If you want to vacuum just once a month, you should follow the steps in my last two posts, plus the following:
8. Not to be mean, but it really helps to limit your pets to certain areas of the house. Our shih tzu, Belle, happily lives in one half of the downstairs, with toddler gates to prevent her from going any further. This prevents an accumulation of dog hair in every room of the house, and it also limits her movements when she tracks in dirt or leaves from out back. This might be harder with an older dog, but because we started Belle this way as a puppy, she's never known any better and is perfectly content in "her" part of our home.
9. When choosing new floors and floor coverings, think camouflage! Why install dark carpeting if you have a light-colored dog? Why have a beige mat at your back door if the dirt in your yard is primarily red clay? Think about the nature of the messes that accumulate on your floors—and then make your flooring choices accordingly, with the art of camouflage as your first priority.
10. Taking the above step to the next level, if you are doing any sort of renovation, remember that you should never choose flooring that you haven't first tested for its ability to hide dirt. In fact, the next time you replace a floor with linoleum or tile or even hardwood, try this handy test:
- Choose six patterns that you really like and that coordinate well with your decor
- Ask for (or purchase) 1' x 1' samples of all six patterns
- Put the samples on the most mess-prone areas of your house, such as the kitchen floor in front of the sink and stove.
- Forget about them for a week or two and DON'T clean them.
- At the end of the test period, take a close look at each sample to see which one hid its splotches and splatters best. Upon close inspection, you may be amazed to find that the one you thought was the cleanest is actually the dirtiest.
- Choose the dirt-hiding winner for your new flooring pattern.
A handy hint: In my experience, the best floors for hiding dirt feature a speckled mix of browns and beiges and grays. The single worst kitchen floor I have ever had to deal with was a "checkerboard" of alternating black and white 6" squares. Whatever hid on the black was clearly evident on the white and vice versa. What a nightmare!
Come back next week for more steps.