10 Practical Home Products

Every person has a series of products that they can’t live without when it comes to their home.  For many, it’s a flat screen TV or a backyard Jacuzzi, but being the practical guy that I am my list includes a stainless steel stove and fleece blanket!  Don’t laugh because I can hear you, have a look at my top ten list and then let me know what I’ve missed:

These things rock and do a great job of keeping our hardwood floors clean and shiny.  I also use the swifters to dust our furniture, light fixtures, and molding around doors and windows.  They are not exactly cheep, but you can buy them in bulk and one does go a long way (and both sides can be used).
I’ve been using a Krup’s electrical tea kettle for about two years and it’s become invaluable.  I can get 4 cups of water to boil in about 2 minutes, which is faster and more energy efficient than a traditional tea kettle used on your gas or electric range.  Not only do I use the kettle for tea and French press coffee, but I boil water for pasta in the kettle and then transfer the water to a pot (no more waiting 15 minutes to get my pasta pot water to boil).
3. Mini-Vacuum
I use a mini-vac to clean underneath cabinets, the refrigerator, and the upholstery and carpet in my car.  I purchased our Dirt-Devil Scorpion at Wal-Mart about 4 years ago and I think I paid about $12 and it’s still going strong (the new model has been redesigned).  However, there are plenty of models on the market to choose from, including the Shark Bag less cyclonic hand vac.
4. Fleece Blanket
In case you haven’t noticed it, heating your home is very expensive (I won’t tell you how much our heating bill was last month and I’d like to think I’ve done a good job of winterizing our home).  Needless to say, try turning down the thermostat at night and getting under a high quality fleece blanket.  Land’s End makes a nice product.  
5. Portable heater
If the fleece blanket is not enough on a cold February evening, then you may want to use a safe, portable, ceramic heater.  I’ve been using a Lasco for 2 years and they are amazing little machines.  The Lasco heater I own is compact, has an anti-tip mechanism, is fairly quiet, and very efficient.  We can keep a large room very warm with all the doors shut and the house thermostat turned down to 60 degrees. 
6. Paint Kit
If you live in an older home, you know that painting cracking walls, ceiling, and molding is inevitable.  In fact, I’m retouching parts of our interior, at the least, every 6 months or so.  Arm yourself with high quality paint from Benjamin Moore, primer, Purdy brushes and rollers, and plenty of sandpaper, plaster of Paris for crack repair, drop cloths, and clean up supplies
7. Baking Soda and White Vinegar
Baking soda deodorizes, can be included with your washing machine load, cleans Formica counter tops, cleans stainless steel pots, polishes silverware, keeps drains clean and free flowing, removes odors from hands, etc.  A white vinegar/water solution can clean tile, plastic, windows, grease, lime deposits, brass, copper, pewter, food containers, etc.
OK, I have to admit, I don’t iron.  The task is very hard for me and I just can’t master the technique.  However, I’m a lucky guy, and my wife does a tremendous job ironing our pants, dress shirts, etc.  She loves the Black and Decker steam iron.
9. Stove
We recently underwent a kitchen renovation and we splurged a bit on our stove/range.  That is to say, we opted for a 36 inch, commercial-like (it’s insulated), range with 6 burners and a large oven (we cook at home about 6 nights a week).  The oven is duel fuel and, overall, is an amazing machine which allows us to sear, roast, boil, sauté, fry, etc. with ease and great efficiency.  The oven has precise controls and can accommodate many pots at the same time.  We choose a Wolf Duel Fuel 36 inch range (with six burners).  There are some downsides, however: your food will not taste better, water will not boil faster, you will use more gas/electricity, and it’s a pain to keep clean.  Having said the above, we would purchase the same oven again.
10. Fiberglass Ladder
I purchased an 8 foot Werner fiberglass step ladder when we bought our home and I use the ladder at least once per week.  The ladder has helped me clean windows, get to the first level of the roof, change light bulbs, paint, run electrical wire, do plaster work, trim trees, etc.  The best attribute of the ladder is how light it is in relation to the stability and strength of the thing.
Are there home products that YOU cannot live without?


  1. We bought a 36-inch Wolf as well, but ours is gas throughout. We love it. That said, you’d have to cook at home a lot to earn back the price diff between the Wolf and a generic GE.

  2. Thanks, John! We thought about the gas model as well (given that it was cheaper!), but because the wife bakes alot we opted for the duel fuel which as the convection-type oven.
    ROI also comes in the long run (and if you get decent reliability from large ranges, which don’t exactly have a great track record).

  3. stackable washer dryer

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