50 cheap things that are selling out on Amazon because they're so freaking clever

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by Christina X. Wood
Originally Published: 

Do you know what’s a cool feeling? When a lightbulb goes off in my head and I realize that an irritating problem — a closet that’s too small, a bathroom with inadequate storage, or a kitchen with usability issues — has a simple and inexpensive solution. There’s that moment of doubt caused by the suspicion that something so simple can’t work. (If it does, why do people spend tidy fortunes on remodels and high-priced alternatives?) But then comes the experimentation, followed by the certainty, and finally, the gloating over my own cleverness. That’s why these 50 cheap things keep selling out on Amazon. Because they're so freaking clever.

For example, I could have pulled out all the upper cabinets in my kitchen and replaced them with something that didn’t peskily interfere with the coffee maker and mixer I keep on the counter. Then I discovered that I can set those appliances on an inexpensive drawer that rolls them forward when I want to use them. Problem solved! I also found a cute couch in a thrift store that was comfortable and fit my space perfectly — except for the gaudy pattern. But these stretchy slipcovers are an easy and cheap solution to that problem, too. And then I was thinking of laying down the law about leaving shoes in our entryway — even though it’s the obvious place to keep them — because the shoe clutter was getting out of control. But I discovered this roomy bench with hidden storage, and that pile of shoes was quickly out of sight — though still handy.

There are so many brilliant ideas like these, so before you lean into remodeling, read on and find your solution.

1. This clever stand that brings order to the counters

Set this decorative stand on the counter and create a place to set your stirring spoon, cooking chopsticks, and ladle, that won’t drip on the counter. It will also hold the lid to your pan so it doesn’t burn the counter. Plus, it doubles as a cookbook holder so it’s sure to be in constant use. The drip tray pops out for cleaning and it comes in white or black.

2. A set of floating shelves that turns blank walls into storage

If clutter is taking over the surfaces of your home, look for some blank wall space and turn it into easy-to-access storage by installing this set of three floating shelves. Group your to-be-read pile into a decorative display, gracefully present cosmetics, or create a wall-mounted spice rack that showcases your exotic flavor collection. The shelves are rustic and minimalist, available in nine color combinations, and are easy to install since the mounting hardware is exposed.

3. This pack of a dozen solar path lights for quick outdoor illumination

Want to light up the path to your house or the perimeter of your yard without spending a small fortune? These twelve solar lights are super easy and affordable. Just turn them on and stick them into the ground. They soak up the sun all day and turn it into gentle lighting all night. The LED lights are available in warm or cool white.

4. A big pack of cable clips for cleaning up all the wires

You don’t have to live with cords that slip behind the bedside table or snake all over the desk. Make them all stay right where you want them with this pack of 16 cable clips in various sizes. The single ones are perfect for keeping a phone charging cable always handy, and the larger sets with two, three, or five slots can take on your entertainment center or create DIY charging stations for lots of electronics.

5. A pack of LED flashlights for extra-durable backup lighting

Swap out your plastic flashlights for this pack of extra-durable LED flashlights. Grab them for occasional power outages or even camping because they’re made of strong military-grade aluminum. That means they’re drop-resistant and even water-resistant. You can also adjust the bright LED beam to illuminate a wider area. Plus, this pack comes with battery accessories, lanyards, and carrying cases.

6. The faucet adapter that lights up water to show its temperature

This clever adapter screws right onto your faucet and uses its water pressure to turn on LEDs in a color that indicates the water’s temperature. Cold water is blue, warm is green, and hot is red. It’s simple to install and creates a unique and informative lighting element in the bathroom or kitchen.

7. A wearable & versatile stand for your phone

For times when you want to use your phone hands-free and don’t have the right tool, there’s this phone mount on the end of a long loop of bendy metal. Just position the loop to suit your situation, and snap your phone into the mount. Wear it around your neck so you can walk around in a video call or set it on a counter and bend it to the right shape for following a recipe. There are loads of situations where this makes your phone even more helpful.

