Feb 27, 2024

Cheap, Super Clever Things For Your Home That You'll Use For Years


These problem solvers are so aesthetic.

I’m a minimalist at heart but, I’m also a sucker for a cleverly designed product. I’ve come to the conclusion that the items I do want to keep should be versatile, practical, and capable of solving a real problem.

Over the last year, I’ve begun the process of replacing the things that no longer work for me or my space with smart, well-made items that I’ll actually use on a daily basis. Now, my organizational items look like they were custom-made for my home. My kitchen feels spacious and functional, and my furniture fits my needs and actually serves a purpose. Most importantly, an efficiency overhaul doesn’t have to be expensive. Despite the fact that you’ll reach for them constantly for years to come, most of these big-impact items cost under $30 on Amazon.

Inside the durable bamboo, this knife holder contains magnets that are strong enough to support a frying pan. As a result, it’ll effortlessly grip all of your knives — so you can see which one you’re choosing while cooking so you don’t have to find the right size slot while putting them away. Reviewers have also called it a “space saver” due to its sleek profile and wrote that it’s “super sturdy” thanks to its non-slip base.

These non-stick silicone liners have been called “a must-have” if you own an air fryer. They seriously speed up the cleaning process, and they keep the basket free from grease, crumbs, and baked-on food. Unlike parchment paper, though, they’re dishwasher-safe and reusable, so they’re eco-friendly and cost-effective.

Yes, these silicone baking cups are a more eco-friendly way to bake cupcakes since they’re dishwasher-safe and reusable. That said, they’re also a practical addition to your kitchen since they’re non-stick without the cooking spray and they protect your pans from baked-on food. In addition to cupcakes, reviewers have used them to make muffins, mini frittatas, personal cheesecakes, dinner rolls, and more.

“I bought several of these,” one reviewer wrote about this bamboo organizer. “They added a high-quality custom look to my new kitchen drawers.” The expandable sides stretch from 13 to 20 inches wide and offer up to eight compartments to organize your silverware and kitchen tools. The reinforced bamboo is also durable and adds a natural touch.

If you’re looking for a sleeker, more hygienic alternative to a fabric bath mat, this bamboo floor mat is a great option. According to reviewers, it “dries fast” due to the water-resistant coating and “never slips out of place” because of its grippy underside. It’s also functional for entryways, mud rooms, and laundry areas, especially since the slim profile allows for doors to swing freely.

According to reviewers, this shower curtain looks and feels expensive due to its honeycomb waffle-weave texture, heavy fabric, weighted hem, and metal grommets. In actuality, it costs under $30 in most colors and sizes. It’s also water- and stain-resistant, plus you can throw the whole thing in the washing machine to keep it looking like new.

Subtle yet effective, these anti-slip stickers are made from a waterproof, textured material that boosts friction to improve stability in your shower or tub. According to reviewers, they’re also virtually transparent and a “great alternative” to slip-resistant mats because they don’t get “gummed up with soap scum and mold.” Each order comes with 24 stickers and a silicone scraper.

Its thick-gauge steel construction is durable and roomy enough to hold a jumbo-size roll, but this toilet paper holder does so much more. It functions as a shelf for your phone, decor, wipes, sprays, or additional rolls — and it has a motion-sensing LED night light. That way, you can do your business at 2 a.m. without having to flip on the blinding overheads. It’s also “good looking” and “easy to install,” one reviewer wrote.

If you’re tired of rolling over onto a bare mattress, you’re not alone. These bed sheet straps have thousands of five-star ratings because they keep your fitted sheet in place underneath your mattress despite tossing and turning. The elastic straps are adjustable so you can find the right amount of tension for any set, while the nickel-plated metal clips have built-in pads to grip the fabric without tearing it.

Your bedside table is prime real estate, and this charging lamp makes the most of it while reducing visual clutter. Yes, it’s a fully functional lamp with a modern square shade and a knob that allows you to adjust the brightness levels from zero to 100%. That said, it also has two AC outlets, a USB port, and a USB-C port for charging, plus two slots where you can place your phone, tablet, or E-reader.

Whether you sleep on a bunk bed or you’re lacking side table storage, this bedside shelf has been called “genius” and “so convenient.” Its adjustable clamps fit most bed frames while its raised tray, movable side hooks, hanging slot, and cup holder offer storage for all of the essentials. It even has a cable slot to keep your phone charger at the ready.

