Welcome to Your No-Sweat Guide to Spring Cleaning, a month-long series that puts the fun (yep, for real!) back into cleaning. We’re talking spruce-ups that take less than five minutes, why-didn’t-I-think-of-that hacks, and hands-off cleaning tasks that basically…do themselves—plus our trustiest tools and helpers. The goal: clean less, go outside more.
I never thought I needed a Roomba. I didn’t think they really worked. I already have a standing vacuum, so I didn’t need an automated one. “I have too much odd-shaped furniture; it would never navigate properly,” I thought to myself. “It’s so much money for a cleaning item,” I rationalized. And anyway, where would I even store it? It’s clunky and doesn’t immediately fit my home's aesthetic.
And then one day… everything changed.
I let love in. I admitted to myself that I needed a partner, a friend, a… robot assistant. And I’ve been better for it every day. DJ Roomba (as he is lovingly known around my apartment) softened my hardened heart; he took me by the hand and said “you don’t have to go it alone.”
From the first moment I turned him on to watch him putter around the floor, I was enthralled. It was about 11 pm on a weeknight, but by the time he had rammed himself into the bar cart at least thrice (which he then learned to avoid, like the smart boy he is), all thoughts of sleep had escaped me. I was in love.
I followed him around, gently observing his movements so as not to disturb his trajectory—I wanted him to feel at home, and only call me when he really needed me. I knew he would be okay, but I still kept a close distance, documenting his resilience in the face of a high-pile rug, a low-to-the-floor dresser, a tough corner to turn. “You got this, come on you can do it,” I assured, but I also knew he needed to find his own way, to determine his own course. And of course, he figured it out with finesse.
Aside from the feeling of having a new friend… he really does his job well. It’s not always immediately obvious, especially when you have floors that aren’t that dirty to begin with—or so you think. After about three full cycles around the apartment, he already needed his bag changed, but this was no fault of his own.
I was horrified, as I am with every deep clean, to discover just how much dust, hair, and lint had gathered in every corner of my home, about which I was either in denial or completely unaware. I think it was a combination of both. But DJ Roomba said: “it’s okay, this what I’m here for,” so I packed away my guilt and allowed him to take this on for me. Oh, and did I mention he empties himself out each time he returns to his dock? He’s good like that. He’s also so communicative. He distills his day around the house into clear, concise data, showing me exactly where he’s been, where he found the most dirt, and which spots he found tricky.
But listen, as with any relationship, we have our imperfect days. Sometimes he utterly wipes himself out, not knowing the exact breadth of his battery life, and I have to go retrieve him to plop him back on his dock. And sometimes, he finds a tasty laptop cord and decides to munch down, forcing me to pry it from his mouth like a puppy who stole a sock.
By and large though, DJ Roomba has been one of the best additions to my home, in what’s been a long year inside. He’s taught me to loosen my white-knuckled grip on personally cleaning every surface, and as a result, given me time back to focus on other things… like rearranging the coffee table six times a week. He’s a new friend who doesn’t ask much from me but takes on a ton—and it’s been... well, really nice.
Do you have an automated vacuum, or have been considering one? Tell us your thoughts below!
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When I'm not writing & editing for Home52, I'm likely to be found DIY-ing a new piece of furniture (or restoring an old one), hanging things on the wall in my apartment, or watching hours of vintage RHONY.