The Clouds Have Parted, The Sunlight Is Back

Edit 12/28/20: Hey, y’all! I hope your holidays have been amazing!! I’ll be back on January 4th, ready to hit the ground running in a new year and with new projects. I hope the last week of 2020 is a good one for all of you! I’m ready to put 2020 behind us and have a fresh start as the calendar flips over to 2021. 🙂 See y’all soon!

Good morning, all! I’m still working towards my goal of getting my house all clean and ready to go for the new year, and things are moving along pretty well now. I started off the week still dragging my feet and working pretty slowly and reluctantly just because the task at hand seemed so huge. But yesterday I started to see some major progress, and that got me excited and motivated to work even harder and faster to get it all done.

I won’t show you how my house started off, because while I try to be pretty open and transparent, I’m not willing to open myself up to that level of ridicule. 😀 Just suffice it to say that over the last few months, the condition of my house became worse than it has ever been.

I’m the only person in this house who has the ability to pick up, clean, and organize. So when I pretty much stopped doing those things, there was no one else to pick up the slack until I got my act together again. So while I won’t show you all of the mess, I’ll give you a glimpse into the kind of craziness that had invaded our home.

Since we’ve been ordering more on Amazon this year for obvious reasons, cardboard boxes had taken over the house. Our entryway was starting to look like a house featured on one of those hoarder shows where you walk into the front door and there’s just a small path to get through the walls of stuff on either side. And those walls of stuff in our entryway were created by cardboard boxes. Empty cardboard boxes. And what didn’t fit in the entryway was shoved into the back sunroom or other rooms.

I don’t know why, but cutting down cardboard boxes is one of those tasks that I absolutely hate to do. I can’t explain why it’s such a massive headache for me, but I avoid it as long as I can. And that’s why, after the last week of cutting down all of the remaining cardboard boxes in our house, I wound up with this…

mountain of cardboard

Yes, that’s four boxes stuffed full with cut down cardboard boxes. A lot of that had already been cut down and flattened and put into a big stack, but obviously even the ones that were cut down were still taking up a lot of room. No wonder our house has felt so small lately! Finally, yesterday, I got the last of the boxes broken down and moved out of the house. Now I need to load them in the truck and take them to the recycle center.

I also finally gave away that mattress that Amazon mistakenly sent me but then wouldn’t take back. That has been leaning against the credenza in the entryway ever since Amazon sent me the correct mattress. How long ago was that? 😀

So now with just those things gone — the mattress and the cardboard boxes — my house is feeling HUGE! And finally yesterday, it felt like the storm clouds had parted and the sunlight was shining in. I’m so excited and motivated to get this finished up because I want to take all new photos of every room in the house just to mark where things stand as we head into 2021.

One thing I really want to get is a carpet and upholstery cleaner. I’ve been looking on Amazon (again) to see what’s available, and it looks like there are quite a few with high customer ratings. I definitely want one that does both carpet and upholstery, but I don’t have any need for something so fancy as the Bissell Big Green Machine. If I had actual wall-to-wall carpet in my house, I might splurge for something fancy like that. But as of now, I really just have the one area rug in the living room, along with upholstered furniture.

So I’ve narrowed it down to two (I think) — this Hoover Power Scrub Deluxe with the hand held upholstery attachment, which has a 4.5 rating with over 26,000 customer reviews, and this Bissell ProHeat 2X Revolution Max machine that also has the hand held upholstery attachments. It has a slightly higher rating, but with far fewer customer reviews. It’s also $100 more.

Do you have any experience with these carpet and upholstery cleaning/shampooing machines? Have you found one that you absolutely love? Have you come across any that I should avoid? Let me know your experiences with these! I hope to buy one very soon, and would love any input you have.



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  1. I am stunned that anyone could allow that many boxes (and a mattress??) to sit in their entryway for months on end. No offense, but there must be something deeper going on here than just being unmotivated…
    Have a great day:)

    1. Of course there is. I’ve said many times that I haven’t handled the stress of this year well at all. That’s no secret. This is the manifestation of that fact.

      1. Oh my gosh, same Kristi! Even normal things that never bothered me before are MAJOR inconveniences this year. It’s crazy. So glad you were able to clear some cobwebs and feel better! You have motivated me to do the same.

        1. Wow. I am stunned that the first comment I read is so judgmental and unnecessary. Lucky you, Susanne, to have such a clean entryway. You must have no issues whatsoever! Have a nice day.

          1. Yeah, I was amazed by how quick someone was to start up the “be nasty” train. Meanwhile, I related SO HARD to this post. On top of the craziness that has been 2020, I had a baby about 2 weeks before it all dropped on us (imagine being postpartum and not being able to find toilet paper ANYWHERE, y’all. But I was lucky that the baby came early, because my actual due date was right when my state went into lockdown).

            So, yeah, my house has been filled with a rotating supply of Amazon boxes for MONTHS. #sorrynotsorry

      2. You’re not alone! My motivation has been in the dumps for months. I’m glad you found motivation to make a dent in the chaos. Ignore the criticism. This has been a hard year for all of us and we all handle it differently.

        1. Only difference for me was my boxers went in garage or out the door before husband saw just how much I ordered.
          Enjoy the space!
          (I’m hoping 2021 wil bring back manners matter and the idea that shaming people is just not ok

      3. Never mind comments like the one above. You accomplish more in one day than I do in ten years, and I am sure few people on the planet are as productive as you.

        Congratulations on every single project you have worked on and shared with us. Every post you send is an inspiration, even the ones where you say you are stuck. Welcome to the human race. Even when you are stuck, I find inspiration in moving just a little past my own state of inactivity.

        Thank you for the effort, time, and love you put into this blog. Your taste, your eye, and your skills are extraordinary.

        1. Yes! Completely agree. And I’ll tell you what, boxes piled up in our entry way and on the front porch — many not even opened for days because I just couldn’t do it. So totally understand. I didn’t make any of the returns I should have during lockdown, so now we have bills we shouldn’t have had. Fortunately have been able to give some things away too. Thank you for posting honestly Kristi. I’ll bet it deeply resonates with more of us than not. And yes, it’s been a very very hard year for many of us. But I’m starting to feel energized too, and appreciated your post.

