Fire-proof storage: A review + giveaway

10 October 2014

I have to admit I have never been very diligent about keeping my valuable documents/belongings safe from disaster. I think part of my problem is that I don’t like to think about disasters or believe that one will befall me. (I realize that this type of head-in-the-sand thinking is ridiculous and not at all helpful.)

SentrySafe, a manufacturer of fire-proof safes, is the most prominent brand of these products that I know. So I was delighted to be contacted by them, asking me to partner up with them to spread the word about the importance of fire-proof storage. This dovetails nicely with my interest in preserving precious inherited items and keeping them safe.

SentrySafe sent me two of their newest products to try out and keep, the Alarm Safe, that helps keep documents safe from burglary, as well as fire, and the Guardian Storage Box, a water- and fire-resistant file box. You can read all the details on both products at the SentrySafe store. And here’s something exciting: SentrySafe is offering a giveaway on both these new products to readers of my blog! Just scroll to the bottom of this post to read the rules and enter.

What I love about the Alarm Safe is that I don’t have to worry about a bad guy zeroing in on the safe and just picking up the whole thing and walking away with it. The Alarm Safe comes with heavy bolts to secure the safe to the floor. Lazy bones me finds that a daunting task. What makes the Alarm Safe special is that it has an alarm on it that will go off if someone picks it up; tries to pry it open; jolts, hits or jars it; or if there are more than five attempts to enter the digital alarm code. The alarm on the safe has to be armed (like my home security system has to be set), but that is not a difficult detail to remember.

The Guardian Storage Box is a fire-safe file box that holds hanging file folders. It’s also water resistant, so if sprayed by firefighters the contents would not be damaged. I love that it is shaped to hold a large quantity papers, unlike many safes (including the Alarm Safe). I think it’s a great adjunct to the safes.

The safe and the file box arrived recently and I haven’t yet stocked them. But I have put a little thought into what I will put in them. Valuables will go into the safe and papers that no robber would want will go into the file box, where they can stay organized.

I wrote a guest post for SentrySafe’s blog about how to choose what to store in a protected environment. In it, I include these categories of items that might best be stored in a fireproof safe or storage box:

  • Truly irreplaceable and important items, like inherited items, handmade items, genealogy papers and family histories. (Or backup disks of genealogy documents that are stored electronically.) Irreplaceable childhood keepsakes (a baptismal gown or a tooth for example) or items that represent major milestones (the medal from your first marathon) fit into this category.
  • Documents that you want easy access to or would be troublesome to replace, like passports, birth certificates, vehicle titles and original social security cards
  • Items you would need immediately after a fire, like insurance documents and medications lists
  • Valuables, like jewelry, a coin collection, and cash. (Leave out your pearls, though; they’re extremely temperature sensitive and can be damaged at lower temperatures, so a fire-proof safe might not protect them.)
  • Information that would help your heirs with your estate after you pass away or if you fall ill, like your will, power of attorney, and health care directives. You can also have a notebook with account numbers and passwords, along with other pertinent information. I have filled out the “Exit Strategies workbook”: with my elderly parents and take great comfort in knowing that both their financial life and their final wishes are documented. A fire-proof safe in my parents’ home is a perfect place for that workbook—assuming I have the combination.

In short, I’m going to store those few irreplaceable things that would devastate me if they were destroyed, as well as items that would be very helpful in the event of a tragedy.

Here’s the info on the giveaway!

SentrySafe has generously offered to give one Alarm Safe and one Guardian Storage Box to two lucky readers of this blog. To enter, post a comment below about what you would store in the Alarm Safe or Guardian File Box. After you’ve entered with a comment, you may get additional entries by tweeting about the giveaway (be sure and use @janinea in the tweet, so that I see it) and/or writing on the wall or commenting at the Peace of Mind Organizing Facebook page. The contest ends at 11 pm, central time, on Sunday, October 20. I’ll select the winners at random and announce their names on Monday, October 21.

The giveaway is over and the winners selected. Their names are announced here. Congrats to the winners!

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I would store Safe or Guardian File Box photos of the family, money for emergency, blanket to keep us warm and personal info such as deeds, social security cards birth certificates And etc!

Rana durham 10/10/2014 09:13 AM

I would store all of my important documents and photos in the safe, along with extra keys and jewelry.

Barbara Mayes 10/10/2014 09:14 AM

birth certificates

brian manis 10/10/2014 09:17 AM

I would store photos in the Guardian Storage Box

Cindy 10/10/2014 09:17 AM

I would store important papers & cherished photos.

Tricia Martin 10/10/2014 09:27 AM

I would store passports.

Kerry Simpson 10/10/2014 09:36 AM

I would store all my family photos, my important documents like passports, id card, degree certificates and money.

