How to Make Vacuuming Easier

Vacuuming is a chore that some people hate doing. I personally don't mind it too much, seeing as it is way better than scrubbing the shower or cleaning out the moldy disgusting leftovers from the back of the fridge. However, having been a dog owner for the last 13 years, vacuuming has been a constant household job around here that had to be kept up with, not only due to allergy sufferers in the house, but also due to the massive piles of dog hair that just settled everywhere.

Our beloved J-dog
Our beloved J-dog

For a long time when our beloved first dog was alive, vacuuming the dog hair from the floors and furniture was a chore that needed doing at least once a week, and often 2-3 times a week. Now we have a German Shepherd, also known as a "German Shedder"! With the cyclonic noise of our super-pet-hair-turbo machinery, a person can not even listen to music while doing it. So the mind starts doing funny things, mostly like thinking, "how can I get out of vacuuming so much!"

Actually, there are several concrete things one can do with the home to make vacuuming go easier and faster. Planning is key, especially when it comes to furniture choices, room arrangement, and of course, keeping clutter to a minimum. If you pay attention to a few little items, you can avoid that awful moment when the vacuum sucks in something it shouldn't have (like your curtains), the belt snaps, the curtain shreds, and your home is filled with the odor of burning rubber from the aforementioned belt.

  • Keep Clutter Off the Floor
  • Keep Curtains Off the Floor
  • Keep Cords Off the Floor
  • Choose the Right Furniture
  • Arrange Furniture in a Vacuum Friendly Layout
  • Avoid Floor Lamps and Fixtures
  • Make Convenient Carpet Choices

Tips to Make Vacuuming Easier

Some tips that help vacuuming go faster and easier have little to do with your vacuum or your cleaning method. They have more to do with your house furnishings and how you have arranged the things in your house.

Clearly we have not mastered the art of decluttering here!
Clearly we have not mastered the art of decluttering here!

1. Keep Clutter Off the Floor

Do you feel like you have to pause the vacuum cleaner every five seconds just to clear a path through the clutter? The most obvious and one of the most difficult feats to achieve is keeping clutter to a minimum and OFF THE FLOOR. That means toys, books, clothes, unfinished projects, papers, whatever. The notion that the floor is not a storage area has clearly not caught on in our house, and is probably a problem area for many homes.

2. Keep Curtains Off the Floor

When hanging curtains, measure and install them so that they do not touch the floor when they hang. That whole curtains-puddling-onto-the-floor look that was in style a while ago is BAD, I tell you, and completely impractical. There should be an inch or two clearance between the curtain and the floor, which will clear an oncoming vacuum cleaner easily. The same is true for any curtain or blind pull cords.

Curtains should hang clear off the floor.
Curtains should hang clear off the floor.
Help! Untamed unruly computer cables have escaped!
Help! Untamed unruly computer cables have escaped!

3. Keep Cords Off the Floor

Ditto for electrical cords, cables, computer cords, and phone lines. Make sure that they are arranged or tied up in such a way that they are never in the path of a hungry vacuum. Avoiding electrical shock is always a good safety tip, plus those cords are really a pain to replace if they get damaged.

4. Choose the Right Furniture

When buying furniture, choose either pieces that either go all the way down to the floor or close to it. If it is “sealed” with a toekick like the entertainment unit shown below, stuff won't get under it. If it is close to the floor like our sofa, only a little bit of stuff occasionally gets under it and you can't really see it. Vacuuming under this type of sofa only needs to happen once in a while if we are doing an all out cleaning.

If you are going with legged furniture, get legs that are tall enough to allow the vacuum to scoot under them, especially when choosing a dining room table where food bits will normally be dropped. If you get furniture that falls somewhere in between – a piece high enough for junk to be kicked under, but not high enough to vacuum under – you will be stuck moving that piece every time. Because you'll be able to see all the dropped Cheerios and clumps of dog hair collecting under it and you won't be able to leave it unvacuumed. By the way, most beds fall into this category, which is the reason for bedskirts and dust ruffles, I think.

Nothing gets under this furniture.
Nothing gets under this furniture.
Low to the ground furniture makes vacuuming easier.
Low to the ground furniture makes vacuuming easier.
This leggy loveseat has to be moved to get underneath.
This leggy loveseat has to be moved to get underneath.

Where feasible, mount your stuff - the TV, lamps, shelves - on the wall. Try wall-mounted tables or desks with no legs at all on the floor. They are the most vacuum-friendly option of all.

This wall mounted desk may not be the most attractive, but it's a breeze to clean up around.
This wall mounted desk may not be the most attractive, but it's a breeze to clean up around.

5. Arrange Furniture in a Vacuum Friendly Layout

When arranging furniture, don't leave gaps in between big pieces, or between furniture and the wall, that are too narrow for the vacuum cleaner. For example, don't put a piece like a bookcase or a dresser 12 inches from the wall, leaving a space that is open for accumulating dust, but that the vacuum can't fit into. Either butt the thing up against the wall or leave a wider space. The same is true for chairs and sofas. Either back them up all the way against the wall or pull them out away from the wall by the width of your vacuum.

A space next to this bookcase is just wide enough for the vacuum cleaner.
A space next to this bookcase is just wide enough for the vacuum cleaner.

6. Avoid Floor Lamps and Fixtures

Avoid floor lamps like torchieres, which present an obstacle AND an electrical cord hazard. Other items that present obstacles for the vacuum cleaner would be plants or plant stands, decorative items or sculptures, magazine racks, exercise equipment, and small kids furniture, including those video game chairs. Think twice about adding such items to your rooms.

Floor lamps with their cords present a double vacuuming obstacle.
Floor lamps with their cords present a double vacuuming obstacle.

7. Make Convenient Carpeting Choices

Carpeting choices matter as well. Don't carpet the stairs, or if you must, just carpet the center step portion of each stair, not the risers. Maneuvering a heavy clunky vacuum cleaner on the stairs is precarious enough without having to worry about the risers and the edges.

Carpeting on stair edges is really hard to reach.
Carpeting on stair edges is really hard to reach.

Fringe = Dead Vacuum Cleaner

When selecting area rugs, small or large, stay away from FRINGE. There is no faster way of screwing up a vacuum cleaner than fringe on a rug. No matter how careful I think I can be to avoid the fringe, it just keeps getting sucked in and churned hopelessly around the brush/cylinder. It's a scenario that just can't end well: the rug looks awful with a tangled mass of ruined fringe, and the vacuum cleaner is toast. For this reason, if you really like an area rug but it has fringe, see if the fringe can be removed or cut off, as I have been known to do.

Just say no to the fringe element!

Source
Our Eureka - not the greatest, but it functions.
Our Eureka - not the greatest, but it functions.

Vacuum Cleaner Choice

Finally, it helps to choose a quality vacuum cleaner that suits your needs best. Lightweight or heavyweight? Which attachments do you need? Bags or bagless? There are many choices. I have learned that vacuums of better quality don't always have to be the most expensive, but they are not usually the very cheapest either. We own a Eureka, it's not too expensive but needs a lot of belt replacements. The best heavy duty vacuum we have owned for pet hair is a Rikkar, not cheap but definitely effective and durable.

In your opinion, what is the best vacuum cleaner brand?

  • Eureka
  • Dirt Devil
  • Dyson
  • Hoover
  • Kenmore
  • Other
See results without voting

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