Clutter around the home can accumulate despite your best intentions. But it isn't simply a nuisance to grumble about: It can create health and safety risks. Learn what's at stake—and how to tackle the problem.
Recognize the Dangers
A little disorder is not a big issue, but when clutter affects your family's health, safety and cleanliness, it's time to take action. Clutter is at the heart of these hazards:
- Fires: Excess stuff not only fuels fires, it also can block your escape path and slow down firefighters' access.
- Dust: Asthma, allergies and other respiratory ailments can be worsened by the dust, pet dander and dirt that collect on clutter.
- Tumbling towers: Items stacked too high can easily be bumped and topple over.
- Tripping or falling: Falls are one of the leading causes of unintentional injuries in the U.S. Toys, papers and other items strewn across the floor can set the stage for sprains, broken bones and even head injuries.
- Mold and mildew: Objects such as shampoo bottles that litter wet surfaces are breeding grounds for many types of harmful microbes.
- Pests: Clutter is the perfect hiding—and breeding—place for pests such as mice and bedbugs.
- Stress: Your mental health can suffer when clutter becomes overwhelming or makes you embarrassed to invite guests to your home.
Decluttering can take place at any time of the year—and the results are typically very satisfying. Take back your home with these simple tips:
- Focus on one room at a time.
- Be patient: Recognize that it took time for your home to become cluttered, and it will take time to change the situation.
- Involve the entire family.
- Take action: Put it away, donate it, recycle it or toss it.
- Create a home for everything.
- Get creative—such as finding other uses for a hanging shoe organizer.
- Don't keep what you don't use.
- Call upon a professional organizer for additional help.
While you're working on your home this winter, try these easy projects from State Farm®.
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