People can't seem to get enough of these weird things that are clever as hell

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by Christina X. Wood
Originally Published: 

Once you get all the necessary items into your home — things like the bed, dishes, and a couch — it’s time to start adding the oddities, not-so-necessaries, and downright strange things that will make it your home. If you trick your home out with art, accessories, and stuff that reflects your worldview and personality, it won’t matter if you chose the cheapest set of dishes or a couch that’s comfortable but perhaps not ready for a design museum.

It’s the little things, the strange pieces you picked up because they spoke to you, the genius ideas that you can't resist that make your house your place. Whether you are looking to upgrade the bar, make your kitchen cook better, or pick up some accessories for your leisure time, look no further. We asked the people what’s the latest must-have gear for home and life and they told us. They just can't seem to get enough of these weird things that are clever as hell.

1. These alien-head-shaped ice molds for sci-fi cocktails

When you are sipping a whiskey while watching, reading, or cosplaying your favorite science fiction fantasy, why not look at these giant alien head ice cubes when you glance in your glass? The silicone mold makes four large cubes that melt slowly so as not to over-dilute your drink. Over 9,000 people give them five stars and raved about their terrifically weird cocktails. “Fantastic!” said one reviewer. “I have been using it in preparation for a party and the alien skulls look incredible.”

2. This packable backpack that’s lightweight & waterproof

When you travel, walk to the grocery store, or take a road trip, keep this packable, lightweight, and waterproof backpack in your luggage, pocket, or car so you always have an easy way to carry a load. There are water bottle pockets on the sides, a mesh pocket on the front, and a secure zippered pocket. But its best features are that it folds into a tiny carry pouch and, when you unfurl it and fill it, will keep your supplies dry even if you hike through a rainstorm.

3. A clip-on colander for 1-handed pan draining

Instead of wrangling a colander into a sink full of dishes, clip this flexible silicone strainer to the side of your pan and pour that hot water off easily. The two clips on the side hold it to your pan, it stores easily in a drawer, and it makes a one-handed pour of pasta water so simple. It comes in four bright colors, too, to give pasta night a pop of flair.

4. The beer can cooler that keeps your brew cold for hours

When it’s hot and you want a cold beer, you do not have to race against time to avoid sipping the warm dregs. Just put your beer into this triple-wall insulated beer cooler and take your time. That can of beer will stay cold for hours (if it lasts that long) and won’t sweat all over the furniture. It fits standard beer and soda cans, comes in five colors, and has a rubberized bottom so it’s quiet and gentle on the furniture.

5. These quick-drying towels that are great for the gym or camping

This three-pack of microfiber towels is the set you want to toss in your gym back, backpack, or car-camping rig because they not only absorb and hold tons of water, but they also dry out super fast and pack up super small. They store in their own mesh carrying and drying bag and come in seven colors.

6. A simple & beautiful cold-brew coffee maker

Brew your own cold-brew coffee in this elegant cold brewer so you never have to wait in line to for subpar iced coffee from a plastic cup again. The carafe is made from stainless steel and borosilicate glass with silicone seals so nothing leaks. All you do is load it with ground beans and water and put it in the fridge. The next day, you’ll have a flask of delicious cold brew that will keep for days.

7. This thermometer that’s the secret to perfectly-cooked meals

Whether you are grilling steak, roasting a chicken, or making candy, this kitchen thermometer is the tool that will take the guesswork out of dinner. Just stick the probe into the meat to know its internal temperature so you can get the perfect medium-rare. Or, be certain the baby formula is the right temperature, or even check if your soup is too hot before you burn your mouth. It’s waterproof and folds for storage. Or you can stick it magnetically to the fridge or hang it from a hook.

8. This curtain that keeps bugs — but not kids & pets — out

Install this screen curtain in the door everyone goes in and out of to access the yard or deck so you don’t end up opening and closing it every time the cat, dog, kid, or someone carrying a tray needs to go out or in. Everyone — even dogs who usually have no idea what’s happening — can walk through it easily. And the magnets in the seam close it automatically so bugs can’t follow. Over 36,000 people love this solution and gave it five stars.

9. The machine that makes a breakfast sandwich at the push of a button

Want a breakfast sandwich that’s so easy to make you can do it while you drink your coffee? Add your bread, meat, and eggs to the stacking sections of this breakfast sandwich maker, close it up, push the button, and wait for the beep that tells you your egg is cooked, the meat is hot, the cheese is melted, and the bread is toasted. Almost 19,000 people love it and said things like “Awesome!” “I’d give it 87 stars!” and “Buy it!”

