What Possessions Would You Take in the Trunk of Your Car?

That question was recently posed on the Zen Habits blog. It’s designed to make you question how much stuff you really need. It’s an interesting exercise to evaluate everything you have and think about simplifying.

When I first thought about the question I really couldn’t think of much that I’d need. I’d take my family, but I wouldn’t put them in the trunk, of course. But if you read through the comments to that post it almost sounds like an emergency preparedness list. Many people would take their laptop, passports, toothbrush, some clothes. But what if it was really an emergency? What would you take?


Last Friday morning at about 1:30 a.m. a house down the street from me caught fire. The couple and their baby got out safely. I don’t know them so I don’t know what they grabbed to take with them, but I’d suspect not much. The front of the house appeared to have been in flames. I can only imagine that their only thought was to get their child and get out.

As a kid I used to think about this kind of thing all of the time. We lived in ranch style house and all of the bedrooms were on ground level. So I didn’t worry much about getting out. All I would have to do is go out the bedroom window. My list of things to take were 1) my teddy bear, 2) my cat that always slept with me, and 3) my photo album.

I know it seems like I’ve been writing a lot about emergency preparedness. It’s not intentional. But writing or reading about it and really being prepared are different things. House fires don’t seem all that common, but in the past 10 years there have been at least 4 fires in my town. The New England Journal of Medicine states, “There were 223 injuries (91 fatal and 132 nonfatal) from 7190 house fires, for a rate of 5.2 injured persons per 100,000 population per year.”

So, what would you take if you had to fit your possessions in your car? What really matters?What would you take if you had to leave your home in an emergency?

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