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Necessity is the mother of all invention, they say. Get ready to meet some of those inventions.
You know all those little annoyances that trip you up on a daily basis? In the kitchen, for example, you might struggle to cut up a pineapple. Next, you might realize that your dish sponge needs replacing. Later on, you might take a shower and notice that the soap bar has disintegrated into a slimy mess in your shower caddy.
These small problems can cause major issues. Say you have a great idea for a work project during that shower; that soap scum might drive it right out of your head for good. Small inconveniences like this add up, and they can become particularly paralyzing if you’re sick, injured, or tired.
Whether you want to buy a gift for a loved one or just make your own life a little easier, take a look at these small-time lifesavers. They aim to fix the small stuff before it turns into bigger stuff.
1. Wear your favorite stilettos without sinking into grass or getting stuck in cracks.
If you’ve ever worn heels to a garden party or an outdoor wedding, you’ll know that it’s tough to keep your shoes from sinking deep into the turf. These nifty inventions solve that problem by adding a wide base to the heel.
They’re made from clear rubber, so they’re totally invisible, and they fit on most stiletto heels. They protect your heels, too, preventing them from chipping on uneven sidewalks or cobblestones. Also, because these products increase the base of the heel, your shoes will become more stable—and thus much easier to walk in.GoGoHeel Stoppers Heel Protectors, $9.99 from Amazon
2. Replace your regular dish sponge with the power of pure silicone.
This silicone alternative to a standard dish sponge is textured so you can scrub cookware without scratching it. These “sponges” last longer than regular dish sponges, they won’t scratch non-stick cookware, and they can be cleaned easily.
Because silicone sponges don’t retain moisture, they don’t get smelly like their regular counterparts, and they’re also way more hygienic. Simply clean them every so often, then let them dry off.KKTICK Silicone Sponges, $9.99 for 4 from Amazon
3. An adjustable rolling pin makes sure your dough will never be too thick or too thin again.
If you make pizzas or pastries with any frequency, you know it isn’t easy to accurately estimate the thickness of your dough. Many times, we’ve tried to measure cookie dough with a ruler only to discover that the dough was inconsistently thick or thin in some places.
This adjustable rolling pin has removable thickness rings, which means you can roll dough that is just thick enough and perfectly consistent. This set also comes with a pastry mat. Happy rolling!Adjustable Rolling Pin With Thickness Rings, $15.95 from Amazon
4. Hold a book open with only one hand.
Cozying up with a book and a hot cup of tea sounds great—until you try to hold a big, heavy hardback open with a single hand. This handmade, wooden “personal book assistant” solves this problem once and for all.
It’s a great gift for book lovers. The PagePal allows you to hold a book wide open with only one hand. Slip it on your thumb and grasp the book at the spine. It’s a nifty tool if one hand is injured, or if you need to keep a hand free for that all-important hot chocolate.PagePal Page Holder, $26.95 from Amazon
5. Never forget to pack essentials for a weekend away again.
This notepad has a checklist of everything you’d typically need to pack when you travel. It’s much easier than writing out your own list, and it can even be fun (if you’re the type of person who enjoys checking items off lists).
If you’re a forgetful person, relying on your own memory can be risky. This notepad has your back. It contains 60 pages per pad, and it makes a great gift for your jet-setting loved ones.Knock Knock Pack This! Pad, $7.00 from Amazon
6. Save money by getting every last drop from that bottle of your favorite moisturizer.
We all try to get our money’s worth out of our favorite foundation and day cream by harvesting every last drop—but the bottles tend to have small necks, and most makeup brushes can’t reach the bottom.
That’s why this genius product is a must-have for all beauty products. It’s a little spatula that’s designed to get into your makeup bottles and scrape all of the contents out. It has a flexible handle, which allows you to use it on all sorts of small bottles.Every Drop Beauty Spatula, $5.82 from Amazon
7. Remove stubborn odors from your hands with this stainless steel “soap.”
This sounds like a total gimmick, but for some reason, stainless steel “soap” is excellent at removing food odors from your hands. Rub it on your hands with or without warm water to get rid of stubborn smells.
