48 cheap things that dramatically upgrade your home with almost no effort

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by Christina X. Wood
Originally Published: 

Sometimes it’s the little things that make a place feel like home. A bowl of homemade popcorn during a movie. A tidy kitchen that makes food prep and cleanup fast and easy. Clean laundry that smells fresh and feels soft. A cold beer in a glass that reflects your personal style. None of these things are expensive or difficult to acquire, but when you are surrounded by them, you know you are home. You don’t have to wait to inherit the good silver or until you have more money so you can remodel because there are 48 cheap things that dramatically upgrade your home with almost no effort right here.

Pour your beer into glasses that are shaped like oversized beer cans. Rest your head on pillowcases that feel like silk. Make the best popcorn you’ve ever had with nothing but a clever tool and a microwave. You go home almost every day. Why not make it awesome, right now, so you can feel an amazing sense of welcome every time you walk in the door?

Read on and find the upgrade you need.

1. These six wool balls instead of dryer sheets

Toss these six wool dryer balls into the dryer, and they’ll fluff the clothes up while they spin for softer fabrics. The balls also loosen clumps and aerate fabrics to reduce drying time. They are all natural, have no chemicals, and can be used for 1,000 loads. To scent your laundry, add a few drops of essential oil.

2. The pillowcases that pamper your skin & hair

You spend a lot of time with your hair and face on a pillowcase. Is yours rough on your hair and skin? This satin pair is gentle, won’t wick the moisture from your skin or hair, and feels delicious to sleep on. They come in 23 gorgeous colors and four sizes.

3. A tea bag organizer that’s so easy to use

Instead of hunting around in a high cupboard you can barely see into for your next cup of tea, get your tea collection organized so you can find exactly the cup you crave quickly. This standing or wall-mounted organizer holds nine removable caddies for tea bags, so you can see all your options. Two drawers at the bottom are a great place for sweeteners or accessories.

4. This storage ottoman that hides all your junk

This fabric-covered ottoman shows up folded and flat but looks great after you assemble it and is surprisingly strong. But the best part is how much of your living room or bedroom clutter fits in it. Keep toys, shoes, blankets, or anything else in it, and when the lid is on and your feet are resting on it, no one will know it’s all there. It comes in four colors.

5. A cordless water flosser for happy gums without clutter

This water flosser is that final step in your oral hygiene routine that makes your gums happy and gets between your teeth where your brush can’t reach. This one is cordless, easy to fill, and takes up hardly any room on the counter.

6. This percussion massager that gets deep into sore muscles

No room for a giant massage chair? This percussion massager is the handheld version. It applies deep tissue massage right where you need it with 30 speed levels and 10 massage heads designed for everything from the small muscles in your feet to large ones in your back. It’s rechargeable so you aren’t tied to one spot, and even at the highest speed, is very quiet.

7. The microwave popper that makes perfect popcorn

This silicone popper makes creating the perfect bowl of popcorn so easy. Put kernels and oil into it, microwave for a couple of minutes, season, and eat. It makes a perfect bowl every time, and you can skip the pricier single-use microwave popcorn bags. It comes in 21 colors and almost 20,000 happy snackers give it five stars.

8. This salad spinner for fast salads & clean greens

This salad spinner takes all the hassle out of making salad because you can rinse the greens in the interior strainer, drop that into the spinner, and pump the top a few times to use centrifugal force remove all the water. It gets over 15,000 five-star reviews.

9. These hangers that organize & streamline your closet

These six colorful closet organizers are a great way to organize your clothes into categories or outfits while freeing up lots of space in your closet. Hang as many as nine items of clothing on each hanger and then rotate them from horizontal to vertical so those nine pieces take up the space of just one. It is so clever and effective you will be back for more.

10. An entire collection of organizer bins for the fridge

Tired of losing things in the back of the fridge or pantry? Put everything in bins so you can pull out all the condiments or all the snacks at once and easily see when things are plentiful or nearly gone. These 10 organizer bins are clear so you can see what’s in them and sized perfectly to keep everything tidy in the kitchen.

