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I have a very unromantic recommendation for you today. But it is something that I have had for YEARS and for which I have been extremely grateful these past few pandemic months.

It is a zooper – otherwise known as a handheld vacuum. We always called it a zooper when I was growing up; I don’t know why. Maybe because of the noise it makes? And “zoop” is a verb – you go zoop something up with the zooper. Sometimes we called it a Dustbuster, but I think that’s a proprietary eponym, like Kleenex is for facial tissue or Band-Aid is for sticking plaster.

Anyway, in pre-pandemic times, I would use the zooper approximately once a day. Carla has an uncanny ability to produce crumbs, so I would mainly do a little tour under her seat at the counter, but then I’d give a quick once-over to the kitchen and the entryway.

During These Unprecedented Times, when Carla and I are here all day every day and have nothing better to do than produce endless messes, I am using the zooper twice a day, at least.

Carla is still a crumb generator. Plus, it’s summer, so we are in and out and constantly tracking in playground mulch and grass strands and pieces of dirt. Plus, Carla’s new-since-the-pandemic fascination has been making clothing for her Barbies and stuffed animals, so there are bits of paper and tape and fabric and dried-up fabric glue and yarn and string and beads everywhere constantly. To stay on top of things, I make a daily round with the zooper each morning after breakfast and each evening before bed, with an occasional mid-day zooping if we’ve been particularly prodigious with fashion production or going outside and back in thirty times.

Zooper

photo from amazon.com

My zooper – the Black and Decker cordless handheld vacuum – is excellent. It’s lasted for at least three years – probably longer; I can’t remember when we got it – and it’s still going strong. And it’s helping to keep me sane.

Things I like about it:

  • It has a small charging base that’s easy to fit in an unobtrusive corner. I suppose you could wall-mount it, if you wanted to, but I haven’t checked.
  • It maintains its charge very well. Previous handheld vacuums have gradually lost power over the years, until they have the stamina and sucking power of an aging tortoise. Actually, now that I think of it, I know very little about the stamina or sucking power of a tortoise of any age. Hmm. Well, onward. I shall say, instead, that I’ve had this zooper for years and have never had a single problem with it losing power or suction.
  • It has a nice long neck, which allows you to get into things like the tracks of sliding doors and the space underneath the oven. (The helpful diagram on the product page refers to the neck as a “nozzle” which is a delightful word.)
  • It is VERY easy to clean. You pop out the little plastic container, dump your household detritus in the trash. Pop out the filter, dump it out. You can wipe everything clean with a damp cloth. And then everything pops back together easy peasy lemon squeezy.
  • It’s lightweight (just 2.6 pounds) and easy to hold. My only problem with excessive zooping is that my back starts to ache from all the bending. I am not meant to wander back and forth the length of my house whilst stooped over. But it’s just my back; my arm never gets tired.

Things I don’t like or about which I am neutral:

  • It’s kind of pricey. Amazon is selling it for $72.99 right now, which seems like A LOT to shell out for a handheld vacuum.
  • The neck has a flip-up brush tool that I have literally never used. The brush isn’t bothersome, though; it lives folded down against the neck of the zooper, like a coarse little goatee.

I feel kind of lame, recommending something so utilitarian. But my admiration for its utility has grown so much over these past few months – I really lean on it to help me keep my house from feeling like a hovel in between Big Cleanings.

This is what being An Adult means, I guess. Feeling evangelical about a household item.

 

What silly household things are making your life easier these days?

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