How To Earthquake Proof Your Bedroom

How To Earthquake Proof Your Bedroom | You'll find this and other quick and easy life hacks and organization hacks at
Updated 3/8/21

Even though Melanie grew up in Southern California, when she actually felt an earthquake for the first time, she didn’t know what to do first. 

And if you’ve ever gone through an earthquake you know what she means.  Our first “real” shaker was the Whittier quake and it was so strong it had me pinned to the bed.  That’s why it’s so important to have the things you need at your fingertips, before the quake strikes.  
One of the reasons that earthquakes are so hard to prepare for is that they tend to happen very early in the morning.  Imagine being shaken out of a sound sleep, only to realize that your bed, your walls and your floor are all moving in opposite directions, while you helplessly try to remember the first item on your disaster checklist.
Which is why Melanie was running around pulling thing after thing out of her closet yelling, “WHERE ARE MY EARTHQUAKE CLOTHES???!!!”
Of course, a few minutes later she realized she didn’t even need to leave her house the whole wardrobe thing ended up being a non-issue.  What she was really looking for was a way to regain a sense of control.  Her way of doing that just happened to be fashion.
Which is why Melanie was running around pulling thing after thing out of her closet yelling, “WHERE ARE MY EARTHQUAKE CLOTHES???!!!”
As longtime residents of Southern California we know how hard people work to get their offices, their homes and their garages ready for an earthquake.  But since most earthquakes happen in the wee hours of the morning, people don’t have their basic supplies where they need to be.   Their bedroom.
So let’s take care of that right now. 
There are two things to keep in mind while making your bedroom earthquake safe.    

Safety and Communication


Make your bedroom as safe as possible, during and after an earthquake, by storing earthquake and first aid supplies near your bed and anchoring items and furniture that might fall or break.

Your Emergency Kit  

First, get a sturdy metal or heavy plastic box to hold your basic emergency supplies.  Make sure that it closes well and is heavy enough to stay where you put it, even during intense shaking.
Put it directly under your bed, so that you can grab it easily without having to get out of the bed.
In this box, place:
A whistle, a few protein bars, a few bottles of water, a small flashlight, small emergency radio, a first aid kit and a portable charger that will give you extra battery life for cell phones.  The rest of your supplies – whatever you feel would be necessary for you and your family – can go into the closet beneath your earthquake clothes. 
Next to the box, place a pair of rubber-soled shoes for you and your spouse.  If you have kids, their shoes and a small flashlight should go under their beds.   
The instant an earthquake wakes you – especially if it’s one that causes a lot of damage – put your shoes on before you get out of bed.  There might be broken glass or debris on the floor.  That goes double if you have to leave your home.  Outside you could encounter rocks, pieces of brick from chimneys or downed power lines.

The Closet

Choose a generic earthquake outfit.  If it’s cold out, jeans and a sweatshirt or warm sweater, plus a warm jacket and socks.  If it’s warmer, jeans, light layers and a light jacket and socks.  If you have to leave your home, you won’t necessarily get back in for hours or days.  Store that outfit together at the end of your closet nearest to your bed, so you can grab the clothes and put them on without wasting time thinking about it.   As much as we love you Melanie, this is no time for high fashion!
Right below your earthquake clothes, place a small box with the rest of your earthquake supplies.  
This should include a hand-crank or battery powered radio, a larger flashlight, extra batteries, a few more bottles of water, high calorie or high protein food that will stay fresh for a year, a can opener (the one we love opens cans without leaving sharp edges ), a small stash of cash, and if you have one, a portable television with an antenna.  One other thing you can include is a small generator.  
If anyone in your family needs glasses, contact lenses or prescription drugs, throw those in as well.  If they or you need refrigerated insulin, consider buying a small portable refrigerator for your bedroom.   Even if the electricity goes out, the refrigerator will remain cold enough for a few hours, until you can get help.   Then place a reminder on your calendar every few months, to recycle the perishable items in your kit with fresh items.


