Why You Just Might Need a Robot,Too

It’s time for a little honesty around here.  I am working like crazy, and my business is booming. That’s a good thing – I know. But my house is going to pot. The last few weeks, I have felt completely overwhelmed by just keeping things decent around here.


Photo by Josephine Pugh via Environmental Graffiti 

I always thought the Brady Bunch mom totally had it made, what with Alice living right there in the house.  She cooked, she cleaned, but did you ever notice that she didn’t drive (Mrs. Brady had to drive her to the grocery)? Anyway, it’d be cool to have an Alice . . .

brady bunch alicevia 


I remember growing up watching The Jetsons, knowing that when I grew up everyone would have their own robot to clean house and we would just have to push a button instead of cooking dinner.  Somehow, things haven’t quite turned out that way . . .


Rosie from The Jetsons



Ok, I SWEAR, this is a true story:  last week, in my domestic overwhelmedness (that may not be a word), I got an answer to prayer email asking if I’d like to test out the iRobot Braava sweeper/mop.  And if I liked it, I could keep it.  WHAT???  Is this a dream?

irobot mop iRobot Floor Mopping Robot

Not a dream.  I waited expectantly for the wonder robot to arrive, while Mr. Man rolled his eyes and told me he thought the whole thing was a gimmick and not to get my hopes up (way to be a total dream-squasher).  And then she arrived – my very own Alice! I wasn’t sure what I was getting, but it wasn’t very big.  Hmm. I opened the package to find quite a few different pieces, and I started getting nervous that it would be too complicated.  Thankfully, there was a quick-start guide with simple instructions.  I had it all set up and charging within a few minutes, without help from Mr. Man.




It can sweep and mop – you use one kind of microfiber cloth to sweep/dust, and another to mop.  There’s a water reservoir for the mopping option, and it lets it out a bit at a time so as to keep the surface damp without soaking the floor – which is important for hardwood. I started first in the kitchen, where the floor is VCT (vinyl composite tile). Let me tell you, the floor was FILTHY in there.

braava mop


At first, I wasn’t sure of the rhyme or reason as to the direction it went.  It cues off a GPS cube that points to the middle of the room and somehow it works until it’s done with the whole room.  The kitchen required two cycles, but it does when I’m mopping myself, too.  Look at the result – I was totally impressed:


 after iRobot Braava had it’s way with the floor


Now I’m getting excited – time for my hardwood floors!  I started with the sweep cycle since it was pretty dusty in my living and dining room.  One of the coolest things is how the Braava goes under the furniture and completely cleans up the dust bunnies living there.  No crouching, bending, or sore back for me.

irobot braava under furniture

isn’t it cute peeking out from beneath my sofa? 


Now you can see how sassy I’m feeling.  I put my feet up for a few minutes with a book while the Braava did all the work for me.



After it was finished, I felt confident I could leave Alice all by herself to finish up. I changed the cleaning pad, started the mop cycle, and left to hit a few estate sales with my daughter. While my robot worked, I found these vintage cloth napkins to finish out my Thanksgiving table (I’ll show you that next week):


vintage cloth napkins

I also found a bunch of fun brass pieces to use as accents on a bookcase or tabletop.



And as I brought inside my new mid-century dresser that I got for a STEAL, my little robot just kept right on mopping.  What color should I paint this new lovely?  The dresser, not my robot.




I’m really thrilled with my new best friend Braava sweeper/mop – she’s small, but she’s powerful!  If you need some extra help around the house this holiday season, maybe you should consider getting one yourself.  You can find out more about the iRobot Braava here. Ok, one final glance at my gleaming hardwood floor:



My thanks to iRobot for sponsoring this post!  Let me know if you have any questions about how it the Braava mop works in the comments below.


  1. Natalie A

    I’ve actually been considering something like this. I wonder if I can just program it to follow my children around the house??? 😉

  2. Jessica

    We have a Neato vacuum, which is similar though it doesn’t mop. I love it! We named it Carson, since we’d been watching a lot of Downton Abbey.

  3. Michelle

    Just a reminder that you already have a best friend who is small and powerful. 🙂 Glad the robot was a hit!

    • Kristie Barnett

      Haha, I totally thought of you when I wrote that!!!

  4. Karina Aguon

    Kristie, we have two golden retrievers that shed BIG TIME! how big is the dust collection reservoir? I wonder how much it would hold. It’s funny that you post this…. my mom and I were just talking about getting one.

    • Kristie Barnett

      This isn’t the vacuum – that’s the Roomba (same company). This is a sweeper (duster) and a mop. Now I think I need a Roomba, too!

  5. Jil Sonia Interiors

    I can certainly vouch for the Roomba vacuums, they are a life saver. I just might need to get an Alice to complete the set!

  6. Lex Thompson

    Kristie, did you find the noise level of the machine acceptable? Just wondering how loud or quiet itis since I work from home and don’t want something too loud in the background while on conference calls. Thanks!

    • Kristie Barnett

      Actually, I was pleasantly surprised at how very quiet it is! You barely notice it. In fact, I kept forgetting it was working until I’d hear it rotate or nudge against a corner. You could totally use it during a conference call – in fact, I’ll probably be turning it on so I can multi-task while doing online phone consultations!

      • Lex Thompson

        Awesome! Thanks for the quick reply. 😉

  7. Suzy

    Hi: I loved my Roomba vaccuums/sweepers so much, I bought stock in IRobot a few years ago, haha! But there is a downside.

