I'll admit: Not everything I've purchased was a good idea. But most of the things that I've bought are in such constant use that I can't understand how I got along without them. These are the things that — when I fell for the urge to declutter my home — I couldn't get enough of (and I still can't). They're useful, necessary, handy, and inexpensive items that I didn't regret adding to my cart. Some of them are even on this list of incredibly practical things on Amazon you'll be glad you bought, too.
I'm talking about the things that'll help you perfect your DIY haircut and go out into the world without touching germ-filled doorknobs and elevator buttons. You'll be able to meal prep with ease, carry your own reusable straws around, and flash a pearly smile. You can even charge your phone wirelessly and extend the Wi-Fi connection in your home.
I'm telling you: You will want some, if not all, of these items. I dare you — yes, I just did that — to get through this list without adding something to your cart (I couldn't do it). I bet you'll be happy that you went ahead and bought a few of them.
1. A template that'll make it easy to trim your beard like a pro
Ready to rock some sharp sideburns? Why not put a DIY edge on your haircut while you're at it? If you have the clippers, all you need is the barbering skills — and that's easy to acquire with this template. It'll make it easier than ever to trim your beard into a curve or straight line. It also has a brush on one end so you can straighten things out before you cut. "I am a licensed professional barber," one reviewer wrote. "This has amplified my skills."
2. This tool that touches doorknobs and elevator buttons for you
How many germs are on that door handle? Well, that probably depends on how many people have touched it since the last time it was cleaned. It could be a lot. Thankfully, you can touch it with this tool instead of your own hands (just to be safe). And once you have this in your hand, you can use it to touch the keypad on the checkout kiosk, the elevator buttons, the toilet handle, and anything else you were going to put a finger on. This one tool can attach to your keys and do all the touching for you.
3. The DEET-free insect repellent that'll help keep mosquitos away
So many insect repellents smell terrible or do absolutely nothing to discourage mosquitoes, which is why it's easy to turn to DEET-filled products (which are usually very strong). However, the herbal combination in this Murphy's balm seems to do the trick without the DEET. Just apply a dab to your wrists, temples, and ankles, and mosquitoes will likely avoid you. Unlike other repellents, you'll probably like the scent of this one. In fact, some reviewers wrote that it "smells great."
4. A compact battery case with a built-in tester
This brilliant piece of organization will whip your battery storage chaos right into shape. First, it organizes all the batteries you own so you can find what you're looking for when you need it. (And being able to glance to see what's missing also helps you remember to buy batteries.) Just keep it filled and you'll never run out. It also has a built-in battery tester so you can test the batteries you do have before you install them. Put it in a drawer or mount it to the wall.
5. This universal tool that takes on different hardware sizes
Even if you have a complete socket kit and every wrench size in existence, there's always some weird nut, eye hook, or bolt that resists your efforts to remove or tighten it. If your tool kit is sparse, this happens even more often. However, this universal tool is the solution. Attach it to your drill and it'll conform to whatever size it encounters, and then it'll let you screw or unscrew it.
6. This unique pillow that's made to help relax your neck
If you hold stress in your neck and shoulders, you know the joys of a neck massage are fleeting and expensive. But resting your weary head on this curved pillow is something you can do every day. Lie down on it and it'll help decompresses your cervical vertebrae while aligning your neck, which will allow your muscles to relax and your nerves to escape. Reviewers have written that it works wonders at relieving neck pain.
7. This bag that'll help protect your shoes in the wash
Putting a pair of sneakers in the washer and dryer is like rolling dice. Sometimes, the shoes emerge clean and improved. Other times, they're destroyed by the agitation and dryer spinning. It turns out that what they need is some protection while they ride through those machines, and this bag is it. There are microfiber fingers inside the bag that scrub the shoes clean while they wash — but the shoes travel through the machine protected. Put the bags — with shoes inside them — right in the washer and dryer. Not only will the shoes emerge safe and clean, but you won't have to listen to the shoes kicking the machine.
