If you aren't using any of these clever things, you're wasting time & money

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ByChristina X. Wood
Originally Published: 

Would you even think about trying to use a nail without a hammer or screw without a screwdriver? It would be difficult, time-consuming, and — after you pay the hospital bills — expensive. It’s the same with lots of tools. Life is easier and cheaper because of some of the genius inventions many of us take for granted. From the automobile to the refrigerator, we don’t even think about it. We have and use them because the speed of modern life would be untenable without them.

There are less obvious things in the world, though, that you may not have discovered yet. And once you use them, you won’t go back to the old way. Because the old way was harder, slower, and more expensive. If you aren’t using any of these clever things, you’re wasting time and money.


This tool that turns a banana into slices fast

Instead of getting out a knife and cutting board to slice a banana over your yogurt — or a hot dog into your beans — pull out this clever banana slicer and feed that food right through it. When you close the handle it chomps down and turns your tubular food into quick slices. It’s fun and tidy.


A tool that makes it simple to measure spaghetti

Instead of guessing and ending up with enough spaghetti to feed an army — or not enough to feed your guests — pull out this pasta measure and get it right. Just fit a handful of spaghetti into the circles until your handful matches the number of guests. You will serve the right amount every time.


This reusable roller that cleans pet hair up quickly

When you have pets, your clothes and furniture get covered in fur. This pet hair remover makes that problem insignificant. Just wipe it on any kind of fabric and it grabs the fur, detaches it from the fabric, and turns that fur into a little pile you can pick up and throw away. You can do your clothes, rugs, and furniture with it quickly and easily.


The pink butcher paper for smoking meat or doing crafts

Once you have a roll of this pink butcher paper on hand you will forget how you managed before. It’s great for wrapping meat when you smoke it. It’s also a great way to store — wrapped in this durable, uncoated paper — meat or fish in the fridge. And when you need to cover a table for eating your BBQ, potting plants, or painting, you will reach for it then, too. It has remarkable wet strength and gets over 19,000 five-star reviews.


An indoor garden so you can have fresh herbs anytime

This indoor herb garden has everything you need to create a tasty garden on a windowsill. The seeds come in tubes that make replanting easy. The soil is dehydrated into easy-to-use pucks. There are plant markers so you know what’s what. Even the plant pots are thoughtful. Made of sphagnum moss, they will compost into the ground or slip into your own decorative pot.


The fast-working food scale that tells you nutritional content

Put an apple, candy bar, or other food on this food and nutrition scale, input the code for that food item and the scale will tell you not only what that item weighs but also provide details about the nutritional content of t that foods. Plus, it has over 2,200 five-star ratings on Amazon.


The shower curtain that has pockets for all your gear

Hang this shower curtain with storage pockets and not only will it keep the water in the shower but it will hold your shampoo, razor, and soap while it does it. It has nine mesh storage pockets in three different sizes so you can stash all your essential bathing tools right where you can reach them. The pockets drain and are clear so you can see what’s in them and nothing will get slimy. It comes in clear and gray.


These accessories that’ll help refresh your kitchen knives

When you have knives, they need things. These are those things: An excellent knife sharpener to hone the edges so you can easily slice through tomatoes, steak, and fish like this one — with an ergonomic handle — that has three grooves that take those blades from dull to dangerous. And once you have reset your knives into the danger zone, you will want to don these clever anti-cut gloves so you aren’t the one in danger.


This set of every bottle brush you will ever need

When you have bottles — water bottles, baby bottles, storage bottles, or beer-brewing bottles — you need brushes to clean them. And this eight-pack of bottle brushes is every brush — tiny, beefy, soft, stiff — you need for every bottle you have. One of them is even spongelike and perfect for cleaning mason jars.


This gizmo that makes straining pasta easy

This clip-on strainer is adjustable, making it your brand-new best friend in the kitchen. If you live by yourself, or simply don’t have the space to wash a large strainer, this will be a complete game-changer every time you cook — just ask the 20,000 people who’ve given it a five-star rating on Amazon. Available in five different colors to match your kitchen decor, it’d also make for a one-of-a-kind holiday or housewarming gift.


This smart kettle you can control with your phone

Upgrade your water-heating experience with this app-controlled gooseneck kettle that lets you choose a temperature, hold your water at a set temperature, and much more, all from your phone. It sits in a base while it heats and lifts off that base to pour. The gooseneck makes it perfect for pour-over coffee brewing, too.


These clever hangers that create space in your closet

When your closet is too crowded for your wardrobe, you can easily fix that with this 10-pack of space-saving clothes hangers. Each hanger holds five garments in the space that one standard hanger requires. Hang five button-downs on one and five tees on another to create order, too. It’s a strategy that saves space and makes dressing easier and faster.


