What would you save in a fire?

Thatched house in the fog, Wherwell, Hampsire (Neil Howard, Flickr)

This weekend, we were cleaning out all that extra stuff that accumulates in a home over time. I used my favorite declutter trick to help get rid of things I was on the fence about, but it also got me thinking —

What would I save from our home if there was a fire?

This is a helpful question when thinking about what we really need in our homes. (Funny aside — this is why I always wear clothes to sleep. I grew up next door to a family with 3 boys, and I worried that if there was a fire I’d have to run outside with no pants on and have them see me. The things we think about!)

I like to think I would take a tactical approach, prioritizing things in order of 1) irreplaceability, 2) sentimental value, and 3) importance. I am of course assuming all humans and pets are already out safely.

What things in our home are irreplaceable and have high sentimental value?

I would first focus on family heirlooms and photos/journals that cannot be replaced and are of important moments in our lives:

  • My wedding and engagement rings, if I weren’t already wearing them.
  • My husband’s wedding band, if he wasn’t wearing it.
  • The quilt made by my grandmother’s grandmother, my great great grandmother.
  • The quilt made by my grandmother.
  • The coffee and tea serving set and silverware passed down from my other grandparents.
  • The three framed crochet pieces on our mantle made by my grandmother.
  • The journal my husband and I kept while on our honeymoon.
  • Photo albums and my box of cards and other memorabilia.
  • My box of my grandmother’s jewelry.
  • A box of our wedding memorabilia.
  • My grandmother’s old music box.

What other things in our home are not replaceable?

These items might hold slightly less sentimental value or be more easily replaced since the people who made and gave them to us are still in our lives:

  • Pillows, curtains, and scarves made by my mother.
  • A quilt made by my mother-in-law.
  • A handmade game score-keeping thing that my in-laws made for us.

What remaining things have high sentimental value?

Though these can be replaced, I would be sad to lose them all the same.

  • Framed family photos and canvas prints from our wedding.
  • Gifts from my husband or things bought while traveling together.
  • A set of mini bowls (perfect for ice cream!) given to us by my sister.
  • A stuffed panda given to me by my husband soon after we started dating.
  • A little jade buddha I keep on my bedside table.

What important documents are difficult to replace?

  • Medical records.
  • Passport.
  • Birth certificate.
  • Marriage certificate.
  • Social security card.
  • Car title.

I hope I’m not forgetting anything important! But I think this is such a great way to get ourselves thinking about what really matters in our lives, and what we can live without. And there’s so much we can live without!

Case in point: my husband recently lost his (handmade, by him) wedding band on a flight. It’s flying somewhere above the world on an American Airlines plane. I was incredibly sad at first — it’s the ring I put on his finger on our wedding day — but then I came to realize that it’s just a piece of metal. He’s still here, and that’s what matters. He made a new band that looks (almost) exactly like the original. And that one will see us through many great life experiences, including our first child who’s due to arrive this summer, and it will be a part of many incredible memories.

What would you save from your home in a fire? What do you have in your home but know you can live without?

(Photo credit: Neil Howard, Flickr)


11 thoughts on “What would you save in a fire?

  1. Now that you have mentioned it, I should keep all these things in the same location so it’s easier to just grab and run! 🙂 my house is far from organized though … Need a bit of work 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Having lived through a bushfire, in the moment you don’t have much time to save anything much at all! We grabbed our computers (they were not backed up) and some paperwork. I could take the box of photos because we could only carry one box each and a dog each. Thankfully our house survived too so we never had to lose anything but had plenty of friends who did. Photos and the little hand me down momentos were the most moarned items. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow! I believe that it would not go this smoothly in a real fire. I think of it more as a thoughtful exercise — hopefully one I won’t have to practice in real life! So glad you didn’t lose anything. Photos would be so sad to lose, especially so many from my childhood before everything was digital.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I love this post! It is such a brave move to name the few things you would save in a fire! Such a reality check. I am going to do this exercise. I feel the same way about rings: My husband and I both opted for simple rings and think that it’s important to remember it’s just a symbol, not definitive of the relationship! 🙂 Thank you for sharing!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Ina, I’m glad you liked it! It really was a helpful thing to spend some time thinking about. I agree about the rings — we also opted for simple rings, and in our case inexpensive. I would feel too stressed wearing a lot of money around my finger day in and day out!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I think I would just grab my computer, or at least the backup drive – depending on how quickly I needed to get out. I don’t feel like I have a strong emotional attachment to anything else in my home, other than my home itself.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Brian, thanks for your thoughts! I considered whether I should put my computer, but I use iCloud so I think everything should be all backed up. My phone should be in the same boat. I should probably look into that a little closer to make sure it’s backing up the way I’m thinking it is 🙂


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