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  • Writer's pictureCathy Borg

Allergic! Declutter Your Toronto Home for Allergies! An Anti-Sneeze Guide

A senior couple meditate in a park

Part 1: Toronto Allergy Relief: Make Your Home a Haven for Easy Breathing This Season

Tired of red, itchy eyes and constant congestion ruining your springtime enjoyment in Toronto? Many Toronto residents, myself included, used to suffer through allergy season. But imagine waking up each morning and breathing easily, free from allergy flare-ups. By decluttering your Toronto home and creating a clean, allergen-free environment, you can transform your space into a haven of tranquility.

As a professional organizer, I've noticed something intriguing among my clients – clearing clutter significantly reduces allergy symptoms. While I'm no doctor, let's delve into how maintaining a clutter-free space might just be the key to feeling better this allergy season.

Conquering Toronto Allergies: The Power of Decluttering Your Home

We're all familiar with the hassle of clutter.

It turns finding things into a nightmare and adds unnecessary stress to our lives. But did you know that the dust and mess accumulated in clutter can also exacerbate your allergies? Hang onto that thought – because here's the silver lining: by decluttering and establishing a clean routine, you might be surprised at how much easier it becomes to breathe!

Toronto's springtime can be especially tough for allergy sufferers.

With earlier blooms due to warmer winters and city dust swirling around, it can feel like your allergies are always on high alert. But here's the good news! Streamlining your Toronto home could be the key to creating a more allergy-friendly atmosphere. Let's delve into some simple decluttering techniques that could make a significant difference during allergy season.

sneezing woman sits in home office

Decluttering and Allergies: How They're Linked

Living with allergies in Toronto can feel like an endless battle. Warmer winters mean earlier blooms, while the hustle and bustle of city life kick up dust, leaving your nose and eyes feeling besieged. However, there's an unexpected strategy you may have underestimated – decluttering your Toronto home! You might think I'm exaggerating, but creating a clutter-free environment can substantially alleviate allergy symptoms by reducing the presence of common triggers like dust mites, pollen and mold.

The Power of Decluttering: A Real-Life Example

Imagine struggling to catch your breath in your own home.

This was Evelyn's reality. When we met Evelyn she relied heavily on her inhaler and suffered from congestion that disrupted her sleep. Despite her spacious apartment, clutter dominated the space – souvenirs from travels, sentimental knick-knacks, and items she hadn't had the chance to sort through. By decluttering and creating a clean environment, Evelyn was able to breathe easier and sleep more soundly, alleviating her allergy symptoms.

Evelyn called us in to declutter and relocate her belongings to another apartment within the same building. Due to mobility issues, navigating her cluttered home was challenging. During the decluttering process, we focused on keeping only the items she truly cherished and used regularly. With her permission, we donated many items to charity, which significantly reduced the clutter.

A week later, when we visited Evelyn in her new apartment, the transformation was marked. She was all smiles and she said she wasn't using her puffer as often. No longer struggling to breathe, she said she hadn't slept this soundly in years. Decluttering her home allowed her to breathe easier, both literally and figuratively.

Evelyn's story illustrates how decluttering can enhance your quality of life, particularly if you suffer from allergies. By creating a clean and organized environment, you can substantially alleviate allergy symptoms and breathe more comfortably in your Toronto home.

woman in bed scratching her arm

Understanding the Clutter-Allergy Connection

1. First off, clutter provides an opportunity for dust mites, tiny creatures that thrive in warm, humid conditions.

Picture a cluttered bedroom – clothes piled on a chair, books strewn across the floor, and dust accumulating under the bed. This seemingly harmless mess creates the perfect breeding ground for dust mites. Trapped dust and debris serve as a food source (dead skin flakes), while your body's warmth at night provides a cozy habitat. Additionally, moist areas behind cluttered items or in overflowing closets can foster mould growth, another allergy trigger.

Dust mites thrive in warm, humid conditions, and clutter provides the perfect breeding ground for these tiny creatures. A cluttered bedroom, for example, with clothes piled on chairs, books strewn across the floor, and dust accumulating under the bed, creates a haven for them. Trapped dust and debris serve as a food source (dead skin flakes), while your body's warmth at night provides a cozy habitat.

