Something's been occurring since I moved into the new apartment. I've been going without. When you live in empty rooms, you become extremely conscious of what you do bring into them. Anal retentive case in point: For the first six weeks I lived here, I ate from one plastic bowl until Christmas, when my mother's gift of some Heath Ceramics plates arrived.
Therefore, don't be grossed out when I tell you I haven't bought a broom or garbage can yet. Rather, be impressed with my discerning aesthetic fortitude. And be sympathetic when I tell you that today I bit the bullet, walked three miles to Home Depot—confident that I'd find inexpensive, industrial-style cleaning tools that didn't offend my sensibilities—only to find my eyes nearly burned from my head by the hideous plastic brooms and dustpans lining the shelves.
So I trudged the three miles home. Then spent the last five hours on this post. Discovery: If you live in the US and you want attractive cleaning tools, you have to order them online. Often from Europe or Japan. Almost always for exorbitant cost. West Elm's Market offerings are pretty good but honestly, I want dirt cheap goods to assist my dirty jobs. I rounded some up above, but I'm still not thrilled with my findings. Because let's get real. When you've just moved house and you're in a pinch, you don't want to wait for your $16 toilet brush to ship from Germany. Ach nein.
Shopping Guide: Metal Dustpan, Berea College Straw Broom, Natural Bristle Toilet Brush, Galvanized Tin Flower Bucket, Beechwood Step Stool, Mr. Clean Bliss Gloves (the only non-ugly rubber gloves I could find, and that's only once you remove them from the box), 10 Gallon Galvanized Trash Can. Images: 1, 2, 3.