Built in for Roomba? Other floor cleaning thoughts

mrspeteMay 14, 2014

I just got a Roomba. Greatest thing ever! I DESPISE vacuuming (though I don't mind sweeping with a broom). So this has me wondering:

Has anyone ever seen any type of a little "low door cabinet" that could be incorporated into . . . I don't know -- the back of a kitchen island, or a built-in, or other . . . to hold the Roomba? I'm thinking of a little low door with an outlet inside. Or maybe a little cut-out in the bottom of a chest? I've put it in a corner of the family room, but I'm wondering if I couldn't do better when we build.

I'm also wondering about built-in vac systems:

I don't really want to do a full-fledged system with hoses and all. I'm not planning to have all that much carpet -- mostly hardwood and tile.

What I would like is to have a couple of those "suckers" that serve as dustpans and "suck up" the dust you collect with a broom. Can I have those without having a full-fledged system?

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Annie Deighnaugh

I have a sucker thing...we call it Larry. It is part of the central vac system. I'm not sure why you wouldn't want to do a full-fledged system. The vacuum with the hose is great for doing all kinds of flooring, not just carpeting. And nothing beats it for doing baseboards, vacuuming up the crumbs out of the sofa, and we have an outlet in the garage for cleaning cars. Once you pay for the unit, while the walls are open, having the piping put in is very simple. I think if you have it, you will like it.

On the roomba, I have no idea how high they are, but will it fit under the toe kick in a kitchen cabinet?

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 8:56PM
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I have one of the original Roombas. The battery no longer lasts long enough to do a room. So now it collects dust, and not in the way it's intended to. ;)

I wouldn't design a part of my house to incorporate something that didn't last me more than a couple of years.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 9:27PM
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I saw a little ingenious toe-kick drawer online. Instead of drawer hardware you could just use hinges on the top inside to hide your robot, if she'skinny enough. I have a spot under my raised dishwasher that would be perfect for that. Could she push her own way out?

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 9:01PM
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Why don't I think I want a full-fledged vacuuming system? Because I HATE vacuuming. Hate it with the red-hot fire of ten thousand suns. I despise it. While a built-in system might alleviate some of my hatred, I don't see it disappearing. I'm planning to have little carpet in our new house -- just an area rug for the living room and MAYBE carpet in the bedrooms. I can't see building in a whole system for that small bit -- not when a Roomba can do it for me. In contrast, I don't mind sweeping; thus, I'm thinking I'd like to have the kick-open dustpan thing . . . but I know I will not vacuum unless forced to do so. What's the phrase? Know thyself.

As for toe-spaces under cabinets. No, my Roomba is too tall to fit under my current cabinets. However, I'm not sure I want toe-kicks in my new house at all. I am not quite 5' tall, and I'm investigating the idea of omitting them altogether -- I definitely wouldn't mind my cabinets being a few inches shorter. I've been reading on the internet, and people seem to be very split on the subject of whether these are necessary!

I don't expect any electronic gadget to last forever, but it can always be replaced. However, this is a good point: Nothing of this sort should be built for one specific machine; rather, it should be built with the idea that it'll eventually be replaced or upgraded.

A toe-kick drawer kind of thing was what I had in mind, but I couldn't find such a thing online -- do you know where you saw the picture? The only things I saw were kind of like curtains (or dust ruffles) that hid the machine.

As for pushing her own way out (well, I'm not sure whether mine is male or female -- we're not that well aquainted yet) . . . no. The start button is on top of the machine, so I would need to pull it out and push the button. That is a very good point and one I must puzzle through.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 9:15PM
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I would install a low outlet in a coat closet and keep the roomba in there... then just open the closet and let it out. or maybe a low outlet in the bottom of a pantry below your lowest shelf (assuming you have either a walk-in or closet pantry)

You can have a toe-kick thingy without a full central vac system. The Sweep Away cabinet vacuum is one such product.

We have a central vac w/ all hardwood floors and we have one of those toe-kick things as part of it. I think we may possibly have used it once in the 2 years we've lived here. We just pretty much forget it is there (caveat, though, we don't vacuum ourselves, we have a 3x-week housekeeper... but still it isn't like we are really getting crumbs on the floor of the kitchen near to that thing all the time and she doesn't use that thing either).