10. This in-shower mirror that doesn’t fog up

Shaving in the shower is the best way to go. It’s easier, better for your face and razor, and less messy. But if you can’t shave by touch, you need a mirror in there so you can see what you are doing. This fogless mirror with a hook for your razor is perfect. Suction cup it to the shower wall and you are good to go. No need to run it under hot water, fill it up, or anything else. It just doesn't fog up.

11. The silicone baking sheets that are better than foil

Stop wasting all that parchment paper or foil and set these silicone baking mats down on your cookie sheets and pans instead. It stops food from sticking, makes cleanup super easy, and you can use each one of them thousands of times. This is a set of four and they roll up for storage.

12. A stick-on light for the inside of your cooler

When the beach party goes late, how do you find a craft beer in the cooler? If it’s too dark to read the labels you might end up with a stout when you reached for a lager. Or even a soft drink when you wanted a beer. Clip this cooler lid light to the inside of the lid and it will illuminate whenever anyone opens the lid. It turns off when the lid is closed. No more fumbling around in the icy interior hoping for the right beverage. It works great for finding what you want in tackle boxes and vampire coffins, too.

13. The easy way to wash your greens

If you like salad, you need this big 4.5-liter salad spinner so it’s easy to wash and dry your greens because no one wants to eat wet salad. Just rinse the greens in the inner colander, drop it into the bowl, put on the lid, and turn the crank. Centrifugal force removes the water from the leaves. When you lift the inner colander out, your greens are clean and dry and there’s just a little water in the bottom of the outer bowl.

14. This spoon rest that handles all your utensils

This clever silicone spoon rest sits on your counter, ready to hold your utensils while you cook. With four slots that hold spoons, spatulas, and other tools over its easy-to-clean drip tray, you can set down the tasting spoon, flipper, and whisk all at the same time without leaving a mess on the counters or stovetop. It comes in 34 colors so you can go for a fun decoration or choose a hue that blends in.

15. These weird sponges that are half dishcloth

These Swedish dishcloths are a strange melding of cellulose — used to make sponges — and cotton. The result is as if a sponge mated with a washcloth to produce a highly absorbent, washable, reusable, and flexible sponge. They are the perfect tool for washing everything from dishes to counters to sinks and will even replace your paper towels. This is a pack of ten and they are available in eight colors.

16. The neck light that lets you keep reading after dark

When everyone else wants to sleep in the dark but you can’t put down your book, tablet, or project, pull on this flexible neck light and point one — or both — of the two LED lights at your obsession and keep right on going. Each of the two lights has its own brightness, color, power, and direction controls so you can customize the light you want. It comes in three colors.

17. A big garlic press for fast & easy prep

Garlic is delicious but prepping it for cooking is annoying. This kit makes that prep easy and fast. Peel the cloves first by rolling them in the peeling sleeve. Then pile your cloves into the big chamber of the stainless steel garlic press and squeeze the handle closed. Your minced garlic will squeeze out of the holes and into your dish. So easy! The press is easy to clean, too.

18. A storage container that helps keep produce fresh longer

Store your fruits and vegetables in this clever keeper container and they will still be fresh when you go to eat them. The holes in the bottom of the inner container drain water into the catch basin below so produce doesn’t decay. A vent on the side controls humidity so they don’t mold. And you can add water to the bottom tray to keep foods that need it from drying out. There are styles for various fruits and vegetables and a guide on the side tells you what settings to use for which foods.

19. This TV backlight for a leveled-up viewing experience

Mount this LED strip light to the back of your TV to transform your viewing experience into one that’s more theater-like and easier on your eyes. Lighting the wall behind your TV lessens the contrast so it’s easier to see colors and everything pops right off the screen. This backlight system is easy to install. Just peel and stick it to the back of the TV, plug the end into a USB plug on the TV, and use the in-line controls to set the brightness.

20. This water bottle with a fruit infuser tube for tastier beverages

If you make your water more interesting, you’ll find it easier to drink more of it. And this 32-ounce fruit infuser bottle makes it easy to drop lemon, berries, mint, cucumber, and other flavors into your water so you can gussy it up whenever you like — without adding unnecessary sweeteners. It also makes it easy to get your fruit pieces out — just pull out the sleeve — so your bottle is easy to clean. It’s formed into an ergonomic grippy shape and has a pop-top for easy sipping.

21. A big backseat trash can to keep your car clean

Prevention is the best way to keep trash from piling up in your car. And this big trash can is that prevention. Install it in your car by attaching it to the seat back or console and everyone can push their trash through the slotted top opening so it’s contained, concealed, and out of sight. It’s easy to empty, too. Just lift the lid, remove the liner and toss it. Pockets on the sides are a great place to store napkins or wipes for road trip meals.

