Useful Everyday Tools to Help You Grab Objects [Disabled Edition]

For those that need an alternative to the illustrious grabby stick

person on a wheelchair looking through wooden shelves
Photo by Nadiia Doloh on

Have you ever just been going on about your day when you suddenly drop or accidentally knock something over? And then realize a second later that you’re screwed because you’re by yourself and have no way of getting that object back because it’s just out of reach. Because same!

Of course, there is a handy mobility device exactly for these particular situations. It’s the grabber tool and can be bought at a cheap price, usually about $10. Honestly, it’s pretty incredible that there’s a mobility aid that isn’t causing your bank account to sob in agony because of how expensive it costs. Probably because it’s not marketed as a medical device but that’s a rant for another time.

While that wonderful grabby stick works wonders for a majority of people, I unfortunately don’t fit in that section. Even though I can pick it up and hold it with my hands, I don’t have the dexterity to properly squeeze or utilize it. This means I have to get creative if I drop something or if it’s too far away.

So today, I want to share some everyday household items that may be better suited for those that can’t benefit from the grabby stick.

  1. Clothes Hanger
hanged clothes hanger
Photo by cottonbro on

My personal favorite for two reasons: not too heavy and has a hook. The hook alone is a great alternative because it’s so simple to latch it onto the thing you’re trying to grab and just lift or pull it towards you. Only downside is if the object doesn’t have a place to use the hook either because there’s nothing sturdy to grab or if it’s relatively flat. But there are some hangers with a rubber grip to keep clothes with thin fabric in place so that can also work to your advantage by getting a stronger grip on whatever it is you’re trying to grab.

  1. Ruler
brown wooden rulers on light green surface
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on

Another close friend of mine that happens to be sitting right next to me at my desk. Unless you attach a hook at the end, it won’t have the same effect as the clothes hanger, but I mostly use the ruler to slide things closer that are just out of reach. It’s long, easy to hold while still being light, and also makes for a great scratcher. I can’t reach the top of my head so sometimes I use it to adjust my headband or scratch areas my little t-rex arms have a hard time reaching. Or if something is too high, then this gives you that extra boost to reach whatever thing you need. But only for things you know you can catch or that won’t fall on top of you. Nothing better than being bested by a hardcover book or box of crackers.

  1. Umbrella
a person holding a laptop and an umbrella
Photo by Alena Darmel on

Okay, that sounds random, but hear me out. I’ve only ever had to use it on rare occasions, but I made it work. One time I was setting up a new video game, but I needed a code that was inside the case to finish loading it up. Problem was the case was stuck on the floor and I was by myself. So my makeshift solution was to use the tip of the umbrella to shove the case against a wall until I pried the lid open. After fishing the paper out, I was able to read it from where I was sitting above and got it to work. If the print was too small, taking a zoomed in picture on your phone would’ve worked too.

Now, did it take me over an hour to get it done? Yes. Was most of that time spent on trying to see if I could lift up the case using the flat end of the umbrella’s handle with some tape stuck to it? Oh, you bet! But I was determined to succeed on my own and show that stupid box of plastic, who’s boss.

Granted, if I had access to the duct tape, I think I could’ve been able to actually get the box to stick onto the umbrella but alas the regular tape couldn’t handle it.

A Few Things to Note:

  • Sometimes It’s a Matter of Getting Creative

I mean exactly that. Different things will work for different people. You may have better luck with other objects in your house to rely on getting the things you need. Hopefully some of the things I’ve listed above are more options, but if not, that’s okay! I’ve had to combine some tools like duct taping a clothes hanger onto the top of the grabby stick so I could get the bag of goldfish off the pantry shelf. No, it absolutely wasn’t a long, tedious process because that’s not the point. The point is if it works in the end. Stubbornness and determination know no bounds!

So when you find yourself stuck, take a look around and see what’s readily available. You might be surprised at what you find. Another short example, but at my college dorm, the automatic door opener to my bedroom was turned off and I needed to press the button at the top of the door to turn it back on. After raising the seat of my wheelchair all the way up, I eventually succeeded by using a folder and reaching as high as those tiny, little t-rex arms could go. Again, determination is your best friend.

  • Worse Comes to Worst: Use Brute Force

Okay, don’t break down a door or put a hole through the wall because while chaotic destruction is entertaining, it’s not fun to clean up. What I mean is, if you have a trusty wheelchair or another mobility device, use it. Seriously, if I’m tired of stretching and reaching across the table for something then I just use my wheelchair to shove the table aside until I can get close enough to grab it. Then I’ll put back whatever furniture I relocated and return it to its proper resting place.

And that is how I fight random objects and get them to do what I want!

As always, I enjoy hearing from you, so be sure to comment down below your thoughts. What other tools have proven successful for you? Or do you have any other ideas? I’d love to hear it.

Now go show those inanimate objects who’s in charge! ~So Says The Disabled Dryad~

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