40 mistakes that are making your home look bad

But there are easy fixes.

ByChristina X. Wood
Originally Published: 
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Is there a hack or secret everyone else knows that makes time-consuming home chores easier and faster? Or maybe there is a solution that makes them disappear entirely — or maybe cleanliness isn’t even the problem. Fixing the feel of your interior could be a matter of improving the lighting or choosing the right accessory.

Coming up with a plan and solving problems are part of managing a home, and it can often be a better way to spend time than vacuuming the couch — again. To help you get your home set up so it’s easy to maintain cleanliness, order, and a sense of welcome and calm, here are 40 easy-to-make mistakes that are making your home look bad and the easy solutions that will make it look better.

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.


Mistake: Cords slipping all over the desk or nightstand

Solution: A set of cable clips to keep them in place

Secure essential tech cables with cable clips from this pack of 16 to bring order to the mess that might be on your desk. The big five-clip pieces are perfect for making a charging station and the smaller ones will solve all your single-cord problems.


Mistake: Letting the cat scratch the furniture

Solution: A clear couch shield that's stronger than claws

Your kitty needs to scratch, but that doesn’t mean you are helpless to protect your furniture from those mittens. If the cat has picked a favorite scratch post on your couch, peel and stick these clear plastic shields over that spot for an easy and nearly invisible cat scratch deterrent that protects the fabric from those talons. This is a pack of six so you can cover all the best scratching areas.


Mistake: Grungy deck & exterior of the house

Solution: This rinse-free outdoor cleaning solution

That green mildew tinge and dirty exterior can creep up on you until one day you look at the house or deck and are horrified. This house and deck cleaner is the easy way to sort that out fast — for $15. The trigger spray is tucked right into the bottle. Just attach it to your hose and spray away. Your house will look even better a week later because it’s a treatment that keeps working as the rain slowly washes it away.


Mistake: Your rugs slip around or curl at the corners

Solution: These rug corner grippers that flatten & secure

Rugs that curl up at the corner and move when you walk on them make your house look sloppy and create a trip hazard that can take down anyone who walks through. These V-shaped rug corner grippers hold those corners down so the rug looks new again. They also hold the whole rug securely to the floor. A sticky gel grips the floor and can be easily pulled up and used again so you can move the rug if you want to.


Mistake: Letting fruit flies have free rein

Solution: This plug-in trap that lures them to their demise

Fruit flies — and other small flying bugs — can infest your kitchen like a plague of tiny locusts and it feels like there is no ending them. But the solution is actually quite easy. Plug in this indoor insect trap near the source — a fruit bowl, trash can, or sink — and it lures them close with a tempting UV light, sucks them in with the windy vortex created by its fan, and sticks them to the glue board in the bottom.

Their flying population will keep dropping until your problem is solved. Almost 43,000 people gave it five stars.


Mistake: Pillows that are past their prime

Solution: This gel pillow set that’s comfortable, cool, & affordable

Instead of settling for those tired, not-that-clean-anymore pillows that have been on your bed for too long, rest your head on a fresh set of luxury gel pillows. Filled with a soft, down-like filling and cooling fiber, these mold to your favorite position — even if that changes all night. You can put these pillows in the washer and dryer so keeping them clean is easy.

With nearly 144,000 five-star ratings, it’s hard to go wrong.


Mistake: Letting pet fur accumulate wherever it wants

Solution: A grooming brush that works on pets & furniture

Pull out this silicone pet brush with massaging nubs on the end of each bristle and your pet will roll over and lap up the delicious spa treatment. Or, give your couch the same treatment (though it might not be as appreciative). When you are done, the brush will be loaded with fur that might otherwise have blanketed your carpets and furniture. Remove the fur from the brush by pulling off the screen and toss the fur. The pets are happier and you get to vacuum less often.


