45 things under $35 that are freaking genius

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What comes to mind when you hear the word "genius"? Nikola Tesla? A chalkboard with indecipherable equations? A 6-year old chess prodigy? Well, go ahead and make brain space for some new mental images because I'm about to introduce a whole slew of things under $35 that are freaking genius — and they're all on Amazon.

To be fair, none of these items can pick up a violin and play Mozart at the first go, but they're generally a lot more useful. (No shade to any musical virtuosos out there — we appreciate you.) At the very top of the list is an affordable gadget that makes crushed ice, which — I think it's safe to say — is the absolute best form of ice. It works with a simple hand crank, and when paired with a freshly opened can of soda, just might be the best way to perk you up when you've hit the mid-afternoon doldrums. Other clever inventions include a container that keeps herbs fresh in the fridge for days, a portable mosquito repeller that doesn't require citronella or sprays, and magnesium bath flakes that ease muscle tension and help you unwind.

So now that you're starting to picture these items when I say the word "genius," go on and scroll for more Amazon finds that are downright brilliant.

We only recommend products we love and that we think you will, too. We may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was written by our Commerce team.

1. This machine that shaves & crushes ice

Whether you use it to crush ice for sodas and iced teas or to make snow cones with delicious flavorings, this ice shaver is a must-have once warm weather rolls around. The device uses a simple hand crank mechanism that's easy to operate, which means you can churn out that icy treat ASAP.

2. The nesting food storage containers that don't take up space

Food storage containers that are stacked on top of each other can take up way too much space in a kitchen cupboard — use this set of nesting food storage containers instead. The 10-pack includes containers with capacities ranging from 1 to 12.5 cups, and each one has a snap-shut lid that seals in freshness. For even more convenience, they're dishwasher-, freezer-, and microwave-safe.

3. The luggage scale that helps you avoid airport baggage fees

Want to avoid unexpected baggage fees at the airport? Take a good luggage scale along on your trip. This one gives accurate readings within 0.35 ounces and has a unit conversion button for toggling between ounces, pounds, grams, and kilograms. It turns off automatically after 60 seconds to conserve battery, so you'll never be stuck abroad without a means to weigh your (admittedly overpacked) suitcase.

4. This herb keeper that prevents wilting

Basil, mint, rosemary, and other herbs have a way of wilting before you ever get a chance to cook with them, but this herb keeper preserves their freshness for days and even weeks. Sized to fit on your refrigerator door, it has a water reservoir at the bottom to keep them hydrated, along with vented sides that promote air circulation.

5. These picture hangers that are so easy to mount

I can personally vouch for these drywall picture hangers that make decorating your wall a breeze. The claw-style hangers don't require tools to mount — just push them into the wall with your thumbs — and they won't leave big holes behind, either. Even better, the set comes with adhesive-backed markers that help you place the claws right where you want them.

6. A mug warmer for coffee that's hot until the last sip

With this mug warmer, you can drink your coffee at a leisurely pace and still enjoy a last sip that's piping hot. The three heat settings give you lots of temperature control, and the auto-shutoff function ensures optimal safety. Choose from colors that add some style to your desk, like sky blue, faux woodgrain, and modern white.

7. This travel umbrella that fits in the palm of your hand

No matter where your travels take you, you can be prepared for unexpected rainstorms with this mini umbrella. Sized for suitcases and car glove compartments, the lightweight umbrella pops out to a full-size canopy and features sturdy fiberglass ribs that can withstand wind and heavy rain. It comes in colors like black, navy, and bright orange.

8. These fragrance-free air fresheners made with charcoal

If perfume-style air fresheners aren't your speed, check out these activated charcoal air purifier bags. The fragrance-free bags neutralize odor and absorb excess moisture from the air, and they can be reused for years — just place them in the sun once a month to reactivate. Put them in your car, in the closet, near the litter box, or anywhere else the air needs freshening.

9. The spice rack that mounts to the inside of a cupboard door

Here's a clever way to get some storage space back in your kitchen: these spice grips that mount to the inside of a cupboard door. The set comes with four strips that hold up to five spice jars each, and you can use the adhesive backing to place them right where they won't interfere with any shelves.

