Tuesday, February 23, 2016

"Heading Off Clutter At Its Source - Outside The Home"

Certainly safety is a factor in successful aging-in-place, and a major contributor to how safe a particular home might be is the presence of clutter - or the lack of it. Since it has such a major impact on how people live in their homes, how comfortable they feel, and how well they are able to move about, clutter deserves special consideration for the affect it has.

Once clutter enters and becomes a part of our homes, we have to deal with it in some way - organize it, deal with by accepting it and adapting to its presence, or ignoring it and making adjustments in how we move about in our living space.

So, let's take a proactive step and stop clutter where it forms - outside our homes - and prevent it from entering our homes and taking root. This is for all of us - anyone wanting to remain safe and secure in their homes because clutter is a direct challenge to the ability to remain safe and from from potential falls or personal injury that might result from tripping on or over clutter.

Clutter comes in may forms, but commonly it results from the accumulation or collection of too much of any one thing, outdated or obsolete items, unwanted or discarded items that are allowed to remain in the home (closet, bedroom, living room, attic, basement, hallway, stairs, or any other place available), or keepsakes that have outlived their usefulness or sentimental attachment.

Recognizing that our homes already have more items in them that can readily be used or put away and stored in a consistent, orderly manner, we need to accept that for what it is (addressing it over time to reduce its impact on our lives) and begin looking at how we can keep unnecessary items from adding to ones already present.

When we go shopping, we need to resist impulse buying - purchasing something just because it appeals to us at the moment but really having a solid reason or need for buying it and taking it home. We need to resist the tendency to stock up - purchasing several items when they are on sale or before they go out of stock because we like and use them - but perhaps not before we tire of them or they go out of date. We need to resist sale purchases - making a special trip to a store to purchase something that we didn't really want or need just because we could save a few dollars (while spending more than we planned on or intended to just to take advantage of a sale).

When we get out mail, we customarily bring it all in the house with us, but a large portion of it should be recycled or discarded before it ever reaches the front door. Place receptacles between the mail box and the front door.

We can make a conscientious effort to reduce clutter by heading it off before we ever bring home items that we don't need, want, or have an immediate need to use - thereby refraining from adding to the clutter or disorganization that already exists in so many homes.

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Steve HoffackerCAPS, MCSP, MIRM, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist instructor and best-selling author of universal design books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555.