Friday, November 22

FYI: Stuff to say to someone who's house has been flooded.

*warning rant-y post*

Or ... What not to say...

Don't say:
* "Well it's only stuff, at least you're fine."
Yes it's true it is only stuff. But it was my stuff, some of it much loved and carefully curated, some of it crap. I don't suppose if I came along and got rid of all your stuff without asking you you'd be very happy about it either? Yes I appreciate that I'm alive but it is okay to mourn the loss of your possessions.

Maybe try:
* "I'm so glad you're safe." And/Or
* "Oh no! What have you lost? I'm so sorry"

Don't say:
* "Oh yeah our bathroom flooded once and it left such a mess, blah blah me me me..."
a) Don't change the subject to yourself. b) Whilst its nice to have empathy, believe me, it really isnt the same thing.

Try Instead:
* "How's it going with the insurance company? They can be a nightmare!"
I guarantee you they need to have a bitch about this.

Don't say:
* "Oh so you had a bit of time to evacuate atleast."
5 hours is not very much time. I'd like to see you try and pack up a house of everything you own and transport it to a safe place using just a ute or 2 in 5 hours. Not easy. I promise.

Try instead:
* "What have you lost that might seem only small and uninsurable but that you are missing?"
This happened to us. We lost our seed collection and my wrapping paper collection. Silly incidental things - but to receive all that wrapping paper and seeds in the post was THE BEST booster during a hard year.

Don't Say:
* "Do you want some help?"

Try Instead:
* "Im coming down in 2 weeks, I will do any jobs you want me to, I'm bringing beer."
If you just ask if they want help they might say no. It's all pretty overwhelming. And of course they might say Yes - but starting out by arranging a time shows that your truley want to come, its not just an empty gesture.


  1. I look around my home and I can't imagine knowing what I would pack and like you say it's the little things like wrapping paper and seeds that upset you when you try and begin living in your home again after a flood. I'm a bower bird and I love having my 'things' around me and I just know I would be so sad if we ever experienced a flood or fire and lost all of our possessions. I know it's only stuff but if takes a life time to collect your own stuff that makes you happy. Know one ever really knows how much your shoes pinch unless they've walked a mile in them. x

  2. Thanks for this post! It's important to know the appropriate words to say in order to comfort those who got flooded. It's hard to look at the damage that has been done by the flood, and they should be given the right encouragement to restore their houses and furniture. You can also help them find a contractor that can help them with the restoration jobs. :)

    Yang Farnham @

  3. Thanks for pointing this out! I believe some people mean well when they say such things, although they are unaware of how it affects the other person emotionally. At any rate, having your home flooded is a tragic event. My thoughts are with the people who have to endure such incidents.

    Gail Wallace

  4. In a situation like yours, I have to agree that people should just do something to help you out rather than keep saying how those are just stuff and that at least you were safe. I know that’s silver lining, but saying “those are just stuff” won’t make things any better. Anyway, I hope you recovered well from your loss. Like that tattered poster on the back of your kitchen cabinet, I want to you to “keep calm and carry on!”

    Barry Chavez @ Carsons Cleaning & Restoration


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