January, 2023 | Boizelle Insurance Partnership

How to Declutter Your Home

Do you ever feel like you just have too much stuff? Does living in a cluttered space where you can barely move make you feel stressed?

Believe it or not, there are many benefits of decluttering that will positively impact your life, almost immediately!

Decluttering can significantly improve your mental health and overall well-being. Going through this process thoroughly can help reduce anxiety and finding items that were previously lost. Additionally, it can ease future burdens. Let’s say you need to make a sudden change to your living situation i.e. downsizing, whether it be due to a divorce, you’ve lost your job, or there has been a death in the family, your loved ones can rest assured that the process of going through various items will take far less time because you already began that process long ago.

When you stop to take a look at just how much clutter you have in your home and your living spaces, it’s not uncommon to feel overwhelmed. Here’s a concise list of steps you should take to make the process easier for yourself.

Remove trash. Go around each room of your home with a garbage bag and throw away anything that is trash.

Start small. Begin your decluttering process by starting with small areas such as closets or kitchen drawers.

Get sorting. An easy way of going about this step is by creating three separate piles: keep, donate, and toss.

Give everything a home. If you plan to keep anything, do yourself a favor and find a specific area to store or display items you plan to keep. For example, eating utensils belong in the kitchen drawer, not your office drawer.

Store like with like. For example, tools should be stored with other tools. Mixing items will only create more chaos.

Establish the “one in, one out” rule. If you plan to keep something, plan to either donate or throw away something else. This will help you to keep the number of items in your home down to only what you regularly use.

Ask your loved ones questions before continuing to store something. If you have any items that you plan to pass down to your children or your children’s children, ask your kids what they would like to keep and what they are okay with never seeing again.

Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Remember the saying, “Slow and steady wins the race.”? Well, that holds true here. Do not allow yourself to become overwhelmed by trying to take on more than you are physically or mentally capable of. Instead, break down your process into small, easy tasks that are able to be completed on a consistent basis. That way, you won’t feel burned out and you’ll be able to look back on your work with pride once your process is finished.

Creating a home inventory is an effective and efficient way to help you organize your process of going through each room of your home. You will be better able to form a comprehensive list of your personal belongings and each items estimated values. This is extremely helpful and beneficial to you because it is your resource to use in case you need to file a homeowners insurance claim after a fire or other major disaster to happen to your home.


If you have a home office, the first thing you’ll want to do is organize your paperwork. What should you keep and what should you discard? Make sure you always keep important items such as birth certificates, death certificates, marriage licenses, social security cards, military service records, pension and estate-planning documents, and life insurance policies. Your personal health and vehicle records are also important to keep in a secure file.

Rid yourself of any electronic devices you no longer use. If you have an old laptop or a digital camera that is missing a power cord, these items are now, sadly, useless to you. You can either throw them out or figure out a way to recycle them. Before doing this, be sure to remove any personal information from your devices.

Your children may have tested the waters of painting or sculpting. And every piece of artwork that your child hands to you is unique and special. If you save everything, you’ll soon have a massive collection on your hands. Remember, you still have a limited storage space. Instead of keeping everything, put your favorite pieces on display on an art wall.

Old photo collections are wonderful to have, but have you taken the time to organize them? Create a new album of physical photos or store them in a digital file that you can access later on.


Your garage may be one of the most cluttered spaces in your home. Use the walls of your garage to create more storage space. For example, you can use bungee cords, mason jars, and magnetic strips to effectively use wall space in order to store various items in your garage. Storing them securely against the wall can help you create far more storage space than you originally thought you had.

Your garage is probably one of the spaces in your home you frequently use and physically find yourself in. Be sure to lock up your tools in a safe and secure area. Get rid of any tripping hazards. Store ladders properly, so that they are safely out of the way. Fire extinguishers should be kept in a secure place that is also easily accessible.