Mistake: Cables snaking across the walls

Solution: These cord concealers that hide them from view

Wall-mounting the TV or ceiling-mounting the projector was meant to create a clean, minimalist look in your home — but those cords snaking from the machine to the power is marring the effect. That’s easy to fix with this cord concealer, 153 feet of it, that peels and sticks to the wall and snaps over the cords, hiding them from view. You can even paint them to make them blend in with your walls.


Mistake: Wood furniture & trim that looks dry & dull

Solution: A wood polish & conditioner that spruces things right up

If your wood trim, furniture, doors, and cabinets look dull, dry, and faded, treat the wood to some of this wood polish and conditioner. It’s loaded with oils that feed the wood and carnauba and beeswax to create a protective, water-repellent finish so it stays looking great for a long time.

“Used [this] on my original hardwood floors in my 1936 home,” reports one reviewer. “They were looking particularly grim in high-traffic areas; dingy and worn down ... [It] made a HUGE difference! My floors now have that lovely deep color and glow again.”


Mistake: Your couches & chairs slide on the floor

Solution: These furniture grippers so they stay put

If your armchair slides every time you sit in it and the bed keeps creeping away from the wall, put these nonslip furniture grippers under the feet. It’s so easy you will wonder why you ever put up with that. The 12 pads are scored so you can easily cut the precise piece you need and they don’t stick to the floors. The grippy surface and weight of your furniture keep them in place.

“These pads are AMAZING!” said one reviewer. “My only regret is that I didn't buy them sooner.”


Mistake: Bulky items taking over the closet

Solution: These vacuum storage bags so they fit in less space

When the blankets, coats, pillows, and other bulky things are hogging all the shelving in the little bit of storage space you have, bag them in these vacuum storage bags, suck the air out using your own vacuum or the included pump, and reduce their volume by as much as 80%. It turns all those unwieldy items into stackable packages that take up much less space.


Mistake: Always using overhead lighting

Solution: These puck lights that create elegant spotlighting

If you decorated and cleaned but your home still feels sterile, it might be the lighting. Using overhead lights can create a harsh effect. Install these LED lights under cabinets, on stairs, and in your display shelving to cast gentle spotlights that improve the feel of the space. They are easy to install, require no wiring, and you can use the remote to control them and set timers and brightness levels.

“I am placing them on top of my kitchen cabinets, as well as underneath,” said one reviewer. “They provide great light, and also set a nice mood when they are dimmed. Whoever thought you could have romantic lighting in a kitchen?”


Mistake: Letting disorganization win

Solution: A weekly planner that brings method to the madness

Missed appointments, chores not done, and clothing forgotten at the cleaners are all symptoms that disorganization is ruling your roost. Bring clarity to your intention by sticking this magnetic dry-erase calendar to the fridge and writing appointments, chores, messages, and the shopping list on it so you are reminded of your plans every time you snack. The mundanities are less likely to be forgotten and order will have a foothold.


Mistake: Crooked picture frames

Solution: This laser level to accurately set them straight

It’s amazing what a difference it makes if you use the right tool for the job. When it comes to making sure pictures are straight, this laser level is the tool that makes a challenging task surprisingly easy. The laser shows you the straight line right on the wall like a template. It also has a leveling bubble and tape measure built in so you can get this job done right.

“My picture-hanging woes are over!” said one reviewer.


Mistake: Dishes not getting clean thanks to a dirty machine

Solution: Spiff up the machine with this dishwasher cleaner

Unloading the dishwasher and discovering that most of the dishes need to be washed again is so frustrating. It happens when the dishwasher itself is dirty. Fortunately, cleaning it is super easy with these dishwasher cleaner pucks. Just put one in the detergent tray and run an empty load. It will deep clean the entire machine. Over 44,000 people said, “Five stars!”


