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Organizing Ahead of Floods and Storms

House with Storm Damage

Organizing Ahead of Floods and Storms

Before and after flooding, organizing and preparation pays off and lowers stress.

PHILADELPHIA, PA, UNITED STATES, July 12, 2023/ -- Floods are devastating the East Coast. Storms are damaging valuable belongings in countless basements. Families and storm recovery pros have to throw out keepsakes, photos, and household items from basements every year due to local disasters like floods.

“My heart goes out to the folks on the East Coast, especially those in Vermont, dealing with devastating flooding right now,” says Darla DeMorrow, Certified Professional Organizer® and owner of HeartWork Organizing. “Serious flooding that threatens life and property is not going to be fixed with a little organizing. But if you are fortunate enough right now to be dry, then you have time to prep for the next storm that is coming your way.”

The awful truth is that if a basement had water once, it will happen again. Taking steps well before storms hit makes it easier to protect belongings. Cleanup is easier when belongings are protected and put away correctly before basements flood again.

Steps to Organize Before a Disaster

Here are the steps to organize at home ahead of lightning, floods, and storms:

- Declutter. If it is not used or needed, do not store it in the basement.

- Store smaller things in plastic bins, not cardboard. There is no truly waterproof bin, but plastic bins that are intact do a much better job of preventing water damage than cardboard boxes do.

- Store bins on metal shelves. 

- Raise larger items, like tools and unused furniture, up off the floor with non-wicking lifts.

- Permanently remove photos, irreplaceable books, and genealogy records from the area and relocate them to main living areas, preferably on the second floor.

- Record a home inventory.

A Home Inventory is an Important Organizing Tool

A home inventory is a record of items within a household and an estimate of what the items are worth. A home inventory can relieve the stress of having to recall this information after a flood.

Some free online home inventory options include an app like HomeZada, Allstate Insurance Digital Locker, or even a DIY video recording on a cell phone. If disaster strikes, these apps keep home information in a safe, secure cloud solution.

Respond After a Household Flood

After a flood invades a home, Jakub Mochon and his team from The Junkluggers of Berks, Chester, and Lancaster, PA, uses a sustainable approach to junk removal. Mochon says that they “remove just about anything to help declutter, organize, or move a household, including removing items from flooded basements.”

DeMorrow stresses, wet photos and books can often be saved, even if they are stuck together. “As soon as possible, put wet photos into plastic bags and store them in a freezer, to stop mold growth. Sometimes photos can be rinsed and dried after a flood, then digitally preserved.”

A home inventory can make filing insurance documents much easier. Home inventories can also result in higher claims payouts, since they document the contents and the value lost or damaged.

Darla DeMorrow
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