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What would you take with you if you had 30 minutes or less to leave your home?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on October 25, 2007

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Photo of Carley Doores

“I would take my cat, my kids, whatever cash I had on hand and let the rest burn. I’m a minimalist. I’d like to start fresh.”

Photo of Jeffrey Isom

“All of my dad’s artwork and my computer if I could grab it.”

Photo of Rachael Perry

“It would be a disaster for me, because I’m so indecisive. I would probably spend most of the time running around yelling to myself and trying to decide. I would probably just end up with the clothes on my back and a great collection of scarves.”

Photo of Michael Hernandez

“Irreplaceable pictures, my iPod and my two cats.”


thomgreen 10 years, 7 months ago

A couple of days worth of clothes, my traveling toiletry (sp?) bag, my two dogs, all while chanting "the roof, the roof, the roof is on fire. We don't need no water let the m-fer burn". Even in the worst situations you have to keep some semblance of humor.

Oh and I'm with Michael, can't forget the Ipod.

craigers 10 years, 7 months ago

My wife and kid, along with some clothes for each and a couple handguns that are hidden. If I really want photos i would take our digital camera and laptop since those have everything we would need. And since I just got it, I would grab my Wii!!!! And for the record, my wife and I's cell phones are attached to our persons so we would have those too.

average 10 years, 7 months ago

Cats, credit card, and I am outta here.

I'm of the digital age, so every photo either started digital or was scanned. I have backups of the whole archive in a couple of states.

Also, every important paper is scanned, backups as above. Lots of not-so-important papers, too... scanned, filed, and the paper copy tossed years ago. Home movies and personal audio artifacts. Yep, them too.

Even memorabilia. I'm not that sentimental. Old band/concert t-shirts that are beyond the pale? Snapped a digital pic, in the archive, and bye-bye to junk.

Linda Aikins 10 years, 7 months ago

OH I guess acg already covered that!

Our sports memorabilia and pictures. The piano would have to be left behind.

acg 10 years, 7 months ago

Family, cash, credit cards, valuable jewelry, important insurance paperwork, my giant bong, clothing, food stuffs and bottled water, batteries, radio & flashlight and of course, my weed, man.

Flap Doodle 10 years, 7 months ago

Disconnect the external hard drive, grab the restore CD, throw them in a pocket. Top off the abandon-ship bag with some fresh ammo & hit the road.

mom_of_three 10 years, 7 months ago

hubby, kids, pets, some clothes, important papers, pets, carryable heirlooms, my mom's paintings. computer if we have time. the cell phone is always carried by my husband, so we would have communication. put everything in two cars and go. My cousin lives in California, and the fire was a few hundred yards from his house. He said he had the important things packed in a matter of minutes, and then the fire stopped progressing toward his house. He was ready to go if he needed to...

Ceallach 10 years, 7 months ago

I would like to say I would be as logical and organized as many of you, but chances are I'd be more like Rachael. After my dog, cats and photos were safely loaded, l'd probably be running around yelling at myself and spend the rest of my time in indecision before rushing out with just a few items of extra clothing :-\

Godot 10 years, 7 months ago

Cash, medicine, insurance papers, birth certificates, social security cards, wallet, glasses, flashlight, batteries, matches, 2 blankets, 2 changes of clothes, hat, ipod, cell phone, lap top, memory sticks with music and photos on them, revolver and ammo, first aid kit, water, and energy bars for food.

And a few books.

acg 10 years, 7 months ago

This has no bearing on anything, just to preface. Alright folks. Most of ya'll are smart, witty, creative folks. I gotta fly out to Vegas next week for a conference and while I'm there, I'm of course going to party because it's Vegas at Halloween. So I need a costume idea. The last 3 years in a row I've been a pregnant nun and I'm bored with that costume. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

jonas 10 years, 7 months ago

The cats definitely, then, lacking kids, my guitar and my elite toys on my desk. The rest is pretty replaceable.

