My Favorite Home Gear.

By: Jen Shoop

*Heads up: Today (November 12th) only, Boll & Branch is offering 20% off sitewide! Discount is applied at checkout. I mention my beloved sheeting AND bed blanket below — great opportunity to buy for yourself or as a gift.

Like all of you, I have spent far more time at home than I have in my entire life this year, and it has given rise to some intense organization projects as well as a new appreciation for the absolute best gear at home. Below, sharing my favorite items for a comfortable and well-maintained home:

MIELE VACUUM // Trust me when I say this is the place to invest. I had been getting by with a cordless option and with a dog, children, and heavy foot traffic in our tiny apartment, an upgrade to a proper Miele was the absolute best thing I could have done for everyone. It is so powerful, has multiple settings (for rugs, upholstered furniture, hardwood floors), and is brilliantly designed. These are built to last. Absolutely worth every penny. I also remember doing a lot of research to figure out the difference between their various models/lines, which are very confusing and unnecessary in my opinion, and this is the exact model I landed on: the perfect balance between utility/versatility for different floors and price.

SIMPLE HUMAN RECYCLER (ALSO AVAIL ON AMAZON) // A well-designed and sleek-looking divided recycler big enough for all the glassware, plastic, and cardboard we go through in our busy family. I specifically love the plastic “liner” bin that enables me to easily lift that piece out and carry it to the bigger recycling bins in our building. It also opens with the tap of a foot, the lid can be clicked into an upright position when removing the bag/bin, and the brushed stainless steel exterior means that it’s fairly resistant to smudges and fingerprints.

RUG PADS // These extend the life of your rug, protect your floors, add cushioning, and — most importantly — prevent rug slippage/movement. When I finally bought these for all of the rugs in my home, I felt like I’d crossed a new threshold into adulthood. (My favorite rugs here.)

PHILIPS HUE BULBS // We have, over time, as bulbs have died, installed Philips Hue bulbs in most of the lights in our home. These are controlled via our smartphones (and Siri, via our HomePod), where we have them configured to turn on and dim on a schedule that mirrors our lifestyle. It feels like the future to walk into a room and say: “Hey Siri, turn on the lights in the master bedroom,” and suddenly they are on. Or “Hey Siri, dim the dining room lights to 30%” and all of the lights go down to a romantic candlelit effect. You can also change the warmth/color of the lights. Often we like really bright light in the morning, but warm yellow tones in the evening. The starter kit might make a great gift for a new homeowner or a tech-loving friend.

EERO WIFI MESH NETWORK // Has given us the gift of faster, more reliable, and easier-to-monitor Internet. This replaces your old WiFi router and includes an app that enables you to track Internet speed, which has been handy whenever there has been an issue with the provider. (We can just show the discrepancy between the speed they promise and the speed we are getting.). Bonus: it looks good and the beacons double as nightlights.

O-CEDAR SPONGES // These are the best sponges I’ve ever used. They are thick, sturdy, absorbent, non-scratch, and they also bend/give nicely. Can you tell I spend a lot of time washing dishes? (We cook A LOT at home!)

OXO SHOWER CADDY // A strange thing to love, but this is just so well-designed! It never slips/slides around, has shelves at the perfect height (tall enough for most shampoo bottles), a hook for a loofah, and a soap tray.

TOSCA STORAGE BINS // J’adore these (dare I say it?) elegant bins for housing bulkier items in our pantry section.

UNDERBED SHOE STORAGE // Fellow women short on closet space: these have been my saving grace. The thing I love best about them is that they are very shallow in height, and my bed affords the slightest of underbed clearance! This was one of the only models I could find that would actually fit under the bed. I like that they keep all my beloved shoes dust and debris-free!

WHITE UTILITY BINS // Used for countless purposes in every closet I have. Great for organizing spices, holding dog gear, housing “backstock” lightbulbs and batteries, etc. Inexpensive, easy to clean, waterproof. (These are great for under-sink areas for that reason, too.)

