Monday, June 23, 2008

Curse of untidiness

A recent article points to DNA as the reason behind clutter in our modern world. The theory is that we humans have a genetic predisposition for clinging to our belongings. Every Mommy knows this especially applies to children who want to hang on to every Kids Meal toy you just happen to collect on those trips to the drive through. My oldest son recently sold several bags of those said treasures for 25 cents at our last garage sale. It was all part of our family's attempt to declutter with the news a third little boy would soon need to fit into our house. We went about going through our belongings and soon learned we were storing way too much of the American dream.

Old furniture, clothing, even a cat litter box graced our driveway when the early bird shoppers descended on our little mercantile. You know that old saying, "One man's junk", well we had some junk for all to peruse. We sold old college furniture, a roll of plastic, and anything taking up our much needed space for no reason. Even my six-year-old got into the mix with his own sales table and his carefully sorted and packaged toys priced and marked. They sold like hot cakes.

Throwing a yard sale was a good first step toward bringing our clutter under control, but isn't it hard to say goodbye. Goodbye to old memories, goodbye to the "stuff". I seem to have an emotional attachment to my belongings and I find I am not alone. Apparently many of us find it hard to get rid of our belongings and we are running out of room to store our treasures. Over the past three decades the self-storage business has been the fastest growing slice of the commercial property industry in the US. Statistics show there are almost seven feet of self-storage for every American. Talk about leaving a foot print.

Enter here the clutter calvary. Those people who are gifted in organization and know how to help you live a simple stream lined existence. Certified Professional Organizers, will work with any individual who wants to be more organized, by assessing, with them, what space and stuff they are dealing with, what they want it to be like, and what has kept them from being able to achieve their own personal utopia of order. The National Association of Professional Organizers currently boasts 3,900 members, who, for an hourly fee, help their clients begin to conquer their inner messy monster. They will come into your home identify areas for improvement such as disorganized filing systems, closets, cabinets, and that dreaded junk drawer. There are even 12-step support groups such as Clutterers Anonymous or Messies Anonymous one can join for support and advice. According to Messies Anonymous, I am a sentimental messie. One who keeps items for sentimental value. O.K. I'll buy that logic and apparently keep it, grow fond of it, and store it in my closet.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Something to watch out for

With summer fun in full swing, for many the pool is the center of family life.  Our little ones love the water and Mommies keep a watchful eye on their children to ensure safety in the water.  But now there are two little known dangers called dry and delayed drowning. Just this summer a 10-year-old South Carolina boy died from drowning. Only this boy did not die in the water, he drown at his home, in bed, only an hour after coming home from playing at the pool. Medical experts say victims can walk around, talk, even laugh and have deadly amounts of water in their lungs. The young boy's grandmother said upon returning home her grandson bathed and said he felt sleepy and went to take a nap. When they went to awake him an hour later, he was already dead.

Some news outlets labeled this drowning phenomenon a 'dry drowning' but critics say there can not be water in the lungs for a dry drowning. Some believe the South Carolina 4th grader suffered what is called a delayed drowning, because water was found in his lungs. Pediatricians warn against the signs of delayed drowning that parents and care givers should look for after a child has been in the water. Signs of children sputtering and coughing water, fatigue, (which the South Carolina boy exhibited), and also soiling themselves, ( which this young boy did twice after his visit to the pool). It seems these are difficult signs to watch for when most kids wear themselves out at the pool, but doctors caution parents to look for any out of the ordinary signs of stress and respond immediately to the nearest emergency room.

Then there is dry drowning. This can happen when too much water enters the throat. One theory is this rush of liquid into the throat can cause the airway to snap shut. No water enters into the lungs, but no air does either and it causes asphyxiation. Another theory is when someone jumps into very cold water their heart can stop. Dry drowning accounts for 10 to 15 percent of all drowning deaths a year. When you consider 4000 die from drowning every year, this phenomenon accounts for about 400 to 600 of those victims.

To combat the threat of dry drowning doctors say you can teach children to jump into the water with their mouths closed and to learn to enter cold water very slowly. With drowning listed as the second leading cause of death for children, no precaution seems overboard or absurd to protect our littlest swimmers.