My husband is a gadget freak. He loves coming home with all manner of things that ostensibly serve to make life easier. Sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t. But the other day he had a real doozy. Having visited the local hardware store, he came home with a device – wait for it – that extracts pickles from a pickle jar. (Cue: “Who Stole the Pickle from the Pickle Jar?”)

No, really, he did. It looks like a narrow plastic syringe for giving kids medicine, except that when you push it, four tiny metal pincer claws emerge to grab that elusive pickle. Nuff’ said.

Inspired by this dubious purchase (to be fair, it only set us back only about one pound thirty), I herewith give you 5 Household Items You (really) Can Do Without:

1. A Pickle Picker (my term of art): See above. FYI: When you google “pickle picker” you also get links to “pickle wax remover” which sounds way more frightening…

2. An Avocado Slicer: In much the same vein, last summer he came back from a trip to the States with this bizarre item that slices avocados into slivers.  It’s basically a handle with a round hole on one end to remove the avocado pit, and a set of blades on the other end for slicing. Sounds great, no? Try it. By the time you’ve cut your avocado in half, removed the pit and begun to slice away, you will have mushy green avocado everywhere. Promise.

3. A Tiny Blade for Cutting Newspaper Clippings. Because scissors are just so…large?

4. A Small Newspaper Holder: This one is harder to explain but more intuitively plausible as a helpful household device. It’s a lightweight metal stand designed to prop up your newspaper while you read so that you don’t have to hold the whole thing open. Instead, you just fold the part of the paper you’re reading and rest it comfortably on the stand. Which is great until…your story continues on page A14 and then you just need to pick the newspaper up again.

And, finally, the piece de resistance on today’s list:

5. A Footwarmer: My husband has poor circulation and so complains endlessly about his cold extremities. Years ago, he decided to remedy this problem by purchasing this small, noisy, incredibly un-green device that you fill with warm water and then soak your feet in (it kind of looked like this, but had water in it). I think it may have also had a massage function but my mind is fuzzy because I think we used it all of once before deciding (a) it was bulky (b) it used up too much energy and (c) why not just put your feet in a bath?So, I’m curious. What completely useless gadgets do you have lying around your home?

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