8. This memo board that mounts right to your monitor

Don’t stick that sticky note to your screen! Mount this memo board to the side of your monitor, instead, and give yourself a place for all those reminders, log-in hints, and other notes. It has a clip at the top so you can use it as an occasional document holder, and a ledge on the bottom for your phone or a pad of sticky notes.

9. A sleek shelf that goes under the sink or on a counter

This double-tiered shelf is sized to fit under the sink in the kitchen or bathroom but it’s also attractive enough to set on a counter and use for visible storage. The two shelves are perforated so that articles can drip dry on them, there are two hooks for things like sponges and rubber gloves, and it comes in black or white.

10. This rolling drawer for on-counter appliances

When you store your most-used appliances on the counter under an upper cabinet, this rolling drawer system makes everything about that appliance easier. The drawer is a great place to keep accessories like coffee pods or rice spoons, and the entire unit rolls forward easily so you can access the appliance without lifting it.

11. An easy slipcover that makes your couch look new

If the cat scratched your new couch or that flea-market find looks too much like something your grandmother would buy, these easy, super-stretchy slipcovers are a fast and effective fix. Just choose a color and stretch it over your entire couch. No one will know there is a gaudy floral (or shredded) fabric under there. Foam strips slide between arms and cushions to create the illusion of separate pieces and hold the cover in place.

12. The adjustable, 3-tiered shelf that tidies up your cabinet or counter

That army of condiments in your cupboard or out on your counters can be brought to order with this simple, adjustable shelf that fits in many spaces because the width adjusts. Simply slide the two pieces closer together or further apart to suit the space you have. The bamboo shelves and bent metal frame give it a timeless and minimalist feel, so your solution will look terrific for years.

13. These wooden hangers that won’t wrinkle your pants & skirts

With these chic wooden hangers, you won’t need to iron your pants every time you grab them from the closet. That’s because the chrome-plated clips attach to the waistband of your pants or skirts. No more folding them over a hanger or wrinkling them up in a drawer. They have a sliding design to hold different styles and fits. Each clip also has a built-in rubber grip to gently secure your clothing.

14. The weird pink cleaning paste with a cult following

This strange, pink cleaning paste is the darling of social media cleaning experts and gets 75,000 five-star reviews on Amazon. You spread it around on your lime-scaled-covered sink, greasy stove, or any challenging cleaning project, then wipe it off. It takes the mess with it. “This product is a legit miracle,” says one reviewer. “It doesn't have any smell. I put the paste on a cloth, clean the area, then wipe it off with a damp cloth and voilà... magic!”

15. A shower curtain that resists mold & won’t creep on you

Some shower curtains are so light that they irritatingly crawl up on your wet skin when there’s a change of temperature in the bathroom. They also get moldy quickly (a horrifying combination of events). This plastic shower liner has solved both of those problems. Instead of magnets at the bottom, heavy stones are sewn into the hem to hold it down. And the heavy-duty plastic is infused with an antibacterial element that prevents mold and mildew. The curtain comes in 14 colors and 12 sizes.

16. The multitiered lazy Susan that’s designed for cosmetics

This multitiered, rotating storage tower is the perfect way to store a lot of cosmetics, lotions, and personal-care supplies in one organized and easy-to-access place. The shelves snap out and snap back in at the height you need, so you can fit tall hairsprays and tiny tubs without wasting any vertical space. When you’re on the hunt for something specific, just spin the tower till you find it. It comes in white, black, or clear.

17. This stainless steel bar that will de-stink your hands forever

This cleansing bar will never melt or get used up because it’s made of stainless steel. At first, that might seem silly. But since it actually works to get your hands clean, it turns out to be awesome. It doesn’t lather but is good at one very important job: removing bad smells. That’s because stinky sulfur molecules bind to stainless steel when you rub the bar in your hand. That removes said molecules — and the smell they cause — from your skin. This has two bars, each with a draining dish.

