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Blog: Moving, Downsizing and Organizing for Boomers, Seniors and Elders
Avoiding Hidden Dangers When Clearing Out Homes

I recently accompanied "Mary" into the house of her brother, who has been in a nursing home for two years. He always thought he would be returning to his home, but alas, that is not to be. His sister is a senior and has her own health issues so this is a trying situation for her as well. No one has been in the house the entire time he has been gone.

When we arrived at the house, I could immediately smell mold and mildew and see the dust that covered everything like a blanket. I went back to my car for masks, gloves and foot coverings. "Mary" was surprised when I instructed her to put them on as well.

My advice is to never work in a house that has been sealed up and left for any length of time without ventilation and cleaning unless you are fully protected with a mask and gloves, In fact, foot coverings and clothes that you will immediately take off and wash should be at the ready as well.

As soon as you start to move about in the house, dust particles will begin swirling in the air, at first not noticeable, but then they become very thick and can really do damage to your lungs. I learned this the hard way on a job years ago and now I must carry an inhaler with me at all times.

Different types of fungi, bacteria and other creepy crawly things are waiting for a host to latch on to. Fleas, mites, spiders and mouse or rat droppings are nothing to fool around with. Mold can actually kill people who are highly allergic to it.

I have actually been in houses that a special "biohazards" team had to be called in to deal with - refrigerators and freezers that have never been emptied can be extremely dangerous. Don't be fooled that a little dust can't hurt you, because once you develop asthma, it doesn't go away and you are stuck with it for the rest of your life.

posted on: 4/26/2008 1:30:00 PM by Gayle Grace
category: Moving

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Moving, Downsizing and Organizing for Boomers, Seniors and Elders

by Gayle Grace

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About Gayle:

Gayle Grace is the owner of All Things Home, providing expert organizing and moving services throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Gayle is a Golden Circle member of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) and the National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM).

Gayle is a also a trained chef and award winning food taster! When not managing a move or organizing Bay Area kitchens, Gayle can be found at one of her favorite restaurants or advising local wineries on food and wine pairings.

Gayle shares her home and the sofa with two cats, Littleone and Pumpkin Pie.

Gayle's Website:


Gayle's Other Blogs & Email Contact

Gayle's Book Recommendations:

  • Rightsizing Your Life by C. Ware
  • Scaling Down by J. Culbertson & M. Decker
  • No Ordinary Move by B.Z. Perman & J. Ballard
  • Moving in the Right Direction by B. Nemovitz

The Kitchen Sink

  • My Life In France by Julia Child
  • Home Cooking by Laurie Colwin
  • More Home Cooking by Laurie Colwin
  • Zuni Cafe Cookbook by Judy Rodgers
  • Classic Stars Desserts by Emily Luchetti

Pumpkin Pie

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