Tips for Salvaging Your Personal Belongings Following Water Damage

For more than 30 years, Anytime Restoration has been a Twin Cities leader in restoring personal property following water and fire damage. Below are a handful of tips that can aid you in salvaging your personal belongings. 

If you’re facing major water damage from heavy rains or a burst pipe, the first thing on your mind is your possessions. You might be wondering, “How do I salvage water-damaged items?” or “What should I throw away and replace?” Because most individuals store their memory boxes in the basement, sentimental items are usually among the highest casualties of water damage. Here are tips for salvaging your personal possessions following water damage!

Work fast to identify monetary and sentimental valuables

The first and most important step is identifying your valuable possessions. Keep in mind that identifying monetary and sentimental value are both important in this process. The general rule of thumb for saving water-damaged items is 24 hours. If your wooden couch or table has been submerged in water for over 24 hours, there’s a greater chance the wood is permanently damaged or warped. If you’re feeling stuck or overwhelmed with what to salvage, answer these three questions:

  • What is most valuable to you? (monetary or sentimental value)
  • What is the least damaged and can be easily repaired/fixed?
  • What can be thrown away and replaced at a low cost?

Create the driest environment possible

After identifying which items can be salvaged, you need to create the driest environment possible. Your goal is maximizing airflow where the water damage has occurred. If the season permits, opening windows for maximum air circulation will greatly reduce the possibility of mold growth. If the season does not permit, your best option is to use several dehumidifiers and fans throughout your home. Do not use heaters or hair dryers as this can encourage the growth of mold in a warm, moist environment.

How to Fix Water Damage on Wood

As previously mentioned, the 24-hour rule is a good measure of how damaged an item is. If your basement flooded over the weekend while you were gone on vacation, it’s likely that anything wooden is ruined. However, if it has been less than 24 hours, you have a chance at saving your furniture. Once you move your furniture to a dry, cool place, allow it to air out for several days until any signs of moisture are gone. During this time, keep an eye out for mold and mildew growth.

How do I dry out water-damaged books? Paper objects? Clothes?

Though it might seem like smaller items are easier to repair or replace, they’re often the most important or sentimental. When it comes to books, important documents, clothes, and photographs, there are two general processes for restoration: salvaging and drying out.

Salvageable vs. Unsalvageable Items

If the paper item is not falling apart when you pick it up, it is still salvageable. If the item/paper falls apart when you attempt to pick it up, there are several options you can try. First, try picking up the paper with a flat spatula or a screen and transporting it onto a towel or flat surface to dry. If you aren’t able to salvage the document, you can attempt to use document scanning software on a mobile device or take a picture.

Where should I put damaged items?

If the water damage happens in the spring, summer, or fall, you have the option of hanging them from an outside clothesline to dry. However, you must be careful and keep them out of direct sunlight lest they get sun-bleached. If the water damage happens in a cold season, you can lay out the documents or photographs on a towel.

You Can Count on Anytime Restoration

At Anytime Restoration, our services include helping you salvage your household contents. Any household contents in the area are moved to allow timely and thorough mitigation. We can also provide cleaning and drying of personal items on-site or at our facility. Visit the contact us page, give us a call at (952) 345-4444 or utilize the online chat to talk to a professional immediately. 

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