      4. Kristi, I am so sorry Susanne felt she needed to be so negative. Clearly she has never faced any kind of adversity in her life. Keep doing you and taking care of your husband.

      5. Kristi obviously deleted my comment regarding you and your obnoxious and disgusting statement. Was it really necessary? Were you never taught that if you can’t say something nice, then shut up!

      6. I too have had a terrible year of not doing things I would normally have done. I’m beginning to get back on track. For me, my mother lived with us for 3 1/2 months and three weeks after she went back to her home, our adult son moved in with us. And he is still here. I finally reactivated my Etsy shop a month ago and have just recently had three sales. I’m trying to balance a lot of things I haven’t mentioned. One new update is my mom is moving to assisted living this next week. I can so understand how you have felt and feel. Everyone had a story…things we are struggling with in our lives.

      7. I never comment on here but couldn’t help myself today. The words “no offense” are such a pet peeve because 1) it means you’re about to offend someone and that you’re AWARE of it, and 2) qualifying a statement with “no offense” doesn’t somehow magically make it less offensive. My 15 and 17 year old kids understand this concept, too bad Susanne doesn’t. Geesh!

        Also, when I saw they were empty boxes my first thought was “oh is that all?” Sure beats having to go through full boxes! Keep on being real, Kristi! We love you for it.

      8. Funny, one of my first thoughts looking at your boxes (and yes, I zoomed in) was – “wow, everything she does is so good! Methodical, neat, thorough!” So maybe it took awhile, but kudos to doing a job right!!!! 😍

      1. Also, perhaps since you felt the need to say, “no offense” indicates that you knew what you were saying was, in fact, offensive.

      1. I’ve had a few carpet/upholstery cleaners, and all have been disappointing, eventually failing from kinked internal tubing, low suction, sloppy spray, leaky reservoirs, musty smell. I won’t buy another until I can buy a commercial one that is typically designed for rental. (Rug Doctor or similar)

        1. I had the rug doctor and gave it to my grandson. I found it too heavy for me to handle. I did buy a Bissell (don’t remember what model) but it worked for me.

      2. 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻Well said Vicky.

      3. I have mobility issues so about 99.9% of my shopping is Online. My husband is quick to get rid of the boxes because of brown recluse spiders. We were told years ago that brown recluse spiders love paper and cardboard. Yep, that should motivate anyone. Your welcome.:)

        1. I had no idea about that!! I’ve never seen a brown recluse, but I’m terrified of them. Those are the main reason I will never go in the crawl space underneath my house. Just…nope. The thought of a brown recluse hiding out in these boxes just may motivate me to stay on top of it!

    2. I have had my bissell for over 20 years and it’s still going strong. I have wall to wall carpet thst I clean every 2 months along with my furniture.

      1. Hi Kristi! I am a Dog Momma of two and the Bissell has been a life saver on both rugs and upholstery. I completely recommend it. Also, you are not alone. This year has just felt very “heavy” and have struggled as well in every aspect of my life. I’m praying that 2021 will be better for all of us.

    3. I am stunned that someone would feel the need to say this. I was always taught that if I didn’t have anything nice to say, to say nothing at all. Kristi is incredibly encouraging to many of us with all she has learned and taught herself and shared with us. Her openness and honestly is very attractive to me when much of the internet is only showing the insta worthy parts of life. I’m glad to know others live real lives.

      Thank you, Kristi, for being real with us.

      1. Kathy, I completely agree!! I love that Kristi keeps it real and honest! Most just show us the picture perfect moments! This year has been hard for so many reasons. I appreciate Kristi’s openness and creativity and talents!!

    4. WOW. Way to lift someone’s spirit.
      I hope you never have to endure what Kristi does. I have a sense that you’d never be able to handle it.

    5. Well Judgey Mc-Asshole, she stated she wasn’t doing OK. You clearly have some latent passive-aggressive tendencies that are FAR worse than a messy home.

    6. I am stunned (Suzanne)that you would give such a back handed slap to someone who you don’t even know! I guess sitting behind that computer makes you feel big! “No offense….have a great day!”

      Kristi, your fans who’ve followed you for years absolutely understand what you’re going thru. Many of us are in or have been in similar situations. Take heart!!
      I don’t have a carpet shampooer, I just spot clean when my cat upchucks 😛 I use hydrogen peroxide for the spots. Removed them every time! Once a year I rent to do the whole house.

    7. Suzanne so sad you felt the need to “clobber ” Kristi after she poured out her honest feelings & fears. Kristi ty for once again keeping things real, there are MANY who can identify & for those who can’t should just keep quiet & be thankful that the gloom & doom & harshness of despair passed them by. Merry Christmas & I for one “get it”

    8. Suzanne, you’re a garbage human. What is wrong with you that you would come to someone else’s page and cast judgment. You’re gross.

    9. Oh dear! I can’t imagine being so self centered as to come to someone’s post, where they have poured their heart out about their struggles this year, and used the old “no offense” line to proceed to offend-not only them but everyone else in this post. You might want to take a quick look at yourself and try to see why you think that’s appropriate behavior, since no one else here thinks it is. We are all trying to navigate this shitshow. I’ve always tried to live by the credo if “do no harm” when I comment on Facebook, perhaps you could employ that as we move into the new year.

    10. no offense??? why do people feel the need to put their dark comments out there? I believe the topic was seeking input on carpet cleaners, I have he same question. I don’t know how Kristi does it, the rude and disparaging remarks would drive me away. I come to this site to marvel over the many talents of Kristi and the shared community. If we don’t care for something, don’t be so ugly about it. Stunned? I am, where are your manners? Spend a few days in Kristi’s world.

  2. I have an older version of the Hoover. I really like the whole setup of the machine. With multiple cats with digestive problems and cream w2w carpet, I’ve had and used a number of upright cleaners, and I think this has been the best.

