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6 Ways to Allergy-Proof Your Home

6 Ways to Allergy-Proof Your Home

Allergies are finicky. They can be a small nuisance to some, and a debilitating condition to others. Either way, it’s best to err on the side of caution. Cleaning your house isn’t about keeping up with appearances; it’s about your health, as well as the health of everyone else who comes around. Keep to a strict cleaning regimen and routine, and your house will always be, literally, a breath of fresh air.

Get rid of dust

Dust is one of those things that you don’t notice accumulating until it’s extremely unsightly. Instead of waiting until your home gets to that point, wipe your surfaces down and vacuum your floors on a regular basis. Use sprays and carpet treatments sporadically — don’t overuse them, or you may be doing more harm than good. Lastly, use zip-on covers for any bedding you use regularly to prevent dust mites from creating a home under your sheets. You might not be able to see them, but believe me, they’re there.

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Maintain plants and pets

Most of us enjoy having a home full of houseplants, flowers, and pets. But the downside here is when you realize the allergies you’ve been experiencing are due to your furry friends or aromatic greenery. The soil used in potted plants can actually grow moldy, so it’s actually best to leave them outside. If you absolutely must have some plants inside your home, coat the surface of the soil with aquarium gravel. Or, go with artificial plants for the inside of your home. They look pretty and won’t bother any guests!

As far as your animals are concerned, before you even adopt a cat, dog, or any other fuzzy wuzzy pet, make sure you’re not allergic in the first place. If you’re already past that point, but don’t have the heart to give little Fido away, at least keep him neatly groomed. Get him outside as much as possible, and definitely don’t let him sleep on your bed. You’re just asking for breathing problems if you do.

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Go hardwood

Like your mattress, wall-to-wall carpeting is a trap for dust mites and other allergens, such as pollen and dander. This is made worse by the fact that you don’t really notice when these allergens are building up in the crevices of your rugs. With hardwood surfaces, you can immediately see dust balls start to form, and can take care of them right away. But, again, don’t let it get to the point that you can actually see the dust. Be proactive with your cleaning regimen and you won’t have to start sneezing to remind yourself you need to sweep up.

Leave it at the door

You know how some people ask you to take your shoes off at the door? It’s not just because they don’t want you tracking mud in (although that’s obviously part of it). It’s also because you track in millions of unseen organisms (like the ones previously mentioned) that contribute to the overall dustiness of the entire house. If you don’t want to be a stickler about people’s shoe-wearing habits in your home, at least put a doormat on the inside and outside of your front entrance. That way, you can make sure your guests leave most of the “stuff” from outside at your doorstep.

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Check the curtains

If you’re not too picky about what you hang on your windows, opt for blinds made out of material other than fabric. If you absolutely need to have curtains, make sure you maintain them as much as your floors and bedding. Vacuum them weekly, and wash them monthly. Be especially diligent during the months in which your windows are constantly open; you have no idea of the type of microscopic organisms your curtains pick up from a strong breeze.

Stay ahead of mold

A good rule of thumb is: where there’s water, there can be mold. Of course, the two most common areas to stay on top of in this matter are your kitchen and your bathroom. Again, don’t wait until you can actually see mold growing before you do something about it; it’s there in some form, but can explode overnight if left alone. Check the entire surface of tubs and sinks, being especially careful to notice any cracks where water might be sitting dormant. Other hotspots for moisture include your basement or any area with direct access to the outside. For those areas, consider using a dehumidifier to suck up any excess water that could lead to trouble down the road. You could not only save yourself some health problems, but also save your home’s foundation as well.

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Featured photo credit: damned allergies – Day 43 / leila-anne cavé via farm2.staticflickr.com

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Matt Duczeminski

A passionate writer who shares lifestlye tips on Lifehack

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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