18. A cutting board that also organizes food prep

Cut your veggies on this bamboo cutting board, then slide your knife across it to drop the slices through the slot and into the container below. When that container is full, remove it and replace it with a fresh one. It makes prepping a salad or stir fry easy and organized. A moat around the cutting board keeps juices from escaping, and it works for left or right-handed cutting.

19. These shelf liners for a snazzy, upleveled fridge

When you open the fridge and stare longingly into its depths for the 30th time of the day, why not look at something festive, clean, and organized? Line the shelves with these colorful and easy-to-clean mats and your produce will look extra appealing, the glass bottles will slip in quietly, and everything will wipe up easier. There are nine grippy, padded, mats in three colors.

20. An airtight lunch box with utensils & a sauce jar

This little leak-proof lunch box is all you’ll need to pack your lunch for work or a road trip. The silicone seal makes it airtight, and it even has a strap, so it’s extra-secure. The dividers make sure your food doesn’t run together on your commute. With this dishwasher-safe lunch solution, you’ll even get utensils and a sauce cup.

21. The narrow, wheeling shelf cart that fits anywhere

This set of shelves on casters is so narrow that you can slide it under a desk, between appliances, or into the corner of the bathroom to create instant storage in the tiniest of places. The four rotating casters make it easy to move the cart about, and the shelves are all perforated so they’ll drain. Three hooks snap on wherever you want them, and you can use two or three shelves to suit your needs. Almost 11,000 people give this skinny wonder five stars.

22. An organization system for your suitcase (finally)

With this suitcase organization system, you won’t arrive home with a jumbled mess of clothes crammed into your bag anymore. These zip-up nylon bags are finally a solution for keeping your suitcase organized, and they even reduce bulk in your bag by 30%. Plus, the mesh accents let you see what’s stored in each cube without opening them.

23. This clever hanger that expands your available closet storage

This six-pack of hangers transforms your closet so that it can hold many more hanging items in the same amount of space. Each hanger is a rack that rotates from horizontal to vertical so you can hang, say, nine shirts on one in the horizontal position, then rotate the rack to vertical and those nine shirts now take up the space of one hanger. They come in six different colors, too, so you can color-code your closet.

24. These containers so you can find everything in the fridge & pantry

Instead of just tossing all the vegetables, fruits, and juice boxes into the fridge in a mad jumble that you have to rearrange daily, put them first into these 10 clear organizer bins. When you want fruit, bring out the fruit bin. Want a soda? There’s a bin for that, too. They work in the pantry, cupboards, and fridge and bring order to all of it that you never thought was possible.

25. This sleek cotton swab holder that also dispenses

Set this handsome storage container down on the bathroom vanity and fill it with cotton swabs so you always have one at the ready — but never have to dig in a drawer to get at them. They dispense one at a time from the bottom, and you just lift the lid to replenish the supply from the top. The durable plastic manages to be elegant and sturdy.

26. The clever way to store your baking sheets & cutting boards

Storing large, flat items — cutting boards, cooling racks, and cookie sheets — in a kitchen always presents a challenge, and usually takes up more space than it should. This adjustable rack solves all that. Insert the dividers where you need them and stand all those hard-to-store items in one place where you can easily see them and grab the one you want without unpacking the whole cupboard.

27. This wall rack that organizes everything in the bathroom

This neat wall-mounted storage solution puts your toothbrushes, drinking cups, toothpaste, lotions, razors, and other sundries into one tidy and sanitary container. The included magnetic cups store upside down to drip dry. The toothbrushes store in a closed compartment so they stay clean. The toothpaste dispenses right out of the rack when you insert the brush head. And a shelf on the top keeps everything you need within reach.

28. A big box of slender velvet hangers

Get your closet organized and effectively utilize space by replacing the fat plastic hangers (and slippery metal ones, while you’re at it) with these 50 slim, velvet flocked hangers. The velvet texture keeps clothes from sliding off, and there is a notch for spaghetti straps and other delicates. They’re also very slender so you can fit more clothing in the same amount of space. The hooks swivel 360 degrees so there is no right or wrong way to hang a garment, which makes putting away laundry much breezier.