Make sure all of the cabinets, pictures, mirrors, televisions and anything else breakable in your bedroom are anchored down, so they don’t turn into earthquake driven torpedoes that can harm you or your family.   Carol Burnett had a close call during the Northridge Quake when a television flew off her bookcase and landed on her bed. Even though she always laid on that side, that night she had trouble sleeping and switched to the other side of the bed! 
The best things we’ve found to anchor furniture and breakable objects without harming them is Quakehold. Quakehold straps secure furniture like bookcases while blending right into your decor.
Do you have breakable figurines, picture frames or glass keepsakes in bookcases or on dressers?  If so, anchor the bottom of the keepsake to the surface with Quakehold Museum Wax.  It holds items securely to a surface without harming either.  And if it’s in a bookcase, be sure to affix the keepsake to the back of the bookcase as well for extra safety.
If you have the space, move a heavy piece of furniture into your bedroom that you and your spouse can use for shelter during a quake.  A heavy table or a desk you can both fit under is ideal.


Make sure you can easily connect with the world around you, from your bedroom.

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After an earthquake, if the electricity is still on, turn on the TV or radio, so you’ll have a friendly voice there in the room with you and you won’t feel isolated or alone.  Besides true Angelenos always bet on how big the earthquake was and never go back to bed until they hear Dr. Kate Hutton’s report on the preliminary magnitude from Cal Tech, so they can see who won the bet.
Keep one cell phone in the room with you at night, where you can easily reach it.  And get into the habit of plugging it into the charger like the Spin Power Electric Charging Station  when you get home in the evening so it will always be ready to go whenever you need it.
You’re probably wondering why we mentioned putting a whistle in your emergency kit.  When the Northridge earthquake hit, many apartment residents were trapped in their bedrooms and had to be rescued. 
A whistle can help you communicate your location to rescue teams.  That and a cell phone with GPS are both are a good idea.
If you have a landline phone, keep it.  Cell phones are great, but the chances of cell towers being down after an earthquake are much more likely than phone lines being inoperable.  And even if they’re up and running, cell traffic, tweeting, Instagram and texting skyrocket after an earthquake, overwhelming the circuits. 
Give yourself as many alternate ways of communicating as possible.  Preferably a smartphone, satellite phone, landline phone and a notebook, iPad, or tablet with Wi-Fi access.
Don’t forget, that if you need to check on local friends or relatives, it’s usually easier to call long distance numbers, than local numbers after an earthquake.  It’s smart to appoint an out of town contact for all of your family members to check in with, until your communications within the quake zone return to normal.
Taking a few minutes to make your room earthquake friendly now, can make all the difference when you really need it.
For a book’s worth of tips and tools on getting your stuff backed up and together, pick up a copy of our book “Ready In 10” or “Keep Everything You Love Safe” in paperback or via instant download.

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Keep The Stuff You Love Safe

How To Save Your Treasured Voice Mail Messages
How To Save Your Home Movies And Videos
How To Archive Your Digital Photos
How To Archive Your Print Photos
How To Make A Home Inventory
How To Get Your Financial Life In Order
How To Preserve Your Family History
How To Back Up Your Facebook Friends List
Turn Your Smartphone Into A Mobile Command Center
How To Backup Your Music, MP3s And Vinyl Albums
How To Access Your Money No Matter Where You Are
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How To Make A Home Inventory

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Updated 3/25/21

Close your eyes for a moment.  Picture the room you’re sitting in, in your mind.