  3. I can relate to the box issue. I thought I would be moving within a year so I purged and packed those things I didn’t need to keep for use. Then plans changed and moving is delayed by 2-3 years. I unpacked and now have those boxes to cut down plus amazon boxes. Pain in the neck job. But like you, I am the only one here so it’s on me. About the rug cleaner, I have a Hoover steam carpet cleaner. It doesn’t have the furniture part which would have been nice but I just use soap and water on the microfiber anyway. I love it! It does a good job on my rug. I do not have whole house carpeting, just a large area rug. I got it at Home Depot on sale for $99. Down from $149. Hoover is such a good product and has been around forever. Brits call vacuuming ” hoovering” as it was original to England. Hope this helps in your decision.

    1. Kristi after recently making a move and having lots of boxes I found that I got rid of mine by posting on the local buy sell trade sites for free to pick up. Many people are looking fir boxes to move and will gladly pickup.

      1. I was going to say the same thing. I post all kinds of stuff I wouldn’t think anyone would want and put it on my porch. So much stuff gets picked up! We have a “Buy Nothing” facebook group (you may have one in your area too) that I use most often.

        1. I see lots of “Need Boxes” and “Have Boxes” notifications on NextDoor and on my area’s Trash Nothing sites. I have gotten rid of soooooo many things I thought no one could possibly want on the site that preceded Trash Nothing. Another similar site is eCycle, not sure if it is still in existence.

  4. Ugh I hate putting boxes into smaller packages and there is a whole rooms worth of boxes in our place. This was the motivation I needed to get my own area packed away.

    Glad you are back and cannot wait to see new content! Don’t forget to be kind to yourself either.

  5. I have also been looking at carpet cleaners. The Hoover had bad review on Target or Walmart sites and several didn’t last longer than a year. The commercial Bissell was great and what I always rented at Fred’s. Since Fred’s is no longer I’m looking to purchase. I looked them all over last week at Ollie’s which by the way is $100 cheaper, one Bissell is noticeably wider front and bigger tank, just heavier looking.

  6. I have the Bissell revolution. I love it. Mine is an older model but it was the best investment I ever made. East to use and store in a closet. Take it out whenever I need.

  7. I think it’s easy to put stuff like that off this year because there isn’t company coming so I leave it another day and then another day etc! And since so much more is being delivered instead of just bought at the store it really adds up! Definitely different priorities this year as I’d rather spend my time on other things that are more joyful than breaking down boxes🤣 but I’m sure it feels good to get that done!

  8. I had to laugh at your deluge of boxes. We’ve all been there & some of us (me) are STILL there! I need to sew together a couple of pillows & can’t get to my sewing machine until I break down & recycle all the boxes that we’ve “stored in case we need them for wrapping” (lol) that the machine is buried behind!
    Glad to see you’re fully back!

  9. I think if I had saved all the boxes from Amazon since the pandemic I could have easily topped that amount, maybe doubled it! ♥️♥️♥️

  10. A big job completed! Great!! I can’t wait to see all the year in review 2020 progress pictures – you do such amazing work!! And I can’t wait for what new projects you have coming up in 2021!

  11. Way to go Kristi! Keep up the momentum and bask in the weight lifted by just getting that stuff out of your house!

    P.S. I purchased the decluttering audio book when you first mentioned it. I also put it on when feeling unmotivated, but know that I need to get it done. Thanks for the recommendation!

    P.P.S. We borrow my folks Bissel ProHeat and like it. I’ve never kept clean water in it long enough to feel like the heating feature is really worth the price increase though. Our water is EXTREMELY hot out of the tap and it doesn’t really take that long to empty the tank. It does do a fine job of extracting most the moisture back out of the carpet, leaving a damp carpet which will dry relatively quickly.

  12. We had one of the Big Green Clean Machines, and it was a royal pain to use. So I sold it for $50 in a yard sale! I have gotten rid of most of my wall to wall carpet (except for master bedroom and upstairs rooms) I found an article on Apartment Therapy (I think) which touted using cheap vodka to spot clean rugs and upholstery. It also said that rubbing alcohol will also work. I gave both these things a try, and it does work! I put them in a little spray bottle, and sprayed the areas thoroughly. Them after a bit I blotted with a clean rag. It did work very well and left no rings or wet-looking stains anywhere.

  13. So happy that you are feeling better and were able to take on the task of getting those boxes out of your house! I’m no stranger to “hitting the wall” for a few days (weeks, months) when feeling overwhelmed by all the things I want to accomplish. Carry on! Looking forward to seeing what you do next! Sending good wishes and creative vibes!

  14. I think a lot of us have responded to the 2020 stress the same way. My house has never been so cluttered as it is now. Some days just washing the dishes is more than I can do. I always think “no one is going to see it but me so what difference does it make?” Well, I’m finally getting to the point where doing it FOR me is the most important thing. I function well with “order” and obviously don’t function well with clutter!

  15. Oh man, if I didn’t have a recycling bin at my house and pickup twice a month I’d be in the same spot as you. I’d hate to throw away boxes without recycling but loading them up and going somewhere would be such a pain for me. I don’t judge you at all for it!! I invite only a select few people into my home and never do I post photos of it at its worst for the world to see. You’re braver and stronger than most.

    1. The frustrating thing is that we do have recycle pickup twice a month, but for some reason when I drag these boxes of cardboard out there, they NEVER pick them up!! It seems obvious to me that a box full of cardboard is recycling, but if I don’t hear the truck coming down the road and run out the door to flag them down and ask them to take the cardboard, it’ll still be there that evening. And then I have to drag the box back in and wait another two weeks. I finally gave up on that. But now that leaves me with stacks of broken down cardboard until I make a special trip to the recycle center. It’s such a pain.

      1. I think they won’t pick up the recycling unless it’s in a recycling bin. If you don’t have one, you can request one from the city and they’ll drop it off for you!

    1. Hi Kristi. My Big squeeze came this summer. I felt trapped and ineffective. From the outside I probably looked pretty normal to those around me. I practiced ALOT of self care. A lot of physical things went on unattended to. My self care is starting to pay off. The physical things around me have kind of taken care of themselves. I done the work but without the worry and self judgment. You are doing exactly what is right for you and your loved ones. Feel safe in that knowing. The physical things will take care of themselves. They always do. Many many blessings to you, Matt and your fur babies in this most auspicious season.

