I am not too fond of cleaning. I used to be, 10 years ago. But when me and SI bought a house, we decided to hire a cleaning person (he was also a bit crazy in his desires of cleanliness. Who would have known since he was always a slob at my place). At first I was hesitant - why hire someone to do it if that is something that I can handle. But I ended up LOVING it. I didn't have to spend my weekends or evenings cleaning - just straightening up. So, that only lasted 9 months, then when I lived back home, my parents house was under construction...so cleaning wasn't really necessary. Once I moved into my apartment, which is tiny, cleaning only takes a little while. Sure, I am not doing heavy duty cleaning, just basic dusting, scrubbing, sanitizing the bathroom, and the occasional washing the floors. I got rid of my vacuum when we had the house, we didn't need two. I didn't purchase another one when I moved here. I figured sweeping and mopping would be enough.
Last year a friend told me she just ordered a Roomba 530, a vacuum that self cleans. I finally just bought one on http://www.woot.com/ and just tried it out over the last 10 days.
The roomba lives in a docking station on the floor. When you want to start cleaning, simply take it out and place in the middle of the room. The roomba gets to work. It has several cleaning modes including perimeter, circle, and back & forth. The roomba should take about 25 minutes to clean one room. I learned to close the doors to adjacent rooms so it focuses on one room at a time. The package also came with one virtual wall which keeps the roomba more confined in areas that there may not be doors.
The roomba was actually louder than I had expected (hard to watch TV when it runs in the same room).
I feel this is more of a luxury item. It would be a LOT faster to actually vacuum my apartment with a standard vacuum. But since I am not a big cleaner...I put it on while cooking or washing dishes (i just need to sidestep when it comes near me).
When I read through the user manual I became so excited that there was a timer on the Roomba so you can schedule it to clean. This would be perfect to do while I am at work. However, upon further inspection I realized that was the model one up from the one I purchased.
After the roomba cleaned, I opened the compartment to empty the dust/stuff it picked up. It was super easy to empty. The main compartment had a majority of the particles, but then there was the filter/lint trap area which picked up even smaller pieces. I was actually shocked how many small particles the roomba picked up.
So aside from the noise level (which isn't super loud, all vacuums make noise), and the small battery life (will run for about an hour) and the length of time - I love the roomba. It picks up so much and the floors are noticeably cleaner. Anything to make my life a little easier is a great thing! When its time to replace it (which I hope isn't for a LONG time) I will purchase the higher model so it can run when I am at work.