That's right, I have elite toys, the ones that are hard to obtain.

sunflower_sue 10 years, 7 months ago

acg, brain donor? I did that a few years ago and it was a hit. Got a hospital gown, wrapped my head up in bloody gauze (I have a great recipe for fake blood) and carried my brain around in a piece of tupperware. It was a rubber brain, but submersed in pinkish water, it looked hideously real! Maybe you go for less gore???

30 minutes: I'd get family, pets, cash, paintings, photos and videos of my babies, grandma's quilts. I'd be out of time by then.

acg 10 years, 7 months ago

So, Jonas, tell me more about these "elite toys" that you speak of.

geekin_topekan 10 years, 7 months ago

My cat,papers of importance and maybe a few clothes. I have a personal survival kit in my car at all times which includes a few changes of clothes,toiletries,meds,hot sauce and some MREs.Mostly in case I wake up somewhere Im not supposed to be. My computer can burn!This thing is the anti-christ!!

geekin_topekan 10 years, 7 months ago

Oh,yeah!Also,my GarthBrooks and Van Halen tickets!!

Grundoon Luna 10 years, 7 months ago

Acg's list, plus my pets and sans bong. Too conspicuous.

Grundoon Luna 10 years, 7 months ago

Blue, hook acg up with some leather gear, if she doesn't have it already - but somehow I get the feeling she may already has such items . . . . . anyway Acg, you can don some heavy make-up, chains, handcuffs, and wild hair and be a Biker B*tch from Hell. How do you like that? I did that one year and folks raved.

I like your donor idea, sue. Where'd you get the brain?

TongieMom 10 years, 7 months ago

Kid, dog, photos, external hard drive and important paperwork (in that order),.........almost everything else is replaceable. If I had time to spare, some extra clothes.

i_have_only_valid_opinions 10 years, 7 months ago

It sounds like there are too many cats in Lawrence.

Unix_Admin 10 years, 7 months ago


How bout' Dog the bounty hunter. That would be awsome-the hair alone is classic!

i_have_only_valid_opinions 10 years, 7 months ago


go as a weapon of mass destruction - just wear a Bush mask and a t-shirt with "WMD" on it.

sgtwolverine 10 years, 7 months ago

What would I take? My computer and camera gear. Yeah, it's insured, but I'd rather keep it around; I'd rather not wait for new gear to arrive.

kneejerkreaction 10 years, 7 months ago

Angelina Jolie. but, it might take me more than 30 minutes to find where the little minx is hiding in my house. I could call Brad, but I don't want to tip my hand.

kneejerkreaction 10 years, 7 months ago

Word Maybe one shouldn't illuminate exactly what valuables they have in their homes and then give their NAME.

Godot 10 years, 7 months ago

kneejerk, good point, but then who among us is actually telling the truth, or just making stuff up?

gphawk89 10 years, 7 months ago

Two big boxes of old family photos and videos. My wife and baby. Medicine. Safe full of important documents, if I could carry it up the stairs. Not necessarily in that order...

Guns, not that I care about them, but don't want to be sued by some idiot looter or clean-up crew that finds them and gets hurt. Plus, a gun is a good thing to have in case things get really bad and law enforcement is overwhelmed.

Everything else is expendable.

manyblessings 10 years, 7 months ago

Kids, pets, purse, photo albums, file that order. I think I could do that in 30 minutes.

remember_username 10 years, 7 months ago

I'd grab...or then...there''s, papers, backups already scarves...

I don't know whether to be impressed, or depressed, that I don't really have anything in my place that can't be replaced with better stuff...

staff04 10 years, 7 months ago

30 minutes?