  16. The best motivational tool I’ve ever found for housekeeping is to watch an hour or two of any of the “Hoarders” shows. It makes what may have seemed a little overwhelming look simple by comparison, as I’ve never needed to start cleaning with a snow shovel. ;0)

    1. 🤣 One time my adult kids were visiting and we watched an episode of “Hoarders” We laughed so hard when my son said he was going home to start cleaning out! Thank God we don’t need a snow shovel, but of course we ALL could get rid of excess, and organize. It is an ongoing project for most of us, and during down times, of course we get behind! I have a collection of boxes, very organized by size (broken down) that I think I need to keep for shipping, etc. I refuse to have to buy a box to ship something…but I wonder sometimes how much is too much! We are all a work in progress I guess. (Except maybe for Susanne!)

  17. My husband is a box hoarder and saves all boxes (amazon, original boxes for appliances, tvs, etc). He doesn’t break them down and stores them in the basement. Then I have to move towers of boxes to get to anything I actually need to find in the basement. It’s so frustrating and has to be a fire hazard. When he is gone for any length of time, I purge and he never even notices. I must have broke down 100 boxes in July when he was on a fishing trip. I recruited some help and cursed him and made fun of him the whole time we broke down the boxes. I just don’t understand why any human would want to keep the box from a toaster purchased 5 years ago! What good could possibly come from storing that box? I haven’t checked any medical books, but I’m sure this is some sort of disorder. Maybe a cardboard addiction? LOL! I bought this book the last time you recommended it and I haven’t cracked the cover yet…I’m scared that I will need to set aside a great deal of time (and wait for my husband to be out of town) to make any real progress on decluttering. Good luck with the 2020 Purge.

  18. It feels great to have the sun shining again, doesn’t it! I’m so glad you’ve made it through the storm. As for the cleaner, my husband and I owned a motel and ALWAYS purchased Bissell products. They work well, they last FOREVER (even under the heavy work load the motel provided!) and the company was great to deal with. Good luck. Can’t wait to see what’s next on your project list!!

  19. I am amazed. We would have such aproblem also but we can break down our boxes, put them in a garbage bin for recyclables and the garbage people pick it up and take it to the recycle. They do it every other week at the same time as the garbage. This neighborhood would be swamped if they didn’t. I see delivery trucks several times a day! they are doing great business in this pandemic. Happy for you getting it out of your way.

  20. We have the Hoover and love it! When our old Hoover bit the dust, we replaced it with the one you’re looking at and it’s great too! Hang in there.

  21. Oh Kristi, I know just what you mean! We’ve been piling up the empty boxes, too, though ours are in the garage, which means out of sight/out of mind. But I realized recently that the mountain has grown to monumental proportions, so I’m going to follow your example and get out there soon to cut them all down and take them to the recycling center! Isn’t it funny – or sad?! – that being home so much more this year has meant our house has gotten out of control? You’d think being home more would having mean more time to clean, but somehow that hasn’t happened. I’m hoping 2021 is a wonderful new year in every way and I can finally get things back to normal around here. Thanks for the motivation! Happy holidays!

  22. Kristi — no judgment from me. My family can’t believe the amount of clutter and chaos I live with. And yes, it includes odd things like a bucket of drywall mud sitting in my living room for over a year. Nobody’s business but mine.

    1. hear, hear!

      There is a power drill somewhere in the corner of our dining room 🙂 Normally we would tidy up before Christmas, but this year it would be only the 2 of us due to the pandemic, so the drill can stay exactly where it is 🙂

  23. I have had both Bissell and Hoover and like them both. Since I moved, I’ve been looking at both models you mentioned. And am leaning towards the Hoover. As far as the Amazon box issue, all I can say is you are not alone. Worse yet, I start to break down a box and one of my cats decide it belongs to them! 😄

  24. Please ignore some of the awful comments on here. I am very organized, neat and clean, and things pile up. More so lately, there’s so much negative stuff going on. Very interested in what you choose for a cleaner. I have carpet upstairs in the bedrooms. That’s where the cat chooses to puke. And my husband never takes his shoes off.

  25. I have the Bissell carpet clean your looking at, and it’s amazing. Easy to use, Easy to clean, Easy to store. I have a dog and a accident that I thought was hopeless. It was a breeze to clean up and sanitize.

  26. I have similar problems at times and can relate. I am a quilter with a most lovely quilting studio. But, boxes do get to me. Also, I am much older than you. My mom was a depression era woman and saved all good boxes, paper sacks and wrapping paper. I have the same genetic dispositions. Luckily, my husband does not and is able! But, I must admit, sometimes I feel very guilty throwing out a box.

    Right now, I need to purge my sewing room of useless or unnecessary items, take inventory of what is in the studio, evaluate my storage and organization, etc., etc., etc. You are motivating me.

    Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful 2020!

  27. Normally I can just ignore rude and insensitive people because I feel sorry for them. However, Susannes response was heartless. We’ve been in some sort of major construction project/remodel jobs since we moved into a 1949 fixer near 8 yrs ago. My husband works full time at 67 and I care for my 95 yr old mother with dementia. Keeping up with the normal cares of housekeeping not to mention the extra construction debris and YES……Amazon boxes, can cause me to shut down…..emotionally causing a chain effect of sometimes just trying to stay in survivor mode, especially THIS year. This is just for a season🙂. Kristi, I am proud of you and have gleaned ideas, cried and laughed with you during this journey. You’ve got this 👍🏻💜🥰

    1. Oh, wow, Darlene! I totally feel your pain. We’ve been remodeling a 1955 house since 2012; my husband is 74 and a full-time remodeling contractor who has very few hours to work on our house! Some days/weeks/months it’s overwhelming and I struggle. I agree that Kristi is wonderful and it sounds like you are too! Hang in there!😊

    2. Darlene, I’m right there with you! THIS YEAR has been especially tough. Some days I wonder how we’re still standing. I’m hoping and praying that 2021 is a great year for everyone. We sure need it. Kristi is such an inspiration to me, too, and I truly enjoy all of her posts. Kristi, the thing I admire most about is you are a straight shooter and do not try to live a “fake” perfect life on social media. So many blogs just become the same “perfect” home, with the same “hot trend” in all their photos. I just can’t get excited about those because they’re all the same. YOURS is REAL. Thank you for being you. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  28. I have a Green Machine which is a small, carry around cleaning too. It has a hand held “head”. It works very well for any spot. My husband uses it on any pet stains with great success, actually he uses it on any stains. My daughters borrow it often so that’s more positive feed back. We have not used it on upholstery, but I see no reason why it wouldn’t be perfect on that too. I would highly recommend!

