Ask UfYH

Ask UfYH: Dusting, Allergies, and Getting Rid of Decades of Stuff

Q: So I have pretty intense dust allergies, which usually get worse whenever I’m cleaning due to the stuff that gets stirred up by my rag/broom/whatever. I’m wondering if you could share some methods of dusting or sweeping that will minimize the amount of stuff that ends up in the air, so that I can keep my room clean without having horrible sneezing/itching attacks.

A: Greetings, fellow allergy sufferer! I’m super lucky in that I have allergies in all seasons, and my worst ones are dust and mold. And by “super lucky,” I mean “cursed, possibly by evil spirits.” Over the years, I’ve found a few things that help minimize the allergy attacks.

  • Clean more often. Yeah, I know, it’s not the most fun answer, but the less time dust has to accumulate, the easier it’ll be on your allergies.
  • Use your vacuum whenever you can. It’s totally worth it to invest in a vacuum with a really good filter and a number of small attachments. It keeps the dust contained and not floating back out in the air.
  • If you regularly take allergy medicine, take one before you start cleaning.
  • Consider wearing a dust mask. You may feel silly, but it makes a HUGE difference.
  • Wet dust if vacuuming isn’t an option.
  • Avoid brooms. They just kick dust up into the air and up your nose.

Q: My family has lived in the same house for longer than I’ve been alive. As such, we’ve accumulated 26 years of stuff, a lot of which is leftover from when I was a small one, much of which is still in pretty good condition! My question is, simply put, what in the world do we do with all this stuff? It seems like such a waste to throw it away, but we are quickly reaching a point where we are up to our ears in it, and aren’t really comfortable depending on others in our rural area to buy it off us.

A: Depending on where you are, you have a number of options. Many charitable organizations will take items in good condition. Try places like women’s shelters, Big Sisters, local schools, and any other non-profit that may be able to use the items. You can try consigning them, or selling them online. Keep an ear out for local families that may be falling on hard times or have had a tragedy like a house fire. Often, groups or individuals may put together donation drives for situations like that. Also, be realistic about what may have use for other people. I encourage people to try not to just throw things away because of the environmental effects, but if something is truly not usable or useful, find the appropriate way to recycle it and let it go. Right now, your priority should be finding ways to get the stuff out of your house. The more responsibly you can do it, the better, but don’t get stuck sitting on all of it because you’re waiting for a magic way of getting rid of it.

Have a question? Submit it through our Ask Us page!

Check out the Ask UfYH archives.


Unfuck Your Habitat on tumblr Unfuck Your Habitat Android App on Google Play Unfuck Your Habitat App on Apple App Store

3 replies on “Ask UfYH: Dusting, Allergies, and Getting Rid of Decades of Stuff”

I second the microfiber cloths for anything you can’t wet dust. And as long as you’re not allergic to the outdoors as well, opening up the windows makes a tremendous difference, especially if you can get a cross breeze going.

Also, just because some people group these two together, it’s worth noting that if you have dust mite allergies instead of/in addition to dust allergies, you want to be sure to get an incredibly good filter on your vacuum (something like HEPA or ULPA). Dust mite allergens are incredibly small, and you really don’t want your vacuum to stir them into the air if you’re allergic to them. My allergist actually just recommended that I try to make someone else in the family vacuum while I’m out of the house, but alas, I live alone…

Leave a Reply