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How To Save Your Stuff! By Scott M. Haskins CNN and The Weather Channel are burning up the hours talking about and watching Tropical Storm Danielle in the Atlantic. When winds hit 100 mph everyone¶s radar perked up considerably. But ³Where is it going to hit the Atlantic Coast?´ is the question everyone asks them? Then« it sputters overnight and they drop the hurricane designation« then it may perk up and blast off! Hang on. Actually, with tongue in cheek, the weather guru¶s answer the question of where it may make landfall, ³Maybe Newfoundland.´ Or maybe Boston. Whaaaat? Then they add« but wait till you see what¶s behind Danielle! Earl is nothing now, but there¶s a pattern brewing that looks really bad and its probability of going south to Florida is very good. And, who is Frank?! He¶s loaded off the African Coast, lined up and ready to travel. Take a look at the video http://www.weather.com/outlook/videos/watching-danielle-6584#6584 ³The pipeline is loaded, as they say.´ People love to see the prognosticator¶s be wrong« especially when they predict dire weather conditions like the hurricane experts at the beginning of this season. But to date« nothin¶ to speak of! What¶s up with these guys NOT eating their words or back peddling to say Mother Nature is in charge and she changed her mind? Here we are three months into what was supposed to be a devastating hurricane season and there have been no threats! Well, hang on. The pinnacle or hot spot of hurricane season is Sept. 10th CNN reports. And guess what. None of the hurricane experts are ready to back off of their predictions. That¶s kind of scarry« If you go to the Weather Channel¶s ³Get Ready´ video area, there are suggestions on caulking, fire safety, Tune Up Your House and even Water Conservation. But what about the things that mean the most to you!?
At the National Genealogical Conference in Salt Lake City, I interviewed a lady who had really been through it. For a very heart felt story, see this video at
A Flood of Memories Matt Steward, disaster relief community volunteer wrote home to parents that when he arrived in the devastated area, ³All they had us do was look for people¶s memorabilia floating in the water.´ After everyone is safe and accounted for, the biggest reason people mourn after a disaster is for the lost memories, things that can¶t be paid for by insurance: family history, personal keepsakes and beloved memorabilia.
Ahead of the Storm But it doesn¶t have to be that way. There are many things a person can do to protect the most important business, personal and family items:
Make Copies y Make copies of documents and photos and send them to someone out of the area. y The ink on good laser copies won¶t run with water. Photocopy, photocopy, photocopy. Your printer at home isn¶t archival. The ink runs and fades.
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Many photos kept on hard drives can be copied to relatives. Scan docs. But remember, this is a back up« not a preservation technique for saving the original. Find a place to store items on high ground (top shelf of a closet) Put memories in clean plastic tubs. Get your photos, books, letters out of cardboard boxes. If they get wet, they stain everything Don¶t leave, or store long term, boxes of stuff in the attic. The heat of attics won¶t be good for original old photos and papers.
If it seems like a big discouraging job and you have too much stuff to copy, start with the few most important things. Do the job a little at a time.
After a Storm Hits ± Clean Up But, of course, for those in the path of the storm, the horse is already out of the barn. As you read this, millions of folks are dealing with an onslaught of flood waters. All are cleaning up and searching for cherished items of family memories that have been damaged and seem ruined. The question -- ³What to do now?´ -- has an answer. Knowing what to do after a disaster has struck may allow you to save your most cherished possessions. If it¶s valuable to your family, don¶t throw it out just because it¶s stained, moldy, wet or torn. There may be a way to get help.
Here are a few suggestions from www.saveyourstuff.com (also www.saveyourstuffblog.com) y Cradle wet papers, documents and light books in a strong paper towel. Don¶t handle them with your fingers: They will rip. y Putting muddy, dirty photos in a clean tray (tub) of water will keep them stable for days until you can get help or coaching. y Blot, blot, blot. Don¶t scrub and rub on your books, photos and collectables. y Perhaps the best two items you can get after you¶ve had water damage is a big fan to move the air and as many paper towels as you can find. Talk to Someone Before You Throw Your Damaged Stuff Away Have you had books ruined by mold or photos that have stuck together in a pile? Perhaps you have had frames bashed, a painting that was torn or items that were smoke damaged? I visited yesterday with a woman who suffered a total loss because of the toxic smoke from a fire over six months ago. She was still an emotional basket case. With some proper instruction and help, it doesn¶t have to be like that. Stay hopeful and find help. Much can be done to recoup your treasured family items, even if it¶s a long time after the fact. The cost? Yes, that¶s a major factor. That¶s why I try to empower the homeowner to do as much as possible. Most of the items to be retrieved have no monetary value. Every dollar has to stretch a long way, especially in times of crisis.
So, here are a few invaluable resources: y Personal property appraisal questions? www.personalpropertyappraisal.com y Art Conservation - art restoration questions: www.fineartconservationlab.com 805 564 3438 for a free chat and help with a referral y y What can you do at home? www.saveyourstuffblog.com Need help talking to your insurance company about all your ³stuff?´ Call us at 805 564 3438 for a free chat. y On Facebook: ³Save Your Stuff´ and ³Preserving Family History´
Go to the ³Products´ page of www.saveyourstuff.com and order ³How To Save Your Stuff From A Disaster´ the national preservation best seller. Also, order Museum Wax. The two best ways to prepare your treasured family collectibles, and family history.