Tell us about a product that you were pleasantly surprised by its usefulness

Also, now that arthritis has claimed my thumbs and thus my grip strength, a bottle cap opener is a reality. I used to be able to crush steel; now I’m lucky to crumple a kleenex.

This is the one I use.

Re: electric toothbrushes, I’ve used them for decades, and after buying several expensive rechargeable ones ($60-100+), I’ve been using this $6 one for the last several years. It’s durable, the single AA battery lasts forever, it cleans as well as ones costing 20x as much, and it’s smaller and lighter than the rechargeable ones, so it’s easier to travel with. At this price, I have a separate one that lives in my travel toiletries bag.

I just use a spatula for this purpose, but I do like shiny new gadgets.


My rice cooker that cooks (now I got the ratio of water to rice right) perfect fluffy, slightly sticky rice every time.

A chromium-plated wire rack. It’s about 2’ x 18" and screwed neatly to the side of a cupboard. I use hooks to hand kitchen tools like whisks, ladles, measuring spoons, and other things that I like to keep to hand when I am cooking.

My contribution is Origami steel shelving. Due to the name, there’s foldable metal shelving that comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. The only assembly is putting on wheels if you want to move the unit anywhere. In fact, it’s harder to get the unit out of the cardboard shipping container than it is to set up the unit. I have several units in my one bedroom condo and I’m very happy with them. I buy mine at, but I’ve seen some on Amazon.

Yeah, agree on these. I was skeptical at first but these two devices get at least weekly use now. The air fryer makes great roasted potatoes quickly and more efficiently than the oven. And the instapot is good for chicken tacos, for a couple of examples.

I agree! I just bought a cordless/battery vac. I love it. It’s so light, quiet and there’s no f’n cord to get in the way. I still use the regular vac every week because we have 3 dogs, one being a German Shedder, I mean Shepherd, so there are massive amounts of dog hair, but I take out the cordless in between and also use it exclusively on the 2nd floor where I keep it so I don’t have to lug the big one up the stairs.

Mr Clean Magic Eraser

When it first came out, I watched the commercials, and I thought “No WAY!”

Then I tried it.

Oh, it’s “way” all right! Just by itself, it cleans beautifully. Add a little bit of cleanser, or liquid cleaner, and you can easily clean almost any-damned-thing!

The Daughter cleaned Magic Marker off a latex-painted wall. You can’t even see where the marker was!

Once you get addicted to them, get wise and look for knock-off brands. Much cheaper, and they do thejob!


In other words, bleach works.

I’m digging the Instant Pot.

Was that in reference to the Magic Eraser? Because the mechanism there isn’t bleach–instead, it’s a melamine foam abrasive. They do work well, but they’ll scratch anything soft and shiny. Don’t use them to clean dried bugs off your car. Matte finish wall paint is fine, though.

Today I learned …

That said, it would not shock me if someone was selling bleach-infused melamine foam. Wouldn’t be any more useful than a standard version moistened with a mild bleach solution, but I’m sure you know how people are willing to spend $5 to combine two 10-cent products.

I see you’ve met my new wife.

This thread is timely because my recommendation is those big plastic handheld leaf grabbers. I picked up a pair on clearance at The Christmas Tree Shop last year, and didn’t expect them to work well. Well, they work great! Mine are this kind, and I can’t vouch for the several other shapes that also exist.

Bag butler. Got it at a garden show, and it was so good at what it does that I bought another one when the first wore out after 15 years of service.

It holds a trash bag open and gives it a hard edge, so you lay the butler on it’s flat side and rake leaves into it.

My doctor recommended I get an tennis elbow strap to help deal with an increasing amount of pain and discomfort I was getting in my arm while using a computer. I was leery, but it helped reverse the issue immediately. Unfortunately, it’s only combating the symptoms and not dealing with the root cause, as if I take the strap off and start typing, my arm immediately starts feeling weird again. I don’t know what that cause is, other than the issues started when the lockdowns first started and I had to work from home.

When I had this problem, I had to switch to a trackball, and for awhile, to use my left hand. It did go away after awhile.

Yep! One of the most amazing cleaning tools ever. My friend cleaned the vinyl siding on her entire house with them!

This thing:

Bought it after buying our current house, that needed a lot of work. Described as a “10-in-1 painter’s tool,” I never actually used it for paint, but it turned out to be the most useful thing for removing old wallpaper.