22. The lightbulbs that change color at the touch of a remote

You can create impressive lighting features easily by screwing these two color-changing lightbulbs into an overhead light or a lamp. Then use the remote to turn them on and off, choose a color or brightness, and turn on modes such as fade, flash, strobe, and smooth. You can take it from reading light to a dance party at the touch of a button.

23. A clip for cords that keeps the charging cables handy

Stick one of these three cable clips to the edge of your desk to keep your chargers within easy reach, but not snaking all over the desktop. The clips open up to reveal 11 channels you can snap your charging cables into. And all the chargers will hang right off the side of the table ready for use. Just pull one to use it. They slide through the clip so you can plug in your device without removing the cord from the clip.

24. The backup battery that turns sunlight into phone power

If you carry a battery backup for your phone, why not make it one that can take you through an average day, a trip deep into the wilderness, or an adventure into the apocalypse? This is that power bank. Set it in the sun and it charges up via solar power. Plug it into an outlet and it uses the grid. It has a built-in flashlight, and it will charge your devices wirelessly or using their USB charging cables. It even has a compass.

25. This easy pizza cutter that rolls right through the crust

When you pull your pizza out of the oven, reach for this easy-to-use pizza cutter and roll right through the dough, cheese, and toppings. The blade is sharp and it's easy to get a grip and apply the right pressure because the ergonomic handle is right over the rolling blade. Just snap it all apart and put it into the dishwasher to clean it for the next pizza. It comes in three colors.

26. A wireless doorbell that’s super easy to install

If you can plug in a lamp, you can install this wireless doorbell. The hardest part is choosing where to put the ringer. But once you manage that, all you have to do is peel and stick the button where your guests will see it and plug in the receiver where you will hear it. The receiver even has a battery so you can take it out to the yard or wear it around when you are waiting for a package or visitor.

27. This super-flat USB charger that fits anywhere

Sometimes you don’t have space to plug in a big charging brick. Maybe there’s a piece of furniture you want to push flush against the wall, or you just want a less bulky appearance in your kitchen or bathroom. This thin wall charger is the solution. Not only is it less than an inch thick, but the ports also face downward so even the USB plugs don’t stick out.

28. The Papa Nessie pasta server for easy & adorable pasta dinners

When you reach into a bowl of spaghetti with the Papa Nessie spoon, retrieving the noodles is easy because the spoon end of this tool is pronged. And when you put the spoon back into the bowl, it looks like the Loch Ness Monster is lurking in your dinner. Fun, funny, and efficient Nessie tools for the win.

29. An automatic soap dispenser so you don’t get dirty washing your hands

How many dirty hands have touched the pump top of your soap dispenser? None, if you are using this battery-operated automatic soap dispenser. Just hold your hand under the spout and it senses you are there — using infrared — and drops some liquid soap into your palm. It’s easy to fill, holds 17 ounces of soap, and lets you adjust how big a dollop it delivers.

30. This clever cup holder for the couch

When you are relaxing in your home, you want to be able to reach for a beverage as easily as you can when you are in your car, right? Add this versatile cup holder to your couch or favorite armchair and put your beverage — whether that’s your morning coffee or an evening whiskey — within reach. It holds your drink securely so there are no spills, has a slot for the handle of your coffee mug, comes in five colors, and also works well if you lay it flat on the couch cushions.

31. These self-watering pots so your plants survive while you vacation

There’s no need to hire a plant sitter when you travel. Just put your plants in these two self-watering plant pots and let them drink from the well. The plants live in an inner pot that sits over a reservoir of water. The soil sips water up through holes in the inner pot’s legs, watering your plant for as much as two weeks. The soil never dries out but the plant’s roots don’t sit in water, either. A water level indicator tells you how much water is in the well so you know when to fill it at a glance.

32. A packable camping pillow for comfortable wilderness adventures

Camping is great until you try to sleep on a hard surface with your damp clothes rolled up for a pillow. But you don’t have to quit camping because of the lack of creature comforts. Just pack along this compressible memory foam pillow and pull it out when it’s time to snooze. It’s light enough — nine ounces — to pack and it compresses into a small package in its own stuff sack. But when it fluffs up, it’s a comfy 5-inch thick pillow that will support your head while you rest under the stars.

33. A festive margarita glass that looks like a cactus

Have fun on margarita night by pouring your cocktails into these fun, Southwestern, cactus-shaped margarita glasses that will make you feel like you are sitting on the patio in a taqueria in Baja. Each of these four glasses holds 16 ounces and looks so festive and fun that they will give your margarita parties verisimilitude and have everyone singing La Bamba.

