2015 is my year of decluttering my house. I have too much stuff. But that’s a big task, so I’ve broken my house into categories. Bedroom, kitchen, closets, office, etc. Each week, I tackle a different area. I get done what I get done that week and I move on to the next category. When I finish all the categories, I start over. It’s slow going, but mentally, it’s been easier than tackling one area til it’s finished, then moving on.
This week, I worked on my closets. One of the things I keep in my closet is my medicine basket (cold medicine, stomach medicine, etc) and my first aid kit. As part of cleaning, I went through and tossed everything that was expired and rearranged. In doing so, I started to wonder if I had what I needed in my first aid kit. So I went to researching.
According to the Red Cross, the following items should be in a first aid kit for a family of four:
- 2 absorbent compress dressings (5 x 9 inches)
- 25 adhesive bandages (assorted sizes)
- 1 adhesive cloth tape (10 yards x 1 inch)
- 5 antibiotic ointment packets (approximately 1 gram)
- 5 antiseptic wipe packets
- 2 packets of aspirin (81 mg each)
- 1 blanket (space blanket)
- 1 breathing barrier (with one-way valve)
- 1 instant cold compress
- 2 pair of nonlatex gloves (size: large)
- 2 hydrocortisone ointment packets (approximately 1 gram each)
- 1 roller bandage (3 inches wide)
- 1 roller bandage (4 inches wide)
- 5 sterile gauze pads (3 x 3 inches)
- 5 sterile gauze pads (4 x 4 inches)
- Oral thermometer (non-mercury/nonglass)
- 2 triangular bandages
- First aid instruction booklet
A few years back, I bought one of those pre-stocked kits, so I have a lot of these items, but I do need to go shopping. Additionally, I have some of the items, but not in the kit. My first aid kit doesn’t have scissors or a thermometer, for example, but I clearly have them in the house somewhere. It makes sense to have an extra set in the first aid kit. That way, if there’s an emergency, I just have to grab the kit or say to someone “Go get the first aid kit. It’s in the closet on the third shelf.” Not “Go get the first aid kit from the closet, grab the scissors from the office and the thermometer from the jar of makeup brushes on my dresser.” (Yes, that is the actual location of my thermometer. You are welcome, thermometer burglars.)
Additionally, there are other things I don’t even have in the house, like baby aspirin or antibiotic ointment. I probably had antibiotic ointment at one point, but it expired so I tossed it and didn’t re-purchase.
Ready.gov adds a few things to the list, which is more designed for disaster type situations (to include major storms where you can’t get out of your house). Basically, these are things you should have around, just in case.
- eye wash solution
- anti-diarrhea medication
Even not in an emergency, these are probably things you want to have around, because the last thing you want to do when you need an anti-diarrhea medicine is go to the store and buy it. Yikes.
So I have a bit of shopping to do. Yes, it seems wasteful if the items are just going to expire without being used, but better safe than sorry, right?
How does your emergency kit look? If you are pretty well stocked, you can probably just pick up a few items and be done with it. If all you have is a box of bandaids and an outdated bottle of Advil, well, you might want to go shopping. It might be easier and cheaper to just buy a pre-made kit and then add to it, so do some research and price things out before you buy. I hope you won’t need it, but it’s always best to be prepared.
Megan is a 30-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.