Sunday, September 14, 2008

Stuff I like

Isn't it really the little things, sometimes, that make you happy on a day to day basis? In the spirit of Martha's "good things" and Oprah's "favorite things", I thought I'd share a few of the things I am disproportionately pleased with these days.

I've always been a sponge person. I know, they say they are germy and nasty, but nothing cleans up a sink or countertop like a sponge and I maintain that if you treat them right they are more hygienic than any old soppy rag hanging over the faucett. The thing is, though, that they are ugly. The cellulose ones that work the best have always come in assorted yucky colors. Emily discovered Trader Joe's sponges first and after using them at her house I am a convert.

This is how you buy them—in a package of twelve little compressed things that look like crackers. You soak it in water and it looks like this:

They are wonderfully absorbant, just the right size and a nice sponge-ish color that is not offensive. They are quite cheap (I don't remember the exact price) and since you have that compact package of twelve right there in the drawer, it's not a big deal to toss it when it gets mungy or someone fails to rinse it well and squeeze it out and it gets stinky. (who would do that?) Every time I go to Trader Joe's I am tempted to buy another package. I never want to run out of these.

I have tall cupboards with top shelves that I can't quite reach. In my old house I had a stepstool that I used, but it was a pain. For one thing it was a finger pincher when you folded that step down and back up, and secondly it took up a lot of space. Look what I found a couple weeks ago.

This very inexpensive little guy folds completely flat, opens easily and holds up to 300 lbs. (no comments, please) It is exactly the right height and it stores under the lazy susan in the pots and pans cabinet. Handy!

My next find was also thanks to Emily. (how did she get so smart?) The other day I mentioned to her that I was going to buy a new Swiffer and she got very excited and ran to show me her new "better than a Swiffer" purchase.

It's called an OMop and is, indeed, superior. The handle is ergonomically curved with the oval grip. The business end is a little bigger and is grippy like velcro. In addition to the fibery covers that pick up all the disgusting hair and fluff from the corners, it comes with a microfiber pad for wet mopping that sticks by means of the grippy stuff and then peels off to be tossed into the washing machine and reused endlessly. Got it at Target. A little more expensive than the Swiffer, but oh, so worth it!

This next item actually was kind of expensive, but I love it, despite it's intended drudgery. This is my new ironing board.

I had no space in my new utility room for my ancient, rusting harvest gold ironing board. So I went looking for a folding ironing board that mounts on the wall. Sounds like something we've all seen, but not so easy to find. I found it here. There is a Rockler store here and they did not stock these, but were happy to order it for me and didn't charge me shipping. (this baby is heavy!)

When you fold it down, you can swivel it around to wherever it's handy for ironing. You can't believe how solid and sturdy this thing is. Gerrie liked mine and got one for her new walk-in closet.

And last, and probably least, I ran into K-Mart today to get some trash can liners and spotted this nice waste basket. It is perfect to use in our office for paper recycling. I love that it is shiny and black and a sleek, simple design. It has hand holes for carrying it, full of paper and catalogs, out to dump into the recycling bin. It will hold a lot. And it was cheap.

My needs are simple. I don't need fancy cars or expensive jewelry. Just give me nicely designed stuff for helping me get through the day.


  1. I Love sponges too
    everytime I run the dishwasher I put the sponge on the top with the glasses. It helps to keep them clean :)


  2. I need some new waste baskets. That looks perfect and I would not have thought of K-Mart.

  3. Anonymous5:04 PM

    I got a fold-up stool just like yours a few weeks back. I needed something that would be very portable and VERY sturdy to take when I visit toddlers in their homes. (I was looking like a beached whale trying to get up off the floor with my stiff, creaking knees!) That just fit the bill.
    I love chatting with friends about their making-life-simpler finds. Who knew there were so many wondrous gadgets out there! So, what else has Emily found?!

  4. Anonymous7:50 PM

    It looks like we get excited about the same kinds of things! I love those sponges - I wish we had a Trader Joe's around here! I wonder if I can order them online....?

    I also really like your under-the-counter Lazy Susan. I've seen those before, but don't currently have any cabinets that are corner cabinets like that. I'll have to remember it if our next house could use something like that.

    Great finds overall!

  5. Funny, I was cleaning under the kitchen sink last night (only because something had spilled down there) and found two new, unopened packs of those TJ's sponges, in addition to the one I knew I had. I love them. The older ones are oval, not square. They last a long time.

    I have that stepstool, too, in white. It's in the guest bathroom, for folks who have trouble getting into and out of our deeper than standard bathtub. It's amazingly sturdy!

  6. What great finds! I've loved those sponges, but haven't been able to find them - now I know where to look. By the way, I don't comment much, but love reading your blog, and have nominated it for a blog award. The details are on my blog.

  7. Great ideas - Thanks for sharing. I have one of those folding stools in a tote bag in my van. I'm not tall enough to reach most of the windshield, but with the stool I can reach all but a little triangle in the middle top. I've had it for about six years and it has stood up well.

  8. This is just like Oprah's favortie things only for real people.

  9. One way to reduce bacteria on sponges is to microwave it. Put a damp sponge in the microwave for 30seconds. I read this somewhere and do it weekly. It will breakdown the sponge faster but who wants a sponge to last forever.

    Your timing is perfect for these items. With a new house in 10 days, setting the new place up ends up with changes. Your ideas are all great.

  10. I love these ideas! And I'm always looking for stocking stuffers for my adult kids. How surprised they'll be with chocolate and sponges! Love the ironing board too! Thanks for sharing!

  11. Anonymous4:16 AM

    The yellow sponge in its blue holder is my favorite "work of art" from this entry. I love that you take the time to capture the mundane and turn it into the beautiful. Such an artist, you are.