How to Organize your Home to Minimize Pet Hair
Pet hair can be unsightly and can aggravate allergies, but you aren’t just going to give up your furry babies! As a Certified Professional Organizer (CPO®) for the last 12+ years, I’ve helped many, many families reduce pet hair in the home. Here are ways to cope.
Grooming is the first defense. Have dogs bathed at least once a month, and try to brush them, outdoors if possible, daily. Cats, well, see if you can trick them into daily grooming with a specialty pet hair remover glove. Even better, get them used to brushing and maybe even regular baths as kittens. Your 10-year-old cat isn’t going to appreciate your sudden new zeal for water-bathing, but you might be able to start a dry-shampoo grooming routine.
Buy the best quality vacuum you can afford, and vacuum daily. Whatever brand, bagged or bagless, ensure that it is HEPA filter equipped. It’s not just the hair you are battling, but the microscopic dander on the hair, which the HEPA filter and HEPA bags can help with.
Use washable pillow and furniture slipcovers and pet bed covers. Wash them weekly.
If you can’t cover your furniture, use a pet hair remover sponge to clean upholstered surfaces.
If your allergies are very severe, stick with furniture that features solid surfaces, like leather couches and wooden dining chairs. These are easy to wipe down to keep pet hair-free. Even better, make sure that the legs are exposed and sit high off the floor. These styles will be easier to vacuum and dust underneath on a regular basis.
Run your HVAC system’s fan constantly. Most people run it only when their heater or AC is running, but you can set the fan to run all the time. With this setting, your HVAC filters are constantly filtering the home’s air, reducing floating pet hair and particles. With the system running constantly, you’ll want to change your system filters monthly. If you don’t want to run it constantly, set it to run every night or every day while you are at work. Something is better than nothing, and it may be less expensive than buying one of those pricey standalone air cleaners that only handles air from one room at a time. Compare your electric bill, and see if the few dollars you spend on the fan justifies the reduced cleaning and allergens. Allergen specific filters like these for your HVAC system can help even better than the cheapie filters that most people use. Remember Mike Holmes from Holmes on Homes? He taught me that.
Clean the areas of your home that most people forget to clean. This is where fur and dander can settle, and build up over time. When you turn on the heat in the fall, that stuff rises with the hot air, affecting the health of everyone in your home.
Pull your books forward on the bookshelves to eliminate the front ledge where dust can gather. It’s a simple trick that makes your home instantly look more organized and clean.
The holy grail, or course, is to eliminate clutter and knickknacks, making the whole house easier and quicker to clean. For those keepsakes that you do want to store away, be sure to put them in containers with lids, so your pets can’t get into them and leave even more fur in a cozy little nest that they build for themselves. My sweet kitty, who passed away several years ago, was known for climbing into the closets and making a cozy little spot for herself, right on top of folded golf shirts and sweaters. With both dark and light hair, you just couldn’t win!
Darla DeMorrow is a Certified Professional Organizer® from Wayne, PA. This post is adapted from her blog, Heartworkorg.com.