8. These cut-resistant gloves to keep in your toolbox or kitchen
Whether you're using a box knife to break down cardboard or slicing onions, protecting your hands is a good idea. Don one or both of these cut-proof gloves first, and those sharp edges shouldn't be able to get you. They'll also give you a better grip on what you're holding, which will help cut down on hand fatigue. These gloves will even hold up in water, and they're available in tons of color combinations.
9. Add Alexa to your ride with the Echo Auto
Add Alexa to your car with the Echo Auto, which syncs to your phone and plays directly through your car’s speakers. Use it to check traffic and weather, stream music, listen to books on Audible, and more — all hands free.
10. This chopper that catches the pieces of food as you go
Your mealtime dilemma is a constant, and chopping veggies for dinner feels like a chore. Thankfully, this food chopper will speed up the process so you can prepare a savory meal within minutes. It's also fun watching the vegetables (or cheese and hard-boiled eggs) transform into perfect squares just by setting them on the Chop Wizard and bringing down the ax. Plus, the container below the blades will catch it all as you go.
11. This wireless charger that makes cables irrelevant
"Anyone have a phone charger?" This is has become an irritatingly common question. And when someone asks you, you have to break down your entire bedside routine to accommodate them. (You can't lie. They know you have a charger.) Or there's this wireless charger. Plug it in, set it somewhere handy and anyone with a reasonably modern phone that's capable of wireless charging can set it down on the pad and pick up a charge. Install one on your coffee table, maybe, and solve everyone's daily charging issues.
12. A conditioner to help make your beard smoother
You're rocking an awesome beard, right? Right. But if it's feeling coarse, you don't need to shave it all off. Instead, you can try smoothing it out with this luxurious beard oil. It smells like oakmoss and sandalwood, and reviewers (and their partners) love the smell, with one fan raving: "It smells like I've just finished cutting down a tree with an ax and will shortly be enjoying a bath in a mountain stream."
13. The duster that can get underneath pretty much anything
The vacuum cleaner stops at the border of appliances, leading to the question, "What's under there?" This dusting tool gets into small spaces, grabs dust and crud, and pulls out debris. And while you're reclaiming lost coins, cat toys, and hair clips, your appliances will appreciate the clean airflow. When the duster gets dirty, throw it in the wash. Reviewers have found that it's the solution to a lot of weird cleaning challenges.
14. This cooling neck gaiter that gets chilly when it's damp
When it's hot outside, this cooling neck gaiter will help bring your body temperature down and keep the sun off your neck. Get it damp and it'll cool you even more (for two hours, to be exact). Pull it up for a face mask, and pull it up even higher for a hat. And when it's doing none of those things, it's merely a light, casual scarf. It's available in six colors and patterns.
15. The inverted umbrella won't get the car wet after rainstorms
Finally, someone revisited the umbrella and made it more useful. This gorgeous inverted umbrella turns the entire idea around, closing with the wet outer layer inside so your car or house doesn't get wet when you come in from the rain. The C-shaped handle is also awesome, because it lets you loop the handle around your wrist when you're using it so that your umbrella hand is free to carry something or hold your phone. It also comes in so many beautiful patterns.
16. A battery-powered lantern with a bright LED light
When camping or weathering an emergency, you want a reliable light. This lantern covers all the bases. When it comes to illumination, it covers everything from ambient lighting and reading lighting to spot lighting — and you just change the color and brightness you want with a touch of the button. It takes three D batteries, which gives it enough power to get you through whatever adventure you're facing. And since it's water-resistant and has hooks on both the top and the bottom, it's super versatile.
17. The Wi-Fi extender for the weak ranges inside your home
This Wi-Fi extender is easy to set up and has already gotten over 64,000 reviews with close to a four-star rating. All you have to do is plug it in midway between your router and your weak spot, and it'll pick up the signal and throw it a bit further. You can use the WPS setup if you don't want to fiddle with software, and it'll create a reliable signal. In other words, it'll solve most internet connection problems caused by walls, distance, and other in-home factors.
