There are a handful of recurring questions we receive that pop up week after week, and while some of them are item-based (as in, how’s that so-and-so holding up?; we answered a lot of those right here!), most of them have to do with the cutest, sweetest valuables in the home – our pets! They might read like:
Are your dogs allowed on the furniture? or How do you keep the cat food out of the dogs’ reach? or Do Jack and CC play nice with Libby? or Is your home always as fur-free as it looks online?
We love Jack, CC and Libby to the moon and back (it honestly cannot be normal), but I’d be lying if I said we don’t find tumbleweeds of fluffy grey fur floating along the baseboards. Mopping the floors takes a backseat more often than not, and we don’t dare wear black pants – lest we want shiny, slobbered knees. Our home does get hairy! Our pets do make messes, get into mischief and knock over the occasional beverage. All this to say, we’ve found our groove by implementing – and most importantly, sticking to – a few tricks that help us keep a (mostly) clean, happy and healthy pet-friendly home.
We choose the fabrics in our home carefully. Our couch, armchairs and reading chair were all purchased second-hand and upholstered in two types of fabric: heavyweight velvet and outdoor Sunbrella. In our experience, we’ve found that velvet doesn’t pill or pull under kitty claws (we talked a little bit about that here!), and outdoor fabric easily cleans up with warm water and a drop of dish soap! When deciding on upholstery fabric, we collect swatches and try to destroy the samples with a push pin, and maybe not surprisingly, there’s a clear winner in almost every case. Tip: When purchasing pillows, we’re always sure to see if the cover is removable for easy washing.
We’re a no-dogs-on-the-furniture household. Sadly. More than anything, we would love to snuggle with the whole family on the couch (and on rare exceptions, say, a horrible no good day, we do), but we do our best to stick firmly to this rule for one reason: our sweet girl, Libby. Libby is quite small, and she wants nothing more than to lounge uninterrupted on every pillow and couch cushion throughout this whole house. The way we see it, the furniture is 100% her domain. The couch – the chairs, the bed! – are hers alone. Of course this means less fur and grime covering every last surface, too!
We stick to hard-wearing rugs. Lately, our rugs of choice fall under three categories: vintage Persians, outdoor-use (are you sensing a theme?) and 100% wool. To us, a quality vintage rug only gets better with age (and a yearly-or-so professional cleaning!), and the small scale patterns help to conceal stubborn spots. The rug in our dining room, above, is outdoor-rated faux sisal, and yes, we have had to rinse it with soapy water. And finally, a 100% wool rug will typically hold up better over time. The lower the pile, the better. Tip: These Baxter rugs are an absolute favorite! So much so, we have one in indigo and one in grey.
We spread out our cleaning supplies. There’s a cleaning caddy in the laundry room, soap scum removers and Magic Erasers in the bathroom, and vinegar, Mrs. Meyers and dish soap solutions under our kitchen sink. Having all of these supplies spread throughout the home eliminates any extra steps to hunt down the right supplies, and that has changed everything. And can I get real weird for just a second? We also purchased a second vacuum so that we could have one on each floor. I know (my own eyes rolled out of my head the day we bit the bullet), but you guys, it was a game changer. We made the switch to Dyson years ago and haven’t looked back, but we recently upgraded to the V6 Motor Head, and going cordless has made vacuuming much more enjoyable! Although the canister is small, it’s oddly satisfying to watch it fill up.
We give our pets a space to call their own. This one piggy backs off the no-dogs-on-furniture rule, but it’s really important for us to give each pet a safe space; the different zones help to keep the peace between Libby and the pups. Libby’s food is hidden in a laundry room cabinet, Jack and CC’s pet food station is their happy place, the reading nook is pretty much the doggie sleeping lounge, and although we tried to get rid of it, CC needs her crate. We keep it tucked in the corner of the bedroom, and she uses it as her own mini comfort station, mostly in the evenings. (We splurged on this cute crate cover, but it is what it is!)
We stop the dirt before it enters the house. For the most part, we’re a shoes-off household. We don’t enforce it with guests, but more often than not, they’ll notice our stocking feet and do the same. (It’s also our mindful way to cut down on noise for our neighbors in the garden unit below us.) And just as we slip off our sneakers before settling in, we make sure to wipe off all eight doggie paws after an exceptionally muddy/rainy/sticky walk.
We cut down on fur before it begins. A long, long time ago, we shared our tricks for addressing the hairy situation. Many of those things still hold true – we Furminate, we vacuum regularly (even more so since we’ve gone cordless!), and we bathe our dogs often. Every handful of weeks, as Scott gathers up the pups for their baths, I’ll take that time to collect all the dog beds and liners for the wash. I’ll vacuum the stairs, furniture and rugs, and those are the evenings where we can feel our house really shine.
In the end, all the decisions we make in this house always go back to Jack, CC and Libby. I can’t begin to count how many times I’ve shown a rug/pillow/blanket/insert-any-accessory-here to Scott, and the first question out of his mouth is, How do you clean it? Simply put, if it’s not pet-friendly, durable or hard-wearing, it’s out. Even still, we are firm believers that you can have your pets and your dream home, too, but like anything worthwhile, it’ll take some honest-to-goodness effort.
For all the other pet-lovers out there, what are your go-to tricks for keeping your home and family, both happy and healthy?