Pick Stick


Extend your reach

You know those annoying moments when you can’t reach something on the top shelf? Or when you find your storage options limited by your reach? If you’d prefer not to drag out the step-stool all the time, this is the tool you need: the Pick Stick ($26).

Most people think of these as a way to pick up park litter, or as a “geezer tweezer” — which they are — but overlook the options they open up for the able bodied. You can store things waaay up high in your garage, kitchen, or closet and still be able to nip them off the shelf easily. Suddenly, shelves 8 feet off the ground are easy to access, peaches on the high branches are easy to pick, those socks that fell behind the dryer are simple to retrieve, that blinkety-blank bolt that skittered into the farthest corner beneath the workbench cannot escape you… and because high shelves are no longer inaccessible, your storage options just doubled.

I’ve installed a number of shallow, high shelves in my garage for light items that can be retrieved with the Pick Stick, and high hooks and nails to hold light Pick-Stickable items like rolls of wire. I’ve had this “EZ Reacher” Pick Stick for more years than I can remember; the tips are getting a bit worn but can be cheaply replaced when required. I prefer these rubber sucker-like tips because they conform and grab irregular or heavier items (like soup cans) better. There are foldable versions (which I avoid because they tend to fold at inopportune moments) and versions that grab and lock; unless you have limited grasp strength I’d avoid those as well, since they tend to lock up when you don’t want them to.

One-and-a-half pounds is about the most weight I can comfortably lift using a Pick Stick, and items over 3.5 inches wide are difficult to firmly grasp. I’m lazy enough that I have one in my closet, one in the garage, and another in the kitchen—any place I have high storage. There’s a hole in the handle so you can hang it on a nail. You can often find them at thrift stores, if you keep an eye peeled.
There are plenty of different manufacturers of similar items, but some of the cheap ones tend to seize up; this one has never failed me. If you could use more storage space, you might try thinking more vertically…and picking up a Pick Stick!

-- Barbara Dace 09/6/19