Certainly, you spend almost, if not every day in your kitchen. Make sure you take the time to go through items in your refrigerator and pantry, paying special attention to expiration dates. Rid yourself of anything that has expired.

Over the years, if you haven’t taken the time to assess how much “stuff” you have, it’s not unlikely that you have duplicate items in your possession. How many spatulas or tongs do you have? How many cutting boards? How many drinking glasses? Donate anything you don’t need.

If, after going through your storage containers, you find that some of them do not have a matching lid, get rid of them. This will help you declutter and rid yourself of any items you can no longer use.


When was the last time you went through your closet? Are there any shirts or pants that you haven’t worn in years? Get rid of them. All those items are doing is taking up space. Perhaps there are some items you have outgrown? It’s time for them to go.


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How to Deal With Snow & Ice on Your Car

Did you know that in some states, it’s actually against the law the drive with snow and ice on your car? Even in states that do not have an this, police still have the authority to issue citations for offenses such as driving with an unsecured load. Driving safely during winter is challenging enough as it is. Why make your time behind the wheel more risky than it needs to be? Here’s what you should know to deal with snow and ice on your car.

How to Effectively Remove Snow and Ice from Your Car

When you are brushing off your car, it’s important to make sure you clear as much snow and ice as possible.

Roof: As you’re driving, especially at higher speeds, snow and ice can easily fly off of your roof, potentially hitting other cars. This can cause accidents and in some cases fatalities.

Windshield & rear window: Clearing your windshield and your rear window increases your visibility. Break up snow and ice around your windshield wipers and washer fluid nozzles as well.

Side windows and side view mirrors: Removing snow and ice from these areas is just as important as doing so from your windshield because you are better able to see the traffic on each side of your car. In the event you need to maneuver away from someone, you will be able to do so because you will see it coming. Always pay attention to your surroundings.

Headlights and taillights: This is more about helping other drivers see you, which is equally as important when you’re out on the road, especially in bad weather conditions.

License plate: Front license plates may be required in the state in which you live. Having your license plate obstructed in any way may result in a citation from a police officer.

Hacks for Cleaning Off Ice and Snow from Your Car

Using your defrosters: Turning on your front and rear defrosters as soon as you start cleaning off your car will greatly assist in the process and save you a lot of time, especially with ice. The best and safest way to clean off your car is to do so before you start driving. This means you should afford yourself some extra time before you start your commute. When you turn on your defrosters, it’s very possible that your windshield will fog up, compromising your vision and making it more difficult to drive safely.

Give yourself time: As stated earlier, to be safe, you should give yourself some extra time to thoroughly clean off your car before you start driving. Especially if hard ice is stuck to your car, you’ll most likely need to exert more physical energy to get the job done. More time allow you the opportunity to breaks if you get tired.

Watch your wipers: Never pull on frozen windshield wipers. Doing so could ruin them. Instead, use an ice scraper to carefully chip away at the ice. Make sure your car’s defroster is turned on while you’re doing this to assist in the process.

Avoid hot water: Pouring hot water directly on ice-cold glass can be risky and dangerous. You’re leaving your windshield at risk of cracking.

User proper snow brush: Using the wrong kind of brush for this task could leave scratch marks behind.

Start from the top: Don’t neglect the snow and ice on top of your car. Handle that first. The snow and ice at the top of your car can and will slide down to the bottom, thus doubling your work.

Consider using a deicing spray: Spraying a thin sheet of deicer over all windows of your car can help save yourself some time. Commercial-grade sprays will help make the job faster and easier.

At the end of the day, the best way to protect yourself and you family is by having sufficient auto insurance coverage. And while states around the country have different requirements with regard to limits of liability, we recommend having at least $250,000 coverage per person for bodily injuries if involved in an at-fault auto accident, $500,000 per accident, and $100,000 coverage per incident.


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How Long Can I Stay On My Parents’ Car Insurance Policy?