I could probably get everything I own, minus furniture, in that amount of time.

acg 10 years, 7 months ago

Andini (Anonymous) says:

A towel

Hehee, Towely says "don't forget to bring a towel."

motomom 10 years, 7 months ago

my fam, the kitties, the dogs, the pictures on the fridge, and my original drawing from charles schulz. and my old favorite worn out birkenstocks. : )

ms_canada 10 years, 7 months ago

Yes agnostick - we do have a bank vault for all the important business stuff. But what if the bank goes. On an extremely cold Jan. eve 3 years ago, my friends Doris and Jim were told to leave their condo for a bit - maybe 1/2 hr. as there was a wee fire in the crawl space. They went for coffee to Tim Hortons with another couple. Came back 1/2 hr. later to find the whole building ablaze. Lost every single thing, even their car as it was next to the building and was covered in 7 inches of ice. Jim was a Pastor and had 400+ books. All gone. Insurance papers, photos etc. Ironic thing was that they kept a suitcase by the door with all those papers in it but thought they were in no danger. You know what? They have recovered nicely. Doris is the smiliest person I know. People rounded up any family pictures they had to give to them, they are in their rebuilt condo and getting along just fine, thank you. It can all be replaced.

jonas 10 years, 7 months ago

acg: At the latent risk of sounding like a total geek. . . .

I have a complete old school Transformers Devastator, a couple of good Lord of the Rings action figures (Saruman, the Witch King and Gandalf), Sesshoumaru from the Inuyasha anime, Vash and Wolfwood from the Trigun anime, and a couple Star Wars figures. And a 3300 piece lego Star Destroyer. Those are my favorites.

adriennerm 10 years, 7 months ago

My photo albums and jewerly that was passed down to me.

Confrontation 10 years, 7 months ago

I've just started the process of scanning all of my family photos. It may take a long time, but it'll be nice to have it done and on CD's that I can give to other family members. I also have an on-line photo album where I've been putting all of these photos. At $25 per year, I think it's worth the expense for unlimited storage.

Since I won't have to think about photos in my 30-minutes, I'd just make sure the family was in the car. If I still had time, then I'd grad some food, water, butcher knives, clothing, and KU memorabilia.

ksmom 10 years, 7 months ago

O.J., You don't HAVE any sport memorabilia left! LOL

pimp11 10 years, 7 months ago

liked the comment "all while chanting, the roof the roof is on fire, let the mo-fer burn" funny chit.....

anyways, i have two friends that live in cali, on in San Diego and the other near La Mesa. They both said it was horrible out there. No fresh air at all. Ash everwhere and people leaving. The one who lives in Mesa moved there from NY after the WTC....Said its kind of an eerie feeling like the WTC was but not as bad,obviously. The guy who lives in Diego, is a Kansas boy, and I believe its his first fire. Said he was pretty 'scared' and worried, but the winds were suppose to shift, like they did.

Good luck to all out there and do whats best for ya!!!

ms_canada 10 years, 7 months ago

I've gotten to an age when stuff is no longer important to me. Most things in the house are replaceable, sooooo. Except photos of the kids and ancestors. I guess if I had 30 min. I would grab the pix and papers and some clothes and my credit card. Must not forget my credit card. My sister in San Diego wrote on Mon. saying that she had her bags packed, the dog's stuff and all her papers ready to go. But she is still at home and the winds have died down today. Time will tell.

imastinker 10 years, 7 months ago

I think I'd grab the kids, but not all their crap.

mom_of_three 10 years, 7 months ago

I have the kids' birth certificates with me at all times. I got the small laminated cards from the state. they are handy and easy to carry.
And I normally wouldn't worry about my computer or my camera, but if the kids, hubby, and pets are safe in 30 minutes, I am going to grab what I can, hence, my camera and heirlooms.

mom_of_three 10 years, 7 months ago

Oh, 30 minutes or less - hubby, kids, pets, photos within reach, camera, purse, suitcase of clothes, my backpack (my kids would just let their burn.....)

sigerson 10 years, 7 months ago

This is a useful exercise. Laptop, about 10 pages of unscanned slides, folder of important papers.

By the way, insurance agents recommend taking pictures or video of your important possessions as documentation in case they're accidentally destroyed. So I'm probably shoot a few pictures on the way out.

acg: I'll bet there are Larry Craig masks out there.

