How To Protect & Repair Keepsakes During Hurricane Season
Scott Haskins, the Save Your Stuff Expert, stopped by recently to give our readers some tips to help protect keepsakes before hurricane season. He also gave us some insight on ways to repair documents and photos that have been damaged during previous storms.
At the National Genealogical Society’s annual meeting in Salt Lake City, UT, I terrified a group of archivists when I showed them a scrapbook/photo album that had been badly ruined by water and had grown an ugly crop of mold. The morning before the conference started, a distraught lady had given me two of these books unwilling to deal with the mess. Inside are treasured family photos including those of grandparents now gone, documents and certificates of graduations and church ceremonies, letters from young children and lots of cute children growing up. Can you image just throwing out something like this?
There is help available to salvage these situations and this type of damage is totally avoidable! This disaster occurred while the documents were in a cardboard box, on the front driveway of their house, during a local move. You don’t necessarily need a hurricane or flood to have disaster. It can be a situation all of your own making.
So, here are some helpful tips that will help get you prepared:
Ahead of the Storm
Make copies of important documents and irreplaceable photos and send them to someone out of the area.
The ink on good laser copies won’t run with water. Photocopy, photocopy, photocopy… but remember, your ink jet on your desk is NOT archival and the inks will run!
Many photos kept on hard drives can be copied to another location. Scan docs.
Get a copy of Jan and Laura Greenwald’s newest book/program The Backup Plan 3.0 and do the five minute exercises to get your home and treasured keepsakes in great shape!
For items at home or in the office
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 cardboard boxes get wet, they stain everything.
If you stash boxes of stuff in the attic in an emergency situation, don’t leave them there long term.. . The heat of attics won’t be good for original old photos and papers.
An inventory and appraisals will be very important to have. Go to www.personalpropertyappraisal.com
Shake proof your house and office to minimize the flying around of objects and breakage. Museum Wax is an excellent product.
After A Storm Strikes
Knowing what to do after a disaster has struck may allow you to save your most personal and valued possessions. If it’s valuable in any way, don’t throw it out just because it’s stained, moldy, wet or torn. There may be a way to get help.
Talk to Someone Before You Throw Your Damaged Items 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 recently 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 because of the unsettled situation with possessions she loved. 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 lost items of value, even if it’s a long time after the fact.” If you need help interacting with your insurance company, visit this site for more information, examples and referrals. go to for more information, examples and referrals for help.
For a copy of “How To Save Your Stuff From A Disaster” go to www.saveyourstuff.com.
Have Fun Getting Your Stuff Together! We’ll talk later…
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