“I wish I had gotten this sooner,” wrote one reviewer who works on a computer all day and often felt wrist pain because of it. This wrist rest set, however, “helps so much.” Both the elongated keyboard pad and the shorter mouse rest are filled with gel memory foam cushioning, wrapped in waterproof faux leather, and have non-slip bases for security.

Improve your posture and declutter your desk at the same time. This computer stand not only raises your monitor or laptop, which encourages you to sit upright while working, but it also creates more storage space on your desk with its two-tier design. Thanks to its transparent acrylic design that can support up to 50 pounds, reviewers have called it “sleek looking and sturdy.”

Reviewers keep one of these cleaning cloths “everywhere” they go, including the “house, car, truck, and at work.” The super-soft microfiber removes dirt, dust, and smudges from any glass surface without the need for moisture or chemicals. As a result, they’re safe to use on everything from handheld devices and computers to camera lenses and eyeglasses.

When you’re on the move, this Bentgo stackable container keeps your ingredients separate with its main bowl, Bento-style tray with three compartments, and designated sauce container with a lid. That way, when it’s time for lunch, you can combine them all for a crispy, fresh salad that tastes like it was just prepped — or you can enjoy your snacks separately without any transference of flavors. It also has an airtight lid that prevents spills, maximizes freshness, and holds the included fork.

You can only stack items so high before the teetering towers become a nuisance. These under-shelf baskets make use of wasted space in your cabinets by holding your ingredients, snacks, food storage items, plates, napkins, art supplies — you name it. Best of all, the wire racks slip onto most shelves without damage or the need for tools.

According to reviewers, there are very few things you can’t do with these Unlimited scissors, including cooking, gardening, and crafting. The torque engineering and sharp stainless steel blades cut through just about anything, plus they’re dishwasher safe and comfortable to hold in either hand. “Need to spatchcock a chicken? Joyce Chen scissors. Need to prune woody branches? Joyce Chen scissors. Need to cut chicken into cubes or slices or a stir fry? Joyce Chen scissors. Need to pick or prune herbs? You get the idea,” one reviewer wrote.

Traditional oven mitts may protect your hands, but the fabric exterior gets wet, stained, and dirty. These best-selling Gorilla Grip oven mitts are made from textured, heat-resistant silicone that not only creates a secure, safe grip on extremely hot cookware but also rinses clean of any residue. Some reviewers even use them to “grab stuff straight off the grill,” since they’re “so easy to clean.”

Why are reviewers throwing out their old spoon rests in lieu of this silicone utensil holder? For one, it has four wide slots that hold a range of different tools at once. For another, its raised edges and stain-resistant, dishwasher-safe silicone create a mess-free cooking experience. Finally, it’s food-grade and heat-resistant, so you can keep it right on the stove without having to worry about chemicals or accidents.

“My problem with organizing closets is that it gets messy fast,” one reviewer wrote, but these acrylic shelf dividers solved that problem granted they’re “clean, sleek, and very easy to install.” Just clamp them into most existing shelves less than .8 inches thick, and they’ll create transparent walls that support stacks of sweaters, hold books upright, and create designated sections for handbags.

Each of these space-saving hangers can hold up to five articles of clothing. Place both hooks along the closet rod while loading them up, but when you’re done, you can disconnect one of the hooks so your clothes hang in a vertical waterfall fashion, freeing up tons of space. They’re durable enough to support up to 48 pounds each and help to prevent wrinkles, too.

It has a gorgeous minimalist design made from stainless steel, it installs within minutes using the included screws and clear directions, and it turns your towels into a piece of wall decor. What’s not to love about this wall-mounted towel rack? It holds up to six large towels at once and reviewers have called it a “great solution for storage” in small bathrooms.

These Scrub Daddy sponges have a huge cult following (including professional house cleaners) for a reason: They’re made from a versatile, non-scratch material that softens in warm water, hardens in cold water, and rinses clean of grime and soap scum. The eyes allow for ergonomic gripping between your fingers while the mouth helps you clean both sides of your utensils at once. “I now understand why people are obsessed,” one reviewer wrote. “All I wanted to do was clean my entire house with these.”

