important documents

Important Documents-Here’s What You Need To Do

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Important documents, here’s what you need to do with those very important papers we all have as you prepare for the unexpected. About 6 years ago I designed an emergency binder. I wanted everyone in my family, my friends, and neighbors to gather up all of their critically important documents and place them in one safe location, preferably in a zippered binder. I realized at the time, that some people had birth certificates in dresser drawers, school documents in boxes in the closet, etc. Well, it wasn’t just the birth certificates I was worried about, I wanted all the critical documents in one place. You know, like marriage certificates, church documents, school documents, social security cards, etc. I used to work at a bank and I had a safety deposit box where I tried to keep all these documents and forms.

One year there was a flood in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah. It was that day that I realized if the bank was closed for an extended period or was flooded, all my critical papers stored “safely” in that bank I could not retrieve them. I’m not saying stop paying for a safety deposit box, let’s make that clear right now. It was a wake-up call for me that having my documents in that bank would not work for my evacuation plan if needed. So, this is how my emergency binder started and I purchased a large oversize safe to store it in.

Thanks to a great reader I am adding this statement, if your head, heart, and gut tell you NOT to store your original documents in your home, please do not do that. If you are nervous about the safety of your documents, I get it. My concern for myself is having to evacuate and not having access to my personal papers to prove who I am. I have two sets, one original and one copy of all documents. We need to feel safe in what we do, please follow your heart.

Here’s the deal, I made copies of the originals just in case I get separated from my emergency binder during a disaster. Just giving you the heads-up here. I have a FREE download of the content pages for you. All you need is a binder, preferably a zippered one so the documents will stay safe in your binder. Here is the download, it will show up on your computer in the bottom left-hand corner. It’s a huge file so be patient, it’s FREE and worth the wait, I promise.

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Food Storage Moms FREE Printable Emergency Binder Download

Here is a taste of what my FREE printable important documents binder contents include:

Important Document Ten Page Dividers:

  1. Emergency contact information: please include two photos of each one of your family members and pets. One to post on a missing person/pet board and one to keep and show emergency responders and rescue people.
  2. Bank and Investment account information: please remember to store this binder in a safe and secure place. If we lose power, there will possibly be no way to look up account information, including numbers.
  3. Certificate forms: birth certificates, marriage certificates, school graduation documents, religious papers, etc.
  4. Government documents: copies of driver’s licenses, original passports, concealed weapons permits, social security cards, etc.
  5. Medical and dental information: such as doctors, dentists, and medications required for each family member.
  6. Account/website access codes: of course, this is optional, but if you forget them, the binder has them.
  7. Cash, small bills, and change: please remember, the gas pumps will not work if the power goes down. The grocery stores will take only cash if the power is down or until the shelves are depleted.
  8. Titles: to cars, trucks, boats, trailers or whatever. If you have the deed to your home put at lease a copy in the binder.
  9. Copies of trusts or wills: I realize these important documents are too thick to put in the binder, but at least make copies of the most important pages.
  10. This divider page I left open for miscellaneous items.

You can see in the link below how to put the binder together section by section. You don’t have to purchase any dividers, pockets, photo pockets or zippered pockets. I put mine together this way so I can instantly find every important piece of information in seconds. I’m an organized person, that’s how I roll. I hope this helps just one family get organized with those documents we must have in our possession at the most critical times in our lives. Please put the binder in a safe and secure place so you can grab it if you and your family had to be evacuated in say ten minutes. You’ll be glad you put them all together, I promise.

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Important Documents Dividers:

  1. I have the link for you to easily print these pages at the bottom of this post. I suggest you get some colored tabs (ten tabs) to go with your binder like these: Avery Extrawide Ready Index Dividers, Laser/Ink Jet, 9.5 x 11 Inches, Assorted, 10 Tabs, 1 Set (11165)
  2. Get some zippered binder pockets like these: Cardinal Expanding Zipper Binder Pocket, Clear, 3/PK (14201)
  3. I used baseball card pages or photo pages similar to these: Avery Horizontal Photo Pages, Acid-Free, 4 x 6 Inches, Pack of 10 (13406)
  4. I also purchased binder pockets like these: Avery Binder Pockets, Acid-Free, Pack of 5 (75254)
  5. Page protectors like these: Avery Standard Weight Sheet Protectors, Pack of 25 Sheet Protectors (75530)
  6. Zippered Binder

I decided to share this information again today because of what’s going on in Texas with Hurricane Harvey. I am praying for the people, emergency responders and the workers trying to restore power there. I am watching The Weather Channel and I can’t believe how horrible this 500-year storm is roaring into that state. I can see people helping people they don’t even know get to safety. It brings joy to me to see how in a terrible situation there are kind people helping other people they don’t even know. May God bless Texas and all adjoining areas as they try to get through this storm. People are pulling their boats to Texas to help others get out of their homes and apartments. This is how humanity should work, we help one another. Thank you to everyone who is able to help these people through this crisis.

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  1. Love this! Thanks. I need to get busy. I do know where all of these things are, but how helpful it will be to have them all in the same place.

  2. i’m not sure I feel safe having all these documents together , nervous that they could be stolen in a break in or blown away in a tornado. they are in bank box now. do you think there will be a time that people will have to prove that they are married or own their house etc..? it probably is a good idea, but unsure. thanks for all the info you share with every one. i enjoy reading them.

    1. Hi, Melanie, thank you for your comment. You noticed I did not say close your safe deposit box. Here’s the deal we all know where we live and there are areas I would have to put my documents in a bank safety deposit box. I have duplicate copies, keyword, copies as well. I grew up in Las Vegas, Nevada and for sure would have kept my original documents in a bank safety deposit box. I would then have copies in my emergency binder. We must all be aware of our surroundings and heed what our head, heart, and gut are telling us. Do what is right for you. Keep copies in your emergency binder at least that way you could prove who you are, etc. If that isn’t safe, don’t do it. Great comment, thank you. Linda

    2. Hi, Melanie, you know the more I think about your comment I feel I need to tell people if they do not live in a safe neighborhood or feel nervous then they need to keep their originals in their safety box. This is why comments are good, we learn from each other. I live in a fairly safe neighborhood and I have a large safe to secure my binder. A few doors down from me I see undercover cops and police cars driving by all the time. There is never a time this home does not have 5-8 cars outside. Thanks again for your great comment. I’m adding another comment to my post. Linda

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