When you have a cluttered home, it can cause stress and make it difficult to find important items. But even more than that, clutter can pose health and safety risks, especially to the elderly population. In particular, having clutter in the way can create an unintended risk of a fall which, for seniors, can be a catastrophic event. With the winter months upon us, seniors in many parts of the country will be spending more time indoors, so it's important to clear walking surfaces of clutter to reduce the risk of falling. Here are some ideas on how to tackle clutter from WebMD on where to start.
When in doubt, psych yourself out. If you have something you don’t wear or use, but are on the fence about saying goodbye, stick it in a box. Put the box in your garage or attic, and write a future date on it.
Try 15-minute clutter workouts. Get yourself a timer. Don’t just use the one on your clock in the kitchen or the microwave, you may not hear it in all parts of your house. Set it for 15 minutes. Choose the worst, most cluttered area of your house and, ideally, an area where clutter could pose the highest safety risk. Sort quickly, move things out of the way and, when possible, throw out things that you don't use. When the timer beeps, you’re done. Once you’ve done this baby step a few times, you can take on bigger spaces and set the timer for an hour to tackle tougher challenges like closets or basements.
Buy organizing bins for clutter. In order to prepare for a complete house overhaul, you may need to buy a few things like clear plastic bins along with white first-aid tape. If the bins are clear and clearly labeled, you know what you have and where it is.
Concentrate on clutter corners. Beside the kitchen counter, most organizing experts identify hall closets and the front hallway as classic clutters hot beds. Start by getting everything off the floor. When your closet is clogged, things start to accumulate on the floor. Sort these items in your boxes or bags.
Give the kids bins for mementos. One of the biggest de-cluttering roadblocks is when things don’t necessarily have a “home.” Kids’ and adults’ mementos are often in this category. Where do you put the trophy from gymnastics or the gold medal from boy scouts? Again, the answer is clear plastic bins. They work for all shapes and sizes. Get one of a decent size for each child, label it with the child’s name, and put it in the basement or attic. Here, you can store every precious memento from your child’s early years and can find it when you want to stroll down memory lane.
Clutter can be a safety hazard, but what are some others? Check out our free Home Safety Checklist to identify other risk areas in your home or that of a loved one. Kill two birds with one stone and do your best to address as many of these other areas as part of your efforts to de-clutter. If you're looking for help for a loved one with an increased risk of falling, click here to learn more about BrightStar Care's "Focus on Falls" program or contact your local BrightStar Care to learn how we can help.