This product is particularly good at removing the smell of garlic or onion from your hands, so it’s an excellent gift for the garlic-lover in your life. The magic has something to do with the chemical interaction between sulfur molecules and stainless steel, but if you ask us, it’s just a miracle!Newness Stainless Steel Hand Odor Eliminator, $7.98 from Amazon
8. Sort through your bag easily, day or night.
Searching for the lip balm or your keys at the bottom of a large bag is an everyday struggle for some of us. You could always use the flashlight function on your phone to help you find the pen, change, or library card that you’re looking for, but that takes a surprising toll on your phone battery.
The solution? An attachable bag light. This one attaches to your bag strap and can be turned on and thrown in whenever you need it. Never get stuck rooting around in your purse again.Kikkerland FL38 Silicone Purse Light, $2.94 from Amazon
9. Clean your makeup brushes thoroughly in half the time.
If you want healthy, clear skin, you’ve got to clean your makeup brushes properly. Unfortunately, though, it’s a time-consuming process. This hand-held electric makeup brush cleaner makes the job a breeze.
It attaches to your makeup brush and spins it around in a bowl of water, which means your brushes will be thoroughly clean in a few seconds. Even better, the same spinning action dries brushes quickly. No more waiting around for hours for your brushes to dry? We’ll take it.Electric Makeup Brush Cleaner, $13.99 from Amazon
10. Replace your cling wrap with a reusable alternative.
Cling wrap can be frustrating; it’s easy to tear, and it sticks to itself more often than it sticks to your leftovers dish. Even worse, the constant use of plastic to cover food isn’t great for the environment. Fortunately, a reusable, less-clingy alternative is available.
The wraps are made from cotton and covered with a mixture of beeswax and jojoba oil, which are natural antibacterial agents. They soften with the heat of your hands, so they’re easy to press into a nice seal over your jars and dishes. These reusable wraps are long-lasting and biodegradable, so they’re handy and environmentally-friendly.Honeybee Organic Beeswax Wrap, $16.47 from Amazon
11. Keep your bag from rolling off the backseat with these headrest hooks.
If you don’t want your handbag or groceries to roll all over the back seat while you’re busy driving, invest in these hooks. These sturdy little devices attach to the headrest of a car and hold your bag up, making grocery runs a little easier.
This is a nifty gadget for road trips, too. It’s good for more than just groceries; try hanging snacks from them to keep the kids happy during long drives.Car Headrest Hooks, $7.99 from Amazon
12. Save space in your bag with a collapsible water bottle.
An ever-present water bottle makes a great reminder to stay hydrated, but when the bottle is empty, it simply takes up space in your bag.
Simply fold up these cleverly designed water bottles to save space. BPA-free and leak-proof, they’re perfect for avid hikers, students with overfull backpacks, or anyone who wants to increase their water intake.Portable Collapsible Water Bottle, $6.89 from Amazon
13. Soothe your feet with this mini foot hammock.
If your feet tend to swell or if you’re nursing an injury, this product is a must-have for your office. It’s a miniature foot hammock that you attach to the bottom of your desk.
Because this hammock is adjustable, you can ensure that it’s just the right height for your feet. That’s perfect for those of us who are too short to reach most footrests. Buy one, put your feet up, and get some work done in style!Geekfactory Mini Office Foot Rest, $8.96 from Amazon
14. Prevent your glasses from sliding down your nose.
As many glasses-wearers can attest, re-adjusting your glasses every two minutes is annoying AF. Here comes Nerdwax, a chapstick-like product that stops your glasses from slipping off your nose.
Clean your frames thoroughly, add wax to the nose rests, and stop messing with your spectacles for good. It’s a lifesaver if you have oily skin, if you live in a hot climate, or if you spend a lot of time outdoors.Nerdwax: The Original Glasses Wax, $10.99 from Amazon
15. Use this citrus spray gadget to make your own lemon or lime mist.
Lemon is a fantastic cleaning agent and a versatile addition to many meals, making this citrus sprayer a super useful tool. Instead of squeezing the citrus, harvesting the juice, and then adding it to a spray bottle, simply push this device into a lemon, squeeze the fruit a little, and get spraying!
