Sponsored Post: This post was sponsored by the Libman Company, but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.
I’m a little bit of a neat freak. My sanity and the cleanliness of my home are intricately interwoven: I need a clean, tidy space to feel calm and relaxed and, when I’m stressed, I clean. I don’t actually like cleaning though, so I’m always looking for ways to make cleaning easier.
Meanwhile, I’m convinced that my two pups conspire to make it more difficult!
I love where I live, but sometimes having Lake Superior in our backyard makes life messier. Our lawn sort of flows right into the lake with a rocky shore that’s been submerged (thanks to super high water levels), but there’s one spot where we access the lake that’s sandy and that little niche just beckons Hynda and Szuka, who often run down there for a drink of water, end up getting soaked, and then try to get back into the house sopping wet. Living in the country, my two girls also love romping through the woods and tackling each other in the gravel driveway, just mushing as much dirt and muck into their (lake dampened) paws as possible. Szuka is a lady, but Hynda will also roll in anything gross she finds: fox poop, bear poop, deer poop, goose poop… She’s had many impromptu lake baths this summer!
But look at those sweet faces! We spend as much time outside as possible because they love living on Lake Superior as much as Hubby and I do.
I can’t blame the dogs solely for any lakeside mess though, because even Hubs and I will go for a swim or stand up paddle boarding, and then run inside for a snack, dripping water and sand in the kitchen. Fall cleaning seems to be the worse because we all track in gross damp leaves on top of everything else. But lake life is chill and I’ve had to learn to relax a little with the cleaning. A little.
I still run a pretty tight ship.
To mitigate the mess the puppies make, I have some tricks and tips to share (and I’d love to read about yours in the comments).
Create a Drying Station:
I have trained both pups to head straight into the laundry room (which is right by the front door) the minute we set foot inside, whether they’re muddy or not. They know this routine so it prevents anyone from running through the house tracking muddy pawprints everywhere. It’s also where we keep Szuka’s food and water in her DIY raised feeder.
Train Pups to Wipe Their Feet
Once inside the laundry room, we wipe paws with an old towel – whether they need it or not. Getting both pups used to having their paws handled and dried every time we come inside has made this infinitely easier. We’re still working on Hynda so throughout the day I’ll just gently rub her paws and give her a treat to associate paw handling with positive vibes, but Szuka knows the routine and actually even knows what “left paw” and “right paw” mean – it’s adorable. Plus we taught her to “stand,” so we can reach those back legs and dry her tummy if she’s tried to escape by swimming. On days they’re SOAKED, they chill in here with a treat until their furry bodies are dry enough.
Block off Areas
I have a cute pen for Hynda to play in when I can’t watch her because she’s still young and potty training. It’s connected to her crate so she can have a nap but we don’t close the door to the crate until we go to bed at night. During the days she has this little space to romp and play (and nap stretched out) when I’m occupied, but we go outside for lots of playtime and then she’s free for tons of supervised indoor playtime too. But even when I let her loose in the house, I use the living room ottoman to keep her out of there (or in there at night if we’re watching a movie and want to keep an eye on her while she plays). I also close the bedroom doors during playtime. Confining her helps prevent potty training accidents and also keeps the house cleaner.
Designate a Spot for Everything
Our dogs have a lot of stuff! Toys, ear cleaner, medications, nail clippers, food, treats, life jackets, spare collars – you name it. I store food, toys, towels, etc., in the laundry room and things like medications, bum wipes, and ear cleaner in the the adjacent half bath because that’s where I use it. There’s a special hook for leashes and I try to have a spot for everything so their stuff doesn’t pile up.
Invest in a Good Quality Mop
I don’t really vacuum much anymore but I sweep daily because despite my best paw wiping efforts, they still manage to bring in a little sand and gravel.
While a quick sweep does the trick, I also like to wash floors regularly because these girls drool and leave nose prints all over the hardwood. I can’t stand seeing those smudges!
