Welcome to Tools of the Trade, a series that explores the sanity-saving tools, products, and services that keep our favorite designers and decorators focused on the job at hand.
When it comes to curating and styling a space, renowned prop stylist Robin Zachary has all the best tips—and she's always open to sharing. Her audience is constantly learning the art of prop styling from her via social media, or from her almost-released new book, Styling Beyond Instagram.
We recently connected with the current magazine editor and former faculty member at the Fashion Institute of Technology to get her top tips for prop styling—and the one must-have item for any aspiring stylist.
What item made your work life easier this week/month/lately?
RZ: My styling kit always contains cleaning supplies, and The Magic Eraser has been a game-changer for work and at home. I always have one close by.
Mr. Clean Magic Eraser
Why is this item so great?
RZ: It’s a white sponge-shaped item that you can use wet or dry. There’s a cleaning product built into it, and using this item instead of a spray cleaner and cloth makes for a quick and easy clean-up for scuff and certain types of dirt.
Where/how do you use this item most?
RZ: I use them to clean scuffs off of many different surfaces and backdrops in my studio. At home, I use them on my walls, especially in the kitchen and bathrooms on the doors, and around the light switches where there are a lot of fingerprint marks. I use them to freshen up the walls in my husband’s office, too.
How did you discover this item?
RZ: Someone came to install shelving in our closets and scuffed my walls. I was about to freak out when he whipped out a Magic Eraser and took the scuff right off. I was amazed at how calm he was and confident that it would work—I have been hooked ever since.
Will you use this item in the future?
RZ: Absolutely. I keep a supply of them in my closet. I cut them down into smaller pieces, so I only use them a little bit at a time.
How has this item made your job easier?
RZ: They weigh nothing at all, so they are easy to throw into my styling kit to clean off literally anything.
How might someone not in your line of work benefit from this item?
RZ: You can use them to clean cabinets, walls, and anything light-colored. Believe it or not, you can use it to clean the rusty water stains from your iron so it’s like new. And get this— they work to clean the rubber on your sneakers so they look nice and white.
What, if anything, would you change about this item?
RZ: They get dirty and disintegrate quickly, so I would make a longer-lasting reusable version.
Are there any care/use tips someone considering this item should know about?
RZ: If you leave them to dry, you’ll be able to get at least one more use out of them, but buy a few at a time.