An inflatable ottoman so you can relax at the beach or pool

When you set down your beach chair, make sure you are comfortable for your entire poolside or beach stay by inflating this stool ottoman. It gives you a place to put your feet, set your book, and keep your beverage at hand. It comes in round or square. There are lots of patterns. And all of them are durable and water-, fade-, and dirt resistant.


A neck fan to help keep you chilly without the AC

Since everything seems to be heating up out in the world, it’s time to start packing along your own cool breezes. This neck fan makes that easy. It's super lightweight so it’s easy to wear and pack along. And it directs the air at your entire head instead of blowing air in your face, which is more comfortable and cooling. It has three speeds and comes in five colors.


These blackout curtains so your room is cool & quiet

When you want to shut out the light and noise so you can sleep or watch a movie, these blackout curtains are an ideal solution. The thick, black lining keeps all the light out while insulating your windows so you don’t lose expensive heat or AC to the outdoors. And they come in so many sizes and colors that your room will look spectacular, too.


The portable shower caddy that will organize your trip to the bath

If your gym is a swimming pool or you are camping or staying in a dorm or hostel, this mesh shower caddy will make every trip to the shower simpler. All your supplies will fit in there and there are tons of exterior pockets to organize it all. The mesh lets water escape. And it packs up easily when you aren’t using it.


The portable fabric steamer that gets rid of wrinkles fast

When you want to wear that garment that’s been rolled up in a drawer (or suitcase) for weeks, pull out this fabric steamer and refresh it while you get rid of all the wrinkles. That jacket or sweater will look — and smell — like it just came from the cleaners. And all you need is water, an outlet, and a few minutes. Just fill it, plug it in, and steam your garment where it hangs. It’s small enough to pack along when you travel.


This milk frother so you can make a latte whenever you like

This handheld milk frother needs only a few seconds to turn your milk — dairy, oat, soy, or whatever you like — into a yummy foam for your coffee. The tiny whisk spins super fast so you can froth cold or warm milk. It’s also handy for mixing up salad dressings, marinades, and other sauces. It comes in four colors, has its own stand, and runs on batteries.


The rug gripper that’s easy on your floors

This rug gripper is tacky on both sides so it grips both the rug and the floor so that your rug stays where you put it. But it has no adhesives to damage your floor or make moving the rug a difficult project. Just choose the closest size — there are three options — and cut it to fit under your rug. It adds a bit of softness to your rug without adding height that will impede the doors.


This two-pack of fabric storage bins that cleans up the closet

When you have clothes and blankets spilling off shelves and making your closet unusable, pack it all up into these two big storage containers with windows in the front so you can see what’s in them. It will bring instant order. The two-way zippers make them easy to open and close. Handles on the side mean getting at your stuff is easy. And they are big enough to handle bulky coats and comforters.


The insulated koozie to help keep your canned drinks cold

This slim can cooler is the solution for everything that bothers you about sipping energy drinks, hard seltzers, and slender beer cans. The double-wall, stainless steel can cooler keeps your beverage cold for hours. It also keeps the cold of the can away from your hands, stops can sweat from damaging furniture, and makes it obvious which drink is yours at a party. It comes in lots of colors.


This handy vegetable chopper that preps meals fast

Instead of patiently hand-chopping your vegetables for salads, stir-fries, and other meals, put them on the rack of this vegetable slicer and close the lid, letting the specially designed blades take that produce from whole to diced, sliced, or julienned in seconds. The eight blades will do a wide range of sizes and shapes and can handle everything from onions to cheese. The catch bin also doubles as a produce storage container, which saves kitchen space.


The steam cleaner for all your hard-to-clean spots

This handheld steam cleaner will help you get grout, ovens, grimy window tracks, and much more spotlessly clean without using any chemicals. It heats water into steam and then shoots that steam at your dirty problem, removing it quickly. It comes with seven attachments to target specific problems. Over 20,000 people gave this handy tool five stars.


This clever storage system for your hat collection

If you have a massive hat collection, this over-the-door hat rack will keep it all tidy and ready to wear. Just hang the two belts over a door and cinch them tight. Each of the two straps will hold nine hats firmly against the door. You can see each one so it’s easy to change up your hat-wearing routine.


These colorful shelf liners for a bright & clean fridge

Transform that messy jumble in the fridge into a bright and clean space by applying these colorful shelf liners. They provide a soft landing in the crisper drawer for fruits and vegetables, stop pickle jars from making that glass-on-glass sound, look pretty, wipe up easily, and remove completely for easy cleanup.


This affordable camera that’ll help keep an eye on the front door

Install this indoor/outdoor camera at your front door and you can quickly see whenever anyone comes to the door. If their intentions are to deliver a package, you can let them know where to put it without getting up off the couch and opening your front door to do it. It has night vision, records in color, is triggered by motion or sound, and works just as well as an indoor security camera.


