1. The beauty of step stools is that you get the lift you need without lugging around a big ladder. But why lug anything at all? Keep a two-step stool in each closet or storage room so it's always at hand when you're ready to take a step up.
2. When the world is within your reach, it's easy to forget how high everything is for kids. Step stools for children are stable and trustworthy, helping tykes reach independence, brush their teeth, wash their hands and steal a cookie all by themselves.
3. Step stools usually list how high each step is. Measure the distance between your natural reach and the thing you want to get at. Add six inches, and get a stool that tall.
4. Extra height is always nice in a step stool, but that means a bigger stool. It's not helpful if a too-tall stool is clumsy and in your way, so get only the stool you need.
5. Nothing is more convenient and stable than a simple wood step stool. Folding stools are easier to store and carry, and they usually reach higher. Bonus option: a hand bar helps you keep your balance.
6. Hopefully you won't be dancing around on your step stool, but it's still comforting to have safe footing. Rubber treads feel secure under your feet, while rubber caps on the legs protect your floors while keeping the stool from scooting.
7. Children are born vain. They love to see their name on things. With simple stencils and craft paints, you can create a charming personalized kid stool using any wooden stool. Don't worry about perfection. The messier you are, the folksier it looks.
8. Sure, you can step up on a wobbly dining chair or bouncy ottoman when you need a boost. But sooner or later your number will come up and you'll come down. Stick with step stools designed for the task. They are far more stable and reliable.
9. Keep hands free for the task at hand. Utility step stools include a small rack at waist height to hold your tools and supplies. Never again carry that new lightbulb in your teeth.
10. Have at least one step stool handy on every floor of your house or office. If the stool is too far away, you'll be tempted to drag over that wobbly coffee table instead. Not good.