Reorganize Living Areas for Comfort and Safety

Making your living area more trouble-free is a lot like the strike zone in baseball – everything should be found between your knees and shoulders. That means keeping items within easy sight and reach, which makes things reachable without your having to bend or stretch too much. And it means safer passage through the home, since items below the knees are too often out of our sight lines when we walk, which creates tripping hazards.

You have two main ways to upgrade your living areas: declutter and rearrange.

(1) Declutter

One mantra increasingly heard these days is “declutter.” There are even TV shows about it! Start by removing clutter and excess items already in your strike zone – are 20 coffee mugs really necessary? Then, keep only the essentials in that area between your knees and shoulders. What can you do with items you no longer use, need, or are out of date? Donate them – and get a tax write-off – simply dispose of them or, perhaps, regift them. Even more important for safety’s safe – don’t store small, loose items on the floor or in the walking path. Piles of loose items – such as papers, books, and newspapers – all can fall and then create slippery surfaces. And even though some items left on the stairs can, as you approach them, be in that knees-and-shoulders strike zone, don’t do it. Instead, rather than put anything on the stairs, place a table near the base of the stairs for items to be taken upstairs and vice versa.

(2) Rearrange

Your goal here is a wide and clear walking area through rooms and hallways so you do not have to squeeze between anything to get through. But years of habit, and how your furnishings have been arranged up to now, means you want to see your living area with new eyes. Look for different layouts to provide pathways that are three-feet wide, or even wider. That might mean removing “shin-bangers” and tripping hazards such as coffee tables or low stools. Also rearrange your furniture to prevent the possibility of leaning on shaky items. For example, smaller furniture, such as dining chairs, are not stable and can wobble or even fall when you put weight on them. These two tips might seem obvious, but they are simple ways to make your home life safer, and make it far easier to get at your things.