11. A big pack of cord clips to tidy up everywhere

Some days it seems like there are wires everywhere — in the kitchen, bathroom, office, and bedroom — and they are all a hot mess. This 16-pack of cable clips is what you need to bring order. Peel and stick the clips where you want the cables to stay put and snap the cords into them. There is an assortment of sizes to handle everything from a single charger to a computer rig with five cords.

12. The organizer for hard-to-store kitchen gear

Where to store cookie sheets, cutting boards, and other awkwardly large kitchen tools when you aren’t using them is an eternal dilemma. This adjustable rack stands them on their sides, so you can gang them all together in one organized space. It also makes it so much easier to access what you are looking for.

13. This alarm clock that wakes you up gently with gradual light

This alarm clock taps your body’s own circadian rhythm to wake you up gently using simulated daylight. It slowly increases the light through seven levels of brightness — while playing natural sounds — in 30 minutes to simulate a sunrise. Then the alarm goes off. But when it does, you are already peacefully awake. It does sunset, too, to help you fall asleep using the same principle.

14. A wireless pad for easier phone charging

Instead of keeping a drawer stocked with all the various phone chargers every different phone in the house needs, plug this wireless charger in somewhere central and anyone with a Qi-compatible gadget can set it down to power up. A green light comes on when the gadget connects but shuts off after a few seconds.

15. This affordable rug for your entryway or kitchen

The antiqued pattern of this rug looks like something you found in an antique store but the rug is actually durable, easy to clean, and affordable. Set this gray runner in the entryway to stop people from tracking dirt into the house or in the kitchen for a softer feel and look. This one measurse 8-by-2 feet, but it comes in many other colors and sizes, too.

16. The slim cart you can slip in anywhere

Wherever you need a bit of extra storage, this clever little cart will probably fit. With a width of just over 5 inches, it will fit next to the toilet, slide between the washer and dryer, or tuck under your desk, and it holds a lot of stuff on its three shelves. It glides on spinning casters, comes in three heights and three colors, and has two hooks that snap on where you want them.

17. These shelf dividers for a tidy closet

Snap these eight wire shelf dividers onto the 12-inch wire shelf in your closet, and they will maintain folded stacks of clothes, bags, or whatever else tends to fall over and create chaos. They snap on to the wires and hold steady at whatever distances you prefer.

18. A set of preprinted labels for all your spices

Instead of scrawling the name of that spice in Sharpie, place these elegant preprinted labels on the jars you filled with bulk spices for a prettier pantry. It’s easier, looks better, and lasts longer. These 162 spice labels are printed in a minimalist style that looks neat and is easy to read; they’re also waterproof and removeable.

19. These three cutting boards for all your cutting needs

These three bamboo cutting boards will handle everything from cheese and fruit to carving a roast. Each has a slightly elevated foot, a juice groove to trap liquids, and a cutting surface that won’t dull your knives. Over 15,000 people give this collection five stars.

20. This stainless steel cleaning kit for fewer fingerprint smudges

Does it feel like you spend way too much time cleaning fingerprints off of your stainless steel appliances? This cleaning kit includes spray, wipes, and microfiber cloth to clean your stainless steel gently while leaving a protective barrier that guards against future fingerprint smudges. Over 7,000 people love it and give it five stars.

21. The gloves that protect your hands during a cleaning session

Don these latex-free gloves before you wash dishes or use harsh cleaning chemicals to protect your skin (and anything you might touch with your hands) from hot water, soap, chemicals, and the germs and gross stuff you are cleaning up. You’ll get three pairs in a choice of four colors and three sizes.

22. A shower curtain you won’t have to replace in 3 months

This shower curtain is made from a soft rubbery material that won’t hold water, which helps keep mildew from forming. A collection of clear stones are sewn into the bottom to keep it from rising up when you shower, and the grommets for the hooks are made of metal so it’s durable. This is a curtain that’s built to last and it comes in many colors and sizes.

23. A three-piece set of silicone cooking tools

Silicone is a terrific material for cooking utensils because it is heat-resistant, gentle on your nonstick pans, and washes up super easily. This three-piece set of silicone utensils includes a turner, ladle, and spoon that are slightly flexible to make tasks easier.