  29. If you don’t have a big need for carpet cleaner, consider getting an entry-level Roomba and a separate upholstery cleaner, which you could use for spot-cleaning the carpet. We recently got a Roomba for around $100 and are absolutely AMAZED–did I say AMAZED??–I’ll say it again!–AMAZED! at how our rugs look clean and beautiful! I was going to invest in a carpet shampooer, but now I’m rethinking that. I will probably rent one sometime, but the “dirt” turns out mostly to have been hairs, fibers, dust, etc. (FYI We have mostly hardwood floors and a couple of large area rugs, plus we have a cat, and I shed long hair, since I haven’t been to a beauty parlor since March 13.)

    Re your box problem, we have gone through that as well. It’s incredible how boxes and packaging pile up when everything is ordered online. Our grocery store deliveries and pick-ups are also often in boxes. Right now, the small room off the front door is loaded with packaging and boxes from Christmas gifts we have ordered. The Christmas gifts are also stacked all around the room. I can barely get in there to use our printer! We had a mattress we didn’t want hanging out with us for a long time as well. Sometimes it’s just not that easy to find the right place and the right conveyance for something that big and bulky. I consider myself fairly organized and a moderately decent house caretaker. So hang in there–the pandemic has done strange things to all of us! That lack of motivation to stay on top of things–when you are probably the only one even seeing the mess, is common, I think.

    Currently, I’m using our big dining room table as a “sorter” for files and bills. Normally it would have been cleared out, of necessity and pride, for Thanksgiving, at least. Now it looks as though I’ll be able to keep the clutter there through Christmas. What I really bemoan, and what I’ve heard from you about your creative projects sometimes lagging during this time, is that I have all the time in the world right now at home, and I have difficulty drawing, painting, and making a mess in my art studio. It’s tough to control and work with what I think of as low-level pandemic depression. Kudos to you for getting yourself going again. I am one lady who knows how hard that is to do!

    LOL that you thought of the hoarder image with the piles stacked up to the ceiling–because that is the joke my husband and I share. We cut down and remove boxes when one or the other of us starts getting that closed-in feeling! And that’s how our mattress finally found a new home.

    Re the post that seemed a bit snarky: I took it as a joke. I don’t think any of us need to take comments like that seriously right now. Seriously–just getting out of bed in the mornings and surviving the isolation can be an accomplishment.

  30. I owned a Bissell years ago and had to throw it out because it developed a horrible musty smell that I could not get to go away. I now own the Hoover model you have listed and I absolutely love it. The best part – you can take ALL of the water contacting parts off the machine very easily and rinse them clean and set them out to dry before putting the machine away in storage, so no nasty, dirty water gets traped inside. I couldn’t be happier with it.

  31. Thank you so much, Kristi, for sharing your life with us! It takes a lot of bravery to share the not so good days with a digital audience.

    I’m glad to hear that the clouds have parted. Dark days are just plain hard.

    This is sure going to be a year for the history books. Stay safe!

  32. O saw all those boxes and thought: let me take them across the street to the junk yard. I ‘d get a couple of bucks. Too bad we are in different continents. 🙂

  33. I have been reading Kristi’s blog and checking out her projects for years now. This is the first time I have ever commented. It is necessary right now, I feel, to call out and stand up to ridiculous people like Susanne. The perception I have formulated about Kristi is that she is a very passionate, kind hearted person. She works very hard and is respected for her design and quality of craft. Everyone has to deal with personal issues. Kristi speaks truth in real time, and has earned trust of everyone. These are qualities of great value in a human being. One thing I am able to do about fighting negativity in our country is to point out positive values in a person. Maybe it will serve as an inspiration for another to change for the common good. Thank you Kristi for who you are and all of your great information on many projects!

  34. I have an older version of the Bissell ProHeat. I bought it because I had a cat who didn’t always use her litter box. I also have 3 little dogs. I have no complaints, but I often wonder if I’m getting all of the detergent out. It doesn’t suck all of the water out (as well as I think it should) and takes a while to dry, but that may be true of all those types of carpet cleaners. I will say that I have used it, two of my neighbors have used it and I have owned it for at least 10 years and it’s still going strong. Make sure to vacuum well before using it as I find cat and or dog hair tends to clog it up at times.

  35. Its okay, I think many homes have lost a lot of general neatness. Somehow cleaning for yourself is a lower priority than for guests. I told the other half I want a clean house for Christmas, vs a big gift. We’ve had a few board games I haven’t been able to host and play that’s a little sad to see us not use. Instead play the dice and paper ones since it can be run on a conference call program.

    We try to do the store pick up and depending on the store it reduces mess, and stuff ordered. I’ll say if you order 8′ of a special trim to store pickup it’ll typically come in a giant tube that is fun to cut down and turn into a sorter.

    1. Oh and Matt, we’ve become very hooked to a computer game called Satisfactory, they launched a Christmas event, that has me decorating my in-game-world, more than my home.

  36. Just by the volume of comments here- you should take heart. People need your usual positive attitude. I’m surprised your city doesn’t pick up recycling. If you start complaining I bet you can get them to start. You shouldn’t have to drive it anywhere.

    Glad you’re doing better.

  37. I had the hoover for many years and it worked great on my carpet. I wasn’t thrilled with it for upholstery. Last year we had all the carpeting removed so it was passed on to someone in our Buy Nothing group.