Rice can be surprisingly difficult to make, but this rice cooker prepares up to 6 cups of rice that “comes out perfect every single time.” It’s also convenient to use and clean thanks to its one-touch operation, automatic keep-warm function, and removable, non-stick inner pot. You can also use it to cook chili, soups, oatmeal, and more. No wonder more than 10,000 reviewers have given it a 4.6-star overall rating.

Keurig coffee machines are definitely convenient, but K-cups are expensive and create tons of waste. This coffee bundle includes washable fine-mesh K-cup filters and a 2-tablespoon scoop with an integrated funnel. That way, you can fill your own reusable pods with any coffee grounds of your choice, which saves you money and prioritizes the environment at the same time. The pods are a “handy way to minimize waste” and the scoop is “the perfect size to fill the cups with little to no mess,” according to reviewers.

“Inexpensive, practical, and will last a lifetime,” one reviewer raved about this Lodge cast iron skillet. Another wrote, “You can't beat the flavor that comes from cooking in a well-seasoned skillet.” You can cook with it on the stove, in the oven, on the grill, or over a campfire thanks to its durable construction and vegetable oil seasoning. This 10.25-inch size comes with a free silicone hot handle to prevent burns, too.

Forget searching for just the right size in a mountain of food container lids. These silicone lids fit virtually any container with a smaller diameter and create an airtight seal when you gently push down on them. They’re also heat-resistant for use in the microwave, oven, fridge, or freezer, and they’re easy to clean in the dishwasher.

These closet storage organizers are like a basket-compartment hybrid. Like baskets, your clothes, linens, accessories, and toys stay contained during storage and while you’re moving them around — but the front panel also detaches from its velcro and folds down, so you can easily add and remove stuff. Each one also has a clear pocket on the front to hold a label.

Slide this slim storage cart in between your washer and dryer, next to your bathroom sink, or beside your fridge. You can also use it as a side table in an especially tight bedroom or living space. Wherever you choose to use it, it offers three tiers of raised-edge shelves for decor, ingredients, cleaning supplies, and toiletries — plus utility hooks for dishcloths and oven mitts. The handle and wheels make for easy retrieval.

The coarse, genuine coir bristles brush off the dirt from the undersides of shoes, while the rubber on the back and between the parquet patterning creates a durable, non-slip surface. No wonder this doormat has an overall 4.5-star rating. “I bought this to replace a years-old coir doormat and it's so cute!” one reviewer wrote. “It's also really durable and doesn't shed like some others.”

Sold in tons of sizes and patterns, this flatweave runner offers a simple and affordable way to add cozy style to your home while also covering up any scuffs. Its water-resistant, low-pile design makes it a no-brainer for your kitchen, laundry area, hall, or entryway, and you can toss the whole thing in the washing machine whenever it gets dirty. “In love with this rug!” wrote one reviewer who “purchased a pack of [two] at an amazing price.”

Since they’re made from stainless steel and coated in your choice of three finishes that match most bathroom hardware, these towel hooks look like they are permanently installed alongside the rest of your fixtures. In actuality, they temporarily but securely adhere to most smooth surfaces (including glass, tiles, and mirrors) using a suction cup. Each one can support up to 15 pounds of towels, robes, and sponges.

Sold in four finishes, these shower caddy shelves attach to smooth surfaces using self-adhesive hooks instead of screws. They also have hooks for razors and scrubbers as well as raised edges to keep everything upright. That way, you can get all of those bottles off of your shower floor, bathtub rim, or countertops while still keeping them within reach. Since they’re made from stainless steel wire, they’re rust-resistant, self-draining, and durable enough to support up to 20 pounds.

“One time I paid a plumber $300 for two minutes,” one reviewer wrote, but the FlexiSnake “literally took [them two] minutes” and got them the same results. Snap one of the replaceable wand attachments into the handle, stick it down the drain, and crank. The micro-hooks at the end lock onto hair and grime while the wand turns, so you can pull the clog out and toss it away. You can use it on tubs, showers, and sinks, and reviewers rave that it works “like magic” without the need for liquid drain cleaners.

Chefs, mechanics, gardeners, fishermen, and people who are sensitive to smells use this Rub-a-Way bar to get rid of unwanted odors — and the first time they tried it, they “couldn’t believe” how well it worked. It’s made from stainless steel, which binds to and removes sulfur molecules without the need for cleansers. Just rub it between your hands the same way you would with a real bar of soap, with or without water.

