How to build your Emergency Binder- Step 1

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How to build your Emergency Binder

1. Gather your materials

  • The first step is to find a binder.  3 Ring binders work the best.  You may choose a bright red color so you know which one it is, or your might choose a plain colored one to blend in with others.  Either way, grab a binder.
  • Find some sheet protectors, or order some from Amazon… They have a large variety and I love prime shipping in 2 days!
  • Find or buy an electronic storage device (This SanDisk Ultra 32GB micro is what we bought from Amazon… It would allow us to input that card into our phone to look at information).  The size you want will vary on how many personal property pictures, tax returns, credit reports, etc you may have.
  • Print off the emergency binder printable

Grab your Digital Emergency Binder HERE

2. Print off the checklist (page 3) and start making a “need to copy” list

  1. Print off the checklist of all the documents you’ll need.
  2. Cross off the ones you have, and don’t need copies of.
  3. Put a * by the ones you’ll need to make copies of.
  4. Put an X by the ones you’ll need to spend time digging around finding
  5. Last but not least, put a D by the ones you’ll just keep a “digital” file of

Start placing the “need to copy” material in a pile.  And place the other items you already have in your binder.  We’ll get to organizing it later.

3. Email Friends and family template

You’ll want a list of close family and friends’ phone numbers and addresses to keep in contact.  For those of you who don’t have their address, copy and paste the text below to help them understand what you need and why.

Hey!  I’m trying to get prepared and I am working on creating our Family Emergency Binder.  I want to have a list of all of my closest relatives and friends’ best phone numbers and addresses.  Will you give me those below?  

Best Phone Number:



P.S.  If you are interested in making your own binder, HERE is where I got my free printable.  

People you may want to include are:

  • Close Family (both in and out of state)
  • Friends and neighbors (those you’ll want to keep tabs of)
  • Also, you’ll want to include those names who are in your will

Be sure to keep these handy, or write them down on the “Family Contact” page of your emergency binder.

4. Plan an hour to “find stuff”

BE sure to set aside time THIS WEEK to find the items on your “need to find” list and put them with your binder.  This may take more than an hour.  If you don’t have that, spend 15-20 min each day working on it.  Schedule this on your calendar, or planner, and put it on your to-do list.

5. Plan a date for making copies

If you do not own a copier/scanner or printer at home, find a dateplace, and time for you to go make copies.  Plan on making the copies in 2 weeks.  You will NEED to make these copies to finish your binder, and it will be the second hardest step for those of you who are not able to do this from home.  Be sure to set the time aside so you can complete your emergency binder.

In Conclusion…

This first step to building your emergency binder is the hardest step!   But once you get the ball rolling, it will come together.  Don’t let this step stump you.  By the end of January, you’ll have your emergency binder ready!  It’ll be handy come tax season, and in the Fall with school starting.  Make sure you are subscribed to my email list to get next week’s post delivered to your inbox (that way if you fall behind, you can save it there to remind you to finish!)


I KNOW this is overwhelming!  I have been there… we lost our complete backup 6 months ago, and it was so overwhelming to start over (which is why I made my own free printable).

Take it one step at a time.  One step a day, or one step a week, it doesn’t matter.  Just start.  Today.

The Organization and Initial is the hardest part… don’t get stumped on this!  Comment below on any questions you may have.

Click to read next steps

Further Reading:

Why do I need an Emergency Binder?

How to Be Prepared for Anything

Emergency Preparedness

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Grab your Digital Emergency Binder HERE

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4 thoughts on “How to build your Emergency Binder- Step 1”

  1. There IS a problem with putting a Micro SD just into your phone to access your information. The one that’s already in your phone is critical to the phone’s operations of some if not nearly all the features it uses.
    So you can’t just swap out the cards to access the information like that without a risk.
    You may be able to find an adapter that the MicroSD’s adapter card that it can plug into your phone’s charge port (micro USB, Type C, lightning). It can be put into the adapter that comes with the Micro SD and plugged into most laptops, though! I think some of the more expensive tablets may be able to do this as well, check before buying one. Laptops are your friend in a SHTF kinda up and go emergency.

    1. Yep, it totally depends on your phone. My husbands past 8 years of Android has no problem just putting an SD card in. For an iPhone you’ll need an adapter, you can find them on Amazon for under $20 and will work too 🙂

  2. i have bee trying to download the printables but i keep getting the box to subscribe. and when i am able to download i can not open it up in my word program. it wants to go to micrsoft outlook.

    1. Thats frustrating! It’s a PDF, so word typically won’t let you open it. The link will work in your internet browser where you can download and print it from there. Or if you have a program where you can open PDFs you can try that as well.

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