10 Best Useful Household Items

published Jun 4, 2008
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

This morning, after we posted about Zilok, the online items rental service, we started a laundry list of items we feel are essential to have around the house. These fairly mundane items are items we use regularly, use for multiple tasks around the house, and we couldn’t think living without…

(Image credit: Amazon)

Binder clips: We didn’t realize how important these were in our household until we ran out of them recently. We use them to clip open food packaging, clip temporary fabric to block the sun in our office, and even occasionally clip together paper even. They’re also good for hanging clothes to dry, holding paint brushes while drying, and for squeezing toothpaste or other product tubes.

(Image credit: Wayfair)

Step ladder: It’s almost inconceivable for us not to live without our stepladder. We use it more often than the regular person probably, as we’re always tinkering with our overhead DLP projector. But we also use it reach overhead storage in our kitchen, change out lightbulbs, and clean cobwebs from corners throughout the apartment. And a stepladder is near essential while painting a room.

(Image credit: World Market)

Empty glass bottles: we love french style bubbly pink lemonade, and a few brands come in those beautiful glass bottles with stopper designs. We always keep a few around the house for storage of purified water, oils, vinegars, and even homemade household cleaners. Just be sure to label them, lest you drink down that concoction of vinegar cleaner.

(Image credit: Amazon)

Surge protector: living in an older home or apartment (our place was built in 1917) often means finding enough electrical outlets for modern living necessities can be a stretch. We use 4 surge protectors to extend the amount of appliances and electronics we can have operating, also providing a bit of further reach to areas where outlets aren’t available.

(Image credit: Target)

Adjustable tension rod: we have a closet that once had a door, but now is just open. The simplest, cost-efficient solution was to get a Target brand tension rod and make our own closet curtain. But now we also use it to block out light throughout the house when we need privacy; because our apartment is basically just two rooms without a door inbetween, Emily can use the curtain to snooze while I read thanks to these affordable rods.

(Image credit: Home Depot)

Multi-head screwdriver: if anything has paid its weight in gold, it’s been the multi-head screwdriver we keep in the drawer. It’s seriously the MacGuyver of all tools in our arsenal. Sure, I keep losing or misplacing half of the attachments, but when it comes to installing new lighting, dismantling/constructing my January jumpstart, or just about anything else that requires screws, this tool is invaluable.

(Image credit: Amazon)

Flashlight: We don’t use this that often except to occasionally do impromptu shadow puppet shows on the ceiling. But when the actual need arises, like when our bathroom sink sprung a leak at night, or when we dropped some kitchen tools behind the stove, or when we heard rustlings outside in the back of our building, we’re glad we have our cheap-o hand flashlight to call upon.

(Image credit: Lowe’s)

Power drill: When we first bought this we thought of it as a splurge item. But anyone who has done a bit of DIY knows, a power drill is extremely useful all throughout the house. We’ve used it plenty of times to create holes in the wall for our home theater or to run cables through, to install overhead lighting, and to save our hands from arthritis when working on projects involving lots of screws.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Absorbent Kitchen Cloths: when you’ve got two cats and a penchant for keeping your place clean, kitchen cloths are a necessity. The Trader Joe’s brand are super absorbent and work equally for glass and surface (including soaking up excess soapy water when cleaning up cat buh-leh). And best of alll, it cuts down on paper towel use.

(Image credit: Amazon)

Bucket: another life saver. When our plumbing went pear shaped, it was the bucket that saved our floors from going underwater. The plain ole bucket is also our companion when we’re cleaning the floors, taking grey water downstairs to the garden, washing the car and our house windows.