Dealing with Domestic Disasters: Six Items to Have on Hand

A few weeks ago, I had what you might call a plumbing disaster. I’ll spare you the details, but it involved a toilet and a LOT of water. While the experience was anything but fun, it reminded me of the importance of having a few items on hand for when domestic disasters strike. Perhaps my experience can help you avoid a similar one—or at least effectively clean up when the flood has abated.

A Plunger
No matter what you tell yourself about your bathroom habits, everyone should have a plunger. Because let me tell you, when you really need one, it’s usually too late to go buy one.

A Large Sponge
If it hadn’t been thrown in with my things as padding during a move, I definitely wouldn’t have had one of these on hand. But I was very happy I’d held onto it when I suddenly needed a way to remove three inches of water from my floor. Sponges are useful and versatile and really, just go get yourself one now. The bigger and more absorbent, the better.

A Bucket
Great for catching water from a leaky ceiling, or collecting it if a mishap causes a mini flood. And when you don’t need it, use it to store cleaning supplies. You don’t need anything fancy—something from the Dollar Tree will do.

Spray Bottle
A most versatile item, spray bottles are especially wonderful for hard-to-reach cleaning jobs. When my oven started billowing smoke due to a butter pool at the bottom of it (thanks to a cheesecake), I learned about the vinegar spray/baking soda cleaning method. Spray vinegar on the surface, cover with baking soda to create a paste, and then wipe it off.

Old Towels, T-shirts, or Rags
This is another great way to mop up water caused by a leak or overflow. When they’re not soaking up water on your floor, use them for cleaning instead of wasting another roll of paper towels.

Rubber Gloves
When you’re getting your hands dirty, there’s nothing like a decent pair of rubber gloves to keep them from actually getting dirty. Because who wants to touch that nasty toilet rim anyway?