Lately, I’ve had a couple friends bring a new addition into their homes–in the form of darling puppies. (Now, I’ve always considered myself a cat person, but these puppies were just so stinkin’ cute, I mentioned to Dan that I might be able to convert. And then he reminded me that I would have to take that adorable little canine outside to use the bathroom during our cold Wisconsin winters. That was the end of that 5-second fantasy.) I also had a friend recently adopt a kitten, which I am all heart-eyes for! Realistically, though, I know we’re probably about five years away from bringing a furry little buddy into our home… I feel like I’m maxed out with all the little humans around here!
BUT! We did bring a new addition of our own into our home late-July, and I am in LOVE. Here’s why I think of our iRobot Roomba 614 Robotic Vacuum Cleaner (or “our robot,” as the boys say) as the best pet ever.
- We do feed the Roomba, but we don’t have to run out and buy it expensive pet food. It eats the gray fuzzies, dust bunnies, and crumbs scattered around our dining room table. Eat up, buddy!
- When it’s time for the Roomba to, er, empty out, there’s no mess or stink involved. You pull out the little dust bin, open the latch, and watch the insane amount of dust and yuck fall into your trash can. (More on this later.)
- Walking the Roomba up and down the stairs (so it can clean each floor) gives us exercise, which obviously benefits our health. We don’t even need to put it on a leash!
- There’s no need to take the Roomba to the vet! My wonderful hubby just performs weekly maintenance on it to ensure maximum performance. (Mainly, this entails cutting out the long blonde hairs that get stuck in the brushes. Don’t look at me. Clearly, there are other people in this house with long blonde hair. Ahem.)
- The Roomba does tricks, such as vacuuming super-close to the top of the stairs without falling down them and gliding underneath our bed. We didn’t even have to take it obedience school.
- The Roomba gets itself into endearing and hilarious antics! On more than one occasion, Roomba has accidentally closed the door and trapped itself in our laundry room. Upon discovering this, we pat its flat circular head, say, “Oh, Roomba!”, and return it to its base.
- I kind of feel like it loves me. For example, sometimes I want to run the Roomba upstairs, but I’m not quite done up there and am still getting ready for the day–drying my hair or putting on makeup in the master bathroom. I’ll set the base in the big boys’ bedroom (basically, as far away from the master bath as I can get) in the hopes that it will clean those rooms and the hallway before making its way to where I am. Instead, though, it makes its way out of the boys’ bedroom, down the hall, through our bedroom, and into the bathroom, where I have to continually scuttle out of its way. Clearly, it made a beeline to me because it loves me and wants to be by me.
Okay, okay. In all seriousness, using the Roomba may just be the ultimate homemaking hack. Prior to owning this nifty little robot, it was not totally uncommon to see a dust bunny rolling across our floor like a tumbleweed. I would blame being a busy mom, but I’ve just never been great about vacuuming, even before we had kids. I don’t like the noise, I don’t like having to wield a heavy machine, and I don’t like being sweaty when I’m done. (Yet I love to run. Figure that one out!) So when I saw the Roomba heavily discounted on Amazon Prime Day in mid-July, I got approval from Dan (under the condition that it would be my birthday gift) and pulled the trigger. Now, if you read my post about saving money at Kohl’s, you know that I like to stack discounts. The Roomba was $130 less than its normal price for Prime Day, plus I got an additional $30 off for using my Amazon Visa, so I was able to get it for about $230 after tax. That’s still a lot more than I’d like to spend, but it was a good deal cheaper than its $379.99 pre-tax price tag. I’m very thankful that I was able to get it at such a discounted price, because I don’t think I would have been willing to try it at its retail price. Now that I’ve had it, though, and am totally smitten, I do feel like it is worth $380 and would pay that price if I had to. I would just have to save up for a very, very, very long time!
Here’s how it works. You plug the Roomba’s base into an electrical outlet until it is fully charged. (It’s got a circular button on the top that, when pressed once, indicates how fully charged the machine is. If it lights up green, you’re good to go.) If you want the Roomba to run, you push the button a second time, and off it goes! (We usually move some furniture out of the way beforehand. For example, we’ll pick up the bath mats in the bathroom, throw Logan’s bean bag chair on his bed, etc.) The Roomba works on all types of floors, including area rugs. It seems to move about randomly, but, when you look at the carpet lines it leaves behind in a room, it’s easy to see that it’s covered the entire room. It just goes about its merry way, going from room to room, until the cycle is complete, and it returns to its base to charge. At this time, we empty out the dustbin, so it’s ready to go for the next time. You can also set it to run on its own, but we like to run it at varying times, so we have not used this feature.
Now, I am AH-MAZED at how much dust and nastiness the Roomba collects every time we run it. At first, I just attributed this to how badly our floors needed care, but we’ve been running the Roomba regularly, both upstairs and downstairs, since late July, and it is STILL crammed full almost every time. Where is all the yuckiness coming from?! We don’t have any pets, and we always take off our shoes when we come into the house, so where?! A scientist should be brought in to study this. At any rate, I am so thankful I have the Roomba to get rid of all that dirt and dust, and it feels so good to see it going into the trash and out of our house! I’ve also noticed that there just generally seems to be less dust in our house now. I’ve had to dust less frequently than in the past, and I think it’s because of the Roomba. Dan did a little extra research and figured out that you can buy accessories to make your Roomba even more useful. For example, if you have pet dishes on the floor you want to avoid, you can buy an accessory that blocks this area off with a laser. Or something. We don’t have pets, so I didn’t look into it too deeply.
As much as I love the Roomba, I will admit that it’s not perfect. It doesn’t mop or do stairs. (Ha-ha! Thankfully, my boys actually like vacuuming the stairs.) As I mentioned above, it sometimes shuts itself in a room or gets stuck in certain pieces of furniture. (It used to get stuck under our changing table, but we blocked the opening with a pool noodle, and that has fixed the problem.) It is smart enough to realize that it is stuck, though, and shuts itself off with an error. To fix the error, we simply have to move the Roomba to a new location and push the button again to restart it, or, if the battery is low, we just return it to its base.
I’m hoping the Roomba will go on mega-sale again on Black Friday, so other mamas can get the chance to try it out. It really is a lifesaver. Will you do me a favor though? If you ever see me curled up on the couch stroking a Roomba on my lap, will you please call the nice people who have the white straight-jackets? Roomba may be the best pet ever, but let’s not get carried away. 😉
Update: You guys!! As of right now (November 11, 2016 at 2:24 PM), the iRobot Roomba 650 Robotic Vacuum Cleaner is on sale for $274. This is the best price I’ve seen since I bought mine!