Giving Up the Vacuum, One Month Later

 
 
 

What better way to follow a post about how I don't use shampoo, than with an update about how I don't vacuum my apartment? To be accurate, it's actually been seven weeks since I last vacuumed. Three guests with severe cat allergies visited since then- none so much as sneezed, and they all ate and drank here. It looks pretty clean to me. My neighbors are happy, pleased by unprecedented peace and quiet. Kar and Toffel are especially appreciative. Yesterday, I spilled their food all over the floor, which they ate before I could pick it up.

My husband still wants a Roomba for the sheer novelty of it- he wants to dress our cats up in costumes and let them ride around the apartment. Until then, cleaning is easy. We've had a few nasty messes, including broken glass, an explosion of cat litter, and a bag of flour I untied and dropped to the floor. Typically, I'd lug out the unwieldy vacuum, plug it in while Kar and Toffel ran around panicking, and let the machine deal with the bulk of the mess. Yet, no matter the attachment, it always left trails of debris behind, and I couldn't vacuum broken glass, which needs to be dropped off for melting. Sweeping shortens the process. Corners and edges are cleaner, and the apartment is overall less dusty.

I'm not ready to give up the vacuum permanently- I live in fear of what-if situations, like fleas- but I enjoy not being dependent on an appliance, especially one made almost entirely of plastic. With EU restrictions targeting vacuum cleaners, hairdryers, blenders, and other household items, there's never been a better time to see how many energy-sucking appliances I can live without. For tips on how to clean carpet without a vacuum, click here.

Paris to Go

13 comments:

  1. Ahhh, to live in a dust free apartment! This hasn't really been possible for us since adopting our pug, who sheds like crazy. Our 1st floor apartment was also built around 1806 and hasn't had any major recent renovations, so dirt and dust just have a way of getting in. I really like how your built-ins save space AND keep dust from building up on objects...I wish more American apartments would have these. We had to purchase our own wardrobe/storage unit from Ikea to use in the foyer outside the bathroom because the open shelving/laundry were so unsightly and dust traps.

    I also lived in the 7e a few summers ago: top floor of a 7-floor walk-up, but my apartment was only about 10m squared. From the photos of your balcony views I feel like I must've passed your apartment before! I was at 20 Rue Valadon :)

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    1. Hi Ming! Your apartment sounds awesome though, I love a place with history. My husband wants a pug so badly! I grew up in a 19th century farmhouse so I can sympathize with dust trap laundry and shelves :)

      How funny, I walk down Rue Valadon almost every day! It's just around the corner. How did you like the 7ème?

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    2. The history is about as old as it gets for America, as we live just a few blocks south of Independence Hall--pretty much every other house has a historical plaque above the front windows! :) And it would be amazing if you got a pug, not only because they are the best companions, but also because you would come up with wonderful cleaning/laundry/general clothing maintenance solutions that I have not. I think a roomba might actually be worth it in our situation.

      I loved the 7th for pretty much the same reasons you've mentioned here. I didn't feel the need to live somewhere particularly hip/full of young people because I rarely went out anymore. I appreciated that it was not a far walk to the Seine, and a mere 10 minutes from UNESCO where I was working. And I could see the Eiffel Tower from my window as well! (one of the few things that made my apartment feel less like a cupboard under the stairs, haha)

      It's been a pleasure reading your blog and it makes me really miss Paris...

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    3. Philly is awesome ! My friend's sister raises British longhairs and she and her husband work full-time so the Roomba is a lifesaver. She did warn though that it only works if you don't have a lot of furniture, and you still need to hand dust corners and molding. I'm so jealous you worked at UNESCO and got to eat in that beautiful garden !!! I was just telling someone about it, I don't work there but I go two or three times a year for appointments or a scientific conference. And I walk past it all the time. How funny you were so close !

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  2. I'm curious - have you found a certain type of broom works better than others? Do you use a natural bristle broom?

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    1. Hi Lauren! Actually, at the moment, I'm not using a broom- I'm handdusting with a flour sack towel. I sound crazier with every post, I know! Cheryl Mendelson's Home Comforts said that was the best thing to do; with how small the apartment is, it only adds three extra rags to the laundry (I do laundry once a week). I grew up near Amish country and used corn brooms as a child, which I might try and find here, since the floors are a little uneven. Do you have any recommendations?

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  3. I really hope you put the flour sacks on your feet and shuffle around the apartment. Hahaha love you. But that's what I'm going to envision now.

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  4. Love you too! Haha but funny you say that my grandma does the same thing and eventually I will too heehee. It is my future. For now I put that white blanket which the cats use as a cat tent under my knees :)

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    1. Hahaha I would do that ! But then again my knees are on their downhill spiral now that I'm closer to 30 lol

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  5. This may be an odd question, but what kind of cat brush do you use? My cats despise their cat brush, so I'm looking for a new one, and until then I couldn't imagine going without my vacuum...

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    1. I'm using a Furminator now. It came with the cats. I was using a wooden pin brush, but now that I'm brushing my hair I'm using their original brush... which they hate.

      The wooden pin brush seems to be gentler on them. Mine was like this:

      http://myplasticfreelife.com/2010/10/perfect-plastic-free-wooden-hairbrush-give-away/

      What kind of cats do you have? My friend breeds longhairs and uses the same kind of brush, but, I'm not sure how it would work on shorter hair.

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    2. Thanks for your reply...it's funny because I have a Furminator, that's the one they despise...my normally very friendly cats start scratching and biting me when I use it to brush them...I have one long haired cat, and one medium hair Maine Coon mix...so much hair...

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    3. Ah yeah, that is a lot of hair! I wonder if the Furminator hurts them because I haven't seen any cats that like it. :( Sorry for the late reply !

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