Safety is a far cry from being the most interesting subject in the uncluttering and organizing realm. However, it is at the heart of every uncluttering and organizing project (or, at least it should be). Even if it isn’t named outright, safety concerns are the first and most important issue to consider when taking on your next project.
Clutter, in many forms, can be a safety hazard. Massive amounts of paper can be fuel for a house or office fire. Undetected black mold behind stacks of clutter in a basement or garage can poison the air your family breathes. Clutter that blocks a door or covers a floor can inhibit safe exit during an emergency, and stacked items can fall on people during natural disasters.
Getting rid of items is usually thought of as a safe step, but isn’t always the case. Hazardous items disposed of improperly can injure waste management workers or harm the environment by accidentally poisoning water supplies or wild animals.
Storage can be a safety hazard, too. If materials you’re keeping are stored improperly, you could be putting yourself and your family at risk. Cleaning supplies can accidentally be mixed and create poisonous gasses or if they’re easily accessed could be lethal to a toddler. There is also the risk of injury if heavy items are stored too high and someone falls or pulls a muscle accessing those items. Putting things in cardboard boxes can be bad because critters and insects can get into the boxes, and so can black mold and mildew if the boxes get wet.
To improve the safety in your home or office, start by identifying all the existing hazards. Are you using a fireproof safe to store your papers? Are you overloading the electrical outlets? Is clutter or arrangement of furniture blocking safe exit from a space? Is there black mold or mildew or anything rotting?
Immediately address all safety concerns and be sure to do so in a way that doesn’t create more hazards. Research ways to safely dispose of any questionable materials.
When uncluttering and organizing, be sure to keep safety as your most important priority. Store items in containers that are safe for what you are storing and pest/critter/mold/mildew resistant. Have all pathways clear of clutter. Arrange items so you aren’t at risk of being injured when accessing or returning items to storage. Do whatever you need to do to keep your home and office safe for you and others.