    As a side note I totally get it. Normally I clean (mop etc) on a schedule so I don’t get overwhelmed but lately that has just gone out the window. Even things I found enjoyable such as cooking, reading, puzzle making is just not any longer so I do what I can when I can. Anyone who judges me can kiss my patootie.

  38. We had just brought up all of our crates full of Christmas decorations and our entire household came down with the virus. So these giant plastic tubs of Christmas decorations are sitting all through the house while we try to recover. I have spent a couple of hours the last two days working on it a little. Hopefully, it will all be up before December 25th, then I can worry about taking it all down. If I didn’t have grandkids coming, I think I would just take it all downstairs and skip it for this year. Hang in there! This has been a tough year for everyone. I do have one question about cleaning rugs. If you have a rug sitting on top of hardwood, do you have to put something under it to clean it? Otherwise, won’t it ruin the floor underneath?

  39. I have a Hoover Steam Vac. We bought it two years ago, have carpet in 3 bedrooms and two area rugs that we have cleaned twice. It works great so far, very happy with it. I read so many reviews on both, and it seemed that most people who were not happy were those who did not bother to clean the unit thoroughly after using. We also recently used it in tandem with my sister in laws, to clean a house her brother had just bought. She has a Bissell, but I don’t recall which one. I just know hers was bigger and louder, with a large three prong plug. I didn’t notice any difference in hers with regards to cleaning, than mine, except that hers needed fewer passes because of size. Personally, I would go with the lower price unit, because the big thing with rug cleaners is how you operate it, and how hot the water is, in my opinion. Using the directions and tips given with the unit, you should have a carpet as clean as any pro job. I have not used it for upholstery, but I would think the same would apply. As for breaking down cardboard, I find it my ZEN moment! Working in a retail environment before I retired, I LOVED breaking down boxes from shipments, it let me relax and think/daydream! But it did dry out my hands, and that wasn’t fun. Glad you are getting your energy back, I wish I could do the same. I’ve gained so much weight being down and depressed.

  40. I also had a hoover for 20 years before it finally got a crack in tubing (probably from being stored in my hellish Texan garage). I bought the new model and love it even more.

    Easy to use and clean. Most of our house is hard floors and I use the cleaner for my rugs out side on the driveway.

  41. Susanne opened with a real clanger! Here is Queensland, Australia we have not had to endure anything much really. We had a full close down at the beginning and have observed all the social distancing stuff, ever since. Our state borders were closed at times, as other states had some cases. Two weeks of quarantine meant very little of the virus got in. And STILL some people have really suffered from the Iso Depression. I really feel for everyone living in countries who really have to worry about being ill and/or losing loved ones to this disease. The stress on you all must be HUGE! And I think you should all do exactly what you need to do, to survive. Even ‘not coping’ is actually a coping mechanism and if it has got you safely to today – well done! BTW we have all gained weight. :-). Such is life in 2020. Wishing everyone huge lungfuls of glorious air and a peaceful festive time as we all continue to ride this one out. Americans please know that you are in the daily thoughts and prayers of many nationalities around the world. We care!

    1. Thank you Cathryn – we all needed to hear that – it has been tough, and still is. Hopefully the vaccine will help get us back to a normal, but it will take years to recover all the losses! God bless, and have a good holiday season.

    2. Thank you so much for sharing one of the kindest comments I’ve seen lately. I hope your experience with the virus continues in this way. Some area of the world deserves a break from this nasty virus.

  42. Kristi, I can’t shed any light on a machine for your purpose but I’ll offer a brief mention of the product, Folex for using on carpet and upholstery stains and even on clothing when necessary. It has saved my hash many times. The company doesn’t advertise. You can read the reviews of it on their website. Amazon, too. It’s helpful to have on hand when it isn’t necessary to do the entire carpet with a machine.

    One day, I was in a hurry to polish my black leather shoes. I dropped half inch mound of black shoe polish, (the heavy-duty brand that comes in a can) on a brand new off-white area rug. I raced for the container of Folex and followed the directions. ‘Spray it on the spot and use your finger to rub it in…’ I almost could not bring myself to do it but then, I figured the rug was a goner anyway so I did it. That product cleaned every hint of that shoe polish from that rug. The same miracle has been repeated many times over the years. (The success factor is related to what you try first to remove a stain.)

    I’m with you on the dreaded task of cutting through the tape and breaking down boxes. Here in Ecuador, guys come around with 3-wheel bikes just before the big garbage truck rounds the bend. They pick up boxes and plastic and recycle all of it. It’s their job.

    Garbage is picked up every day but Sunday. We put it out on the sidewalk. But, the big critters in the air are very alert to the timing. Down they swoop and begin circling the goods. They make their landing. Some people have elevated metal receptacles to keep the dogs away. But, the vultures are not deterred. Clever as they are, sometime three in a block, they smell the possibilities and if the temptations lure them, they peck at the garbage bags to find things to munch. Such persistence. If I come out to watch them from just across the street they keep one eye out for interference. To them, tomorrow is another day.

    1. We use Folex too! Inlaws used it to clean up spilled coffee and more. It eventually removed a black solid mystery stain we had, it had come with the house. We did a full-house DIY carpet steam clean when we moved in, and it loosened it, but didn’t get it all. We called it the “sandwich” stain it was right where it could be covered by a bed. I spent a number of evenings saturating and dabbing it out. I read you can use this diluted in carpet cleaners as well.

  43. Giving you a fan version virtual hug, back slap, cheer, toast, hurrah. No shaming & judgment from this gal. 2020 is the year of we’re all human!!!!

    You get to blog in safe space. Our missing you goes to show what a valuable service you’re providing. Think of all the mental health treatment you’ve given us in escaping to decor &diy land in this insane year.

    I get your backlog, overwhelm and occasional under accomplish during these times. Suspect you may have encountered supply chain challenges like me that unexpectedly drag a project out. The chaos then ends up being the gift that keeps giving

    I’m just now wrapping up flooring from summer projects that in April had 7/31 easy peasy end dates that became 8/31 & 11/25. Waiting months for materials drug things out. Will be so glad to have done, finally put out Christmas.

