Preventing Slips, Trips, and Falls

June is National Safety Month, where each week has a different theme – this week’s theme is preventing slips, trips, and falls. This ties in well with organizing – as no one wants to be injured unnecessarily. When we have excess stuff around, on the floor especially, we’re putting ourselves at risk. I say this from experience since I’ve bashed my toes more than once – and not usually from clutter.

You might remember that I have issues with the term “hoarding” and certainly, the concerns of the families is not limited to the “hoarders.” We can surmise from the National Safety Council’s focus for a week on preventing slips, trips, and falls that this is something that applies to all of us – clutter or not. Heck, I’ve broken toes from a certain degree of clumsiness. And that was from major pieces of furniture being where they’d always been! (I’ll take a brief moment to promote the idea of wearing shoes where your toes are covered – and this despite being someone who loves being barefoot. ☺) If we can prevent ourselves from slipping, tripping, or falling, this is what we all want.

Whether you have lots of stuff around or not, it’s important to look around – try to notice those things that we become blind to because we’ve gotten used to them. I’ve tripped over cat accessories, even with them in plain sight. The cat toys now live in a tin, without a lid, over in a corner in our living room. It’s even cute to see the ones that get pulled out and we’re limiting the risk of tripping or twisting an ankle from stepping on them. They also get put back periodically, since if they didn’t they’d be a hazard again.

Stairs are a popular place to put things down on as they wait for their turn to be carried to the top. I do this frequently since I procrastinate making a trip upstairs until I need to. Are you aware when there are things sitting on the steps? It’s remarkably easy to become a bit blind to a constant pile. I rarely put more on the steps than can go up in one trip, and rarely ignore or procrastinate carrying them up. Items along the stairway are a dangerous hazard – it’s bad enough to trip on a flat surface, and exponentially worse on stairs.

This week’s topic for the National Safety Month interestingly coincided with my finishing a book, Digging Out: Helping your loved one manage clutter, hoarding, & compulsive acquiring by Michael A. Tompkins, Ph.D. & Tamara L. Hartl, Ph.D. As a “hoarding” book, it takes a different approach – it focuses on helping your loved one make the home as safe (and comfortable) as possible. It examines what I’ve already talked about – stairs and floors being clear of loose items. They also address other serious hazards – such as papers on or near the stove.

Keep in mind any areas that seem to cause problems – I moved a chest from the foot of the bed since I banged my toes more than once in the middle of the night, to another room. In the spirit of this week’s safety theme, look around your home and office with fresh eyes and see if there are ways to improve safety.

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