Saving time, making life easier – that’s what home gadgets are all about. The best of the bunch actually do those things – and they don’t cost an arm and a leg. Below is my list of the most useful and affordable – all of which are in my home right now. That’s right. Bought, tested and yoFreeSamples approved.
Unless you like unclogging drains, drain hair catchers are a must. The type you pick depends on the drain you have. Pop-up drain covers (like this OXO version) don’t work that well unless you remove the stopper (unscrew it) so you can place a recessed cover over the hole or insert a TubShroom (pictured). For open shower drains, I unscrew the drain cover and place a small sieve. Prices range from about $5 to $12.99.
Telescoping Magnetic Wand
Almost as much fun as a laser pointer but definitely more useful, this $5.55 expanding wand can reach down drains, inside containers, behind furniture – wherever you need to retrieve something metal. Or, say, you’ve scattered a bunch of sewing needles and need to pick them up fast. Also comes in handy for sliding behind or under appliances to coax out papers, cat toys or raisins. The one pictured can hold up to 15 lbs and is 30 inches long. Find other versions with flashlights or flexible wands to get around corners.
For lightweight applications, a $2.99 package of mounting putty is the best! Stick posters on walls, keep frames from shifting and decorative items in place, it’s also good for leveling furniture (and keeping it from sliding) and using as a pick-up tool for crumbs or small items. I often pop a little on those tiny screw drivers to keep the screw in place…or on my telescopic wand to pick up something in a hard to reach space. Just one warning. If you’re using it on walls, it can leave an “oil” spot after a while so change it out now and then.
Keep your toothbrushes protected! These pods ($19.99 for 8) cover the brush portion and the anti-bacterial pad in side lasts about 3 months. So if you’re not covering the toilet with every flush, wiping down the sink and counters with antibacterial cleansers or swapping out your towels daily (who has the time!) at least you’ll know your toothbrush is reasonably safe.
With lower cost ($35.45 for the one pictured) and better battery life, every home can now afford the best invention ever to hit the hardware store – a cordless drill/screwdriver. Picture hanging, putting furniture together, crafts – everything is easier and faster with one of these. Plus, you can add attachments for things like sanding, cutting holes and house cleaning.
Drill Brush Attachment
Yes, I was suckered in by those bathroom power cleaner tools. Who doesn’t want to spend an hour scrubbing tile, grout and hard water stains? But none of them have the power to get the job done. You know what does have the power? Your cordless drill! Snap on this $11.95 brush attachment and it’s good to go. Just don’t let the drill get soaking wet. Get the brush – not the pads which don’t last long. Plus, you can get different sized brushes for corners or smaller areas.
Automatic Soap Dispenser
No more fumbling with bottles, pumps or mushy soap bars! Fill this 15 ounce automatic dispenser ($19.99) with dish detergent, hand soap – even lotions, shampoo and conditioners – and a wave or two of the hand is all it takes. While the battery compartments are designed to keep water out, don’t place these in unprotected shower areas.
Jumbo Travel Tumbler
When I want a cold drink, I want a cold DRINK. You can save and re-use those jumbo size beverage cups at the fast food chains, but they’re flimsy and the tops crack. Get this reusable 32 ounce (!) tumbler for $12.99 instead.
This two sided tape ($10.99 for 2 rolls) was designed to keep fashion disasters at bay. And it is great for closing gaps, quick hemming and stopping slipping. But I use it all around the house. Keeps curtains in place, arm covers from sliding…wherever two lightweight fabrics meet and you want them to stay that way.
Mini Brush Set
This brush set ($10.94) was one of my best buys ever…because sometimes a cotton swap or toothpick just doesn’t cut it when you’re trying to clean some odd shaped whatchamacallit. I just used these to clean out a table top humidifier and get the gunk out from around a faucet. Nice.