When it comes to house dust mite allergies, the home is the haven in which they thrive, breed and cause all their problems. But nobody wants to be at war with their own house. It should be a place you feel comfortable, healthy and able to relax. And that’s why you might want to consider changing to a minimalist home to overcome some of the challenges.
What is MinimAlism?
Minimalism is something I suppose I’ve always been interested in, even without knowing it. Essentially, it’s the art of having fewer things. Less clutter.
In Chinese and Japanese culture the arrangement of furniture and possessions in the home plays a much greater role. You may have heard of ‘feng shui’, which literally translates as earth and water.
The idea is that buildings and places we live and work should be designed with their connection to the earth in mind so we can live peaceful, more fulfilling lives rather than dwell in places that are fill us with negativity.
Well minimalism follows a similar theme, and is of course equally popular in the far east.
Now, I know what you’re thinking – Japanese people are forced to be minimalists because they often have small apartments. True. Minimalism can be a necessity when you’re crammed into an expensive Tokyo apartment with hardly anywhere to put your stuff.
But that doesn’t tell the whole story. In Asian culture generally there’s a greater emphasis on living a simple, decluttered life and taking the time to think about how you arrange and interact with the rooms you live and sleep in.
Minimalism has always appealed to me, regardless of suffering from allergies.
Sometimes I look around at some of the stuff I’ve got and just think “Why? What on earth is that doing there, and how is it helping me”
I don’t find it particularly easy to throw things away either because I can’t bare the thought of something useful and perfectly decent going to landfill so I either hang on to it or stick it in a drawer somewhere.
But when I finally get my act together and properly de-clutter I find a huge sense of pride, even relief, at having taken a further step towards living in a minimalist home.
In practical terms, let’s say it’s a chair I never sit on that I’ve got rid of that’s one less thing to dust, or clean. It’s one less thing getting in the way to vacuum around and it just gives a room a general greater sense of freshness for not having so much junk in there.
Honestly, you should give it a try. It might require a complete change of mindset but I’ve found that once you get the ball rolling it’s much easier to continue.
And then next time you find yourself buying something you don’t need you might pause and think “wait, do I really need this, or will it just be taking up space in my house”
Minimalism and Allergies
That’s all well and good, I hear you cry, but isn’t this a blog about house dust mites?
Well yes, but the two things are entirely connected. As I’ve said, minimalism does appeal to me on it’s own merits, but creating a minimalist home can also have huge benefits for house dust mite allergies.
I’ve included an image I found of a minimalist kitchen. Looks kind of cool, no? Well, I think so. But look closer and you’ll see – no carpets. Not even on the stairs. Simple, clean, wooden furniture. Absolutely no upholstery, curtains or furnishings. A complete lack of clutter.
All the things that aren’t there could be gathering dust, and could be ideal breeding grounds for house dust mites.
And the wooden floor, for example, is highly allergy friendly, not to mention warm and pleasant to walk on. With no carpets you can glide across your floors in no time with a vacuum, and with much better results compared to carpets.
I don’t even want to think about how much dust and dirt is left behind in a carpet, even when it’s been cleaned!
Just keep out the few items you need, perhaps your toothbrush and that’s about it. Or maybe as a rule of thumb allow yourself just one ‘decorative’ object in each room that is only there for show like a plant or an ornament.
Everything else should serve some sort of function, and if not, it’s entirely dispensible.
If you want to dive even further down the minimalist rabbit hole there’s a great article from Good Housekeeping that explains minimalism better than I can. Interestingly they suggest you probably spend more time, not less, shopping when you’re a minimalist as you pay attention to what you’re buying rather than cramming it all in your basket.
But the result is you spend less and waste less which is a great outcome when you think about it.
How Else can I Achieve a Minimalist Home?
We’ve only discussed the kitchen so fair.
Take this approach throughout the house, and you’ll have yourself a completely minimalist home by the time you’re finished.
In the bathroom, for example that means tiling everywhere (obviously, that’s a given) but then just a simple, minimal number of objects. Don’t have endless bottles, lotions and boxes everywhere.
And then there’s the all important bedroom. The most important of all.
This is the one single room in which you spent the most amount of time in your entire life.
There’s absolutely no reason why you can’t ditch carpets in your bedroom and have a sleek, simple tiled or wooden floor that you can keep dust free all year round.
Likewise, all that ‘stuff’ you have really ought to be kept out of the way. Fixed wardrobes. Cupboards. Or in storage. Whatever you do, don’t have it all out on display. There’s just no excuse for having excess junk that collects dust.
Look at the light, airy example bedroom in the image above. Doesn’t that look more inviting than somewhere crammed with all sorts of unnecessary things? I’m convinced a minimalist bedroom will lead to better sleep as your mind is free from the stresses of all that clutter and distractions.
And then there’s the living room.
Check out this sweet, Scandinavian style minimalist living room. A few simple coffee tables, seating and the odd plant. And you’re done. How nice is that floor, with a simple rug over the top?
This is the way I prefer to live.
I obviously need a minimalist home to make life easier dealing with allergies, but I love the styling as well.
I urge anyone suffering from dust mite allergy to rethink their entire approach to the home. You might well have a chest of drawers, teddy bears, lamps, a hifi, cabinets, endless furniture and belongings that at this moment in time you couldn’t contemplate parting with.
But if you’re waking up with irritated, itchy eyes every morning and suffering from constant sinus pain then really – what’s more important?
Think of it this way. It would be like having an allergy to cats, but refusing to give your cat away. In this case, dust is the enemy, and any way you can change your thinking and your approach to your home to minimise dust is the way to go, honestly.
And I’m convinced you’ll enjoy the process.
So what are you waiting for? Switch your thinking from a cluttered home to a minimalist home and start reaping the benefits!