home. 

Each family member within the household must have their own memory tote, and just as important to note, only one memory tote per family member.  In many cases, the memory totes represents past memories in forms of objects, pictures and/or papers. 

Why is a memory tote important? 

A memory tote is vital as this is “the home” you store your most sentimental/cherished items that are not displayed within the home. The items in the memory tote are sentimental, but not necessarily high dollar value items. 

What should be inside the memory tote?

For each person, the cherished/“must keep indefinitely” items will be different.  Below is a list of common items found in a memory tote.

Remember:  It is important to ask yourself the following questions:

Does this item belong in my child’s memory tote or mine?

Who is the memory for?

It is not uncommon to find a cherished item in the wrong memory tote, by mistake. BE INTENTIONAL! 

How can a memory tote assist in a disaster?

When you must leave your home quickly, you can grab your memory tote. What a sense of relief this simple tote will give you. Knowing you have some of your most cherished memories in one easy-to-access location. Taking the time to prepare your memory tote in advance will give you confidence and a sense of calm during a period of chaos.  

Where does the memory tote live?

As we say in the organizing world, every thing needs a home.  My recommendation, is to keep each family’s memory tote in his/her closet (either on top or on bottom).  If the family member no longer lives within the home, the memory tote should go along with the family member.  Your home is no longer a storage unit for that individual. 

How can a professional organizer assist you?

Working along with a professional organizer to prepare for disasters provides you with the following benefits:

Hiring a professional organizer eliminates the emotional attachment and provides the relief you desire.  For a listing of professional organizers in your area, you can turn to the National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professionals (NAPO).  

Recently, I was the featured guest with NAPO Stand Out podcast, Episode #41: How to prepare for disasters with Lisa Witzleben.  Listen and learn more here.

So far, the following items need to be in place, ready to go, in a secure, easy-to access location, prior to the disaster:

  1. Disaster Cash
  2. Electronics
  3. Go Folder
  4. Memory Tote

You can do this!  Unclutter Me is here to assist you.

Refresh.  Renew.  Live Simply 

“When objects are lost, it’s not that memories are lost forever.  What you lose is opportunities for spontaneous reminiscence: those times when you catch a keepsake in view and suddenly a memory floods your mind.” – Brian Resnick