Picture each item, focusing especially on the items that mean the most to you or have the most monetary value.  When you’re done open your eyes.   Did you miss anything?   If you’re like most people, no matter how certain you were that you remembered everything, you still missed a lot of things that you would want to replace. 
And even if you did pretty well, do you know off the top of your head what items were still under warranty, what was insured and for how much?   In other words, if this hadn’t been an exercise, but an insurance agent or a police officer writing down a list of your valuables after a burglary or a hurricane, would you have been happy with the list you made?
I didn’t think so. 
Memory is a wonderful thing, but it can be affected by many factors, like stress, trauma and fatigue – exactly the things that happen during an emergency.  That’s why putting together a list of your treasured or valued objects while they’re sitting in your living room and still in great condition is a MUCH better idea.
And while we’re at it, that reminds me of something else we all have to deal with.  I don’t know about you, but to us, it seems like there’s a new cellphone, computer, or gadget of some kind out in the stores every day.  
Every time you decide to buy a new one, it comes with more cords and manuals than anyone has room to store.  And if you decided to spring for the protection plan too, that hits the mailbox a few days later.  With just a few new toys, you can easily end up with a folder full of paper.
Who can keep up with that?
YOU can!  And very easily, too.  In the Action Steps below, we’re going to create a Home Inventory.  Just go through the steps, and decide room by room what items to include.  In fact if you have kids or grandkids in the house, this is a great project for them.  Once you decide which items to include, send them off on a scavenger hunt, list in hand along with a digital and video camera and have them take photos of each item.  Then when they’re done, enter each item along with its information into our downloadable Home Inventory Form, and you’re done.  

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Take Action  

1. Download Our Home Inventory List

Click here to grab a copy of our Home Inventory Form,  or if you already own our book Ready, you’ll find copies in the book and in the downloadable forms.

2. Grab Your Cameras & A Pencil

Go get your video camera, your digital camera, your list and a pencil and begin walking through each room of your home.  Start with the living room, usually home to the most expensive electronic equipment.

3. Document All the Info You Can Find

For each valued item, (electronics, furniture, cars, art, jewelry or any other items that would be expensive to replace or repair),  fill in a short description, the manufacturer, serial number and any other information you know about it.
If you have a copy of your warranty information, or original purchase receipts for any of the valued items, note the information on them on the Home Inventory List, then put those documents on the side until Step 6.

4. Your Chance To Play Spielberg

As you stop at each item, take a digital photo of it, to show its current condition.  If the item is damaged in a disaster, you’ll have proof of the item’s original condition to give to the claims adjuster. It will also remind you what the item looked like, if it ever needs to be replaced

5. Spielberg Revisited

Once you’re finished with the room, grab your video camera and do a quick video tour.  At the beginning of the videotape, clearly state today’s date and the room you’re photographing.  And while you’re taping, be sure to show the general condition of the room as well as your valued items.

6. Paperwork, paperwork

Gather all of the warranties, protection plans, certificates of insurance, provenance papers and receipts that you have found, and put them in the same location.  It doesn’t matter whether it is a file folder or a section inside your safe.  Just make sure that every time you purchase a new item that comes with any of this paperwork, that you put it in the same place.

7. Now for safekeeping…

Print, scan or make three copies of the Home Inventory List, the walking tour photos, the video and the warranties, receipts and other documents that you located earlier and store them in at least three secure, damage-proof locations.   That way if one or two of the locations are inaccessible, you’ll still be able to grab the information you need.
And that’s it!  Just follow the steps and you’re done.  No more having to remember every single thing in your house.  Just be sure to update your list every six months.  Or if you watch a lot of QVC or HSN, every three months…

Have Fun Getting Your Stuff Together!

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Back It Up

I don’t know about you, but the most important keepsakes in our house are our old family photos, followed closely by our home movies and music. But grabbing piles of photo albums and all your picture frames off the walls is pretty hard to do when you’re running out the door! With Back It Up, you’ll learn quick, easy steps to back up your print/digital photos, home movies, music (including vinyl & cassettes) and save them in multiple, disaster proof locations. Paperback Or Instant Download

Keep The Stuff You Love Safe

How To Save Your Treasured Voice Mail Messages
How To Save Your Home Movies And Videos
How To Archive Your Digital Photos
How To Archive Your Print Photos
How To Make A Home Inventory
How To Get Your Financial Life In Order
How To Preserve Your Family History
How To Back Up Your Facebook Friends List
Turn Your Smartphone Into A Mobile Command Center
How To Backup Your Music, MP3s And Vinyl Albums
How To Access Your Money No Matter Where You Are
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