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Of all the rooms in the house, the attic and basement probably earn the title of Most Likely to Be Cluttered. The basement might be the go-to space for laundry, a catch-all storage spot or a make-shift workshop. If you’re like most homeowners, your downstairs is a little bit of everything and crowded with stuff.
Take a look around, and imagine it all under water. Think about the expense of replacing all your belongings.
How can you reduce the cost of flooded basement cleanup before the disaster even happens?
It’s actually quite simple if you put these five unfinished basement ideas into action.
5 Ways to Lower the Cost of a Flooded Basement
Recovering from basement flooding takes hard work and patience. The expenses add up even if you do it yourself. These five strategies put you in a better position to deal with the mess and hold down flooded basement recovery costs.
1. Take a Realistic Assessment
If you’ve been thinking about transforming the basement into an extra room with carpet and paneling, consider the expense and potential for loss. An average makeover runs between $10,000 and $27,000, and you need to add coverage for the improvements to your home insurance policy.
An unfinished basement isn’t as glamorous as a downstairs den, but it doesn’t cost as much to restore after flood damage. Before making the investment, take a realistic assessment of how much risk you’re willing to take on.
2. Establish Priorities and Zones
Get tough with the stuff in your basement by kicking out clutter. You need room to reorganize things that need protection, so seize the opportunity to streamline. As you sort and prioritize, apply the one-year rule: If you haven’t used it in 12 months, let it go.
After you’ve freed up space, designate storage-only zones away from the furnace and appliances. This allows quick access to belongings when you face a potential water disaster. It also keeps paths clear if emergency crews have to address electrical hazards in the basement after it floods.
3. Elevate, Hang and Expand
Up the survival rate of items stored in the basement by elevating everything off the floor. Milk crates work, but vertical bin organizers give you more stability and space. Look for storage options that feature waterproof polymer or polypropylene coatings.
Install wall shelving, and hang overhead storage units from the ceiling. These options are best suited for lightweight items, but they free up space and expand water-safe areas in your main storage zones.
Power Tip: Put extra inches between belongings and a flooded basement floor with adjustable plastic pallets. These mini-elevators are ideal for oversized boxes and heavy items.
4. Know How and What Not to Store
Resist the temptation to use cardboard boxes or plastic bags as they can absorb moisture and breed mold and mildew. Water-proof containers with lids lock out the damp and shut out bugs and rodents.
Some things just don’t belong in the damp environment downstairs. Even if you run a dehumidifier, it can’t operate in a flooded basement. Don’t risk losing these belongings:
• Important papers, photographs and personal records
• Metal items that can rust
• Mattresses, bedding and drapes
• Clothing made from delicate fabrics
Power Tip: Use different colored felt tip markers to increase the organizing power of storage labels. Apply category tags to all four sides and tops of containers.
5. Make It All Easy to Reach
Dealing with a flooded basement poses enough risks, so don’t let stacks of stuff turn into a potential avalanche. Keep heavier things on the bottom, and don’t store containers above chest-level. Plastic bins and organizing systems are your safest bet for large-scale basement storage.
Use clear water-proof plastic totes or containers to group similar items. Whether you’re rescuing things from basement flood waters or retrieving them for everyday use, you can quickly find camping gear, holiday decorations or favorite tools.
Always Be Ready for the Worst
You only have to organize a basement once to protect belongings from expensive flood damage. By taking care of it now, you enjoy the peace of mind that comes from knowing that you’re ready for the worst. We also recommend reducing the risk of basement flooding with regular DIY inspections and maintenance routines.
When you’re done organizing, document the basement’s inventory with pictures. Check your home insurance policy to confirm coverage details, and update information with your agent.
Always keep emergency numbers handy so that you can quickly reach your insurance agent and a professional restoration company. You’ll sleep better knowing that you’re prepared for basement flooding well in advance.
We’re Here for You with Our Best
By sharing information and tips, we can all help each other make things a little easier at home and work. If you have any unfinished basement ideas that can hold down recovery costs, we invite you to join the conversation and contribute through our Comments Section.
Even when you’ve done your best to stay prepared, it’s hard to deal with the aftermath of water damage. We’re always here for you with the very best basement flooding cleanup services available in Chicago and the suburbs. You can count on ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba 24/7, so call us first.