Getting older is a natural part of life. There are those moments we all look forward to as adolescents: getting our driver’s license, buying our first car, or buying our first home. As we gain more and more independence from our parents, however, we do begin to realize a certain reality that is painful to some of us; living independently in the world can be expensive!

We do have good news for you! If your parents are insured with ERIE Insurance, when it comes to you being covered, your age does not matter. As long as you live under the same roof as your parents, you are able to keep your name on their car insurance policy. Once you buy your own vehicle or get your own place, you’ll need to obtain your own insurance. If you have questions, feel free to give us a call at 301-948-2010.

When I Go Away to College, Do I Need My Own Insurance Policy?

With regard to you going away to college, distance does not matter when it comes to staying protected by your parents’ policy. As long as you do not plan to make your college town your permanent place of residence, you are covered and you do not need your own policy.

If I Move Out, Can I Stay On My Parents’ Insurance?

No. If you are moving to an apartment or buying your own home, and you have your own car, you will need to get your own policy with yourself listed as the first named insured on the policy. This rule applies to renters as well. Again, we do have some good news for you! If you bundle your auto insurance with your home or renters insurance, you are eligible for certain discounts!

Is It Cheaper for Me to Stay On My Parents’ Policy?

The short answer is…not necessarily. There are a number of factors which determine your auto insurance rates: your car’s safety rating, your own driving history and your age. While staying on your parents’ policy may mean you are eligible for the same discounts that they have i.e. a multi-policy discount, if you get your own policy, you may also be eligible for certain discounts.

When I Buy a New Car, Do I Need My Own Policy?

If you are planning to buy a new car and have it listed in your name only, you will be required to get your own auto insurance policy.

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6 Insurance Questions for Newlyweds or Those Soon-to-Be

Whether you’re getting married, planning to have children, or if you have anyone in your family that depends on you, it’s important to do the best you can to anticipate what is going to happen in the future. While no one can have an absolute certainty on what the future holds for them, there are a number of important steps you can take the make your future--and the future of those you care about most a secure one. Here is a short list of questions you should ask yourself if you are recently married or plan to be soon.

  1. We’re getting married. Should we join our auto insurance?


If one of you has a long list of at-fault accidents on your driving record or auto insurance claims, it may be a better idea to keep your auto insurance policies separate. If you both have a good driving record and no recent gaps in your insurance, you may be able to save some money by combining your policies.


  1. We’re searching for our first home. Should homeowners insurance factor into what we decide to buy?

Did you know that there are various factors that can determine how much you are required to pay for your homeowners insurance? Factors such as distance from a fire department, proximity to areas more prone to storms, the age of your home and your claims history can all have an effect on the overall cost of your insurance.

  1. We’re having a baby? Should we get life insurance?

Adding a new baby to the family means added responsibilities and added costs. A life insurance policy can assist you with fulfilling those responsibilities and covering those added costs in the event of an untimely death. A life insurance policy can also help you cover the costs for a funeral. Even more, it can help to pay off your mortgage and help to fund your child’s education.

  1. Term or whole life?


Term life insurance provides coverage for a specific amount of time. For example, a 30-year policy can help cover the costs of a 30-year home mortgage. For young people, a term policy is often the better option because it tends to be the most affordable. The good news is that you do have the option of converting your term policy to a whole life policy later on.


Whole life insurance offers coverage for the duration of the policyholder’s life. It is sometimes referred to as a permanent life plan.


  1. What do you offer beyond the basics for homeowners insurance?

Call us to discuss options to expand your coverages beyond the standard homeowners insurance policy. We can help you to protect your underground service lines, appliances, and more.

  1. We’re used to making purchases online. Why do we need a human insurance agent?

In today’s day and age, with so many parts of life now involving automated messaging and assistance, it can be difficult to navigate the process of getting the best insurance for you. That’s why speaking with a real person is so beneficial. One of our experienced insurance professionals can help answer any and all questions you have, so that you can be sure you are getting the best coverage for you.

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