Tuesday, May 15, 2012


 Do you have some tool or item that you simply cannot do without, either bought, handmade, or adapted?

This short (4'10"), somewhat overweight, 75 year old lady with two knee prostheses has several, two of which I feature today. In addition to these, I have a rollator I use on occasion to transport items while I stroll, a garden cart we haul in the loot of my shopping sprees, and numerous step stools/ladders, two of which are safety enhanced, and several canes with and without legs.

I also have a foam garden kneeling pad which I use when I absolutely have to get on the floor or ground. The so-called knee cap prostheses do not hurt so bad when gingerly lowering myself to ground level.

The pad also assists in my ability to get myself upright, along with a sturdy chair. My orthopedic surgeon taught me these tricks. This way my skinny husband does not have to be a hoist. Occasionally a little assistance on his part may be needed.
Reacher (top) & Duster Mop (bottom)
Some of these items are only used occasionally, but the two items today, a REACHER [Carex Aluminum Reacher in the link provided] and my personally handmade duster/mop are KEEPERs.

Beware! this cut-throat, definitely low-photographer's salary is such a bedsheet converted to paint drop cloth is the only background material found of sufficient length for photos of these tools. Really high tech innovation. Not to mention, these are not inspirational photos. I would not make a "catalog" photographer, believe me!
'Business" end of Reacher with Magnet in End
and a Claw Pincher with Elasticized Cord
Which Reached to a Pistol like Handle at
Opposite End of Device
The reacher is a versatile tool for far more than getting a cup off the top shelf of a ceiling high cabinet.  I have used it to get clothes out of the dryer. WHY? The top loading dryer is deeper than my short arms can reach!--Unless I dive in head first with feet sticking in the air! Then there is definitely several other problems --like hoisting me out, and probably re-washing and dryig the clothes!

I have retrieved dog toys from just about everywhere they may have been pitched. I picked up clippings from pruning, retrieved dead leaves from within Yucca plants. Oh yeah, the end has a magnet so many small metal objects -nails., screws, coins (finders keepers) are easily found and retrieved with very little bending.
Operator' End of Reacher
with Pistol Grip & Pistol Trigger
There are several styles and I have had two. This one has never failed me. I bought one that was featured on a shopping network and sold in places featuring "As Seen On TV" items. The TV one had rubber suction cups; it was totally useless to me and went to a new home in some spring or fall clean-up. That is not to say, other styles may be as, or more, useful than my choice which I have owned at least 10 years. It may not look stout, but it is lightweight. I have used it to retrieve gallon size detergents from shelving above my head in the washroom.

It is especially a lifesaver , if bending over severely, or reaching upward, causes discomfort, or is not recommended for certain health conditions.
Now to my innovation of a common cleaning tool in many homes--Swifter Duster. I have owned most of  Swifter early products. Currently, I own Swifter Wet Jet and Swifter Duster. I use Swifter Duster in its conventional configuration and my innovation which came out  desperation--mainly being so short and having to climb, and occasionally fall.
Original Swifter Blue Tool
[There Is a Yellow Tool Now]
Yes, I have a House Cleaner every two weeks, but there are still occasions I dust and there is always dog hair, dirt tracks, and atmospheric dust and debris.

I had discarded the manual Swifter Sweeper as I considered it inefficient and not cost effective for a house with pets, or a house with more vinyl than carpet. I ran through boxes of floor pads and did not find the floors as clean as I expected. I kept the extension handles.[The floor pads were pretty good for dusting, too.]
The  Swifter Duster Position for FLOOR Dusting
[Insert Tool Where Fluffy stuff Is Opposite
This Photo and Your Ready for Overhead Work]
One day while pondering how I was going to dust the washroom, especially the top of the freezer, tops of cabinet doors, nooks and ceiling corners for spider webs, etc., one of those rare light bulbs appeared in my tired old brain. Since duct tape is the salvation of any innovator I grabbed a roll, the two extension handles, and a Swifter duster and taped them altogether.

VOILA! I could reach just about everything, standing on the floor. It would even creep under the washer/dryer/freezer a tad, too. If I turned the Swifter handle one way when inserting it in the duster, it was magnificent for overhead doors, trim, cupboard door tops, etc. If inserted differently, it was great for a dry mop for a small area, and far more efficient than the original Swifter pads.

Also, I have sprayed Pledge or  Endust on the fluffy blue pads which remind me of house shoes for some strange

I noticed I need a small duct tape repair--no problem.

PHOTOS: by NitWit1, unless otherwise attributed (although I am not too happy with these.)


Arkansas Patti said...

I do like your reacher better than my "As seen on TV Grabber" but mine has saved me a lot of hauling out of the old ladder to reach stuff.
My favorite tool is a long handled, triangle spade for digging up tough weeds. We do adapt don't we.

Hilary said...

My dad used to have one of those pincher type grabbers when he owned his store. It was incredible for reaching top shelves. I think the magnet feature is a great idea. That didn't exist back then. Also, your Swiffer solution is fantastic. My staircase is built very strangely and I can never reach up the full height of the walls to rid them of dust and old spider webs. This sounds like a great idea. Thanks. :)

Dimple said...

At the moment, my favorite tool is a microfiber cleaning rag. Actually, I have several, and I use one at least daily.

A grabber is a good idea!

Lorna said...

Dave uses the grabber to pick up garbage and recyclables while he's out walking. It's commendable but has no appeal for me. I use Swiffer dusters on my reachable surfaces but can't imagine psyching myself up to tape two extenders together. That's why I had children---and mostly tall ones.
My favourite tool right now, and for the past few years is a dense sponge on a long wooden arm that I use to put lotion on my ever-itchy back.