Tonight, two shorter people (myself included) were talking with a much taller person tonight when the topic of high shelves came up.

I have high shelves, several of them.

I also have a toddler who likes to sit on counters and participate in general mayhem, so keeping a stool out isn’t exactly the safest solution for me to reach the high shelves.

The other short person in the conversation mentioned she had a perfectly angled potato masher to hook around items on high shelves in order to pull them closer to her.

I have a long wooden spoon and a rubber spatula I am quite adept with, we both pantomimed our long-stick-thing-reach-to-the-top-shelf-flick-it-off-and-catch maneuver for the very tall girl.

Apparently using sticks to get things off high shelves is a very common short person solution. Who knew?

I’m also quite skilled in the one-knee-hop-up onto the counter, but I try not to do that one when anyone is watching because A) Addie and Vivi would try to copy me and B) Cody would get grumpy with me. (But then get frustrated when I make him get up to reach the juice pitcher/stock pot/chip and dip tray I can’t reach from the tippy top shelf.)

Can you reach your top shelf or do you have a trusty method of top shelf retrieval that involves various kitchen utensils?

Leaf Jumping

(I also have been known to hoiste Addie up so she could reach an item on a high grocery store shelf. She thinks it’s hysterical, I just call it vertically challenged teamwork.)


  1. I’m cracking up over here because just yesterday at the dreaded Walmart, I needed something that was pushed back on the top shelf. I grabbed a toilet brush and stepped on the bottom shelf and viola! I got my carpet cleaner. I have lots of tricks!

  2. I’m ‘the tall girl’ at 5’9″ but Koreans build everything higher. All of our closet pules and kitchen cabinets are extremely high, even for me. Since I only need a little boost I usually open the bottom under counter cabinet and step up into that to raise me. Sometimes I just climb on the counter. My 3 year old climbs the drawer handles.

  3. At 5’3″ I too have perfected climbing onto the counters to get stuff..Been doing it since I was a kid when my mom would tell me to get my own cups, etc. and of course, I couldn’t reach.

  4. When climbing on the counter won’t work yes, I have my son climb up my back, stand on my shoulders and get what I need. We have one of those library style kick stools and it is the best, coolest invention ever!

  5. I use tongs. They’re good for grabbing smaller things (bottles etc.) or for sliding/knocking down bigger things like boxes of pasta. I was pretty proud of myself for figuring that out when I was pregnant–otherwise I do tend to do the one-knee-up on the counter thing.

  6. Christy Cruz says:

    LOL!! I have a 19 year old son is almost 6′ tall so I use him, A LOT! But when he is not around, I use my pasta tongs. They are silicone tipped and have “fingers” so they grip really, really well.

  7. As someone who is 5’11” and has a 17yo daughter who is almost 6’2″ we are always being asked to get things off shelves at stores. Please note, we are more than gracious to help anyone who asks so don’t be afraid too!
    I’ve always told my kids God gives us all gifts and we are all made in different shapes & sizes. Embrace you. And share your gifts.

    Christy Cruz Reply:

    @Mary B, Mary…I need to do the grocery shopping tomorrow evening. Care for a trip to the local grocery store with me, lol! I’m so glad you said that about not minding when us shorter people ask for help. I always wondered if the people I asked for help were put out at all. : )

  8. The claw grabber has saved me and my kid from numerous requests to our hubby to get things for us! lol!

  9. I’m another tong user. I actually even have a set that’s taken up permanent residence in the bedroom for behind/under the bed items.

    I cook and my husband does all the dishes in the house. I guess it’s fair that if he’s the one unloading the dishwasher all the time, I shouldn’t complain about how it gets done, but I note that the cups he likes are always within his comfortable reach, while my measuring cups are always on a top shelf.


  10. Tongs!

    Nichole Reply:

    (And sometimes I put the 5-year-old on the counter and make him get stuff for me.)

  11. I was catching up on your Babble posts tonight. The link to the letter post is broken. Please to fix?

  12. At 6’1″ I don’t usually have problems getting stuff down off shelves. Like Mary, I’m happy to help in the grocery store when someone can’t reach 🙂

  13. I’m 5’10 and I’m the shortest one in my family. I was born 23″.

    Question: when I see someone reaching for something high on a shelf in the store, should I offer to get it for them or wait until they ask? I’m friendly and happy to help, but I don’t want to seem rude!

    Christy Cruz Reply:

    @Emily, as a shorty, 5’1, I wouldn’t mind the offer of help.

  14. Amy in StL says:

    I just didn’t put shelves up in my house that are higher than I can reach. In the kitchen that means my cabinets don’t go all the way to the ceiling, because why would I want shelves I couldn’t reach?

  15. Jenni Mamph says:

    this post made me chuckle…just last night, I hiked my 9 year old girl up to find/reach the light switch on the fan. Think it would’ve been safer for me to find a step stool, but we giggled the whole time. Definitely worth it!

  16. I can reach pretty much everything. its fun when i’m bartending or when I’m serving and one of the other bartenders (the rest are all under 5’5″) asks me to get something for them rather than to drag the heavy stool around the bar