Don’t worry about a bit of dust: tiny tip for a happy, healthy old age

a dirty grey blanket covered in cat hair

All things in moderation—including dust

Don’t worry about a bit of dust.

It won’t kill you.

Moderation in all things. Best advice I ever got.

Thanks to Ole Lady Wiz for passing on this liberating advice! My grandmother used to say, “You’ve got to eat a peck of dirt before you die.” (That’s about 9 litres, I think, which may be hard to swallow. One litre per decade?)

If you are the hypothetical younger person to whom this tip is addressed—do you like it? It’s intended to help you achieve a happy, healthy old age.

A safe, shareable, shipshape home: podcast episode

22 thoughts on “Don’t worry about a bit of dust: tiny tip for a happy, healthy old age

  1. cedar51 says:

    I just pick up (at times) anything that is becoming a clump…then if there are just too many “clumps” sometimes my art scraps band together, I get out my v/cleaner…

    When I was a full time hand weaver in a totally different house, I would say to myself when I find cut threads in the throne room, it was time to vacuum…

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      What an excellent rule of thumb.

  2. simplywendi says:

    I absolutely LOVE this quote. Living with an illness makes you realize you can’t do it all and I would rather have some dust and spend time with my kids then have a spotless house and then have to go to bed! Thank you for the reminder! 🙂

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      I’m so glad.

      1. simplywendi says:

        🙂 bless you!

  3. My Mum was an expert in this in her own home, yet earned a few pounds cleaning others’ homes!

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      That’s the way to go!

  4. Elizabeth says:

    Now it turns out all those spotless houses are bad for kids, not allowing them to develop healthy immune systems. Wish I knew that when the kids were little. I could have had a scientific rationale behind my haphazard housekeeping.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Bask in your wisdom instead.

      1. Elizabeth says:

        Good idea. I think old age is a perfect time to bask.

  5. Sadje says:

    I agree that all things in moderation is the key. And a bit of dust doesn’t hurts anyone.

  6. Cathy Cade says:

    Housework has never been a priority. When I was at home with the kids (I was lucky enough to stay at home till all my four kids had started school – we just kept putting up the mortgage to pay the debts. Inflation was something like 15% so the house value kept going up…) I came to a point when I was planning… “I’ll do the dusting upstairs on Monday, downstairs Tuesday, vacuum upstairs on Wednesday…”
    That’s when I knew it was time to go back to work.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Well spotted, Cathy! That’s no way to live and you dodged it.

  7. Mick Canning says:

    It’s a good motto. Unfortunately, I suspect I tend to overdo it a little…

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:


      1. Mick Canning says:


  8. I love this quote… but I tend to overdo things.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      2 inches is my limit.

  9. mpardi2013 says:

    I was very glad to see the reference to developing (children) immune systems and “clean” houses. I suppose it does seem contrary in our modern society, but letting kids play in the dirt is doing them a lifetime favor.

    A couple of days ago my dog’s (his name was Plato) favorite vet came to the house and we agreed it was time. He was fourteen years and had been quite ill for several weeks. Since my wife is vacationing in Costa Rica and doesn’t want to know about this, I’ve been going around picking up the toys, etc. and putting them in the basement. Now, when it comes to vacuuming up the dog hair and disposing of it I find myself hesitating.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Take it gently. No rush.

  10. toutparmoi says:

    A friend once gave me a fridge magnet that said, “You can look at the dust, but please don’t write your name in it.” I think it was meant as a comment on my housekeeping skills, but my fridge wore the magnet with pride.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Quite right too! News flash: I cleaned the top of my fridge yesterday. The maneki neko were greatly discombobulated.

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