18. A set with every manicure tool you'll ever need
There is a tool in this kit for pretty much every personal grooming need you are ever likely to encounter. Sure, it will keep your nails in trim — but it'll do much more than that. There are tools for cutting, combing, prying, and brushing. There are also scissors, clippers, files, and sharp edges. And the best part is that they all fit neatly in a handsome case, so you'll always be able to find the tool you need — even if you're traveling. Reviewers have written that it makes an awesome gift.
19. The Amazon Echo Flex that's a phone charger, too
Expand your Alexa throughout your home with the Echo Flex, which has 36,000 reviews and a 4.4-star rating. It plugs into any open outlet so you can control your smart electronics, manage your day, and ask for instant information — plus it has a built-in USB port for your phone charger or an add-on night light.
20. The vacuum cleaner that you'll want to keep in the car
Hauling a vacuum cleaner to the car is always a headache. Thankfully, this hand vac is designed to eliminate that headache by residing permanently in (or near) your car. It plugs in via a USB port, comes with attachments that are perfect for getting into all those tiny car crevices, and has enough suction to get dirt out of the floor carpets. Your car will be much cleaner — with much less effort — for less than the price of one trip to the car wash.
21. This zapper that gets rid of the bugs in your yard
Your yard and deck aren't much use if you can't go out there and enjoy them without getting eaten alive by mosquitos. All that pretty furniture, the grill, the sunsets — do you have that so bugs can enjoy it? No! Plug this bug zapper in and enjoy everything for yourself. Hang it up near where you want to hang out and watch it work. This powerful zapper lures bugs in with UV light and zaps them. It clears a 1,500-square foot area, too.
22. This bag-sealing tool that closes snack bags for later
When you open a bag of chips, you can't eat just one. That part is true. But the harsh reality is that it's because the rest of them will be stale in a few hours if you stop. This 2-pack of mini bag sealers lets you reseal that bag to keep the contents fresh for when you're hungry again. It takes a few minutes to heat up, then you just press the bag closed with it — like a slow-mo stapler — and it reseals most bags, including chip, pretzel, and cereal packs. Some bags will tolerate being resealed repeatedly.
23. The vacuum stopper that keeps wine from spoiling
Air is the enemy of wine. Once you open that bottle, your wine will start to oxidize — if after put the cork back in. The air in the bottle is enough to sour the smell and taste. This vacuum stopper, though, forces that air out of the bottle, preserving the remaining wine for up to two weeks. Turn the dial on the top to mark when you opened it so you remember to finish the bottle before it starts to turn.
24. The Fire TV Stick Lite & Alexa voice remote
For less than $20 while it's on sale, get the new 2020 Lite version of the fan-favorite Fire TV Stick. If you don't need to control your television with the Fire Stick, this affordable little unit has you covered for effortless streaming you can control with your voice. It doesn't just work for Netflix and Prime video, either. Use it to play music, watch live TV, and more. It has a 4.8-star overall rating after more than 18,000 reviews, so you know it's a tried and true option.
25. This adhesive ring that makes your phone so easy to carry
This phone ring alleviates what I call "phone hand." If you're like me, the act of holding a phone with one hand while swiping the screen and typing on the built-in keyboard leads to hand cramps and calluses in weird places. It's also easy to lose grip. Stick this loop onto the back of your device with the powerful adhesive, and then put a finger through it. It'll give you extra traction with a less awkward hold, and it'll free one hand up to carry something else while operating the phone. It'll work with in-car magnetic mounts, too.
26. A spray stops glasses, masks, and windshields from fogging
Are your glasses fogging up constantly? That's such an easy fix. Just spray them once with this Fog Gone and wipe them clean. You can run, head into fog, and make fast transition from air conditioning to heat and still see through them. It works just as well on your swim goggles or snorkeling mask, and you can even hit the windshield or bathroom mirror with it. It doesn't' take much product to stop the fogging, either.