You can use lemon spray to clean surfaces, add flavor to chicken, and give salads a refreshing kick. The sprayers can also be attached to oranges, limes, and grapefruit.2-Piece Lemon Sprayer Gadget Set, $5.89 from Amazon
16. Cut your pineapple perfectly with this nifty gadget.
Pineapples are a delicious snack, but cutting them is super labor-intensive. This kitchen gadget peels and cores the pineapple for you.
Just cut off the top of the pineapple, stick the slicer in the middle, and twist the end. This device is also rust-proof and easy to clean. No need to buy overpriced pre-cut pineapples for your next fruit salad!Yesker Silver Stainless Steel Pineapple Corer Peeler, $7.90 from Amazon
17. Never forget another one of your brilliant shower ideas.
The shower can be a great place to come up with new ideas, possibly because it’s such a relaxing, invigorating space. However, once you’ve toweled off and gotten dressed, you might find that you’ve totally forgotten your brilliant idea.
This waterproof notepad is specifically made to stick in your shower so that you can scribble away while you scrub up.Aqua Notes Water Proof Note Pad, $8.80 from Amazon
18. Use notched kitchen tools that drip into the pot, not on the countertop.
If you’re cooking a big meal, mess is inevitable—but with these silicone utensils, you can avoid creating extra spillage.
These “lazy tools” can rest against the side of the pot without falling in. This is a great gift for those of us who hate the thought of dirtying yet another side plate.Rachael Ray 3 Piece Silicone Lazy Tools Set, $23.95 from Amazon
19. Drain chickpeas easily with this mini-colander.
When recipes call for you to rinse and drain canned goods, whip this cool invention out. It’s a tiny colander that fits over a can so that you can drain and rinse your ingredients without spilling anything—or dirtying more dishes.
Pro tip: The liquid in chickpea cans, known as aquafaba, is a versatile vegan ingredient, so don’t throw it away!Prepworks by Progressive Can Colander, $3.49 from Amazon
20. Use this space-saving clip-on colander for bigger dishes.
This silicone strainer is a must-have for people with limited shelf space. Since it’s made of silicone, it’s flexible enough to attach to large and small pots alike.
The strainer even works with pots that have a lip. It’s totally dishwasher safe, and it’s made from super-durable materials.Kitchen Gizmo Snap ‘N Strain Strainer, $8.10 from Amazon
21. Wake up with the sun thanks to a sunrise-simulating alarm clock.
Being woken up by a shrill alarm can get your day off to a bad start. This nifty alternative uses lighting and ambient noise to help you wake up on the right side of the bed.
The alarm clock simulates the sunrise, triggering your body’s built-in clock to help you feel awake. It can also wake you up with various ambient noises and natural sounds, and you can use it as a mood light with a whole range of colors. Never before has the thought of using an alarm clock been so exciting!Sunrise Alarm Clock, $38.99 from Amazon
22. Keep your toilet fresh with this ingenious spray.
Sharing a bathroom isn’t fun. Neither is using a public toilet. Many people rave about this spray’s abilities to mask smells before they even happen.
As the name suggests, you simply use the toilet spray before you, er, go, and relax knowing that no one else will even suspect you were in there.Poo-Pourri Before-You-Go Toilet Spray, $11.99 from Amazon
23. Create extra space in your room with these bed risers.
If you’re looking to maximize the space in your bedroom, storing items underneath the bed is the way to go. If your bed is too low to fit anything under it, though, you’ve got a problem. These bed risers are the solution.
These nifty little things lift your bed up enough for you to fit boxes, suitcases, and any unsightly clutter underneath it. They’re made out of durable plastic, so you don’t have to worry about your bed collapsing in the middle of the night.DuraCasa Bed Risers, $29.97 for a set of 8 from Amazon
24. Give yourself a glorious scalp massage with this nifty brush.
The best part of going to the hair salon is having someone massage your scalp while they shampoo your hair. This cleverly designed brush lets you give yourself a soothing massage from the comfort of your own shower.
The device fits comfortably in your own hand and gently vibrates as you massage your scalp. It’s designed so that it doesn’t tangle and break your hair. Pure bliss.Vitagoods Scalp Massaging Shampoo Brush, $15.99 from Amazon
25. Never spill nail polish again.
Painting your nails without using a flat surface is an extreme sport. This smart nail polish bottle holder fits like a ring over your fingers and keeps the nail polish bottle upright, freeing up your hands for painting.