This might be designed with baby food in mind, but it’d do just as well for freezing sauces when you don’t want to defrost the entire container in order to use just a little bit. This genius freezer tray makes 2.5-ounce servings, so you can pop them out like ice cubes and use them as you need them. The tray is made from food-safe silicone for flexibility while the snap-on lid prevents leaks and spills.

This bottle-cleaning set helps you deep-clean your reusable water bottles, baby bottles, sippy cups, wine glasses, and champagne glasses. The long-handled brush has silicone bristles that reach into crevices and rinse clean of any residue, while the straw brush is extra-thin to get inside straws and mouthpieces. Each set also comes with two adhesive clips that you can use for drying.

My old colander was so clunky, it took up an entire drawer all on its own — so I switched to this snap-on strainer and never looked back. Thanks to its flexible silicone design, it stretches or condenses to fit most saucepans, large pots, pans, and bowls. It’s also heat-resistant and clips right onto the sides so you can securely strain pasta, drain meat, or rinse produce, but despite its versatility, its compact size is still extremely easy to store.

The Takeya Traveler is an insulated mug with a few brilliant features that have reviewers raving: “brilliant” “amazing,” and the “best travel mug I’ve ever had.” Because it’s designed to also function as a water bottle, it’s totally leak-proof and it has double-wall vacuum insulation that keeps your beverage hot for up to 12 hours. That said, it’s compact enough to fit under most single-serve coffee machines and it has a one-touch cap for effortless sipping when you’re on the go.

If your bedside table often becomes a cluttered catch-all (or you don’t have a bedside table at all), this wall mount organizer can help. It has ledges and hooks to hold your devices, remotes, headphones, and glasses, plus it has wire hooks to keep your charging cables at the ready. You can mount it with your choice of nails or velcro. Reviewers in dorm rooms and RVs find it especially helpful for bedside storage, but it’s also a great way to organize your keys and mail by the front door.

This velvet ottoman boosts aesthetics, comfort, practicality, and storage space all at the same time. First of all, its gold wire legs are trendy and modern and its ginkgo leaf upholstery comes in tons of colors to match your space. Second, its high-density foam makes for a comfortable seat, footrest, or vanity stool, while its wood and metal frame can support up to 300 pounds. Finally, the seat comes off to reveal hidden storage, so you can keep unwanted clutter out of sight.

These food storage bags minimize plastic waste in your kitchen and cut down on your grocery bills. Like their disposable counterparts, the sealing zipper keeps freshness in and stops leaks during storage or travel. Unlike their disposable counterparts, they’re made from silicone and food-grade PEVA, so you can wash and reuse them over and over again. Each set includes 24 bags in three sizes.

“These containers are amazing! Easy to clean, stackable, and keep food fresh,” one reviewer wrote about these food storage containers. Others wrote that they’re great for meal prep due to their airtight lids, travel thanks to their leak-proof design, and refrigerator organization since they stack uniformly on top of each other. They’re also dishwasher-safe, freezer-safe, and microwave-safe (without the lid).

I gifted one of these trunk organizers to my partner when he bought his new car, and it’s been a game-changer. For one, it has structured compartments and mesh pockets to hold both big and small items, including groceries, jumper cables, paper towels, clothes, and more. For another, it has steel-tipped tie-down straps that keep the organizer secure while driving — but the built-in handles make it easy to remove everything at once when we need the trunk for our bikes.

“I didn’t know I needed some of these brushes until I used them,” one reviewer wrote. “Made washing cupcake trays, dishes, and smaller areas [so much easier].” In addition to two traditional nylon brushes with built-in scrapers, this kitchen cleaning set also comes with a scouring pad brush for tough messes, two groove gap brushes for hard-to-reach spots, a slim brush for grout, and a flexible brush that gets around the faucet and into corners. According to customers, they’re all well-made, non-scratch, and an amazing value.

It’s marketed as a portable nursery for parents who need to transport diapers, pumping tools, and other baby essentials — but this organizer tote works just as well as a beach bag, yarn tote, or car organizer. The interior is split up into three compartments for easy organization while the durable handles improve portability. Last but not least, the cotton rope construction (in your choice of eight colors) looks chic whether it’s on a shelf or on the go.

Maria Cassano