24. This revolving cake stand for decorating cakes with style

This revolving cake stand with decorating supplies make it super easy to frost a cake. The stand turns while you decorate but won’t slip around because it’s made from heavy aluminum alloy and has grippy feet. The silicone spatula helps spread frosting, the two stainless cake cutters are there when it’s time to cut and serve, and the three frosting combs create 12 patterns.

25. A set of stainless steel knives with a stand & sharpener

This complete set of knives with a stand and sharpener will take any kitchen from helpless to fully functioning right away. Every essential knife — chef, carving, bread, utility, and paring — is stored in a slick and modern clear stand that shows off the blades. It even comes with a sharpener to keep the edges honed.

26. An immersion blender with super useful accessories

An immersion blender is a kitchen essential because it lets you blend soups right in the pan or create a smoothie in the glass. This set also has several attachments that make this kit even more useful. Detach the blender and attach the milk frother, whisk, or food chopper to make everything from cappuccinos to scrambled eggs to chopped onions. You will use it constantly.

27. These rug grippers that keep the rugs in place

When a rug curls up, the pets move them all day, or you are worried that someone will slip on a slippery rug, attach these rug grippers to the bottom of the rug and fix it to the floor. They are super easy to use. Stick the side marked “rug” to the rug and the side marked “floor” to your floors, right were you want the rug to stay; they won’t budge. You get eight pieces that work on the corners or sides of rugs.

28. This $5 bendable caddy that molds to your sink

This sink caddy is genius. It will hang over the faucet or cling to the center wall of a divided sink with its silicone arm featuring a bendable wire you can shape how you like. There is a hole in the center for a brush and drain holes so the sponge will drip dry directly into the sink.

29. A small panini grill for quick, hot sandwiches

This little grill is the perfect size for making a couple of grilled and pressed sandwiches. The nonstick surface holds two big sandwiches, heats from the bottom as well as the top, and easily wipes clean. A hinged lid accommodates tall sandwiches and makes grilling burger patties fast and easy, too.

30. This life-changing bidet attachment for under $40

This inexpensive bidet attachment might be the best life — and bathroom — upgrade you will ever make. It installs easily and uses your toilet’s water supply lines to deliver a targeted shower to your undercarriage every time you go. It is so much cleaner and pleasant than toilet paper that you might stop using TP altogether.

31. A pair of arc lighters with bendy necks

These two flexible arc lighters will make lighting your candles, pilot light, or fire so much easier because they require no butane refills. Just plug them into a USB port to charge them up and the indicator light tells you how much charge they have. Since there is no flame — just an arc of electricity that ignites flammables — they won’t go out in the wind or rain.

32. The weighted blanket with a cute cotton cover

Pull this weighted blanket over you and feel instantly calmer. The weight of the glass beads sewn into the 4-inch by 4-inch compartment reduces external stimulation and gives you the comforting feeling of being hugged while the 100% cotton exterior feels terrific and cool against your skin. It is a great way to relax or to help a child get to sleep.

33. These glasses that are shaped like a soda can

These four glasses will feel so familiar in your hand while they give your cocktails a backyard or picnic vibe because they are shaped just like a soda or beer can. They’re made of high-quality glass from barware-maker Libbey, and each one holds 16 ounces.

34. An elegant clear monitor stand for your desk

Lift your monitor up off the table so you can sit up while you work and your neck and back will thank you for years. This glass, three-legged corner model is perfect for tucking the monitor into a corner. The height adjusts from 3.4 inches to 4.9 inches, and it will hold up to 88 pounds.

35. A memory foam mattress topper that smells like lavender

This memory foam mattress topper has five specially textured zones designed to comfort every part of your body. And the pretty lavender color is matched with the relaxing scent of lavender to help you sleep. This topper also comes in a cooling gel-infused version that’s blue.

36. The cast-iron skillet with a cute silicone handle cover

This Lodge cast-iron skillet with over 80,000 five-star ratings is the kind of excellent pan that becomes your go-to for everything from fried chicken to over-easy eggs. It holds and distributes heat beautifully, withstands high heat easily, and gets better as you use it until nothing sticks and everything browns beautifully. It also comes with a cute red silicone handle cover so you don’t have to find the oven mitts.

