House Cleaning and Organization Tips for a Tidy Home
By Michelle Ullman
- Keep escape routes open. If a fire, earthquake, flood or other emergency strikes, every second counts. Keep main escape routes in your home accessible at all times. Remove clutter that may be hindering easy movement around doorways and windows in your home, and pick up toys, shoes, and other belongings each night to leave an unobstructed pathway for your family.
- Remove fire hazards. Clutter, like stacks of newspapers, or mail, can turn into a fuel for fire if stored too close to a stovetop. Ensure that any flammable items are stored at a safe distance away from sources of heat like your hot water heater, fireplace or oven.
- Watch for mold. This potentially harmful fungus thrives in damp, warm environments. Clutter holds in moisture and prevents you from seeing signs of trouble. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), when mold spores settle on wet surfaces like paper, cardboard and wood, the mold settles in and grows. Health impacts can range from nasal congestion and irritation to pulmonary fungal infections. Cut down on mold risks by tossing the clutter under your bathroom and kitchen sink. Keep an eye on your basement and garage too, these areas tend to accumulate clutter, and the humidity in these spaces can cause mold.
- Don't make pests feel at home: Bugs and pests can be sources of disease that can harm your family. The National Center for Healthy Housing warns that even dead cockroaches or roach droppings can cause gastrointestinal and respiratory illness, as well as cause asthma flare-ups in those susceptible to allergies. Old paper bags and cardboard boxes are favorite nesting spots for pests, so clear these out of your home. Wash the dishes and take out the trash daily. Remind family members to empty bedroom and bathroom trash receptacles and rinse dishes well before placing them in the dishwasher.
- Know what you have: In a disorganized home, it's hard to know what you have. Get your family to pitch in and help clean up, then photograph and catalog your belongings with the Liberty Mutual Home Gallery App. The easy-to-use app makes record keeping a breeze, and can help simplify the process if you ever find the need to claim losses due to theft or damage.