Brisbane Flood 2011

It has been a tough couple of weeks here in my home town of Brisbane and in my home state of Queensland with the devastating floods impacting so many lives. I live in a beautiful area on the Brisbane River and I love to walk along the river with my dogs and enjoy the water and I always come away feeling refreshed and revived.  Last week that river was under my house and I was not feeling too refreshed.

The ABC has released amazing “Before & After” images illustrating just how extensive the flooding was. You can view these truly amazing images at:

I felt I was prepared for the flood but nothing ever really prepares you to see your things out on the footpath waiting for a frontloader to pick it up. I was also unprepared (in a good way) for my wonderful friends and gorgeous strangers who turned up on Friday to help clean up. A process that took three days!

In my work with clients we look at letting go of things and being free to live without clutter and the hold our belongings can sometimes have on us. Before we can let go of things our things though, we need to have flicked a switch in our brains which tells us that the time is right to review how we live and what we carry with us. It is only when we mentally acknowledge that it is ok, can you be truly successful in changing how you live. It is a very different process when a flood (or other natural disaster) comes along and your belongings are damaged or lost. Whether you have a lot or a few belongings, when flood water takes our things from us it is naturally a highly emotional time because we have had no or little say in what belongings we will keep and what can go. Flood water does not discriminate!

So if a loved one has lost belongings please be mindful that their pain is very real because their belongings have value to them and they were not ready to let their things go. This is not the time to discuss or even joke about decluttering or downsizing – this is a time for love and nurture and to let people come to terms with their loss in their own time.

You may be like me and wondering how to clean some things. In the clean up I discovered a photo albums of my Dad (who passed away 9 years ago). It was very important for me to do whatever I could to return these photos to good condition and I found the following information very helpful. For information on how best to clean flood affected homes and to care for photos, go to

Flood Fundraising

To play our part in raising funds for flood victims, Successful Living will donate 10% of any services purchased in January and February 2011 to The Flood Relief Appeal to help support the emergency relief efforts. I would also encourage people to make individual donations to the Premier’s Flood Relief Appeal by going to:

2 Responses to Brisbane Flood 2011

  • What a beautiful post. Thanks for sharing your experience of going through the floods. Decluttering, as we know, is all about choice and choosing the outcome for our belongings. Floods ripped that choice right out of anyone’s hands. It is heartbreaking to witness, let alone go through it?!

    I am so very glad the photos of your dad could be saved.

    Louise xo

  • Heartfelt thanks Narelle, for sharing your experiences of the floods, which you’ve described so poignantly. My thoughts are with you and your family in the big clean up and recovery.