When that first mention of "possible tornadoes" comes out, here's what I do. I grab a diaper bag, and start putting items for the kids in it that aren't in the storm bin like toys/books, a few diapers, medicine if needed (Motrin/Tylenol/Orajel/antibiotics/etc), pajamas, bed "toys", their blankets, toothbrushes/toothpaste, tennis shoes, jackets, etc. I take the diaper bag downstairs when it's done, and start grabbing the other things that I would be devastated to lose (which are in fact replaceable, so it wouldn't be the complete end of the world if it happened): My laptop (sometimes I grab Michael's, too), our two external hard drives which are LOADED with photographs, my camera/lenses, a couple more flashlights, our little waterproof lantern, and my purse. Like I said...replaceable, but not at the same time. I try to do this without the kids seeing, because I don't want my anxiety to show too bad to them. I need them to remain calm so that they will listen should the need arise. We also have a huge space bag down there also that has a bunch of blankets in it. It stays in the same general area as where the storm bin is, so it's easily accessible!
Now, onto the contents of the actual bin:
- Water - I don't remember what the recommended amount per person is, but this year I will have two 1 gallon jugs in or near my bin
- Snacks - The kind that have a long expiration date so they can sit down there for 6 months without us having to worry about them. I'll probably have cracker sandwiches, protein bars, granola bars...things like that
- Diapers - A full package for Alaina, and a few for Justin when he sleeps
- Diaper cream
- Pacifier for Alaina
- Sippy cup for Alaina
- 4 plastic cups - for the rest of us
- A full change of clothes for all three kids - Hey, you never know!!!
- Paper towels
- A roll of toilet paper
- Zip top storage bags (to help keep down the smell of wet, stinky diapers)
- First Aid Kit - The one I bought is actually made in Michigan
- Hairbrush/rubber bands/barrettes/bobby pins/nail file/nail clippers
- Trash bag
Here is a picture of the contents of the bin so far. I still need to add the water, snacks, package of diapers, changes of clothes, and Kleenex. Not too bad for now! :-)
I hope this can help someone else! If you have a storm/emergency bin, what do you put in it? What is the main use of it? What was your motivation for having one?