Nidhi Chauhan 10/10/2014 09:43 AM

I would store important documents like birth certificate, deeds, and cd’s that hold my pictures.

Eva Biggs 10/10/2014 10:04 AM

My husband & I just started collecting silver coins and the rarely seen gold coins, so having any kind of safe would be nice to have. My husband is also battling cancer, so we actually need a safe place for all his important papers, medications, and such.

Colleen Schilinski 10/10/2014 10:16 AM

I would use this for birth certificates, passports, mortgage and bank info, and Baby Books.

ILona 10/10/2014 10:40 AM

I would store my children’s child safety kits and irreplaceable family photos

Crystal Gothe 10/10/2014 11:47 AM

I’d love to store important documents like social security cards, birth certificate, pictures of personal items in my home for insurance claim purposes, etc.

Em Mahr 10/10/2014 11:56 AM

i would keep all my important documents and valubles.

jessica 10/10/2014 03:42 PM

In the Guardian File Box, I would store my work documents since they’re confidential and I’m supposed to hold onto them for quite awhile. I would also put some important documents like SS cards, birth certificates, etc. in there as well. With the alarm safe, probably put important documents and some family jewelry I own.

Kristin Welch 10/10/2014 03:54 PM

I would store my important documents such as Social security numbers, birth certificates etc, things of that nature. I am sure it will be helpful to us

CR Williams 10/10/2014 04:08 PM

I would put my family’s birth records, social security information, and rare money/dollar bills that I have been collecting since I was young!!
I also Tweeted about this giveaway as @bearyfunscrap

Becky VanGinkel 10/10/2014 07:15 PM

I would store the hard to replace documents like birth certificates, mementos that I want to keep forever like photos of dds and grandma’s heirloom jewelry!

@sweetmatcha 10/10/2014 08:55 PM

birth certificates, SSN cards, passports, photo cds, certificates for jewelry, and extra cash

Audrey 10/10/2014 09:07 PM

I would store birth certificates, marriage certificate, social security cards, titles/deeds, pictures, videos (DVDs & VHS). Along with emergency cash and credit cards! My jewelry would have a safe place as well. I could store a lot of important articles with the large amount of space!

@n210ss 10/11/2014 12:16 AM

I’d like to keep my life and home insurance policies in the safe along with jewelry and birth certificates. Could
really use this in Florida since I live in hurricane alley!

Nancy Reid 10/11/2014 07:17 AM

Items I don’t access often: “When I die book for executor”…all the items they will need to close out my estate. That gives me peace of mind… We are all terminal but the Sentry File will outlive us all!

Teresa Mitzel 10/11/2014 12:16 PM

I went thru this 2 years ago. Wasnt gone much more than an hour or so. Come back to 5 fire trucks. There r things i can never replace. Wish i would of had one of these then. But i didnt and some of the things that i lost that bothered me the most was pictures and things i had from a kid that were from grandparents and parents. My grandchildrens and kids home made cards. I sure wish i could get them
Back. I had lost my mom and dad just prior to the fire 11 months apart. We always think it wont happen to us but i wish i had one of these then i
Wouldnt have lost the import items in my life

Deb perkins 10/11/2014 12:37 PM

I would store passports, birth certificates, social security cards, jewelry and other important documents in there.

Julie D 10/11/2014 11:52 PM

I would store our adoption papers and birth certificates and marriage license,jewelry,cash,checks,coins.

Carolyn Barnett 10/13/2014 12:32 PM

I would store important documents, jewelry and money.

Adella Gonzalez 10/14/2014 07:16 AM

I would store important original documents, deeds, copy of will and birth certificates and marriage license, etc.

margery Lorusso 10/15/2014 09:36 AM

I am no different than most others, vital documents, heirloom jewelry and picture cds. Thanks for the opportunity! Great email this morning, btw.

Karen Buteyn 10/15/2014 09:45 AM

Oh, the document safe would be a GREAT Christmas gift for my parents! I would help them file their will, power of attorney, bank account info, lawyer & accountant info! Might need to put a special box of candy inside for Christmas day when they open :)
Thank you Janine, for the idea!

Rene 10/15/2014 09:45 AM

Storage of birth & marriage certificates, CD’s of photo’s and other important scanned documents. Thanks for the opportunity to win one of these Sentry Safes!

Dee 10/15/2014 09:46 AM

I would store all the items that are currently in my “Important Papers” file.

Terri Fischer 10/15/2014 09:49 AM

I have longed to have a safe where I can keep our will as well as medical directives and passwords. I would also like to keep a digital backup of all things genealogical as well as five personal items from each of us that touched us somehow so those stories and items can be passed down to future family members. This is such a great giveaway. Thanks for the opportunity! ♥

AmandaY 10/15/2014 10:07 AM

I would store an external hard drive with all my digital photos and documents. Also, passports, marriage and birth certificates and other important papers.