10. An affordable electric toothbrush with 5 cleaning modes

Use this highly rated electric toothbrush twice a day, and you'll no longer dread dentist visits. The rechargeable toothbrush provides 40,000 vibrations per minute and operates on five different modes, so you can massage gums, brush sensitive teeth, whiten, polish, or just get a basic but thorough clean. The set comes with three brush heads, an inter-dental cleaning tip, and a shield to protect bristles.

11. These grill bricks that clean tough messes

Post-barbecue cleanup is so much easier with these grill cleaning bricks. In just a few swipes, the abrasive, non-porous stones remove grease and cooked-on food without damaging the grates. The bricks are also safe to use on cast iron, enamel, and stainless steel, so they're great for cleaning kitchen cookware, too. Each recyclable brick can be used up to five times.

12. The contoured memory foam pillow that's height-adjustable

If you're constantly bunching up your pillow for more neck support at night, this contoured memory foam pillow is for you. The pillow is designed with a lower arc on one side for sleeping on your back and a higher arc on the other for sleeping on your side. It also has three interior layers — remove one if you want a little less loft.

13. This toiletry bag you can hang on a towel rod

Boasting an impressive 4.8-star overall rating, this toiletry bag is outfitted with a hook, so you can hang it on a towel or shower rod and keep the countertop clutter-free. The waterproof bag also folds out to four separate panels, so you can get a good look at everything (and actually locate your razor and face wash).

14. A steam cleaner that deep cleans with just water

This steam cleaner is a cheap and easy way to deep clean your home — and it only requires water to work. The high-pressure device releases steam that removes germs, allergens, and stuck-on dirt, and it's safe to use on all sealed surfaces. It heats up within four minutes and comes with six attachments for cleaning everything from furniture to windows to floors and bathrooms.

15. The Japanese towel that lathers & exfoliates

You'll never feel cleaner than after using this highly rated Japanese exfoliating towel. The dual-purpose towel is made with tightly woven threads to create a next-level soap lather, as well as textured threads that offer just enough exfoliating power to soften rough skin. And since it's long, you can scrub hard to reach places like the middle of your back.

16. These probiotics that clean your dishwasher

Upgrade your dishwasher's performance with this probiotic dishwasher cleaner that uses healthy bacteria to break down grease, dissolve hard water stains, and remove odors. It works during cycles and while the dishwasher is idle, and even reaches hard-to-access areas like the filter and pump. Just add the contents of a packet to the dishwasher once a month.

17. This leather cleaner for furniture, jackets, car seats & more

Nothing beats the luxury of leather, and this leather cleaner makes it easy to keep furniture, jackets, shoes, bags, and car seats in pristine condition — just add a little of the non-concentrated formula to a lint-free cloth and apply. The formula is also suitable for use on faux leather, vinyl, plastic, and rubber.

18. A space-saving holder for hair tools

This hair tool holder features hooks that let you hang it over a cabinet door, freeing up space both inside the cabinet and on your bathroom counter. It has three slots for a dryer, straightener, and curling iron, and since it comes with mounting hardware, you can also hang it on the wall.

19. The power scrubber that makes quick work of cleaning

All the elbow grease in the world can't beat the effectiveness of this power scrubber that cleans tile, sinks, counters, bathroom fixtures, and even car wheels. Delivering 60 rotations per second, it operates on AA batteries (included) and features two modes: continuous and pulse. It's water-resistant and ergonomically designed to fit comfortably in your hand.

20. These vacuum storage bags that compress contents by 80%

Instead of dedicating so much space to storing out-of-season clothes and comforters, use these vacuum storage bags to compress everything down to a compact size. Each bag reduces volume by up to 80%, and you can use the included hand pump or your household vacuum to suck out the air before pinching the double-zipper seal closed.

21. A knife bar that holds blades with magnets

Ditch your bulky countertop knife block and mount this magnetic knife bar to your wall. Not only does it clear up space, but it gives you instant access to whatever knife you need. Made from high-grade stainless steel, it comes in three sizes: 10-inch, 16-inch, and 24-inch.