According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, a study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology found that clutter can harbour dust mites, mould, and other allergens that can trigger allergy and asthma symptoms. 

This highlights the importance of minimizing clutter, particularly in areas like bedrooms, to reduce allergen exposure and create a less hospitable environment for dust mites.

2. Secondly, clutter serves as a hiding spot for pollen.

Think about how pollen is tracked indoors on clothing and shoes. Instead of settling on clear surfaces for easy cleaning, pollen becomes trapped on stacks of magazines, forgotten toys, or beneath furniture, creating a continuous source of irritation for your allergies.

tree branch shedding pollen

Toronto's Springtime Pollen Problem:

  • Know Your Enemy: Common Allergy-Triggering Plants in Toronto

  • Trees: Birch, alder, oak, maple, and cedar are notorious pollen producers during Toronto's spring.

  • Flowers and Herbs: Be aware of pollen released by Amaranth (pigweed), chamomile, chrysanthemums, daisies, and sunflowers during the Toronto blooming season.

3. Lastly, clutter complicates cleaning efforts.

Dust bunnies lurk under furniture, and reaching surfaces becomes a chore. This results in less effective cleaning, leaving allergens like dust mites, pollen, and mold spores behind to wreak havoc on your respiratory system. By decluttering your Toronto home, you're not just tidying up; you're actively eliminating these hidden allergy triggers and creating a cleaner, healthier breathing space.

Declutter and Breathe Easy: Creating an Allergen-Reduced Toronto Home

Are you feeling overwhelmed at the thought of decluttering your entire Toronto home?

Don't fret! Here's the good news: you can start small and still make a significant impact.

Strategies for Allergy Relief Through Decluttering

1. Begin with Manageable Tasks:

Instead of being paralyzed by the prospect of decluttering your entire home, start with manageable areas. Tackle the top of your bedside table, a shelf in your living room cluttered with knick-knacks, or a corner of your closet filled with neglected clothes.

By focusing on small, achievable tasks, you'll experience a sense of accomplishment quickly: a quick win! This initial success will motivate you to continue, one drawer, shelf, or corner at a time. Aim for small victories that build momentum and make the decluttering process less daunting.

2. Room-by-Room Deep Clean:

Instead of spreading yourself thin across the entire house, concentrate on one room at a time. The bedroom is an excellent place to start since it's where you spend a significant portion of your time sleeping and inhaling dust and allergens.

In the bedroom, begin by decluttering surfaces like nightstands, dressers, and beneath the bed. Ruthlessly sort through your clothes, discarding anything torn, unworn, or no longer useful. Consider donating gently used clothing to charity.

3. Make Decisions with Purpose:

When deciding what to keep and what to discard, ask yourself, "Does this item serve a purpose in my life? Do I find it useful or enjoyable?" Surround yourself with items you use regularly or that you enjoy to create a more functional and serene environment.

Imagine decluttering your bookshelf. Instead of keeping books out of obligation or guilt, retain only those you enjoy rereading or that evoke positive memories. Perhaps it's a well-worn cookbook filled with cherished family recipes or a travelogue that sparks memories of unforgettable adventures.

By implementing these straightforward decluttering strategies, you'll be well on your way to cultivating a cleaner, healthier environment in your Toronto home and, ultimately, breathing more comfortably.

Cleaning for Cleaner Air

Now that you've decluttered your Toronto home, the next step is to create a clean, allergen-free environment to combat allergy season. Here are some essential cleaning strategies to integrate into your routine:

1. HEPA Filters: Your Allies Against Allergens

HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filters are invaluable tools in the fight against dust mites, pollen, and mold spores. These potent filters can trap microscopic allergens as small as 0.3 microns, including dust mites, pollen particles, and even mold spores as tiny as 10 microns.

Regular vacuuming with a HEPA filter removes these allergens from carpets, furniture upholstery, and other surfaces in your home. By investing in a vacuum cleaner equipped with a HEPA filter, you're actively eliminating allergy triggers from your environment, making breathing easier.

hand wiping with microfibre cloth

2. Dusting Done Right: Trapping, Not Spreading

Say goodbye to feather dusters! While they may seem effective, they merely redistribute

dust and allergens into the air you breathe. Instead, opt for damp microfiber cloths.

