Sunday, January 16, 2011

Poor Man's Roomba

Swiffer + RC car + bored kid = clean house.

On a personal note, I recently bought a Roomba, because I finally admitted to myself that the mere thought of vacuuming makes me feel almost as miserable as the actual act.

Happy to report that buying a Roomba was totally worth it.

The first thing I discovered was that it's impossible not to anthropomorphize a Roomba. Because of the semi-random, yet deliberate nature of the cleaning pattern, there's something oddly lifelike about it. And the way it goes into a spiral when it finds a pile of dirt makes it look like it's VERY happy to be doing its job. Sorta like the door in Hitchhiker's Guide. Finally, there's its quaint little habit of bumping into things like a nearsighted puppy. Just adorable.

Within a day, I'd decided to name it Thumper, and started referring to it as "he" (figure if it were a girl, it'd be more graceful).

Now I'm not sure exactly how labor-saving it is, because I have to set up the virtual walls to keep him out of certain rooms, and move some furniture & power cords out of the way, and push his little start button, and empty his little dust bucket, and clean the hair out of his brushes. But the good part is that these things only take a couple minutes. I can stand to think about vacuuming for a couple minutes.

And the other good part is that he happily cleans under furniture that I haven't moved for years and couldn't get a vacuum under if I wanted to. And I'd rather drop a bowling ball on my foot than fiddle with my vacuum's hose attachment, so that problem's gone, too.

Two cautionary bits before you run out & buy one. First, I went with a slightly pricier model just so I could have the self-docking charging station. But it turns out that I usually take Thumper from room to room & do one room at a time, so this feature wasn't really worth the cost in terms of added convenience. Second, it's only really useful if every room in your house can be temporarily depopulated. If someone is ALWAYS running around the kitchen or the living room, you might get sick of stepping around the little guy.

Anyway, this purchase started out as a long-shot. Figured it would probably just be an expensive toy that would - ironically - sit around gathering dust.

Nope. Totally worth it.

Definitely beats vacuuming.

And dropping a bowling ball on my foot.


  1. You might want to get this, now that you've got a roomba:

  2. Harvey says: "figure if it were a girl, it'd be more graceful"

    If it was a girl it would sit on the couch and complain because it has to clean up after you.

  3. Great - I totally want one now...