Getting Organized After a Flood
Getting organized after any kind of disaster is difficult. Oftentimes, many items are ruined and not salvageable. I have worked with several clients who have experienced floods in their homes. These were not floods due to weather, but due to burst pipes. Burst pipes in between walls or in the ceiling had caused water damage to their homes.
After the flooding has stopped and a restoration company has repaired the walls, floors and other structural damage, my clients’ belongings were haphazardly piled in a dry area in bins and boxes. An event like this causes clutter and disorganization because there is nowhere else to put the belongings that were saved from the flood. The longer these items wait to be looked through, the higher the chance of mold growing, and the items being destroyed for good.
After a flood, the best way to organize is to start from scratch. Once the structural restoration is complete, return any furniture that was not damaged to the room. Sort and organize all other belongings that were taken out of that space as soon as possible.
Unfortunately, the type of items that I’ve most frequently seen destroyed by floods have been papers and photographs. If these are too damaged to keep, you can scan or take a digital photo if it is sentimental or important to you. As for everything else, toss anything that is moldy or destroyed.
Return the other items to your room in an organized fashion. Find a place for everything, and repurchase what you can. Work with the restoration company and your home insurance company to discuss what can be saved, or if the cost of lost items can be reimbursed.
Going forward, if you live in area prone to flooding, or are worried about protecting important items, consider using waterproof storage boxes. If you have a basement that floods sometimes, place your belongings on raised wood pallets. You can never be truly prepared for unexpected events like a flood or burst pipe, but if you act quickly, you can probably save some items. Keep in mind, if you do lose things, you still have the memories.
Preparing for emergencies by having an emergency preparedness kit and keeping an accurate home inventory can help in the event of any unexpected disaster. Keep your insurance company details on hand, and store copies of important papers offsite in a safe deposit box.
If you need to quickly get reorganized after a flood, a professional organizer can help to quickly and efficiently sort through the items. If you’re located in the Raleigh, North Carolina area, On Task Organizing can help. If you live elsewhere, there is probably a member of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals available locally to help you.