So far, we have concerned ourselves mostly with practical implications of clutter and looked at how to limit intake, manage the contents of your home, and how to get rid of things in a positive and empowering way. There are other considerations to clutter, though, and some of them can be pretty grim.
In extreme cases, these piles of stuff create the kind of weight that can even have effects on the structural integrity of the building, cracking floorboards or shifting the weight balance of the house to a point of instability. Again, once things start to shift there is no telling what could happen.
Lack of cleaning also leads to accumulation of dust, mould and animal droppings (including from your own pets), and those in term are very bad for conditions like allergies, asthma and other breathing problems.
As you may now understand, eliminating clutter is most certainly a good thing, generally making your home a safer and healthier place to be in. This is also an interesting lesson for those who regard clutter as a problem with lack of space that can be solved by getting more organised. In fact, clutter is an issue of the mind and it requires a change of habits to be successfully eliminated.
Kitchens are notorious for being the starting point of fires in households, not only because they often have gas cookers, but because of oil catching fire, or towels or paper towels coming into contact with open fire and starting things off very quickly. Kitchen tend to be small spaces in modern flats, so a lot of things are usually propped onto the surfaces, creating more opportunities for fires to get started or propagate. A cramped kitchen also contains a fair amount of tripping hazards, leading to accidents that – in term – can cause fires.
Having a fire extinguisher around is no reason to feel safe, either: not only do you need to learn how to use it and which type of extinguisher to use in specific cases, they are often past their expiry date, or simply too weak to make a dent in the flaming inferno that is caused by the sheer amount of flammable materials and the extensive heat created by a fire. Never feel overconfident, and have them checked regularly! Have someone properly explain how they work. And most important of all: avoid having flammable stuff in large quantities lying around your home.
And lastly: clutter also makes it very difficult for emergency services, fire brigade or health personnel to get access and render assistance in a timely manner: corridors stuffed full of (burning) materials and/or collapsed boxes that block doorways and windows make it all but impossible to properly help those trapped inside.
Ask the ClutterMeister
Ideas to help clear away the mess in our homes and in our minds.
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Hi, my name is Tilo Flache. My current mission: help my clients declutter mind and space.
This blog contains pointers for your journey towards a happier living experience.