One of the things I love about the internet is the serendipitous nature of finding interesting new ideas and information. Recently, I stumbled across the blog http://the-burning-house.com/.
The premise of Burning House is to photograph what you would grab to save from your home if it were on fire. Now a big disclaimer here - I don't for a New York minute believe that the things photographed are what most respondents would REALLY grab in a pitched emergency. But taken in a larger sense, I look at the choices the participants have made as more a "what would you grab if you had 10 or 20 minutes, and a carry-on bag?" i.e. what do you own that means the most to you? The responses are fascinating, and really beautifully presented; the site has a large number of photographs and stylists among those who have chosen to offer their answers to this provocative question.
I thought so much about this site that I decided to try to answer the question myself. I have no children, nor pets, so nothing live needs my help. My computer is completely backed up onto a thumb drive on my key ring, plus it's just too old and too BIG to carry around; getting an insurance payment and buying a new computer wouldn't be a terrible fate to face. Therefore, I was left to look for things just for me that would help me to feel like myself after a small crisis.
Above is my summary of what I would grab. Note that I own no family heirlooms, and all my photographs are backed up with my computer contents, so that simplified things for me.
Realistically, I would grab ALL of my jewelry (which is stored in a weird padded sleeve-like thing about the size of a small laptop) and ALL of my scarves. This would still leave me enough time to grab a plain black dress with a couple of changes of shoes, a cardigan and a turtleneck, some lingerie, and my handbag. My toiletries are always in my Tumi carry-on bag, so that would be easy... Assuming I'm wearing jeans and a top of some ilk, I would either put on or carry my trench coat, and that would be all.
But I reserve the right to change this. And to continue thinking about it for a long time to come.