A big pack of cable clips for all your wired projects

Keep this 16-pack of cable clips on hand because every time you plug something in or get a new gadget, there will be wires. And those wires will get all over the place and make a mess if you don’t stick them down. This kit has single-wire clips, multi-wire clips, and big pieces that will handle every wire on your desk. Just peel and stick the solution you need to a surface and push the wires into them.


The outlet extender with USB ports that doubles as a night light

Plug this outlet extender into any outlet and transform it from basic to super useful. This thing has four wide-spaced standard plugs, four USB ports, and a motion-activated, dusk to dawn nightlight. The night light illuminates the periphery of the plug and turns on only when the ambient light is low. Or you can touch to turn it on.


A 5-pack of self-watering plant pots that help your flowers thrive

Planting your flowers, herbs, and other greenery in these self-watering pots helps them survive everything from a few days of excessive heat to your last-minute weekend away, to a busy schedule that leads to short-term plant neglect. The well in the bottom gives plants a reserve to draw on — pulling the water to the roots through cotton wicks. It’s easy to see when these pots need refilling, too, because the well is clear.


This neck light that’s ideal for reading at nighttime

This LED neck reading light makes it easy to keep turning pages long after your bedmate has requested lights out. It throws light in three colors and has two beams, each with three brightness levels and an independent gooseneck so you can dial in precisely the light you want. You will appreciate it during power outages and while camping, too, because it’s hands-free.


The car cup phone mount that fits any vehicle

If you lack places in your car or truck to attach a phone mount, this car cup holder phone mount is a great solution. It fits into any cup holder and has a sturdy extension arm that lifts the phone to a height you can see. The base expands to fit firmly into your cup holder and hold the rig securely, and the phone grip has a one-handed release mechanism that makes it easy to grab your phone and go.


This big, plush makeup remover towel that’s reusable

All you need to get whatever makeup you have on your face off is water and this big, plush makeup remover towel. It’s deliciously soft and absorbent, and the little microfiber fingers reach out and grab everything and pull it away from your skin. It feels wonderful and is super effective. Over 8,000 people gave this five stars. It will even save money in the long run, because you won’t have to buy wipes or cleansers again.


These silicone hot mitts that protect your hands from high heat

Pull on these silicone oven mitts when you lift pans into and out of the oven or even if you want to reach into a pot of hot water to pull out your hard-boiled eggs. They have a high heat resistance and are super flexible so you can feel what you are doing while your hands are protected. And, since they are silicone with a cotton lining, they clean up by rinsing. (Or you can throw them in the wash.) They come with two pot holders that double as trivets.


A pair of toothpaste squeezers that get out every bit

Transform that tube of toothpaste or lotion from a hard-to-store item with a high frustration factor into a standing dispenser that’s easy to empty. It’s simple. Just insert the tube into one of these two toothpaste tube squeezers. It stands the tube up so you don’t need to find a place for it. And it makes getting product out the tube a matter of turning a dial.


This pair of space-saving under-cabinet stemware racks

Have trouble storing all your stemware? Stick these two wine glass holders to the underside of a cabinet and hang all your wine glasses upside down. They drip dry, stay dust-free, and won’t eat up your cabinet space. These two racks are peel-and-stick easy to install, and each one holds about three glasses.


This rear window cover that protects your car from snow & birds

If you live in a snowy region or park your car under a tree, cover your rear window with this snow cover to protect it from snow, leaves, and birds. It attaches quickly and easily and makes it so you can pull off the snow or leaves, jump in your car, and go, instead of stopping to clear away the problem. It’s a thermal as well as a physical shield so the car will stay cool in summer and the glass won’t even be covered in frost in winter.


A big & fun menu board that makes meal prep simple

Keep everyone on the same page when it comes to mealtime by posting the plan right on the fridge. This dry-erase menu board adds a decorative touch to the kitchen while giving everyone the data they need. It includes a space for every day of the week, notes to help people find the snacks, and a grocery list. It also comes with colorful dry-erase markers.


A desktop vacuum cleaner so you can clean as you work

This little desktop vacuum cleaner is a great way to keep your desk and keyboard clean. There is even a crevice attachment to get into tight spaces. It’s USB chargeable so you can keep it at hand for cleaning up eraser dust, cookie crumbs, and whatever else happens. Just empty it into the trash and keep right on working.


The high-output shower head that filters your water

If your water is causing your hair to be brittle, your skin to get irritated, and a feeling of yick after you shower, try this high-output shower filter. It adds an advanced filter to your bathing experience that helps remove chemicals, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, dirt, and scale from the water. It attaches between your own shower head and the pipe so it works with any kind of shower and shower head.


This stylish pair of blue-light blocking glasses

When you work at a computer, play video games, or, for whatever reason, look at a screen for any length of time, protect your eyes with this stylish pair of blue-light-blocking glasses. They come with or without magnification, have pretty and durable frames, and look good on lots of face shapes.