I once helped clear out a home that had been damaged by fire. The house had been extremely cluttered with only pathways through certain sections of the home. The owner was an elderly woman who had difficulty walking. The fire started at 2:30 am. If not for her son who was there that night, his mother would very likely not have been able to get out alive.
When I go into homes and see exits blocked and the floor covered with clutter, I worry. When I go into homes and see clutter stacked all over the counters and on the stove and in the oven, I worry.
If the person living in those conditions had to exit the home quickly – in the dark – could they move out without tripping or getting disoriented? If they fell in their home or had another medical emergency, could first responders get into the house with a gurney?
When I work with clients in these situations, the first thing I address is their safety. Even if we do not remove anything from the home, we try to open pathways and clear spaces around at least two exits.
This blog is just a plea to anyone who knows someone living in this situation, please, without judgement, help them make their environment a safer place.
Jonda S. Beattie Professional Organizer