22. These magnesium bath flakes that reduce stress & ease sore muscles

For a relaxing soak with therapeutic benefits, add these magnesium salt flakes to your next bath. Magnesium chloride can help relax tense muscles, soothe sore joints, and even help promote a state of mental relaxation and sleepiness. No time for a full bath? You'll also get an amber glass spray bottle — combine the magnesium flakes with some water and spritz your body before turning in for the night.

23. A ventilated sink caddy for sponges

If your sponge is hanging out at the bottom of your sink, it's probably not getting the chance to dry properly, which can lead to germ and odor buildup. Keep your sponge in this sink caddy — it's ventilated throughout to speed up drying time. Made from brushed stainless steel, it's rust-proof and features four suction cups and a ledge hanger to keep it securely in place.

24. A repair kit for the holes in your walls

Whether you're sprucing up your house or trying to get your rental security deposit back, this hole repair kit can help. Suitable for holes up to 3 inches in diameter, the kit comes with primer-enhanced spackling compound, a 4-inch self-adhesive patch, a putty knife, and sanding pad. It works three times faster than traditional spackling, and no one will ever know the difference.

25. These reusable food storage bags that are eco-friendly

Skip the plastic baggies in favor of these eco-friendly food storage bags that are endlessly reusable. The 10-pack includes leakproof sandwich and snack bags (although you can also opt for a set with gallon-size bags), and the pinch-seal closures keep contents fresh. They're freezer-safe and easy to wash and rinse clean.

26. This under-sink organizer with baskets that slide out

Use this under-sink organizer in your kitchen to store sponges, dish detergent, and cleaning supplies, or use it in the bathroom for hair products, washcloths, and body wash. Available in black and clear, the two-tier organizer features baskets that slide out for easy access to everything.

27. The portable mosquito repeller that's scent-free

This scent-free mosquito repeller creates a 15-foot safe zone between you and mosquitos without the use of DEET, citronella, or flames. The heat-activated repeller comes with a self-igniting cartridge that provides 12 hours of protection, and since the device is so compact, you can take it with you camping or on day trips to the lake.

28. These shoe insoles that neutralize odor

Keep your feet comfortable and smelling fresh all day long with these odor-absorbing insoles. Along with heavy-duty cushioning, the breathable insoles are infused with activated charcoal, baking soda, and zinc oxide, which work together to absorb sweat and neutralize any funk. They can be trimmed to fit any size shoe.

29. These car organizers that slip between the seats

If your ride is a catchall for loose change, hand sanitizer, and other small items, these car organizers are for you. They slip right into the gap between the seats and center console, giving you a landing place for all those aforementioned items, plus your phone. Each set comes with two organizers: one for the driver's side and one for the passenger's side.

30. An indoor herb garden kit for fresh at-home cooking

For some farm-to-table cooking in the comfort of your own home, get this herb garden kit. The kit comes with non-GMO heirloom seeds for cilantro, Italian Parsley, English thyme, and basil, as well as soil discs and burlap planters to get you started. And if you're a tea drinker, there's also an herbal tea kit for growing mint, lavender, lemon, and chamomile.

31. The slim wallet that takes up minimal pocket space

If you haven't experienced the lightweight glory of a non-bulky wallet, now's your chance. This slim wallet is made from genuine leather and designed to take up minimal space in your pocket or bag, yet it still has room for an I.D., four cards, and folded bills. Choose from classic shades like black and deep brown, or ensure you can always find your wallet with bright colors like orange, yellow, and sky blue.

32. The caddy that corrals your remote controls

If you've got remote controls for your TV, stereo, Fire Stick, smart home appliances, and everything in between, this remote control caddy is a great way to wrangle them all. The five-compartment caddy spins for easy access and comes in 11 colors, so you can even match your couch.

33. This frother that makes home lattes in just 20 seconds

For about the price of two lattes, you can make your own matcha and coffee drinks at home with this battery-operated milk frother. It foams up milk in just about 20 seconds, and the one-touch operation means you don't have to be a barista to use it. The best part? Reviewers have reported that it's quiet, so it won't wake anyone else on early mornings.

