0 Comments | Sep 19, 2013

Flooded With Clutter? Natural Disasters & Your Stuff

Boulder basement waist deep with water

Recently, B.B.F., (before Boulder flood) I helped an amazing 11 year old, Teddy, purge his toy collection. He looked at one toy thoughtfully and said, “If my house was on fire, I wouldn’t take this.” And out it went.

Out of the mouths of babes. We could all take a hint from this little genius.

Colorado is a mess. Obviously. Driving around Boulder, I see people piling up soaked carpet, furniture and other flotsam and jetsam from flooded homes. As an organizer, I imagine some of them kicking themselves for putting off their basement clean-out for so long. Coloradans stash all kinds of unused, unneeded, obsolete stuff in basements, and then ignore it for years. It’s probably the #1 area my clients procrastinate on de-cluttering (followed closely by old papers). And now floods have forced so many people to face those subterranean piles of detritus. Only now, it’s muddy-waterlogged. Oh joy.

I’m reminded of what happened 3 years ago when I was on evacuation alert during the Fourmile Canyon Fire. I wasn’t prepared. Yep, like the cobbler whose kids go barefoot, the organizer wasn’t organized. So, I made a list (now saved in my “vital docs” file) and piled some things in case I got the call… and got very clear on one thing: IT’S JUST STUFF. Unimportant. I won’t be devastated if I have to get something else to replace it.

After the fire, I tore through my house and filled my entire SUV with stuff I CAN LIVE WITHOUT to take to one of the crisis donation centers.

I want to ask you: what would (or did) you grab in a flood or fire? What de-cluttering have you been putting off that is costing you post-flood, or could cost you in the future? What are you waiting for? There is no better time than the present to look around you and think about what non-living things really matter, and start letting go. Especially when there are people who have lost everything and could use some of your stuff.

Hmm, maybe it’s time for me to clean out again….

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