34. The simple way to stay private in front of a web camera

When you are looking at a screen, do you worry that someone is looking back at you through that camera trained right on your face? If you install one of these sliding Webcam covers, you can put that worry to bed with a quick gesture. Just close the cover and no one — no matter how technically skilled — can see through that lens. This is a pack of two and they come in four colors.

35. A wall-mounted bathroom stuff organizer & toothpaste dispenser

This wall-mounted bathroom organizer gets all the mess off your vanity and creates a streamlined daily personal care routine. There are two toothpaste dispensers, a rack underneath to hold (and protect) five toothbrushes, and four cups you can use for drinking or storage. The two cups on the bottom are held magnetically upside-down to drip dry. The two cups on top can be flipped over and used to store razors and other tools.

36. This chilled wine set that enhances summer leisure-time

When you want to take chilled white wine to the pool, beach, park, or concert, this wine chiller set is how you do it. Fill the vacuum-insulated wine bottle with your favorite chilled vino and toss it — along with the two unbreakable and vacuum-insulated wine glasses — into your picnic basket and go. Your wine will stay cold for hours and there is no glass to break. The kit also comes with lids for the wine tumblers, a bottle-cleaning brush, and a funnel.

37. The weird silicone bowl that’s the best way to make popcorn

Forget messing up the kitchen by making popcorn in a pan. Skip the lame prebagged stuff you just jam in the microwave. Because this silicone microwave popping bowl is the way to go. Choose some nice kernels, add some good oil, and microwave. Then get creative with the seasonings. You will never go back to popping corn any other way.

38. This folding keyboard that turns your phone into a computer

When that email gets too long for the touch screen but you are already deep in it, pull out this folding wireless keyboard and do the job right. It connects to your phone or tablet via Bluetooth, has a full QWERTY key layout, and lasts for 40 hours on a charge. It folds into a pocketable size and weighs just over five ounces so you can just leave your laptop at home.

39. A UV-free therapy lamp that helps with seasonal depression

This light therapy lamp is a must-have resource to help you through those long winter months and getting through those slumps of seasonal depression. It mimics the physical effects your skin and body feel when they experience sunlight; a much needed boost for your mental and emotional health throughout the year. As an added bonus, there are no harmful UV rays you need to worry about while using it.

40. This floating strap that makes any device sink-proof

If you are going near the water, add this bright yellow floating wrist strap to your phone, camera, sunglassses, or wallet so that if it goes into the pond, you will be able to find it again. Because trying to locate an expensive camera on the bottom of the ocean requires SCUBA gear, skill, and a lot of luck. But if that camera is floating and attached to something bright yellow, you can see it from a distant boat.

41. An insulated wine bottle that keeps it the perfect temperature while outside

This insulated wine bottle is the technology advancement you didn’t know you needed when it comes to alcoholic beverages. Fill it up with your favorite rose, summer white, or bottle of bubbly to keep it cool while you enjoy sitting in the sun. It can hold up to 16 ounces and comes with a screw on lid to easily open and close it.

42. A phone mount for your bike so you can navigate to your next adventure

Mount your phone to the handlebar of your bike with this simple, effective phone mount so you can use the navigation to get where you are going. It rotates 360 degrees so you can go from video calling from the open road to following directions with a flip of the wrist. It holds your phone securely and is easy to remove and attach so you can take it with you when you lock your bike.

43. This wobble cushion disk that’s great for workouts & balance

This wobble cushion stability disk is a useful tool for building balance, making your desk setup more ergonomic, and providing a bit of passive movement while you work. People are using it to stand on to do balance exercises and to make standing at a desk comfier, to sit on to add small movements and improved posture to their workday, and as a lumbar support cushion. It comes with a pump to inflate it.

44. A 5-piece tweezer set for all your grooming chores

This set of five tweezers has every kind of precision grooming tool you are ever likely to need. There’s a flat and slanted tweezer for brows, a flat-ended pair for grabbing coarse hairs, a pointy pair for getting out splinters, a slanted tool for all-around tweezing, and a square cut-end tweezer for putting on false eyelashes or similar precision jobs. They come in a handy carrying case so you won’t lose any of them.

45. The UV flashlight that tracks down your dog’s mistakes

Sometimes you just know the dog peed in the house but you can’t track down the spot where the bad deed occurred in order to clean it up. (And perhaps to point out to the pup that this is not OK and you are onto them.) Shine this UV flashlight on your carpets, furniture, and other likely places and it will light up the urine stains so you can easily see them. Now you can get rid of the smell so the dog doesn't put this bad deed on repeat.

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