Mistake: Chaos in the pantry

Solution: These food storage containers that bring order & calm

When you can’t take one more minute of the stacked bags of rice, flour, beans, snacks, and nuts that fall out when you open the door and make it impossible to find what you want without an excavation team, move all your dry goods into these food storage containers. They are roomy and have airtight lids. And each one has a 4-inch-square footprint so — even if you choose different heights — they all fit together and stack. Then line everything up, with chalkboard labels proclaiming the contents, and bask in a uniform and organized cupboard.


Mistake: Not enough outdoor privacy

Solution: A privacy screen that blocks your space from prying eyes

Do you wish for a lush vine to cover your fence every time you sit outside? That will take too long to grow. If you install this privacy screen on the fence, you can have the privacy you want immediately. It installs easily with zip ties and blocks the view of your outside space while offering some UV protection. It lets air through so you can still catch a breeze and comes in six colors.


Mistake: Disposable pee pads creating an eyesore

Solution: A washable pee rug that actually looks nice

If you have a puppy or a dog that needs to go inside sometimes, pee pads are probably an important part of your strategy. But they are quite ugly, right? These washable pee pads are the cute, reusable version. Set them in the designated area and they actually look like decorative throw rugs so you don’t have to hide them when someone comes over. This is a two-pack so you have one to use when the other is in the wash.


Mistake: Weeds taking over the yard

Solution: This weeding tool that makes fast work of pulling them

You don’t have to strain your back or crawl around the yard on all fours to get rid of the dandelions and crabgrass. This weeds puller lets you get under the roots and pull the weeds while standing up. The spikes dig into the soil and you tip the handle to dislodge the roots so the plant comes right out. There is even a place to put your foot so you can use your weight for digging power.

“This is the BEST [weeds] puller,” said one reviewer. “It gets the weeds out by the roots, it's easy to use, [and] you don't have to bend over.”


Mistake: Your plants are sick or unevenly watered

Solution: These watering stakes that keep them happy

When you’re busy or traveling, your plants don’t have to suffer. Just fill an empty bottle with water, fit one of these plant stakes to the top of it, and stick the stake into the soil in the pot near your plant’s roots. As the soil dries out the water drips down and waters the plant.

“Used these ... to keep tomato plants alive while away for seven days ... They worked fantastic!” said one reviewer. “Upon return, tomato plants looked great and [the] wine bottles still had a little water in them.”


Mistake: Pet food messes around their bowls

Solution: This waterproof feeding mat that keeps food contained & floors dry

Set the pet bowls on this silicone pet feeding mat and it will solve all the hassles of that feeding station. The grippy texture keeps bowls from moving around the room while your pet eats, and the raised rim around the edges keeps spilled water and kibble from escaping the dining area. It comes in three sizes and colors so you can fit it to your space.


Mistake: Shoe clutter everywhere

Solution: An over-the-door shoe rack to corral it all

When your closet floor or entryway turns into a minefield of shoes and slippers, you need a system to rein that in or you’ll be constantly tripping over them and wasting time trying to put them in tidy rows. What’s the back of the door doing? Nothing, right? Hang this over-the-door shoe organizer over the top and stash your shoes in the 24 mesh pockets where they will be easy to find but out of sight. It comes in three colors.


Mistake: Not fully destroying pet stains

Solution: This orange-scented cleaner & UV flashlight to get every spot

If your pet makes a mistake on the rug and you clean it up with conventional methods, there will likely still be a hint of smell that remains. And that small whiff is a constant temptation to your dog to mark that spot again. This kit will get rid of the smell so even your dog doesn’t know it’s there. Locate the pee spot accurately, first, with the UV light. Then hit it with a dose of this effective odor eliminator and the only thing your dog will smell is citrus.


Mistake: Pans that are burned or grimy from use

Solution: These silicone baking mats that protect them & are easy to clean

Instead of following recipes that say “grease the pan,” lie one of these silicone baking mats under your creations instead. It’s so much easier. The mats are quick to clean, and nonstick so foods slide right off. And your pans will stay clean and unburnt through the entire baking process. They also double as an easy-to-clean and store pastry mat and even have measurements and pie sizes printed right on them.