This container fits any average-sized nail polish bottle. This means you can easily paint your nails while sitting on the couch or even sitting passenger in a car, if you’re extra-brave.Tweexy Wearable Nail Polish Bottle Holder, $14.99 from Amazon
26. Clean your blinds with this fantastic gadget.
Any tool that makes spring cleaning easier is worth it in our not-so-humble opinion! This duster is designed to clean Venetian blinds. It’s also great for getting into those hard-to-reach air conditioner slats.
Included microfiber sleeves can be removed for cleaning. It also comes with four extra sleeves for when you want to replace them.Hiware Window Blind Cleaner Duster Brush, $7.99 from Amazon
27. Use a gadget to gently remove bugs from your home without hurting them.
With the possible exception of mosquitos, many of us want to avoid hurting bugs as much as possible. That said, we’re not exactly keen on scooping them into our own hands to take them outside.
This is a clever alternative. It’s an insect catcher that gently picks up little critters while letting you maintain a safe distance from them. It holds the bugs and lets you release them outside, so they won’t be hurt and you won’t be terrified. Win-win!My Critter Catcher Spider & Insect Catcher, $19.99 from Amazon
28. Fold your clothes neatly with a handy-dandy folding board.
Folding your shirts properly is a great way to save space in your closet and increase the longevity of your clothes. Use this simple shirt-folding board to help you fold garments quickly and neatly.
This device could be particularly useful for helping messy kids and teenagers sort out their closets. No more rummaging through untidy shelves and drawers!BoxLegend V3 Shirt Folding Board, $25.99 from Amazon
29. Make meal prep easier by using a sandwich bag rack.
Have you ever tried to hold a Ziploc bag open and pour liquid from a heavy pot at the same time? If so, you know what a mess that can make.
These bag racks cleverly hold sandwich bags open and upright, freeing up your hands so you can pour soup or sauce without spilling any liquid. This gadget also makes it easier to transfer shredded cheese, legumes, or small snacks into sandwich bags.Sandwich Bag Racks, $4.99 for 6 from Amazon
30. Prevent soap from getting all soggy with this soap saver.
Most soap holders turn into a soggy scum bath after a few uses. Yuck.
Increase the longevity of your soap by using this soap holder, which is cleverly designed so that excess water will run out and into the sink. This can also be used for solid shampoos and conditioners.Idea Works Waterfall Soap Saver, $6.00 from Amazon
31. Clean your microwave without scrubbing it.
The inside of your microwave can accumulate gunk unbelievably quickly, and cleaning it can be, in a word, nasty. This microwave cleaner uses the power of steam to loosen up food splatters.
Simply add water and vinegar to this little gadget, pop it in your microwave for about seven minutes, and wipe the inside of the microwave. That’s effortless cleaning!Angry Mama Steam Microwave Cleaner, $9.99 from Amazon
32. Protect your skin from dry winter air.
The cold winter air can dry out your skin, hair, and sinuses. When the weather starts to turn, invest in an air humidifier to counteract the drying effects of cold air and heaters alike.
This air humidifier is small enough to take it to the office or on holiday, and it’s ideal for humidifying small spaces. It attaches to the top of any water bottle, making it super convenient to use. It’s a total lifesaver if you have hayfever or if you tend to have sinus problems in the winter.DZT1968® Cowboy Cap USB Mini Portable Humidifier, $6.99 from Amazon
33. Extend the life of your veggies by using a refrigerator liner.
Food waste is bad for the environment and your budget, but it’s not always easy to plan meals around the shelf life of your vegetables. This liner fits neatly into your veggie drawer or on a shelf in the fridge, giving your greens a bit of extra time.
This device allows air to circulate around the veggie drawer and prevents moisture from pooling in your refrigerator. This keeps your fruits and vegetables fresher for longer. Never deal with the disappointment of a soggy, smelly carrot again!Dualplex Fruit & Veggie Life Extender Liner, $8.99 for 6 from Amazon
34. Fall asleep with these comfortable headphones.
If you like falling asleep while listening to music or ASMR videos, you probably know sleep and conventional earphones are a bad combination. Your earphones might fall out, and the cord might tickle you awake.
