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20-Minute Knick Knack Purge

Dust is bad for health. We know that dust mites are the No. 1 indoor allergen. But most of us still fill our homes with knick knacks that attract dust. It’s time to say goodbye to those dust buddies.

Lisa Jacobs, a certified home organizer and the founder of Imagine It Done, a lifestyle consultancy, says, “Set the timer for 20 minutes and look around one floor of your house for things that collect dust.”

These include:

  • Silk flowers and artificial plants
  • Newspapers and magazines
  • Stuffed animals
  • Picture frames and knick-knacks

You don’t have to get rid of your children’s entire stuffed animal menagerie or your treasured teacups from your trip to London. But if you cut the furry zoo in half (give some away or store them in sealed bags), pack away all but your favorite treasures, and toss the fake ficus, your home will be healthier.

20-Minute Clean-up Down Under

Once in a while, look under your furniture. “We mop floors and dust surface, but don’t think about underneath, for instance, like the gap under the sofa,” LaFrance says.

Take 20 minutes in a high-traffic room -- living rooms, family rooms, and home offices -- with an allergy-friendly dust cloth and duster. Dust:

  • Under the couch.
  • Under the tables and entertainment center. Some of these items have small gaps underneath that are classic dust-catchers.
  • Underneath stereo components and computers.
  • In floor vents, which are huge dust-catchers.

If you have kids with allergies, be a little more thorough. Use a hand vacuum with a brush attachment. And buy micro-fiber dust clothes that pick up more dust.

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