    You celebrate all the good things, none of us could ever predicted this soul whipping year.

  44. Dear Kristi,

    I hope that you are safe and well and that you find peace this holiday season. A clean and decluttered house just calms me down. I used to be addicted to house cleaning. Now, I have lupus and severe mobility issues and lots of amazon boxes. My husband helped me fill up every one of those boxes this past month. We decluttered and gave away lots of lovely things. We won’t miss them and those boxes filled with beautiful, china and glassware and lovely clothes that each of us ever wear will bring joy to those less fortunate than us. There are lots of ways to look at an empty box. Garbage? Clutter? Cat toy? Recycle? DONATION? JOY?

  45. I had a Bissell. Lent it to my sister who apparently didn’t clean it up or dry it out as well as I did. Used twice and it never worked again. I am in the camp that has not found one that I like. Good luck!

  46. Dang, Kristi, I thought my box collection was unique! I keep boxes too, ’cause I often need one or two for a project. I may have to rethink this idea. Hmmmmm.

  47. Ditto on the Folex. It’s a game changer with cats during hairball season.

    Mean people are envious of your talent and feel bad about their own lives. They throw shade to feel better about themselves. It hurts to be criticized but the best revenge, you have the most stunning home! And, you’re a successful blogger because you are honest and relatable. We love you! Don’t change a darn thing.

  48. Well, empty boxes means you followed through on ordering! I’ve been meaning to order air filters for months.

    If I were focusing on the two, I’d look closely at the removable parts for rinsing/cleaning once finished. The handheld attachments are the worst for getting “gunk” trapped inside. I would tip the scales in favor of the easiest machine to clean.

    1. Susanne, your comments are amazing. They reveal much more about you than they do Kristi. Awesome job Kristi on tackling difficult tasks! It took me 30 years to repaint my ceilings. With my son’s help we finally accomplished it. My faith and family have been a huge support through these trying times. This too will pass. I hope it is soon!

  49. Congrats on starting and plowing through a most-hated chore. I find the anticipation of starting usually worse than the actual chore itself. Been putting off floors that need to be vacuumed and mopped for weeks now!

  50. I’ve owned two different brands of carpet cleaners and been disappointed in the results. Nothing compares to a truck-mounted unit, both in terms of water temp and suction. My current cleaning guy is very willing to help me move “the big pieces” of furniture when necessary. In these weird times many people are just trying to make ends meet and are very grateful for customers.

  51. Appreciate your realness so much. You are a hard worker, a loving family member and an inspiring blogger. Oh, and crazy talented with tools, fabric and paint! Ignore the wack jobs and soak in the love! You are admired by so many people. Merry Christmas to you and Matt!

  52. We’ve all had demons to conquer this year, I feel. Be kind to yourself Kristi. I’ve been up and down like a yoyo since I lost my job in March. Self care has to be your first priority. If that means bingeing Netflix and looking through DIY magazines then that’s what you do. If boxes build up, pfft, there’s always tomorrow.

    A funny story to give you a giggle. When Mathew and I were moving out of our last house we took tons of boxes to the dump. Why? Because for the previous three years every time we got a good quality box we decided we might need that and popped it in the shed. There were dozens of them. Well since living in this house every time one of us says “That’s a good box” the other yells “Noooooooo. Bin it, bin it quick.”

    Clutter happens and I am so happy for you that you have found the motivation to deal with it.

    As for upholstery cleaners, I really don’t have any thoughts. Our nephew is a Bissell presenter one one of our shopping channels and he is a real floor cleaner evangelist. But given the lack of carpets in your house I have to agree it would probably be overkill.

  53. I think breaking down boxes is a pain also. My “quick” way of doing it is stand in the box and kick or step(push) on the edges with my foot, the corners usually give way and ta-da. No need to turn around either I just give it a good ol’ donkey kick😀

  54. Regarding a carpet cleaner, I bought a Royal a few years ago – (Ultra Spin). I have found it does a great job, and is very easy to use/clean, dump dirty water (you will be amazed how dirty) and I really do like the way the upholstery cleaner attachments work. We don’t have carpets, but I used it on all my area rugs and sofa, etc. It is great at sucking out most of the water, and I just left some fans on for a little while and everything dried quickly. I also purchased their cleaners and they work really well. I looked at a lot of reviews ahead of time, and the Royal brand seemed to be quite well liked.

  55. We have been in the dark valley of 2020 and together we are going to go up the mountainside into the sunshine! How easy – or how hard – to clean the machine is very important.

  56. Kristi, you mentioned several months ago the decluttering book and I jumped right on here and purchased it. Then this past week you mentioned it again and I jumped right on here and ordered it again,, It will be here on Tueday. I do believe this pandemic has affected my mind ,,, and although I am shaking my head,,, this really happened, oh and I do own a Bissell and it has been a good one for me.

  57. Hi, Kristi
    I have had both Hoover and Bissell carpet cleaners. The biggest difference I have seen is how each machine’s design handles its water tanks. The hoover has the clean solution tank in the handle and unless you remember to remove it when emptying the dirty water cartridge it will more than likely leak because the handle is laying on the floor. The bissell’s tanks are upright or slightly slanted when using the machine. You can easily remove the dirty water tank without disturbing the clean solution tank. It has been my experience that the tanks never match when to add more solution or when to empty the tank. When the dirty tank is full, the clean solution stills has solution. When the solution tank empties, the dirty water tank is not that full. That is why I think the tank design is important. I also think the suction is a little better on the bissell. As far as the musty smell goes, it is important to dump out the dirty water tank when you are finished and thoroughly rinse it out. I hope this helps you make a decision.

    1. We have had a hoover for 8 years. Works like a charm, even with two dogs.. My brother has the bissell_ he has bought two of those and now has a hoover too.

  58. No harm in taking some time off – you are so motivated with all of your projects – definitely no judgment from me 😄 I’m curious to see which cleaner you choose – I was also thinking of getting one – please let us know which one you choose.

