When you contemplate Newell Rubbermaid (NYSE:NWL), you may think about storage. And considering last week's earnings report, apparently the company was storing up some big gains for investors.

I have to say, navigating Newell Rubbermaid's earnings press announcement isn't exactly the easiest of tasks. There are a lot of numbers flying around, considering the company broke down its quarter in many different ways, including generally accepted accounting principles, or GAAP. (For more on GAAP, see this article with tools for interpreting such press releases.) Apparently the quarter included a one-time tax benefit as well as restructuring and impairment charges.

Newell Rubbermaid's second-quarter net income rose 81% to $119.5 million, or $0.43 per share. (Excluding charges, earnings would have been $0.54 per share.) Sales increased 9.6% to $1.7 billion. And gross margin increased 250 basis points to 33.9%, which the company said related to strong productivity savings, pricing, and favorable mix. Here's another bright spot, too -- in the second quarter, Newell Rubbermaid generated $71.9 million in free cash flow.

Many household consumer goods companies aren't looked upon as the sexiest names in investing. Newell Rubbermaid is arguably one of those names. How much growth, after all, could possibly be in a company that's been around since 1902 and brings to mind buckets and storage products? Not to mention, it also competes with many other companies that provide similar goods, such as Tupperware (NYSE:TUP). However, it has a formidable number of unexpected brands under its umbrella, such as Sharpie and Paper Mate pens (which compete with Avery Dennison's (NYSE:AVY) Marks-A-Lot and eGrip), Goody hair accessories, and Calphalon cookware, to name just a few.

Consider the fact that consumer goods companies provide products that people need regardless of whether it's the best of times or the worst of times. And of course, Newell Rubbermaid has another element that is attractive to investors: It's a dividend-paying investment (which is part of the reason why it was recommended to Motley Fool Income Investor subscribers in 2004) with a current yield of 3.2%.

Meanwhile, if you take a closer look at Newell Rubbermaid over the last couple years, you'll notice that the company is in the midst of a turnaround, cutting costs and focusing on higher growth businesses while ridding itself of the underperforming ones, and recently replaced its CEO. Second-quarter results give credence to the idea that there are good things in store for Newell Rubbermaid shareholders.

Newell Rubbermaid and Tupperware are Motley Fool Income Investor recommendations. To see what other stocks Mathew Emmert has recommended for their dividend-paying attributes, click here for a 30-day free trial.

Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.