Here's a pro tip: moisten your microfiber cloths with a solution of water and a mild, fragrance-free disinfectant. The dampness helps trap dust particles within the cloth's fibers, preventing them from becoming airborne irritants. This simple change in dusting techniques can significantly reduce the amount of allergens circulating in your home. Remember to wash your microfiber cloths frequently to prevent them from becoming breeding grounds for bacteria or mold.

3. Washing Fabrics Regularly: Starving Dust Mites

Dust mites thrive in warm, humid environments, feasting on our dead skin flakes! Washing bedding in hot water (at least 54°C or 130°F) is essential for allergy sufferers. Aim to wash your bedding weekly, especially during peak allergy seasons like spring and fall. This hot water wash effectively kills dust mites and removes the dead skin flakes they feed on.

Curtains, throw rugs, and other fabric items in your home can also harbor dust mites and allergens. Develop a routine for washing these items as well. Depending on usage, consider washing curtains and throw rugs every two to four weeks. Always follow the care instructions on the label to ensure proper cleaning without damaging the fabric.

By incorporating these cleaning strategies into your routine, you'll actively reduce dust mites, pollen, and mold spores in your Toronto home, resulting in a cleaner, healthier environment and a significant reduction in allergy symptoms.

Creating a Lasting Allergy-Free Home

Maintaining a clutter-free and allergy-friendly home requires consistency. Here are some tips to keep you on track:

1. Schedule Regular Decluttering Sessions: 

Set aside dedicated time each week or month to tackle specific areas of your home. This prevents clutter from accumulating and overwhelming you.

 2. Embrace Simplicity: 

As you declutter, adopt a "less is more" mindset. When deciding what to keep, ask yourself if the item truly serves a purpose or brings you joy.

 3. Develop Cleaning Routines: 

Establish a regular cleaning routine that incorporates tasks like dusting, vacuuming, and wiping down surfaces. This helps prevent allergens from accumulating and triggering symptoms.

woman in home office leaning back smiling

Ready to Breathe Easy in Your Toronto Home?

Decluttering your Toronto home can significantly improve your allergy symptoms and create a more peaceful living environment. If you're feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of decluttering on your own, we can help!

In and Out Organizing serves the Greater Toronto Area:

  • we'll guide you through the decluttering process,

  • create a customized plan to eliminate allergy triggers and f

  • transform your allergen-reduced home into a haven of clean air.


Jill Katz
Jill Katz
Apr 28

I have spring allergies, fall allergies and am sensitive to dust. I'm really feeling it this spring! When I enter a client's cluttered space and we move items around, I sometimes sneeze from the displaced dust. My experience has been that paper and books hold the most dust over other items. Thanks for bringing this issue to the attention of your clients and readers. Helping allergy sufferers is an overlooked benefit to clearing clutter.

Cathy Borg
Cathy Borg
Apr 28
Replying to

Thanks, Jill. I feel for you. I have the same reaction to dust. I sometimes wear a mask when I'm decluttering a client's home. It helps.


Janet Barclay
Janet Barclay
Apr 22

Clutter often accumulates in hidden places like closets, under beds, etc. - areas which don't get cleaned as often as open floors, shelves, etc., so what you say makes a lot of sense! Doing the work can raise a lot of dust but afterwards it's so much nicer!

Cathy Borg
Cathy Borg
Apr 23
Replying to

Thank you. Yes after decluttering I usually spend the next while sneezing. Lol


Linda Samuels
Linda Samuels
Apr 22

You make a compelling case for decluttering and cleaning to reduce allergy symptoms. I no longer work onsite, but when I did, I would sometimes have an allergic reaction when working with dusty items or spaces.

I love your story about your client and how much her health and sleep improved when you decluttered and cleaned her environment.

Cathy Borg
Cathy Borg
Apr 23
Replying to

Thank you. I know from experience that decluttering and cleaning makes a huge difference for allergy sufferers - particularly pet dander, dust and pollen.

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