Feeling sick, stressed or fatigue may not be the result of your day. It may however be the result of the environment you are living in and working in. As a Professional Organizer, I always emphasize the importance of an uncluttered environment not solely for the joy of finding things when you need them, but because the clutter can be making you sick.

Clutter holds mass amounts of dust mites, pet dander and dust. These three things can cause poor air quality and potential asthma problems. According to Beth Miller of EcoQuest
in Richmond VA, “Clutter can cause poor air quality in your home. The more stuff you have in your home, the more surfaces and crevices dust can live and accumulate.” According to the Environmental Protection Agency “Indoor air pollution is America’s Number One Environmental Health Concern. Fifty percent (50%) of all illness is caused by indoor air pollution.” The American Lung Association states “Indoor air pollution is wide spread. You are more likely to get sick from pollution in your home and office than from pollution in the air outside.”

Aside from the dust and dander, stress can escalate when living in an environment that is difficult to “live” in. By living among clutter you are subconsciously reminded of work that is left undone. This can cause tremendous stress and fatigue. When things take longer to find, or can’t be found at all, stress levels will rise and illnesses are more likely to occur.

Clutter is also a safety hazard. Falls and fires are two of the leading causes of injuries and deaths inside the home. Tripping over clutter can cause head injuries and broken and sprained limbs, which can result in more hospital visits. In addition, if clutter is blocking doorways and hallways it’s a fire hazard. If a fire started in your home, the clutter can amplify your damage and your ability to escape may be hindered.

So what can you do to ensure a healthy, hospital free life at home and at work? Sara Bereika has a few ideas to help you stay healthy.

1. Learn more about the air quality in your home by going to www.tryfreshair.com. You’ll find several products and tools to make your home a healthy, clean environment.
2. Reduce the amount of clutter in your home or office as best you can by asking for help from friends, family or a professional. For many this can be easier said than done. But if you or your family has acquired several colds and illnesses, it is time to make a change. It’s true the clutter may not be the leading cause of illness, but it isn’t helping you or your family to stay healthy either.

3. If the amount of clutter in your home is overwhelming and you want a quick fix, do what you can to keep the clutter in one area in your home or rent a storage unit. This should never be considered a permanent fix but you will at least be able to clean the majority of your home thoroughly. This will help you increase the quality of the air in your home and it will keep hallways and doorways hazard free.

4. Avoid accumulating clutter in areas where you have carpeting, on beds, or on sofas etc. These are areas dust and dust mites are more likely to fester. Dust-mites can escalate allergic reactions and asthma.

5. Keep clutter out of damp areas like basements. If you do use your basement as a storage
area, keep clutter in water-proof bins or vacuum sealed bags and keep them well sealed. The Richmond region is high in humidity and dampness breeds mold. The more surfaces and crevices mold can grow the bigger your problem will become. Mold is extremely
difficult to get rid of. So use preventative measures to keep it out of your home or office.

Author's Bio: 

Sara Bereika, president of NEAT, has lived her life making order out of chaos. She has always found joy in developing ways to make things easier, and more efficient.

Sara studied graphic design at the University of Hartford Art School and received a Bachelor of Arts in Graphic/Information Design from Central Connecticut State University. Starting out as a Graphic Designer, she enjoyed organizing information. However, Sara found her true passion in Project Management, a career that tasked Sara with responsibility for keeping projects in-line and completed on time. From this, Sara developed a bigger passion for time management and how others perceived time. Now, Sara focuses exclusively on helping others manage their time and achieve their goals. By teaching and consulting, Sara helps others remove clutter and stress from their lives so they can focus on what's truly important.

Sara is a proud member of The National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) and is Vice President of the NAPO Richmond Chapter. Through this organization, she helped form Project GO - a team of organizers with a mission to donate time and services to non-profit organizations to get them organized so they can better serve the community. Sara is also a member of The National Study Group for Chronic Disorganization (NSGCD), and is a CD Specialist and has a Certificate of Study in Basic ADD Issues with the Chronically Disorganized Client. Through her coursework with the NSGCD, she is also an ADD Specialist and working toward becoming a certified Professional Organizer. Sara has taught time management as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Richmond. She has been quoted in Welcome Magazine, Richmond Magazine's guide to relocation in Richmond and in Richmond Magazine. Organize Magazine has her listed as Organizer of the Week in October 2007 and has quoted her in their November/December 2007 issue. You may have seen her in the Metro Business Section of the Richmond Times Dispatch in December 2006, Richmond.com and in Innsbrook today in January 2006. She has also made a guest appearance on Radio 103.7 with Jack and Jen in the morning in August of 2007 and March 2008.