I am taking a quick break from vacuuming the house to add something else I just thought of to my emergency preparedness. Decluttering.

I’m not advocating getting rid of every little thing. In the “old days” people kept every rubber band, piece of paper, pencil stub, you name it. My parents grew up with the Second World War in their childhood, and “Waste not, Want not” was their mantra. They experienced scarcity, hunger, need.

But many of our homes today are cluttered with stuff that we thought we needed, but really we were confusing ‘want’ with ‘need.’

These days I am holding on to glass jars, rather than sending them to the recycling depot. These could be extremely useful. However, holey clothing is going to the rag bag to be dropped off at the thrift store. At the same time, I am being mindful that some of the clothes I have, even though I may not have worn them in a while, could make good layering options if the house is unheated during the winter.

Plastic bags, if in good condition, are washed and reused. Rubber bands off lettuces and other produce are added to the growing ball in the kitchen.

If your home is so cluttered that you could not navigate it in the dark, if the hallways are blocked and would impede your exit in the event of a fire, if you are holding on to things that you don’t use and/or love, get rid of it.

Get the garbage out – because if for any reason the truck was unable to come and take it away every week, it would soon mount up and become a hazard.

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