Debbie 10/15/2014 10:07 AM

I would store my genealogy especially original sources in my safe. Hopefully that will never be needed for replacement.

Carol Kuse 10/15/2014 10:48 AM

I would love to be able to store family mementos, pictures, documents (wills, social security cards, etc.) and my wife’s b’day is 10/22 so I know that she as much as I would LOVE to have this – we’re kind of a junked up filing mess right now!

Ray Jost 10/15/2014 10:53 AM

Thank you for this opportunity! I would store important documents (birth certificates, wedding license, copies of deeds and bills of sale, voter registration cards, etc.) as well as a household inventory and some precious memories (pictures, locks of hair for each child, one special drawing, a watercolor of my grandparents’ home, etc.). So many things to keep just in case. Obviously, what is saved would be limited by the box’s size.

Marlo 10/15/2014 10:59 AM

I have often thought about what would happen if a fire destroyed all of our birth certificates, passports, social security cards, etc. What a mess to try to replace those documents! A safe at home is so much more convenient than a safety deposit box at a bank.

Anne Schweiss 10/15/2014 12:48 PM

wow, birth certificate, passport, deeds, photos — thanks!

Paulita 10/15/2014 01:12 PM

I would get two. One for financial records, passports and legal documents that would be hard to replace. . Plus a 2nd one for treasured family photos and letters, and heirloom jewelry.

Judy James 10/15/2014 01:30 PM

I would store important documents and a few keepsakes.

Julie Briscoe 10/15/2014 02:03 PM

We just finished updating our wills, power of attorney, etc. These would be the first items in the safe. (I’ve been out looking at fireproof safes) Life insurance policies, birth and marriage certificates, discharge papers, funeral arrangements and other documents would be housed in the safe. Having these items all together in a secure place will make the job of our executor easier. The storage box would be great for my important genealogy records, plus ancestors’ photos.

Donna Fisch 10/15/2014 03:07 PM

I would store passports, soc sec cards, insurance and trust docs, car titles, back up hard drives, photos and genealogy research. And some cash that hopefully won’t be needed.

Jane 10/15/2014 04:09 PM

I wouls store house title ,car title ,insurance and birth certificates, SS card and important photos and family Bible ,will and power of attourney. possibly a family brooch..All now stored at bank which is not always readily available, Thanks for offering this forum … causes one to think what’s really important

PEg Sharp 10/15/2014 04:35 PM

Hi Janine! I would place my real jewelry, my childrens’ baby pictures, and the key to my safe deposit box in the fireproof box. Thank you

CONNIE BRENNAN 10/16/2014 02:13 PM

I would love to put my jump drives, hard drives with photos in it. Also some jewelry what has sentimental value. Practical side, birth certificate, car/home papers, credit card info.

Sue Anne mason 10/16/2014 02:21 PM

What’s really important?….Legal documents- birth certificates, marriage license, wills, passports etc; But Emotional your family photos, Family Letters especially in my family, A hand written journal of my Great grand father in 1870. I can go on and on but you get the picture. But what is really important is you live each day as if it were your last! Say I love you to your family every day!

Bill Daniels 10/17/2014 08:33 AM

I would store my computer back-up drives, password, birth certificate, Social Security card, password record and a handful of irreplaceable family photos that have not yet been digitized.

Julie Bestry 10/19/2014 06:34 PM

First off, I am so happy I found your blog, I LOVE IT!!! I bought a Sentry Safe for my parents last Christmas and they love it. I want to get one for my mother in law next.

For us, we need to move our records and files somewhere safe, rather than the plastic bin they are in now. Items such as my dads old family photos, birth certificates, and old home movies that I have put on DVD. Family memories are important and should be stored somewhere protected just as much as our important documents.

Thanks for the chance to win one :)

Joe Macaluso 10/19/2014 07:05 PM

Would love a sentry safe to store my valuables in.

Susan Taylor 10/19/2014 09:47 PM

I would have insurance policies, birth certificates, important photos, vehicle titles, and loan documents in there.

Lynne Kenyon 10/20/2014 09:40 AM

All serious and reliable safes must have a ranking and classification. Refractory (Bezpečnostní a Ohnivzdorné trezory) is usually expressed in terms of time. This is the time that a safe and tight withstand the heat inside. Burglary usually measured in a certain amount of money.

Mantas 09/12/2016 12:59 AM

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About Janine

Janine Adams

Hello! I’m Janine Adams — a certified professional organizer based in St. Louis, and the creator of Peace of Mind Organizing®.

I love order, harmony + beauty, but I believe that the way that you feel about yourself and your home is what truly matters.

If you’re ready to de­clutter with a purpose and add more ease to your life, you’ve found the right blog — and you’ve found the right gal.

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