  59. My first reaction was to write some supportive comment, but it seems like everyone else did too!

    You are not alone! Some days I celebrate that I actually got out bed.

    I also don’t like breaking down boxes. My husband throws them down the stairs to the basement and leaves them there. I leave them in the living room and will them to break down themselves (doesn’t work!). Such a good feeling to get them cleaned up though!

  60. Susanne, looks like you were having a bad day. You were prime and just ready to pounce on poor Kristi.
    Don’t you realize what the world and our own personal worlds are going through right now. All of these many issues occurring affect different people different ways. I am having the same issues as Kristi trying to finish purging, etc. I am not rushing guess why nobody is coming to my house due to COVID anyway. So if I am moving at a snails pace it’s okay. I am glad your world is perfect because mine and others are not and guess what it is still OKAY! Susanne I hope your day will be better tomorrow.

  61. me too! absolutely unmotivated these last few months. But I have a break coming up from work, and I am hoping to be able to get the house in order for the new year during that time. I really need to find/implement more effective time management techniques. I am also going to focus on how much time I actually need in alone/at home time, I have wildly underestimated that in the last few months. You are amazing and I am sure you will finish the year strong. Also I like Bissel machines. I dont have one but my brother and his wife do (3 dogs and 1 toddler live in that household as well), and it is great!

  62. First of all the commenter, Susanne, slaps you across the face and intentionally wounds you then ends with have a nice day? Sick. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU SUSANNE that you think your judgmental attitude is okay? Are we in 8th grade here? You should feel ashamed and get help.

  63. I have had 2 Hoover steam vacs and been happy with them. I wore the 1st one out. I had to replace the rollers on that one at one time after loaning it to a friend but it’s easy to find service locally for them. We are very hard on our floors. however I’m no longer physically able to shampoo carpet so just use it on tile. not recommended for wood. It is heavy when full of water so I move it around empty. It has hand attachments with not great suction but still works. I only use vinegar or ammonia because I have allergies. Depression and overwhelm usually seeps into our homes resulting in clutter. Do you listen to Kathi Lipp on Clutter Free Academy? I do.

  64. So sad that someone can be such a miserable person to kick someone when they’re already kind of down. Worse reasons to be down though- you and Matt have your health, your home and no tears to worry about. How wonderful for Suzanne that she has such a perfect life that she isn’t aware of the saying, “There but for the grace of God go I…” Life can change in an instant and cardboard boxes and spiders should be the least of your worries! But now that the boxes are gone Mazel tov to you! Life just got better and THAT alone is worth celebrating. Sometimes it’s the small things that can make the biggest difference. While Suzanne is looking for big things you revel in the baby steps.

  65. I have followed you with your remodel from the very beginning. You have done so many amazing things on your own. I can’t wait to see the finished pictures. You are very talented. I wish I was as brave as you to do some things to my house. My husband passed away a couple years ago and I’ve been afraid to tackle pretty much anything to update my 1925 house, except to paint. Maybe some day.
    Thank you for sharing your journey.

  66. I have the Bissell carpet cleaner and find it easy to use and clean. The attachments are great for cleaning chairs and sofa. ( yep, I have a dog. Lol) Also, during this pandemic, I found myself on the couch staring out of the window alot and my cleaning fell by the wayside. I started reading the CleanMama blog and found her very easy cleaning schedule a life saver. Highly recommend!

  67. I get it! Although there are folks here that can pick up, they rarely do it. I truly despise breaking down boxes! I let them pile up too! Oh such is life. It is really no one else’s business. You do you!

  68. I love my Bissel Proheat. Pet hair around the brush area, can cause it to stop working. Simply clean it out and it’s like new. Maintenance videos on You Tube has saved me money. I’ve replaced parts over the years, with the help of the videos.

  69. Apologies for my original comment:) Everyone has times when unexpected things happen. I’m truly happy that you are feeling more motivated to accomplish your goals!

  70. I’m with you, I hate to break down cardboard too. I have days I am productive and then there are days that I can’t complete anything. We’re all going through uncharted territory. The good news is that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Keep moving forward everyday and when you can’t don’t sweat it!

  71. Do you have a good Xacto knife? I hated cutting up boxes as well because I didn’t cut them up; I just tried to tear off the tape in order to flatten them and that is dreadfully inefficient. Got me an Xacto knife and a good envelope opener and the process is much easier. Having to cart all those boxes to a site is also a big pain that most people do not have to face because their cities have curbside recycling pick-up.

    Please know that your work is admirable, your creativity is endless, and your energy is contagious. You inspire so many in every post. Thank you for all you do.

    I AM a mental health professional and I do not see anything dysfunctional about how you are handling the pandemic/your boxes. You recognized that the boxes were piling up, you made a plan and you dealt with it. (Would that all of my patients were so competent.) We are in unprecedented territory with Covid-19 and each of us must learn how best to deal with it. (Dove Dark Chocolate is my personal favorite.) We will be telling our grandchildren about this time; the trick is to get through it alive. I used to tell the frustrated mothers of toddlers that if everyone in the household was still alive at 9 pm, it was a successful and productive day. When external stress is real and threatening, lower your standards. You can always raise them again when life levels out again.

  72. While I haven’t had that exact Hoover, I have had the Pet version with those 5 scrub brushes on the bottom. I LOVED it! It was so much better than one rolling ball.
    You’re also able to buy replacement parts when something goes wrong with the Hoover. I had to replace some seals and one of the tanks when a handle broke. I had it for 2+ years, cleaning a 2,100 sq ft fully carpeted home with 3 dogs.
    You do have to make sure to clean the brushes and run a little vinegar through your carpet shampooer to clean the tubes, then run a tank of water through to prevent the vinegar from creating rust.

    I’m a Financial Advisor by trade. This year I’ve spoken to a lottttttttttt of people. EVERYONE is struggling with 2020. The initial reaction was, “Let’s get clean and organized!” Now adverse mental health impacts have swung the other way. You aren’t alone.

    I’m glad you’re starting to see the sunshine again! Welcome back <3