Mistake: The ceiling fans are dusty

Solution: A duster with a handle that extends to reach them

One day it happens. You look up and are shocked by how dusty the ceiling fans are. Fortunately, you don’t have to stand on two chairs to reach that. All you need is this ceiling fan duster with an extendable handle and a long, microfiber duster on the end that’s designed to slide over the fan blades and clean them quickly. This will work even if your ceilings are high because the handle goes from 30 to 100 inches long. It's ideal for reaching the top of bookshelves and other high places, too.


Mistake: The hand towels are always damp

Solution: This set of quick-drying Turkish hand towels

If those fluffy hand towels you hung in the bathroom are always damp when you reach for them, try these Turkish cotton towels. The thin fabric dries quickly and they are so nice to look at. Choose the small ones to use as hand towels in the bathroom and the large ones for kitchen towels to coordinate your look and always have a dry towel to reach for. They come in 19 colors.

“I love these!” said one reviewer. “I ordered the 12x12 to use as fingertip towels, and they are beautiful! ... Since you get 6, they make great ‘guest’ fingertip towels instead of using expensive disposables!”


Mistake: The drains are constantly clogged

Solution: These genius hair trappers that look like flowers

These shower drain protectors are a clever design that makes keeping the drains clean easy. Feed the chain into the drain, through the drain cover, and set the flower on top to hold it there, dangling into the pipes. The barbs on the chain catch hair as it travels past. When the drain starts to slow, pull it out, toss it (along with that mat of hair) in the trash, and install a fresh one (this is a pack of two). It’s so simple and you don’t have to ever handle that slimy hair mat to clean the drain again.


Mistake: Disorganized bathroom sundries

Solution: These apothecary jars for nice storage that makes everything easy to find

When you are primping, hunting through messy drawers and a cluttered vanity does not help the process. These apothecary jars look nice on your vanity and organize all the small items you need — cotton swabs, razor blades, hair ties — into decorative storage that is so easy to access. You can even ditch one of the lids and use the jar to hold toothbrushes to create a coordinated look on the counter. This is a set of three.


Mistake: Cat litter is getting tracked everywhere

Solution: A litter-trapping mat that’s so easy to empty

Does the kitty track litter all over the house? This cat litter trapper puts a quick end to that mess by trapping it in the honeycomb-patterned upper mat as pussins steps out of the box. But the absolute best part about this solution is that you can lift that upper mat up and clean away all the litter super easily. Either vacuum it out or just pour the litter back into the box.

“WOW! Finally, a cat litter mat that's not just a rug,” said one reviewer. “I can't even tell you how happy I am with this thing!”


Mistake: Dirty kitchen sink tools

Solution: A sink caddy that keeps your gear out of the dishwater

How clean are the dishes if you wash them with a sponge that’s been marinating in dirty dishwater? Not as clean as the one washed with the sponge that was elevated above the fray in this sink caddy and sponge holder, that’s for sure. It hooks over the sink divider and holds your sponge and brush so they will stay clean and dry and is so slender it won’t get in your way.


Mistake: Pet stains on the bed or couch

Solution: A waterproof pet blanket just for your fur baby

If dirty paws, bone chewing, and other messy pet habits are leaving stains on your furniture, throw this soft and fuzzy waterproof pet blanket over that favorite couch spot to protect the furniture. One side is soft sherpa and the other is a waterproof layer so the pets can leak, chew, or just be animals without any of the mess or slobber getting through it. It comes in five colors and three sizes.


Mistake: Produce going bad in the fridge

Solution: A produce keeper so it lasts much longer

These produce-saver containers make such a huge difference in the in-fridge lifespan of produce that they are well worth the minimal investment. The elevated base prevents fruits and vegetables from sitting in water and the vented lid allows just the right amount of air to flow in and out of the container. A filter in the vent regulates oxygen and carbon dioxide to create an optimal environment for fresh produce.

