You’re holding in your hand the last screw you need to finish your latest project when… you drop it in the dirt. You can spend the next hour searching for it, or you can pull out a magnet and find it lickety-split.
You don’t have to buy this particular model — any strong magnet with a handle will do the job.
These also work great for picking up screws and such, especially if they have a release handle like this one does. You just rake it around in the pile to pick up metal objects, then hold it over the bin and — as astronaut Robert Crippen said when asked how the Space Shuttle’s escape mechanism worked in a press conferance before STS-1 — you “just pull the little handle.”
We suggest caution when using particularly strong mangets by hand to pick up metal objects; You can get your finger pinched between the magnet and junk pretty easily.
This one sells for about $20, but we’re sure you can find something similar around locally.
Workshop Magnet [Axminster Power Tool Centre (UK)]
Update: Reader Kai offers a great suggestion for accomplishing the same thing on the cheap. Put a speaker magnet in a sock, then hold it over the bin and take the magnet out of the sock. Nice!