Georgina Guedes

What would you save from your burning house?

2013-01-31 14:48

Georgina Guedes

An article on showcased the work of designer and photographer Foster Huntington, as he asked people to assemble the items that they would rescue from their burning house. Of course, the exercise pre-supposes that your family and your pets have escaped.

So, in imagining that my home is being consumed by a slow-burning fire, but my children, husband, cat and dog are safely huddled on the lawn with me, here are the 10 things that I would venture back in for, with a damp towel wrapped around my head:

1.    The 1T external hard drive that contains all my backed-up work as well as 10 years of digital photographs. In fact, this exercise made me so paranoid about this hard drive that I have determined to make a copy of the whole thing and store it at my mom’s house.

2.    My Kindle. I’m awfully fond of it, but I haven’t insured it yet. I’ll count on the insurance to cover the big-screen TV, the computers and various other high-cost items.

3.    My wedding and engagement rings. I don’t wear them all the time, but I love them – the engagement ring was bought in Brazil, the wedding ring was made and engraved specially – so they’re irreplaceable.

4.    A bundle of clothes. Replacing clothing is a ball-ache, and I just updated my wardrobe with a pile of stuff from the Zara sale. Some of it I haven’t even worn yet. Such a waste for it to get eaten up by a raging inferno.

5.    My daughter’s Lego. She loves that stuff. Having a house burn down is pretty traumatic. Having her Lego will help.

6.    My son’s singing dinosaur. He’s not that attached to it – he mostly wants our cell phones, our keys and our remote controls – but if he one day asks what I saved for him when our house burnt down, I’d like to be able to give a good answer.

7.    My daughter’s first babygrow. I have a lot invested in my dream of showing her that she was once that small.

8.    My son’s first babygrow. Ditto.

9.    My cookbook collection. Does this count as one item? Could I drag the whole shelf out of the house? If I had to choose just one… I couldn’t. I’d dither in indecision as burning shards of my roof collapsed around my ears.

10.    The fair-trade earthenware Peruvian cooking pot made by a women’s collective and given to us as a wedding present by two dear friends. I love that thing.

I look back over the list and I am surprised by the insignificance of most of those items. As much as we spend most of our lives scuttling about in pursuit of material things, the really important things are family and good health. And of course, it helps that we have such things as insurance, or that list might look a whole lot different.

- Georgina Guedes is a freelance writer. You can follow @georginaguedes on Twitter.

Send your comments to Georgina

Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24

- News24


Hollywood exposed

2014-12-19 15:23


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Restaurant Manager

Western Cape
SET Recruitment Consultants
R20 000 - R30 000 Per Month

upply Chain Manager

Western Cape
ZIMCO Group (PTY) Ltd
R30 000 - R40 000 Per Month

Accountant - Cape Town

Western Cape
Quantum Recruitment

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go! - shop online today

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at While stocks last. Shop now!

30% off the bestselling books

Save big on the most captivating reads of 2014. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25


The energy today is serious, materialistic and hardworking. You may find you get a new outlook on things and you may want to more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.