29. A kit to grow all of your cooking & cocktail herbs

Instead of buying half-wilted herbs on your grocery run every week, this herb growing kit is a clever option. You’ll grow all of the classics that you reach for while cooking, like basil, cilantro, thyme, and more. They also come with peat discs, starter pots, and small herb markers. There’s even a cocktail garden kit if you’re more into mixing cocktails than cooking.

30. These durable dishcloths to take paper towels off your shopping list

Go ahead and take paper towels off of your weekly shopping list with these durable dishcloths. These cellulose and cotton cloths clean up kitchen spills, but they’re also helpful for your shower, appliances, dishes, and more. They’re odor-resistant, so all you have to do is wash them in the washing machine anytime you feel like they need a reset.

31. These plush covers that tidy up appliance handles

Add luxurious (and functional) texture to your kitchen by wrapping refrigerator, stove, or dishwasher handles in these plush fabric covers. They hide fingerprints, absorb wetness, and go into the washer and dryer for cleanup. It’s an easy way to free yourself from relentlessly wiping appliance handles. “So glad I found these covers!” says one reviewer. “I've gone from having to wipe off my kids' schmutz on an almost daily basis to no wiping... and they still look brand new!”

32. A wall-mounted mail station with hooks for keys

Mount this rustic, wooden mail center to the wall near the entryway and keep easy track of bills and other important correspondence. Plus, give your keys, sunglasses, and everyday items a permanent home. With a rack for mail, a shelf for glasses, and hooks for keys, hats, and other pocket sundries, it also prevents clutter from taking over tables or counters. It comes in three colors, with all the mounting hardware.

33. This cleaning hack for your stainless steel appliances

If you have stainless steel appliances, you know about their dark side: They’re magnets for fingerprints. The trick is to use this stainless steel cleaning kit. It has a plant-based and pH-neutral spray with lavender essential oil. It not only removes spills, smudges, and fingerprints easily, but prevents prints from coming back with a protective barrier.

34. A sizable ottoman bench that holds all the blankets & toys

This lovely storage ottoman shows up folded flat. All you have to do to assemble is unfold it and set it where you want it. Then you’ll have ample storage for blankets, shoes, toys, or whatever clutter you’d like to hide in plain sight. It’s sturdy enough to sit on, comfortable, and comes in five colors — some are the texture of linen, and some are like leather.

35. These big storage bags for all your clothes & linens

It’s easy to organize large piles of linens and off-season clothes into these big storage bags, because the tops open up completely and provide a large space to fold items into. The clear window in front makes it easy to locate things when you want them. And the two big handles make it easy to get packed bags onto — and off of — closet shelves. This affordable three-pack will organize your entire closet.

36. This 2-pack of canvas shopping totes that folds up small

These cotton grocery totes are durable and big — 14 inches tall and 14 inches wide — but fold up small, so you can always keep one on hand for grocery shopping or carting supplies to work. The long handles go over your shoulder and they’re a blank canvas you can decorate however you like.

37. The spill-proof table cloth that protects your furniture

This table cloth is not only a quick way to dress up the room for a meal, but it’s oil-proof, stain-resistant, and water-resistant so it protects your table, too. Liquids bead up on the fabric and are easy to wipe away. It comes in 24 colors and 16 sizes, and over 7,000 fans rate it 4.6 stars.

38. A splash guard that keeps you dry when washing dishes

If you find yourself deep in the splash zone when doing dishes, this silicone sink guard is an easy way to prevent that. It suctions onto the sink in front of you and protects from the watery backsplash that happens when sudsing up pans or bowls. And it’s easy to remove, clean, store, or hang to dry when you’re done. It comes in five colors.

39. These gloves that protect your hands when you’re working

Pull on these long, PVC gloves before you dip your hands into dishwater or use harsh cleaning products, and they’ll protect your skin and keep your hands dry. The long length keeps drips from peskily trickling in. The material is impervious to water, mild solvents, and soaps. And they’re so thin you’ll be able to feel what you’re doing while wearing them.