34. An over-the-door shoe rack with space for 36 pairs

If the floor of your closet is full up, this over-the-door shoe rack is a great place to store your kicks. With space for up to 36 pairs, it features nonslip steel bars that are height-adjustable, so you can accommodate heels and taller boots, as well as sneakers and flats. Plus, the rack features pads to prevent any potential door damage.

35. A cleverly designed utensil organizer that saves space

Instantly free up kitchen drawer space with this skinny cutlery organizer. The front ends of the individual compartments nest on top of each other to make use of vertical storage, while the open ends make it easy to grab the utensils you need.

36. The string lights that are solar-powered

With these solar-powered string lights, you can add some atmosphere to your patio without ever having to worry about batteries or plugging in. The small globe lights offer eight to 10 hours of illumination each night and feature eight different modes, so you can set them to twinkle, fade, and more. The lights are waterproof for all-weather use and come in seven color options.

37. This monitor stand with built-in storage

Not only does this laptop and monitor stand elevate your screen to a comfortable eye level, but it also gives you a bit more storage space on your desk, thanks to the built-in shelf and two side storage compartments. Made from lightweight but sturdy mesh metal, it's available in nine colors, so you can add a pop of color or choose a stand that blends in.

38. A fan-favorite wood polish that works wonders on furniture

Restoring a sheen to your wood furniture is one of the cheapest and most effective ways to revamp your space, and this wood polish is an easy way to do it. Made with a beeswax base, the highly rated formula conditions wood and brings out its natural glow. Just use a soft cloth to apply, then buff with a clean cotton cloth to finish.

39. These trivets that change color with hot temperatures

Make meal prep a little more fun with these trivets that change color when they make contact with hot pots and pans. Heat resistant to 446 degrees Fahrenheit, the set comes with three flexible silicone trivets in different sizes, and they're all BPA-free and dishwasher-safe

40. A patio furniture spray that blocks sun, rain & snow

Patio furniture can be expensive, so it's a bummer when it fades or gets damaged after just a couple seasons. Keep everything looking brand new with this protective spray that blocks UV rays and repels rain and snow. Safe on fabric, suede, and leather, you can use it on all kinds of outdoor gear — patio furniture, umbrellas, grill covers, tarps, awnings, and boat covers.

41. An anti-allergen spray that reduces dander, dust & more

If you spend your days sniffling and sneezing, you'll want to stock up on this allergen spray. The mineral formula (just add water) reduces up to 93% of pet dander, dust mites, and cockroaches, and all you have to is spray. Use it on bedding, walls, air filters, furniture, and even in the air. One reviewer wrote, "THIS STUFF WORKS! Literally a miracle mist. I’d give it a million stars if I could."

42. The cooling cups that chill drinks without ice

If you like a cold drink, but don't necessarily want to dilute it with ice, these cooling cups are a great solution. The insulated walls are filled with a proprietary gel that maintains cold temperatures — just stick the cups in the freezer for a couple hours to pre-chill. The BPA-free plastic glasses are sturdy and have comfortable silicone grips.

43. The New York Times cookbook that teaches you how to *not* use recipes

Want to cook without having to use a step-by-step recipe every time? This New York Times cookbook is the way to learn. It features 100 vividly photographed "no-recipe recipes" that show you how to improvise meals with ingredients you probably already have on hand (or which would only require a quick trip to the store). In just a few sessions, you'll master everything from fried rice, to roasted shrimp tacos, and teriyaki salmon.

44. A sandwich press that toasts in 5 minutes

Fans of paninis, tuna melts, and BLTs: This sandwich press toasts your bread and heats your fillings in less than five minutes, and even seals the sandwich for easy slicing. The nonstick copper plates don't require butter or oil, and they can be simply wiped clean with a damp cloth after lunch.

45. These reusable paper towels made from eco-friendly bamboo

You can easily go through a quarter-roll of paper towels to clean up a spilled glass of water, but with these reusable bamboo towels, you won't have to fret about the cost to your pocketbook or the planet. Made from sustainably harvested bamboo, the roll comes with 20 absorbent sheets that can be machine washed repeatedly for up to six months.

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