What follows is a review of some of 3M’s “Command” series of damage-free wall hanging devices. I’m honestly a huge fan, and most people I know don’t use them and even seem unaware of them. So I figured it’s high time I write about them, because seriously how crappy are most shower caddies? I do also wish they had a different name though. “Command”? Not surprising that most people have no idea about this product line or what it does. Also, I’m sorry about the title, I couldn’t help myself.
What the heck is it?
So right, what are these things? Well, 3M came up with a way to use adhesive combined with a stretchy foam-like material to adhere just about anything to a wall (or other flat surface) without damaging the wall or requiring drilling, finding studs, etc. They can hold a surprising amount of weight, are easy to install and remove, waterproof, and are honestly pretty fantastic for things like hanging pictures on your wall, or a shower caddy in your bathroom. They work equally well for coat hangers and the like, although stylistically I don’t like those options as much as the shower options where plastic seems a lot more appropriate and functional.
The shower caddy is actually how I first discovered these products. Like many of you I’ve had my fair share of frustrating experiences with limited shower storage, unstable or quickly-rusting storage solutions that wedge in the corner or hang over the shower head. None of it worked nearly well enough, and I felt like there had to be a better solution. It turns out 3M makes a whole series of shower storage and utility options that mount on your shower walls using their Command adhesive strips. There are plastic shower caddies, hooks for loofas and wash cloths, soap dishes, even mirrors and towel rods! I’ve mainly used the plastic shower caddies since I’m tired of things rusting in the bathroom, but they also have metal ones if the aesthetic is important to you.
How does it work?
The entire Command line of products works in more or less the same way and relies on a simple but clever idea. What they’ve done is created a double-sided adhesive strip out of a material that stretches. You stick it to the wall and to the thing you want to hang and voila! Your thing is hung. When you want to remove it, there are little tabs sticking off the adhesive strip that you simply pull, which in turn stretches the adhesive surface, forcing it to lose connection with the wall. It doesn’t leave a mark as far as I’ve ever seen. In the case of picture hangers, it’s a two-part system with strong velcro connecting the part stuck to the wall and the other part stuck to the picture, but that’s the only difference.
But does it actually work?
Yes, yes it does! As you can see I have 2 of the shower caddies and a set of hooks. I’ve moved 1 of the caddies and the hooks between several houses now, and all I’ve had to do is buy a few more strips to stick them to the wall. The hardware itself removes easily, and the strips just pull off without leaving a mark, as I mentioned above. It’s really a clever system that works remarkably well. They also hold a totally reasonable amount of weight (at least 5lbs for each caddy), and are removable for cleaning, if desired. The configurability is also quite nice, you could easily have separate hooks, caddies, etc. in different parts of the shower for you and your significant other, for example.
In general we don’t often see genuinely inventive things like this that don’t spread to other manufacturers and become a whole category of thing. Maybe there are indeed knock-offs, but I haven’t seen them, so I’m stuck recommending a 3M product more than seems right. I mean here we have the big corporation really providing the best solution, it’s a rarity in my world. But it does happen.
I haven’t yet used any of the other options like the picture hangers, but I like the idea of avoiding nail holes. Just be sure your paint is well-bonded to the wall (and probably avoid using them on wallpaper).
OK, sure, but are they really so great?
The fact is I do really think these things are great. The pros, as I see them:
- Damage-free mounting and removal
- Tough and durable
- Configurable and versatile
- Quickly and easily removable for cleaning (your shower caddy can get gross, did you know?)
See if your existing shower caddy or other storage options can do all of that. Probably not. And again, because they’re damage free, it really can’t hurt to give them a try, especially on bathroom tile and other more durable surfaces (which is my primary use case and personal recommendation).