MICROFIBER CLEANING TOWELS // I bought these begrudgingly when, after we’d fully moved out of our former apartment, I returned to supervise a crew of housekeepers to conduct a deep clean of the emptied apartment, per our lease. When I arrived, after unpleasantly schlepping a ton of gear and supplies on the Subway, I realized I’d forgotten rags to clean with. I dashed out to the local Bed, Bath, and Beyond, and they only had these. WOW. What a happy accident — these are a fantastic tool to clean with. I love that they dust even delicate surfaces (like porcelain, TV screens, Mr. Magpie’s expensive acoustics equipment) but can also be used with cleaning products on wood, marble, glass, etc. They are also deceptively absorbent without ever becoming sopping wet. I don’t understand where the liquid goes! Anyhow, they are fantastic!

BROTHER LABELMAKER // I use this vigor and joy. So handy for spice jars (label the tops!), drawers of the acrylic cube I use to organize first aid and medicine, and even the white bins above (i.e., LIGHTBULBS, DOG GEAR, etc.). No question about where things belong. (If you’re not a labelmaker kind of gal, these pre-written tags covering many common pantry items might be your ticket.)

DRAWER DIVIDERS AND SHELF DIVIDERS // These empower me to keep clothes super-tidy. This underwear drawer organizer also wins my respect — keeps everything so organized and forces me to properly fold and roll my undies. (My favorite undergarments here.)

ROWENTA IRON // Just the absolute best. I thought I was “bad” at ironing until I bought this iron.

BOLL AND BRANCH SHEETING AND BED BLANKET // I know this feels more “design” than “utility,” but these sheets truly enhanced our sleeping experience. They are cool and ultra-soft, and the blanket is one of my absolute favorite items I’ve bought this year. Ultra-soft and warm and just the perfect weight.

FEATHERED FRIENDS DOWN COMFORTER // Deliciously fluffy with just the right amount of heft. Like sleeping in a cloud.

XTREME COMFORTS MEMORY FOAM PILLOWS // Just try it. It is like heaven! You can remove the fill to your liking, but this pillow never gets hot and always feels like a dream.

STORI PLASTIC ORGANIZERS // Love these in my cabinets and drawers for keeping everything organized/jumble-free.

P.S. My favorite gear for small spaces and little luxuries for even the tiniest of homes.

P.P.S. Recent tabletop and home decor finds for under $100.

P.P.P.S. Thoughts on mom guilt.

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6 thoughts on “My Favorite Home Gear.

  1. Is it strange that I feel ridiculously excited about that Simple Human recycling bin?! I think I’ll stalk this item to see if it gets marked down around Thanksgiving…

    I have and love those Tosca bins too — and how is it that I want almost every organizational item from Yamazaki when I browse their items… they are so well-designed!

    On the labelmaker — I chuckled at how you wrote that you use it with “vigor and joy!” I feel the same way when I decant spices into my repurposed Bonne Maman jars (of which I have no less than 2 dozen accrued over many years!) as we have a proper collection of spices for Indian cooking (plus other cuisines).

    A question about the Miele vacuum…I’m curious to know if you’ve compared it with the Dyson, which a lot of people (both those I know IRL and online) seem to rave about?

    1. Hi Mia! Agree on all of these things, including the Bonne Maman jars, which we use for things like quick pickles / spice rubs / etc. We have probably a dozen that are in constant rotation. Such a great (and pretty) container!

      Re: vacuum. Honestly, I went with Miele because a very discerning neighbor was evangelical about hers and I had an inexplicable, vague brand allegiance — I had remembered my mom and several of her friends speaking highly of the brand for any manner of appliances since high school and had always thought it was the pinnacle of quality. So, when I was ready to invest, it was just a no-brainer for me! I know people LOVE Dyson though!

      It’s not strange to be excited about the recycler. One thing I did not articulate is that prior to buying it, we “made do” with a reusable shopping bag for cardboard and would take glass bottles out more or less as soon as they were used. It was very hand-to-mouth. The recycler made me feel like a proper adult! Haha 🙂


  2. I am considering a new down comforter, so thank you for the recommendation! So hard to choose one without necessarily seeing it in the store…

    1. Ooo these are SO amazing. Landon did a ton of research and found this brand to be the most highly recommended/reviewed.


  3. Hi -Hope this doesn’t sound like a dumb question…just ordered one of the pillows to try…to allow it to say “cool” and air circulation..do you not use a pillowcase?

    1. Not dumb at all! I do use a pillowcase. I don’t find it impacts the air circulation / coolness at all. xx

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