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 9:33PM
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Courtesy of our friends at houzz. They have pages of these.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 9:46PM
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Instead of the pantry, I'd build your roomba's house near the areas that are carpeted. You're much more likely to use it if you're in the area, think of it, and don't have to walk across the house to get it. Maybe it's just me, but I'd get distracted by something else and forget to unleash the roomba.

I'm going to investigate the sweep away system, thanks for that. One thing I hate about my current central vac is the hose is so cumbersome. DH has suggested a Dyson for the new house, but I really wanted the toe kick thing. I think I'd sweep more often if I didn't have to pull out the vacuum AND didn't have to pick up with the dust pan. I vacuum instead of sweep because I hate that part.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 10:28PM
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I thought I answered this once . . . and then I sat down to write a reply earlier and was interrupted. If this is a duplicate, I apologize.

Beagles, you seem to have a bead on my needs!

Yes, I think putting a low outlet for the Roomba in a closet is exactly the right answer! I think I had "tunnel vision" and could only envision a cabinet with a door . . . but this is easier and cheaper. I will definitely run with this idea.

I agree with Amberm that it should be near the carpeted areas (bedrooms only), and I will have a coat closet near the garage entry that'll work out well for that.

I was unaware of the Sweep Away product, but I'll be reading reviews on it ASAP. It looks just right for our needs, and at $350, it'll be much cheaper than a full-fledged system -- I'm thinking it'd work to have one in the pantry (located between the kitchen and dining room, so it could serve both rooms) and another in the garage entry (so it could serve the entry and laundry). It looks like an item that's meant to be added to an already existing house, but I think it's just what we need . . . and nothing more.

Thanks for the help, y'all.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2014 at 12:11PM
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We've had a Roomba for 4 years or so. In our last house, when I built some pantry cabinets I had a 4" high open space on the bottom of one, and put an outlet in the back of it. The idea was that when stored, the Roomba would charge up out of sight. We've moved, so sorry, no photos.

The problem was that we'd have to kneel down on the floor and set the Roomba precisely on the charging thing, which was a pain. It only self-docks if you push the "go" button while it's still docked, and it returns when it's out of charge.

Anyway, much better to do something like the closet floor idea, so it's not inaccessible. We haven't decided on a home for it yet in our current home, as we're still remodeling. But for now it's plugged in under the entryway table.

BTW, our Roomba doesn't do carpets well (gets stuck). And we had the battery issue, but googled and found a solution to reset it. Now it holds a charge just fine.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2014 at 1:53PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

I get that you hate vacuuming, but if that's the case, why not get central vac and make the nasty job as pleasant and effective as possible? One of the best parts of central vac is no unpleasant dusty bag smell and it rarely needs emptying unlike a small vacuum.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2014 at 7:31PM
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Sorry, I hate the central vac, also. That giant hose? Ugh. I have a rechargeable sweeper (Lux?) That I love for the kitchen/dining and hardwood and biweekly cleaning lady for the rest (canister vac).

Roomba users, does it work well?

    Bookmark   May 16, 2014 at 7:54PM
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I don't know my Roomba well enough to comment on its "abilities" yet, but I think the self-docking is pretty cool. Right now it's just in a corner, so I can easily push the Go button. I will keep that in mind when we pick a space.

No, I will not like vacuuming, even if I splurge on the nicest, most convenient central vac system. Yes, it would get rid of dragging the heavy machine and messing with the cord . . . but there's still the awful hose, and the plugging in -type problems would just be replaced with hooking up the hose. I despise the job and will not like it no matter what.

As I said, in contrast, I don't mind sweeping. I know myself, and I'm trying to build what I know I'll use -- not what might be possible for someone else.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2014 at 11:41PM
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MrsPete, thanks for posting this thread. We must be kindred spirits. I hate vacuuming because of back and knee issues. I bought a Roomba before Christmas for our new home. I can't wait to try it. I hadn't thought about where I was going to store it yet. I found a spot for my Dyson, but not the Roomba.

Because of suggestions of a low outlet, I think I'll store it in our walk-in closet under the low outlet inside the door.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 4:41AM
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