I was not happy with my old sponge mop though, so I was looking to upgrade and The Libman Company has a great line of convenient mops. I don’t enjoy dragging a bucket around, so I was super excited about switching to the Libman Freedom Mop, which has a handy bottle that dispenses the floor cleaning solution of my choice. The microfiber pad is washable up to 100 times and refills are fairly inexpensive. Because it sprays the surface, it allows me to really quickly run a mop around and give the floors a great wash in half the time. Plus the floors dry much more quickly, which means the pups (and humans) can be let loose from wherever I’ve cordoned them off much quicker!
It has such a great swivel head which means I can reach under all of my furniture, something my old foam mop and bucket couldn’t do. There’s a great line of Libman cleaning products, which you can easily find at Canadian Tire (where I bought mine) or The Home Depot. Also – and this is really important to me – these products have been made in North America since 1896. I try my best to buy as many products made in Canada or the States as possible, and this North American made product has the cutest family history too.
Ditch the Rugs and Carpet
This is why I’m so enamored with mops: I don’t have any rugs or carpets, other than a little mat by each door! I know I’m weird because most people love rugs and could never give them up, but I am not a fan or rugs and carpet for various reasons and with two messy dogs, having hardwood, tile and linoleum floors has been crucial. Szuka was easily house broken but Hynda had SO many accidents in the beginning – I shudder to think how pee-soaked any carpeting would have been! I know carpets and rugs can be cleaned but with a puppy, honestly I personally just think naked wood floors are so much easier and I’m all about making cleaning easy.
Avoid Really Textured Furniture
This was a tough lesson. I had successfully kept our mint Mingo chair and our velvet mid-century modern chair clean all these years so I naively thought we could handle tweed dining chairs. Szuka isn’t allowed on the furniture, although she’ll come cuddle when we’re on the sofa, resting her head on our laps and rubbing her dirty beard on the seat cushion. When we’re really weak, she’s allowed up on the ottoman but because our sofas have been leather, they’ve been easy to clean. She rubs against the blue tweed chairs, though, rubbing her fur deep into the fibers and although I lint roller my heart out, there’s a faint light swatch of rubbed fabric, thanks to her loving all over the tweed. I think the fabric has also been sort of buffed there, because of this weird rubbing she does.
It’s difficult to see, I think, but I notice it every day. They look dirty even when they’re not, so I think this tweed was a mistake – I’ll admit it! It always had a matte texture and probably wasn’t super high quality so I think if I get chairs again I’d switch back to something like leather or a fabric with more sheen that isn’t so textured and grippy.
Find a Cheap DIY Pet Washing Station
We used to bathe Szuka in the tub but after the bathroom was renovated, I didn’t want her nails scratching the new bathtub so we sought out a cheap place to wash her. A pet store in town offers $10 DIY washes at their incredibly handy pet washing station and it’s totally worth it because, given her size, we probably use that much in soap alone. One day I’d like to renovate the laundry room and add a DIY pet washing station but when we can’t get to town, a lake bath does the trick in the summer and a “snow bath” works for winter.
Those are my tips for keeping the house clean even with two messy pups and a sandy lake in my backyard. I’d love to hear your tips! And if you’ve been eyeing up my new Libman Freedom Mop, or curious about what other products they have, take a peek here. I am honestly so impressed with the Freedom Mop I chose because it’s just SO much easier to clean up those nose prints and rogue bits of sand – plus it does a way better job by reaching under all of my furniture.
P.S. The great gams in these photos belong to my lovely Mom, who I asked to help me snap some photos for this post.
She came over wearing the CUTEST leggings, designed by a local clothing designer who has a shop downtown, so I asked Mom to model my new mop for me because her leggings matched my decor so well. But I, uh, “needed a bunch of different angles” so she ended up mopping the entire living and dining room while I pretended to take photos, lol. She’s the one who realize this mop fits under even my low TV stand and sofa. I have the sweetest Mom.