40. A clever rack that works in the bathroom or kitchen

This clever wall-mounted rack creates storage where there was only a blank wall by turning your towels (or wine bottles) into decor. The rack’s narrow shape makes it easy to sneak into small spaces, and it holds six rolled towels (or wine bottles). It makes towels easy to find and ensures that wine is visible and neatly stored on its side.

41. The adjustable drawer dividers for custom storage

This six-pack of adjustable drawer dividers lets you create exactly the storage you need inside your drawers. Each one expands from 11 inches to 17 inches, and uses tension to hold tight to the inside of drawers so you can create handy cubbies for kitchen tools, underwear, towels, or whatever you need.

42. This organizer that creates a handy coffee & tea station

Keep all your coffee pods, tea bags, hot chocolate, and fixings tidily out on the counter in this black mesh condiment organizer. It makes preparing a quick cup of a sustaining warm beverage easy and convenient, while getting all that clutter out of the cupboards where it was hard to find. With a variety of compartments to fit different-sized items, it keeps everything in one place and within reach.

43. These reusable, washable labels for everything in the house

Stick these chalkboard labels on everything from your homemade jam to your pantry staples because you can easily wipe them clean and write a new label should the contents of that jar change. They survive washing and can even go into the dishwasher, and there are 96 vinyl labels in a variety of shapes. They come with a liquid chalk marker.

44. This roll-up dish rack that saves so much space

The clever engineering of this stainless steel and rubber dish-drying rack reduces what once took up half of the counter into an easy-to-store roll that sits on a portion of your sink. The stainless steel rods are strong and heat resistant. The cup for utensils pops out and can be used as a small colander. And, it all rolls up and tucks in a drawer when not in use.

45. These trays for serving or using as tabletop storage

Deliver a couple of cocktails or a small lunch to a guest with one of these eight-inch round trays. Or set them on the bathroom vanity or dresser to corral jewelry, perfumes, lotions, candles, or hairbrushes into orderly and decorative displays. They come in three finishes, and there are other sizes and shapes as well so you can create display storage that’s visually interesting.

46. A handy divider for your wire shelves

Snap these shelf dividers right onto the closet shelving you have to create tidy storage right on the shelves. You can set the width to fit your purses, folded sweaters, boots, or whatever else you want to store there. There are eight dividers to create lots of order. They fit standard 12-inch deep wire shelving and take just a second or two to snap on.

47. An over-the-door storage solution for all the small items

Hang this pocket organizer over any door and stash small items like underwear, baby supplies, medicines, spices, or personal care products into the four pockets. It gets small items off your shelves and makes them more accessible. The clear windows let you see what’s in each pocket. They come in eight colors and get 21,000 five-star reviews.

48. This small storage cube with a comfy, padded steat

Set this storage ottoman at the end of the bed and keep spare blankets in it, at the entryway with shoes hiding inside, or in the living room as a place to easily clean up the toys. It’s strong enough to hold 300 pounds, so you can sit on it to put on shoes or prop up your feet in the living room. The lid is cushioned with memory foam, and is upholstered so no one will suspect it’s for storage. It comes in four muted hues.

49. A clever solution for stowing brooms, rakes & long-handled tools

Instead of letting all those hard-to-store brooms, rakes, dusters, mops, and other long-handled tools take up the whole closet, mount this snap-in organizer to the door and free up closet space for more important items. To store a broom, just push the handle into the gripper. It’s just as easy to retrieve a tool. There are five hooks, too, to store gloves, hats, and items that hang.

50. These grippers that stop rugs from sliding

Stick these corner-shaped grippers to the underside of your rug and position that sucker right where you want it. Then peel off the label that says “floor” and stick that side to your ground to achieve rugs that don’t slide when you run over them, or bunch up when pets get the zoomies. The grippers are so thin you’ll never know they’re there. And the adhesive doesn’t leave a mess on your floors if you move the rug.

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