37. These soft & popular sheets that come in every color

These delicious sheets are made from a fine microfiber that’s so soft and silky you might mistake it for actual silk. They don’t wrinkle, keep you cool, and look beautiful on the bed in whatever color you choose from the huge number of available options. More than 187,000 shoppesr have given them five stars.

38. This French press with a four-level filter system

This French press is so much more than a beautiful borosilicate glass pitcher wrapped in a modern and slightly edgy stainless steel frame. (Though it certainly is that.) It also has a four-level filtering system to keep the mud from spoiling your brew, no matter what happened in the grinding phase. It is so easy and fast to make a perfect pot of coffee this way that almost 18,000 people give it five stars.

39. A projector that turns your ceiling into a night sky

With a flip of a switch, this projector will turn your bedroom or living room into a dreamy night sky. It projects a moving blue nebula with green stars to create the illusion that you are outdoors, far away from city lights, on a clear night. Over 35,000 people give the experience five stars.

40. The tiny speaker that goes anywhere you do

This handy little speaker will hang from a hook in your shower, a loop on your backpack, or anywhere in your campsite to give you HD sound that’s clear and bright anywhere. It doesn’t care if it rains or if you fall off the boat with it strapped to your fins. It will keep playing in water as deep as one meter. It comes in six colors and plays all day on a single charge.

41. This security camera you can place just about anywhere

Whether you set it on the dresser in the baby’s room or mount it outdoors, this security camera has everything you need. It’s small, records in color, has excellent night vision, is waterproof, comes with free cloud storage, alerts your phone when it detects motion, and lets you talk to and hear whoever is on the other end of the camera.

42. A wine kit that’s everything your vino night needs

This kit is a quick way to level up for your wine nights. A foil cutter exposes the cork efficiently. The electric wine opener gets the cork out in seven seconds at the push of the button with no awkwardness or struggle. The aerator improves the flavor of all your wines, especially inexpensive ones. And the two vacuum stoppers let you save the rest of the bottle for another night if needed.

43. A set of beautiful storage bottles you’ll use for everything

These glass storage containers are both beautiful and practical. The lids have airtight seals and are flat so you can stack the jars. The strengthened glass is clear so you can see what’s in them and they’re durable enough for the microwave or dishwasher. This set of three — 10-ounce, 20-ounce, and 34-ounce — will organize your pantry and look great doing it.

44. The barbed drain cleaning tool with an angry expression

This bit of green plastic with an angry cartoon-character face might look like a toy but it’s a serious — and necessary — tool that you want in your kit. The barbed strip of plastic is 22 inches long and reaches deep into your drain to grab onto hair and other debris so you can pull it out. It could save you hundreds of dollars in plumber fees and this set brings five of them for less than $10.

45. A steel bar of soap that removes stubborn odors

It might seem like a joke but these two bars of soap made from stainless steel are the real deal. If you handle garlic, fish, or other pungent foods, they do a better job of removing those smells than soap because steel molecules bind to sulfur and remove it — and the odor — from your skin. They each come with a soap dish that matches them perfectly.

46. This splash guard so you don’t get wet while washing up

This decorative splash guard protects your shirt from the water blowback that happens when washing dishes. It suctions right onto the counter, providing a protective dam between you and the inevitable spray. You can also use it as a splashguard behind the sink to protect your walls.

47. An under-the-sink shelf that looks good

This storage shelf is sized to fit under the kitchen sink, but it’s also decorative and useful enough to place anywhere. The two tiers hold everything from cleaning supplies to spices and have two hooks to hang a sponge or washcloth. The open design lets you position it in any direction.

48. These solar-powered path lights you can set & forget

Light a path in a few minutes simply by sticking these 12 stake lights into the ground. They will charge all day in the sun and turn on automatically when it gets dark. When their battery runs out, they go dark again. The next day, they will do it all again so you never have to touch them again. Choose between warm or cold white light.

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