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Clean up with items handy and helpful

Reusable paper towels made from bamboo; singing toothbrushes that get your kid to brush, brush, brush; and a rubber sweeper that'll win your heart.

By Rebecca Teagarden
Pacific NW associate editor

To be of service. What more could one desire and appreciate than that which is truly handy. Skillful, accessible, useful, easy to use. Forget raindrops on roses, whiskers on kittens. Bright copper kettles? Warm woolen mittens? Not even wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings. It's that which is truly handy. That is one of Goddess' fav-oo-rite things.

Brush with a celebrity

Healthy teeth are the gateway to a healthy — well, all the rest of the parts behind the teeth. But those two dentist-recommended minutes can seem like forever. Especially to a kid. On average, in fact, we brush our teeth 45 to 75 seconds. Goddess is unsure if two out of three dentists agree, but that's the word on the street.

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Fear not, dear reader. Dental-health-concerned celebrities Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga are here to help (and improve brushing time by as much as 73 percent). Brush Buddies Singing Toothbrushes. Edumacational and fun. Toothbrushes play tunes by Mr. Bieber, Ms. Gaga, the Mr.s LMFAO and that Gangnam Style guy, PSY. One tune for a.m., another for p.m. From $4.99 to $14.95. Find at stores nationally and at www.drugstore.com, www.amazon.com and www.brushbuddies.com (also find there more places that sell them).

A clean sweep(a)

What happens at the NW Flower & Garden Show definitely does not stay at the NW Flower & Garden Show. Take the Sweepa, for instance.

Attendees carted the rubber brooms off in pairs. Then Goddess' office mates started going all glassy-eyed about the ease of wet pine-needle cleanup. And then, Goddess' own trusty sidekick, Val, chimed in: "This big job was no problem at all, even though the wormy-looking things in our driveway break into fine particles. Did the whole driveway and road!"

It's a Sweepa (born in The Netherlands) world, and we just clean up in it. A broom molded from one piece of solid natural rubber. Tough enough for heavy industrial use, yet rubber bristles will not scuff or scratch delicate surfaces. Use dry or wet. On linoleum, tiles, pavement, even carpet (bristles flex and penetrate to snag pet hair). Flip it over and it's a squeegee.

Loads of sizes and uses; let your inner neat freak be your guide. Many models less than $20. Large industrial size: $29.95. Find at www.simplygoodstuff.com, www.amazon.com, www.sweepa.com.

Reach out to The Goddess at bteagarden@seattletimes.com. The Goddess is also very Pinteresting. Find her there at http://pinterest.com/rtea/.

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