GretchenJP 10 years, 7 months ago

In 30 minutes I could probably grab a lot of stuff. Is my house burning down or am I being evicted or what? I'd grab my boyfriend, the pets and the computers.

kneejerkreaction 10 years, 7 months ago

My grandmother, because I could soak her in water, throw her over my shoulder and run through the flames.

Ceallach 10 years, 7 months ago

knee, does your grandmother know that you think of her as a wet blanket?

TheHeartlessBureaucrat 10 years, 7 months ago

30 mins? Sounds like a Zombie Invasion to me. I'm already packed. Backpack with clothes, bottled water, plenty of clean socks, bedroll and a wooden baseball bat.


badger 10 years, 7 months ago

SO, cats, bird (the fish are on their own, I'm sorry), laptops, file box (contains insurance paperwork, bank stuffs, CC info, car titles, etc), cells and chargers, PDA with address info. I'd collect the stuff from my altar and ritual supplies while the SO disconnected the main server. Most of my pics are still in one box from the move, so grab that box, my few rare books (all on the same shelf in the same room as the file box, altar, and photos), and my jump bag. Load it all up into the two cars with our frame packs, a couple of changes of clothes, and the camping box (water purification filter, camp stove, minimalist dishes, matches, extra fuel for stove, flashlights, batteries, French press and vacuum-sealed coffee, etc) and the smaller tent, the weaponry and a couple weeks' worth of the freeze-dried camping food (and some cookies for good measure), and food for the animals. We keep a lot of stuff ready to roll because we like to take off camping with an hour's notice.

Everything else, insurance should be able to replace.

The jump bag is a habit I started when I lived in Kansas, and I still check it at the start of every tornado season even though I'm living in TX now. It's currently got a couple pairs of socks and a full change of clothes, some ready cash, a first aid kit, basic toiletries, copies of all my insurance and financial contact info, a spare set of car keys for each of our vehicles, two bottles of water, some energy bars, a little bag of kibble and a folding water dish for the cats, and some other stuff that I think would be handy. It just hangs out in a corner, so if I needed to get out of my house in under five minutes it'd be SO, cats, jump bag, laptops.

kneejerkreaction 10 years, 7 months ago

...more like a wet shawl than a blanket, but useful for running unscathd through fires.

coolmom 10 years, 7 months ago

a fifteen minute nap and then panic....seriously a box of important papers my purse, kids, hubby and computer as it has my photos on it and the pic of my hubby as a kid off the wall. car keys and water and flee for the mountains. i live in calif but the northern part and while it is an 8 hour drive a way i can smell smoke.

Ceallach 10 years, 7 months ago

knee, if your middle name starts with "J" you're in a lot of trouble the next time you come to my house to eat :)

GretchenJP 10 years, 7 months ago

Hey, Ceallach, my first name starts with J, can I come over for dinner?? :D

Crossfire 10 years, 7 months ago

I take a dump and leave. Nothing here that I really need anyway.

denak 10 years, 7 months ago

I'll take the Renoirs, the jewels, the Porsche....and if for some reason, I couldn't find those things in my house, I'd grab the fire box with the papers in it, the kids-I guess I have to take them--the rabbit and the souveneirs from countries I can't go back to. I'd try to take as many photo albums as I can but there are so many of them I'd probably just try to grab the albums with pictures I can't replace.

The worst part about my house going up is that like Original Bob's wife, I have TONS of holiday decoration for every holiday you can imagine. The thought of leaving all that stuff just hurts :(


ksmom 10 years, 7 months ago

We each have storage tubs that hold 3 changes of clothes, toiletries, cash, important papers, and pictures. (started doing this about 4 years ago and update them about every 6 months). The dog has her own tub full of goodies and important papers, too. We have a tub stocked with a case of bottled water, dried foods of various sorts and other non perishable foods. Each of us also has an empty storage tub under the full one for "last minute" grabs. But in a dash or die situation, we only grab the tubs that are already stocked. As for cell phone and credit cards, they are already in my purse.

So the plan is: Grab your tub, whistle for the dog and get in the car......pronto!
Everything else is replaceable.

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