Local professional organizer Darla DeMorrow wrote an entry on her blog about how to get rid of water in your basement. She writes:
Many families today might be dealing with water in their basement. My heart goes out to you. We got just a trickle this time, but a few years ago we had two solid inches of water throughout our basement. Here’s what to do if that is your situation today.
If you are lucky enough to have a sump pump, working electric, and just a little bit of water in an otherwise dry basement, then use a broom or mop to chase the water over to your sump pump so it can leave your basement right away. You can also use a wet/dry vac to evacuate the water. Remove the water right away to minimize the chance of mold and mildew growing.
If your floor is entirely covered with water, you almost certainly want to contact 911 and your insurance company. There is a possibility that the water is electrified, so don’t step in it. If you have an oil tank in the basement or if you store paint and chemicals down there, there is a good chance of contamination in the water, and you won’t want to walk in those chemicals. Your insurance company will arrange for pumps to be brought in and evacuate the water outside and arrange for fans and drying equipment. Wear appropriate safety equipment, including boots, gloves, and a face mask to protect yourself.
It’s a lot easier to get rid of stuff when it is wet. If you’ve been looking for a chance to downsize your basement stash, you just got it. You might be sad that things got ruined, but most people don’t want to keep items once they see them soggy.