Problem Solving Products for Organizing & Cleaning

Problem Solving Products for Organizing & Cleaning

Sarah Coffey
Jan 10, 2011

Good industrial designers spend a lot of time thinking about ordinary, everyday problems — like how a dish rack can best deal with drips or how a broom handle could be adjusted to do three things instead of just one. Here are 10 products and companies that try to address these types of small — but, in their own way, significant — issues.

  1. MUJI: A combination broom/mop/sponge/duster, MUJI's cleaning system ($3.50 - $7.75 per component) is made up of units that click into place and then break apart, making it easy to store. The broom handle is a telescopic pole that extends from 27 to 44 inches, so you can stow it inside a tall kitchen cabinet.
  2. Simplehuman: Their dish racks have brilliantly designed drip tray funnels that direct excess water right into the sink (hard to find in cheaper versions). Most products also come with a 5-year warranty. Shown above: Compact Dish Rack, $30.
  3. Black and Blum: Their High and Dry Dish Rack ($49) folds flat, so it's great for a home that has a dishwasher but occasionally needs an extra drying rack during dinner parties.
  4. Flip and Tumble: This Bay Area company makes reusable shopping bags that fold up into a ball, so you can stash them in your purse and then pull them out when you need an extra bag for shopping or organizing. Shown: 24/7 Bag, $10.
  5. Solio: If you're traveling and you don't have an outlet for your charger, or if you just want to save energy, Solio's portable solar power chargers ($50 - $80) can help keep your iPhone or Blackberry juiced.
  6. Flight 001: Their Grid It Grey ($22) is a very simple system that allows you to stash all your chargers and handheld devices in one place. When you're traveling, it easily tucks into a laptop bag.
  7. Charles and Marie: The Marvelous Key Rack ($40) is a smart solution for a home that doesn't have space for an entry table. Designed by Tomke Biallas and Grisella Kreiterling, it's a slab of oak that doubles as a key rack and mail shelf.
  8. Bluelounge: This design studio's CableDrop ($10) accepts the facts that cords (especially chargers) must sometimes be on display. Instead of hiding wires, it provides a way to wrangle them using cute, candy-colored dots that can be temporarily affixed to a surface, then moved when your cord needs to move.
  9. Cox and Cox: Space-saving boot racks that hang your dirty Wellies up to dry are common in the UK, but you can also find them in the US through Amazon and other online retailrs. The handsome Oak Boot Rack shown above is £ 86 at UK store Cox and Cox.
  10. Kikkerland: Their Easy Fold Step Stool ($21) gives you a lift when you need to reach a high space, then folds flat for compact storage.

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