by ARIANE BENEFIT

If you have a dog or cat, living with pet hair and fur is a fact of life.

But there are ways you can make it easier to keep it under control. Not only will these tips make it easier to keep your home clean, if you implement them all, you will likely reduce your allergy symptoms as well!

Here are the top secrets of a professional organizer who also owns three Maine Coone cats and regularly pet sits my neighbor’s two dogs!

  1. Avoid carpeting. Hardwood, tile, and even linoleum floors are MUCH easier to keep clean and odor-free. Use area rugs that can easily be replaced every few years.
  2. Use Woolite for Pets Carpet and Upholstery cleaner to spot clean rugs and furniture when you sweetie has an accident or vomits. It not only leaves the carpet and sofa fresh smelling, it always gets out ALL the stain.
  3. Use Febreeze about once a month or so to keep fabrics such as throw pillows, area rugs and curtains fresher smelling.
  4. When buying furniture, curtains and clothing, avoid microfibers and other fabrics that are magnets for pet hair. When I want to clean the sofa of pet hair, all I need to do is put on a pair of microfiber pants. I sit on the sofa for a few minutes, stand up, and I look like a cat! Leather or leatherette are great. Twill, denim, cotton and rayons are pretty easy to get pet hair off of. Chenille is not.
  5. Get several great pet hair brushes. Keep one in a box or drawer in any room that has lots of fabric, like the bedroom and living room. We get ours at Linens N Things – they are called Majik Brushes. We brush the furniture and dining room chairs every few days or as needed. Plus, by having one near the front door, we can always brush ourselves (and our guests who may have become pet hair magnets) before leaving the house!
  6. Get at least one or two hand held vacuums. Keep them handy wherever pet fur accumulates the most. If possible, get a HEPA-rated vacuum. Smaller vacuums are great for quick touch ups when you have hardwood floors. All the pet hair that travels to the corners comes right up! We also keep a hand held in our cleaning supply closet where the litter box lives to clean up the litter the cats track out of the box. My favorite vacuums are the Black and Decker ones that use the same rechargeable batteries as all the other B&D tools. We keep an extra set of batteries and charger by each vacuum so we never run out of power.
  7. For pet food, the clear SNAPWARE® containers (we got ours at Target) are awesome. They are easy to open, easy to fill AND easy to keep a scoop inside. Whatever you do, don’t buy a container without testing if first to see how it opens and closes. So many of them are complicated and difficult to open. At least make sure you keep the receipt just in case you don’t find it easy to use.
  8. For dogs, keep paper towels, pop-up wipes, and pooper scooper bags near the door where you exit to walk the dog. You can even use plastic grocery bags as pooper scoopers. If you have a little hallway with a table near your exit, you can keep a the dog’s leashes, collars, paper towels, bags, etc. in a nice decorative basket or box
  9. Get dogs groomed professionally as needed to keep them and your home smelling better.
  10. Here’s a tip from a friend of mine with 3 large dogs, use easy to remove and wash slipcovers for all furniture and keep special dog blankets anywhere the dogs are allowed to nap.

Organizing to have everything you need to keep your home free of pet hair and smells will make it easier to clean and give you more time to enjoy your fur babies! © 2006 Ariane Benefit, Neat Living All rights reserved.

Ariane Benefit, M.S.Ed., is a professional organizer, consultant, speaker, and author of the Neat Living Blog at http://www.neatliving.net which provides expert organizing tips, home makeover photos and much more. Her mission is to help people simplify, clear clutter, and get organized enough to live a life they love! She provides practical creative solutions for people who want a neater, simpler, less stressful life. Ariane can be found on the web at http://www.neatliving.org

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