These headphones are designed to be comfortable enough to fall asleep with them in. It’s basically a headband and ear cozy with built-in speakers. They can also be used during exercise or meditation.CozyPhones Sleep Headphones, $17.97 from Amazon
35. Remove all your makeup with just one wipe.
If you have sensitive skin, you probably know that makeup removal can leave you all red and blotchy. Of course, removing your makeup is essential for keeping your skin healthy and blemish-free. You have to do it.
This makeup-removing cloth has become quite popular with makeup artists, beauty vloggers, and cosmetic enthusiasts alike—and for good reason. It removes makeup effectively and quickly without harming your skin. You only need to add water—no cleansers—so it’s ideal for sensitive skin. The texture of the cloth is also super soft, so it won’t irritate your face.The MakeUp Eraser, $33.20 from Amazon
36. Keep soda fresher for longer.
If you seldom finish a can of soda in one sitting, these can lids are fantastic. When you leave an open can in the fridge, your soda will go flat or absorb smells from other foods, which is gross.
These lids can be fitted onto open soda cans to prevent contents from losing fizz. They’re also useful for picnics, as they prevent bugs from getting inside the soda cans.Premium Soda Can Lids, $10.95 for 8 from Amazon
37. Indulge in avocado toast without hurting yourself.
Avocado hand is a legitimate injury that’s all too common among us avocado fanatics. You’re trying to remove the pit, and you miss, cutting yourself in the process. Instead of digging around for the stone with a knife, play it safe and invest in this handy tool.
This nifty avocado slicer allows you to remove the stone and slice the flesh perfectly—and safely. After all, guacamole is best served with a squeeze of lemon, not a spritz of blood.OXO Good Grips 3-in-1 Avocado Slicer, $9.99 from Amazon
38. Keep your phone germ- and smudge-free.
We know our phones are full of germs: We put them on all sorts of dirty surfaces, constantly touch them, and keep them in our dirty handbags. Even so, we still put them on our faces when we make calls. Gross.
This liquid-free cleaner offers a solution. It removes dirt, oil, and other substances (gross) from your phone’s surface without damaging your screen. It’s reusable, easy to clean, and simple to use.iRoller Reusable Liquid Free Touchscreen Cleaner, $19.70 from Amazon
39. Use non-slip velvet hangers to keep your wardrobe tidy.
What’s the point of adding velvet to your clothes hangers? Well, ask yourself this: Have you ever reached for your favorite shirt only to realize that it’s resting somewhere at the bottom of your closet?
Velvet grips your clothing to keep it in place, and because these hangers are relatively thin, you can easily fit more clothing into a small amount of space. Nobody needs a floordrobe; pick up a pack of these, and you’re well on your way to a more organized closet.AmazonBasics Velvet Suit Hangers (30-Pack), $14.99 from Amazon
40. Up your taco game with these useful taco stands.
These taco stands by California Home Goods hold your shells for easy, quick filling. You’ll be making tacos like a pro—whatever that means—and since the stands hold your food upright, you’ll keep your hands clean in the process. These stainless steel stands are dishwasher friendly and oven safe; each piece holds three tacos.
They’re ideal for the grill, and if you make your own homemade tortillas, they’re pretty much essential. These will serve you well next Taco Tuesday (and Wednesday, and Thursday, and Friday).Stylish Stainless Steel Taco Holder Stand, $23.95
41. Keep your coffee or tea warmer for longer.
There’s nothing quite as satisfying as a hot mug of your favorite coffee (or tea, or hot chocolate, or whatever else you prefer to savor when the seasons start to change). Unfortunately, hot drinks tend to cool down rather quickly, particularly when your boss calls a surprise meeting right after you’ve returned from the break room.
Bellemain Desktop Mug Warmer, $10.00 from Amazon
Fortunately for us, some genius invented a mug warmer, which keeps your beverage moderately toasty until you’re ready to drink it again. Granted, it’s not perfect—eventually, your cup will still cool off—but it should give you a few extra minutes of satisfying warmth on those chilly autumn mornings.