The difference between a house and a home is how much you love living there. LaunchPad explores the innovative technologies that help you care for your space more effectively.
In the three months between first viewing my house and when I closed on it, I devoted hours to mapping and remapping my ideal interior decorating scheme for when I finally got my keys. I imagined creating a Pinterest-perfect, guest-ready home as a one-time artistic project: I would lay a foundation of tasteful color schemes and major furniture purchases like a sofa and dining room table, add a layer of texture and accents with lamps and end tables, and then unleash a meticulously curated selection of decorative art and objects to really make it my own.
I was as surprised when I actually managed to decorate according to my vision. My masterpiece was ready within thirty days, give or take!
But I soon realized that having a home worth sharing is less akin to perfectly applying paint to canvas in a fit of artistic inspiration than to strategically applying a selection of skincare and beauty products to a face in a daily routine. Which is to say: It requires some maintenance.
I was a rookie at owning a home, but, as a 30-year-veteran of owning a face, I already knew some best practices for care that made the best use of a handful of high-impact products and processes to enhance an overall aesthetic vision. Here’s what I learned.
An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure
Reasoning that no one is going to come for dinner parties at my house if I’m dead, I prioritized the CO2 hazard in the living room first by grabbing all four of the super-basic CO2 monitors on display at my local hardware store.
Sensing my panic, the good-natured Irishman behind the counter forewent his own business interests and told me that if I was that concerned about air quality, I should consider an air quality monitor that measures CO2, dust, chemicals, temperature, and humidity in the home while alerting users to ways they can reduce any hazards it detects. Dyson also makes air purifiers that come with an app to track temperature, humidity, and air quality.
I wish I could say that it was with my newfound knowledge of dust and chemical levels in my home that I made the logical next step of buying a vacuum renowned for generating enough centrifugal force to capture the finest particles that other vacuums miss, and for its fully-sealed filtration system that expels cleaner air than it sucks in.
But the truth is that the cat litter tracked from the bathroom into the dining room jammed between my beloved pine floorboards had driven me to the brink of sanity and my cries for help online all brought me back to the same answer: the Dyson Cyclone V10™ vacuum. Watching its powerful suction excavate untold amounts of debris from between and underneath my floorboards felt biological, or else religious: a deep, complete satisfaction that resonates in your bones.
The Dyson Cyclone V10™ vacuum was so light and easy to handle that when I finished the floor crevices, I proceeded, in a single fluid motion (using one hand!), to sick it upward at the cobwebs in the living room, and still had battery left for an upholstery intervention. After one click into handheld mode and another to attach the quick-release mini motorhead attachment, it was the first time I’ve ever successfully removed pet hair without having to put my entire body weight into the task. It’s also got a bigger bin than its predecessor, the V8, which means I didn’t have to stop cleaning to empty it out.
My cat’s eyes darted with suspicion as he witnessed the disappearance of his handiwork, the litter and fur he’s trailed over his domain. He was very suspicious about having been thwarted so easily.
To prove him wrong, though, and to make sure these routines stuck, I surrendered to the responsibility and convenience of Amazon’s “Subscribe & Save” option for my other regular cleaning supplies (more on those in a moment). Getting regular deliveries of discounted apple cider vinegar, cleansing oils, sea salt, generic club soda, and 24 packs of my microfiber cloths is as close as I think I’ll get to the quaintness of having like, a milkman or something.
Choose Complementary High-Tech and Natural Solutions
This foundation of helpful appliances made the prospect of taking care of my home feel less like the grueling event and closer to a set of habits I could commit to.
In order to complement the Dyson, I stocked plants selected for their alleged air-purifying skills, as well as an assortment of essential oils in woodsy fragrances, which I added to a kettle atop the wood stove to humidify the air and make it smell like Christmas. Oversized white sage smudges get waved around the house to ward off evil spirits as well as cat smells.
And in the spirit of natural living, I ran trials on more than twenty cleaning concoctions with apple cider vinegar as the active ingredient and discovered excellent replacements for Windex on framed art and windows. Goo-Gone does best on sugary spills and candle wax; paired with the best-reviewed microfiber cleansing cloths on the internet, I could spiffy up painted walls, dulled sections of hardwood, antique brass candelabras, and to go full Inception, wipe up the thin layer of debris in the vacuum’s bin.
Don’t Be Afraid to Add a Little Glitter
I have thus far resisted the temptation to deploy actual glitter to decorate my common spaces, but I’ve come awfully close. Instead, I’ve cut loose from my decorating scheme with items like a pair of gold Bluetooth-enabled karaoke microphones that give friends incentive to attend a house party, as well as several adult coloring books mixed in among the coffee table books for introverts to avert gazes with.
I’ve started a collection of small Tiffany-style lamps (shapes currently include a fox, a parrot, and a bear) that give a splash of primary color to otherwise synchronized (and more tasteful) palettes, and I have a few taxidermy bats of similar sizes because, well, why not? Feeling confident that my foundation pieces are holding the spaces together securely means that these offbeat flourishes can elevate an overall aesthetic vision to a personalized masterpiece.
And if I ever do decide to go with actual glitter, I’m not too worried about the inevitable cleanup. I already know the Dyson Cyclone V10™ vacuum can handle it.
Alana Massey is an author and aspiring one-woman lifestyle empire. She lives in the Catskills in New York.