    I’ve bought three of these in succession. The trouble is, none of them lasted much more than five months, and when they break, what do you do with them? I did send back two of them, and the company will fix, but after a while, you just sort of give up. They’re too expensive to keep replacing. (Remember our parents’ appliances that seemed to be made of bowling-ball material, and just lasted forever?)

    It’s the same problem I have with the Keurig coffee makers. Three of these have broken – and then what do you do? Take them to the coffee machine repair shop? No — you’ve gotten used to them, so you go out and get another. But after your third, you’re done.

    I love the Roomba products before they break but — at least in my experience — they break too often for them to be a good deal for us.

    • Paula Van Hoogen

      As for the Keurig…we’ve returned 2 to Costco–no problem!! Just be sure to push the K-cup down into the holder with your thumbs til it pops. Then close the handle. we learned this from the manufacturer.
      They need to write that into the instructions!
      Kristie–I can TOTALLY relate as to the overwhelmedness—ESPECIALLY the closer it gets to Christmas.
      Putting my head under the covers at night really helps me think I’m away from it all!!!
      can we hire Alice to do Christmas and cards too???
      LOVE tHIS POST–one of my all time favorites!!!!

  8. Kelly

    Love it! I can certainly use one of these. Thanks for sharing Kristie.

  9. applehillcottage

    HaHa! I thought you had snuck into my dining room with that first picture!

  10. Veronica Tostado-Domurat

    I like the dresser…if it’s i good shape I would not paint it 🙂

    • Kristie Barnett

      It’s in good shape. But I have a lot of wood in my dining room already, and I’m looking for a more interesting mix in there.

      • Veronica Tostado-Domurat

        I can’ wait to see what you are going to do with it…I know it will be really nice 🙂

  11. Susanne

    I am usually the first person to paint furniture but there is NO way I woul paint that piece. I would sell it and make a profit and find a paintable piece of furniture.

    • Kristie Barnett

      I agree that this is a fabulous piece of furniture – why would I try to sell it? The reason why I got it for a steal is because very few people want to buy a piece like this. It would have gone to Goodwill if I hadn’t snagged it. This is the perfect piece for below a flat screen tv (flanked with fabulous lamps, of course) or for a dining room buffet, or even a sofa table. I swear, I’m not trying to argue with you, but I’m wondering: what do you consider a “paintable” piece of furniture? Does it have to be crappy wood to paint it? Then I wouldn’t like it in the first place.

      • Susanne

        The reason I thought this was a great piece, that was valuable, is because to me in the photo it appears to be a mid century modern piece (I think that is what it is called) and those pieces are really “in” right now in home decor. I agree it is the perfect piece for a flat screen below the window. No it oes not have to be a “crappy” piece of furniture to be considered paintable to me. Paintable pieces in MY opinion are pieces that are not valuable, but I have a tight buget. I have several antique pieces in my living room. A buffet I use as a console, a cabinet and a bow front chest. I am paint happy but I can’t bring myself to paint these pieces because I am afraid it might decrease the value of them and I am one of those people who like to buy, trade swap etc….so I like pieces to keep their value. So with that being said I thought your piece was an antique.
        Enjoy your new piece
        Happy Thanksgiving

        • Kristie Barnett

          I totally get what you are saying – I have three very antique pieces in my dining room that are family pieces, and even though I’ve been tempted – I haven’t been able to bring myself to paint them for the very reasons you are saying. And yes, the dresser is definitely a mid-century piece, and it does have value. The problem is, finding who it’s valuable to. I really love it and will appreciate it, whether it’s painted or not! I’ll let you know if I follow through 😉

  12. jodi seaton

    How about purple for the dresser?

  13. Melissa

    I need a robot to pick up my kids toys. Braava people are you listening?

  14. Carol

    What does the I robot do if you have rugs on your floors, do you need to take them up first? I noticed in one of your pics you had one, and I have several on my hardwood floors.

    • Kristie Barnett

      It stops when it hits a rug and turns around. You can either take them up or leave them there – it’s up to you!

  15. Karen

    So excited for your “Alice!” I’ve always wanted an Alice in my life as well! 🙂 I do have a question for you, I wonder if it would work on my “unfinished” hardwood floors? Does it say?

    • Kristie Barnett

      What do you mean, Karen, by “unfinished?” It works on any hard floor surface – you can use the sweep option or the mop option (dry or wet) if that’s a concern. I like that it puts out only a small amount of moisture at a time – so you aren’t soaking the hardwoods.

      • Karen

        Well, the floors are not sealed with anything — there is no protectant except for whatever they treated the wood to begin with. We were told not to use any cleaning product on the floor – to spot clean only (which is impossible, of course, with a family of four plus a dog). Just wondering if the iRobot has to use a certain cleaning fluid, I guess, that would not be good for my floors.

        • Kristie Barnett

          No, no cleaning fluid – just water, or no water if you want to simply dust/sweep. The cleaning pads are anti-microbial, if that helps!

  16. Diane

    Love the napkins!

    Instead of painting the dresser, how about putting something removable on the drawer fronts like a pretty wrapping paper, or wallpaper?

  17. Susanne

    I think you should paint it blue.

  18. Kristin Long

    I only have hardwoods and slate on my main floor. I thought about getting a Roomba last year but would still have to mop. Could this be the answer to my prayers 🙂 I detest… hate… abhor… you name it… doing the floors in my house! Give me a bathroom any day! I’m just wondering if I want this to be my birthday present next week?! If it works, it would be THE BEST one ever! I love anything that takes some of the work off of my plate!

    • Kristie Barnett

      Kristin – I’ll do your floors if you do my bathrooms! 😉

  19. Jamie

    I have the same dresser!!! I can’t wait to see what you do with it.


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