HOW UltraLight Packing Skills Can Help You Evacuate in a Hurricane – and Better Manage Your Daily Life

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She is thrilled to be evacuating!

The next post in the HOW series details our experiences preparing for, and evacuating from, Hurricane Matthew and how we put our ultralight packing skill set to best use. We were very fortunate to not experience any damage from the storm, but since we were in a low-lying coastal area, we did end up evacuating on the morning the storm came by our area. Reflecting back on this experience, we realized that the ultralight packing mindset not only aided us greatly when preparing at the last-minute to evacuate from the hurricane, but we have seen great benefits in our daily life as well. Read on – we hope you find some inspiration that will help you in your own life!

Method to the Madness: Since we now have a tried and true method to packing that works well for our family, it is very easy to gather items needed at a moments notice. For example, our toiletry bag is always packed and stocked and our luggage is stored in an accessible place. We don’t have to search or hunt for anything we would take with us, all of our travel specific items live together in our house. This served us well when the storm came, but also allows us to say “yes” on a whim to a last-minute invite to the beach – we are not overwhelmed by

Why Hello Hurricane Matthew!
Why Hello Hurricane Matthew!

the thought of getting us and two small children out the door.

Shutters up, ready to go!
Shutters up, ready to go!

Organized Chaos: Our clothing is organized in such a way that we can grab outfits for each family member easily. The children’s clothing is put away as a stack of outfits so it is very easy to grab a few outfits from the top of the pile. When we do laundry, we put clothing away via outfits with the most recently worn being stacked on the bottom. Mom’s clothing is also organized in this way so it is always easy to decide what to wear the next day; each work outfit is stored together on a hanger and rotated to the back once washed and worn (read this post on HOW to pack for women). Dad has a very simple wardrobe so he has no problem grabbing outfits quickly. We also store all of our clothing in one place, so it is very easy to both put laundry away and to pack for the family. We will likely need to adjust our clothing organization when the kids get older, but for now, this works well for us. We carry this organization into all areas of our home by always looking to what is the most practical way of storing our possessions that fits with our specific lifestyle.

Minimal Mindset: It might come as no surprise to anyone being that we are ultralight packers; we also are pretty minimal in our possessions. It wasn’t always this way, but when you experience the benefits of ultralight packing (read these posts on the WHY and HOW), then you come to see that these same benefits carry into daily life too (read this WHO post for inspiration). We are mindful of the possessions that enter our homes; not only in how they are organized or stored, but the practicality of owning them at all. We truly value what we own and we use nearly everything that makes the cut. Since we have reviewed all of our possessions, we know what items can easily be replaced and what items carry sentimental value. Items that we consider sentimental or meaningful to us are, when possible, are displayed instead of stored out of sight. So when we were faced with a storm that had the possibility of flooding, we knew exactly where the most meaningful possessions were and could easily pack them when evacuating.

Food and water!
Food and water!
Clothing packed in the trusty backpack and sentimental items in a dry bag.
Clothing packed in the trusty backpack and sentimental items in a dry bag.

Less Stress: The above discussion points have ultimately worked together to bring the stress level down in our daily lives, but especially in a quick-acting event such as a hurricane evacuation. Our methodology allowed us to move through the motions of packing our possessions with ease, the organization kept everything we needed at our fingertips, and the mindset gave us confidence to know what must come with us and what could be replaced if need be. We highly suggest taking the time to evaluate your “stuff” and decide what brings value you to your life – this can be an incredibly freeing experience. To get you started, we list some of the experts in this area in this WHO post.

Stay tuned as we evolve in our travels and packing philosophy! Please comment with your tips and experiences so we can all learn together.

Happy (and Light) Travels!

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