People Are Who They Are!

For “Laid out in Lavender”

Lav is organizing her house and has been blogging about it as she goes.  I wanted to do this post because I have cleaned houses for people off and on for years.

Years ago, I cleaned house for an older couple.  They were both retired school teachers. He had polio and she had degenerative arthritis in her back. They also both had asthma and constantly needed to use inhalers. Needless to say, over the course of several years of not being able to do much, the house was running over with "stuff".  She was also a compulsive shopper which can present several problems all by itself in a household.

When I first started on the house it was literally knee deep in stuff. It wasn't nasty, just full. I immediately realized that there was a strong smell of mold in the house. I discovered that the basement was the culprit of this smell but that it had carried into the house.  They had a very nice house with a drive under garage.  The garage door opener had been broken for a long time, so she would just pull the van in the garage/basement and leave the door opened and go upstairs.  Over time, with the door being left open, everything that was stored down there had mildewed. They were both avid readers and had a bunch of magazine subscriptions.  She didn't throw anything away, so she had piled the basement and the stairs full of magazines and books, all of which had mildewed. I spent weeks throwing things away out of that house.

When it was finally getting clean enough that I could see around the edges of the walls I noticed that there was mildew on the carpeting around the vents upstairs.  Apparently the mildew had gotten into the central heat and air unit in the basement and was being blown into the house through the vents.  She eventually had to replace the unit along with all of the vents, as well as the carpeting throughout the house. I spent over six months cleaning out that house.

The reason I am telling the story though, is I continued being their regular housekeeper for a couple of years after this initial cleaning.  Over time, their asthma symptoms literally disappeared.  They no longer needed the inhalers and their doctors were truly amazed with the improvements in their overall health. That was one of the first house keeping jobs I ever had and I learned so much! I have since been able to help many people get their lives back in order by doing what some may consider a menial job. To me though, it is never menial when you can improve someone elses life.

Lav, I said that you would really enjoy the calmness that an organized, clutter free house brings about, but you will also see the benefits in many health aspects. I am so proud of your endeavor and hope that you will continue the great work that you are doing!


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4 responses

  1. Interesting story! My mom has a mold allergy, with asthma symptoms. She also can't eat bread because of the yeast, which I guess is a mold too?

    February 27, 2010 at 7:21 pm

  2. I don't think it is a mold itself but a source of mold growth. This is a list I found on Web MD. It says sometimes you can actually see the mold, but mold has roots that can embed deep in the food so that you cannot see them.
    Common food sources of mold include:

    Vinegar and foods containing vinegar, such as salad dressing, catsup, and pickles
    Sour cream, sour milk, and buttermilk
    Meat or fish more than 24 hours old
    Breads and other food made with yeast
    Pickled and smoked meats and fish
    Dried fruits such as dates, prunes, figs, and raisins
    Soy sauce
    Hot dogs, sausages
    Canned juices

    February 27, 2010 at 8:31 pm

  3. thanks for sharing this story, I do have an allergy to molds and mildews and dust, I am finding plenty of dust around, my throat has been scratchy and my nose is constantly running. It feels good to know that soon, the dust will be gone and I will feel better. The space that is opening up feels wonderful, it is strange how just moving a few things around makes a room better, here I thought I was going to have to buy so much new stuff, but the stuff I have works well already. XO

    March 5, 2010 at 7:43 am

  4. Interesting story – I wish I had more will power to do what Lavender is doing.

    March 7, 2010 at 5:18 pm

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