“I was dubious, but this really works,” said one reviewer. “I’ve had a head of lettuce in it for two weeks and it’s still fresh and crisp!”


Mistake: Water bottles rolling around in the cupboard

Solution: This water-bottle storage rack that keeps them organized

Insulated water bottles are so fun to own that it’s hard not to buy another right now. But where do you store them? If they’re mulling around on your countertops because there’s no good solution in your kitchen, you need this water bottle organizer. It fits into a cupboard and lets you store water bottles and travel mugs lying down. You can even adjust the shelves to accommodate the various sizing of your mugs and bottles.


Mistake: Tupperware disorder

Solution: A lid storage solution that reins in the mess

If you tracked how much time you spent trying to find the lid to the Tupperware you want to use, you could probably call it an (unpaid) side gig. This lid organizer will help. The dividers adjust so you can customize it to your collection and it holds all your lids on edge so they don’t take up so much space and you can see them all at once.

“After years of disorganized containers and lids crammed into drawers or cabinets, this lid organizer has finally made our storage situation neat and tidy,” said one reviewer.


Mistake: Storing bacon grease in any old jar

Solution: This bacon grease container that’s made for the task

If you love to capture and reuse that tasty bacon grease to make popcorn, fry eggs, and for other cooking projects, it’s time you put away those inadequate recycled jars and used this 5-cup bacon grease container that does the job right — and looks good doing it. There is a screen that gets all the burnt bits out and a lid so it all stays clean.

“A can will do the job, but this utensil is so much nicer,” said one reviewer.


Mistake: Holes or cracks in the wall

Solution: This easy drywall repair putty that fixes them fast

You don’t have to keep staring at that hole in your wall. And you don’t have to dread moving the pictures on the wall because of the holes in the drywall it will leave behind. Just twist the bottom of the container of this drywall repair putty and rub it over the holes to fill them in. Then wipe off the excess and you are done.

“Dries super fast and takes paint well,” said one reviewer. “I've used many different kinds of spackle over the years. This is the best spackle for drywall I've ever found.”


Mistake: Touching up the walls with mismatching paint

Solution: These paint storage containers that let you keep your house paint fresh & on-hand

Before you clean up after your next painting project, fill these paint storage containers with the colors you used, label them, and put them somewhere handy. That way, when a chip, ding, or scratch mars the paint, doing touch-ups — with the right color — will be super easy. “

Saves space and it’s so much more convenient than trying to open a messy paint can,” said one reviewer.


Mistake: Tired throw pillows

Solution: Some fresh & chic covers to make them look new

Throw pillows make a room so much more inviting. But they are expensive. So when someone is ditching their old ones, you find some in a thrift store, or your own pillows are looking tired, this pair of decorative throw pillow covers will turn them into something fresh and pretty. Choose a size and color and zip them right over your old pillows. The fluffy velvet reverse pattern goes with so many things and is soft and comfy to rest your head on.


Mistake: Unlit outdoor paths

Solution: These solar lights that easily illuminate the garden & walkway

Why leave your paths in the dark when it’s so easy to light them with this six-pack of solar garden lights? All you do is stick them in the ground in an artful grouping or along the edge of a path and they do the rest. They soak up the sun all day and then use that energy to turn themselves on and illuminate your space until it is used up. Then they turn themselves off. They come in three finishes.


Mistake: Taking up kitchen space with a big colander

Solution: This pan strainer that snaps to the pan & stores easily

That big colander you can’t find a place to store is now unnecessary. This pot strainer does the same job and fits in a drawer. It snaps to the side of your pot, holding the pasta in and letting the water pour out, which makes this task an easier one-handed affair. And it fits in the dishwasher. That it comes in so many fun and bright colors is just gravy. Almost 21,000 people said “Five stars!”