27. A slick laptop stand for better ergonomics while you work
Laptops are incredibly convenient, but the monitors are usually way too close to the keyboards for humans to use without hunching over. This lightweight aluminum stand lifts the screen up to a comfortable height to prevent you from hunching over. (It also looks cool.) Add an external keyboard and mouse, and you'll be content working all day long. Your laptop will be happier, too, since air circulates around it better.
28. The fast way to iron and sanitize
Apparently, there are people who love to iron. I am not one of them. But this, I can do: Turn on a steamer and point it at wrinkles while clothes hang near a closet. Get dressed into the unwrinkled clothes.
This tiny Pursteam requires no ironing board, and it heats up in 90 seconds. It's powerful enough to zap wrinkles quickly, and it holds a surprising amount of water while standing upright to help prevent spills. The steam is gentle enough for delicates, and the unit is small enough to pack into a suitcase so you can steam your clothes while traveling.
29. The soap-dispensing unit that clears bottles out of the shower
Your shower will be so tidy if you replace all those half-full bottles with this simple dispenser. It's easy to install using the included adhesive tape, and it works in a corner or on a flat wall. After setting it up, you'll never again have to shake a bottle to get shampoo out of it. Gravity will keep all your products at the bottom of the unit and ready to be dispensed. There are three sections that you can use for shampoo, conditioner, and soap.
30. This adjustable organizer for your drawer
These drawer organizers expand and let you create storage spaces that are exactly the right size your drawer (and what you want to put inside of it). Make a long space for serving spoons, a shorter one for forks. Or, organize all your desk accessories so that everything has a place. This set is made of plastic, and requires no tools to install.
31. The mini fridge you can take on a road trip
Keep your lunch — or a few cold beverages — right at your desk. Or, better yet, keep them in your car. This little fridge is super portable and plugs into a standard wall outlet or the cigarette lighter in your vehicle. It holds six cans of beer or soda, so it's also the perfect cooler to bring to a tailgate party. And when winter is back and you want soup instead of a cold one, it can heat your food up. It has a handle on top, so it's easy to carry from one place to another.
32. These reusable food bags made with silicone
These reusable food storage bags will help you get rid of your single-use plastic bags, which are expensive over time (and kind of terrible for the environment). These stand up on their own. You can put them in the microwave and the dishwasher. Plus, they seal tight — without any spills. There's a little slider bar that seals them closed, but they come off for cleaning so you never have to wash a zipper.
33. This Blink Mini Smart Security Camera
Get notifications on your phone when motion is detected with this super easy-to-install Blink smart security camera. It also lets you have a conversation over the camera thanks to the two-way audio feature. For less than $25 while it's on sale, it's an easy way to add peace of mind to your home, even if it's just to check on your pet. With more than 40,000 ratings and 4.5 stars overall, it's a popular pick.
34. This box to help keep wires safe from cats, kids, and chaos
My cat tends to chew on the cords underneath my desk. This cable box stops that and tidies up the pile by boxing it all up. To set it up, lift the lid, drop the power strip in, run the cords through the opening space at the top, and put the lid back on. When you want to plug something into the power strip, just flip the top up and plug it in. It doesn't make using the power strip any more difficult.
35. A hanging laundry hamper for small spaces
A laundry hamper is necessary for keeping worn linens sorted and ready for laundry day. But usually, they have a big footprint for something that serves only one purpose. This laundry hamper takes up less space, because it hangs from the back of a door. It holds a surprising amount of laundry and is waterproof, so you can throw anything in it. When it's time to do laundry, you can take the bag with you.
36. This clever outlet cover that lights your way in the dark
Need some glow in the kitchen or bathroom so you can find your way around without turning on the bright lights? If so, replace your outlet covers with these lighted ones, which throw a soft light when the room is dark. Since they work with a sensor, they'll turn off again when it's daytime (or when you turn the overhead lights on). So when you're stumbling into the kitchen looking for a glass of water at 3 a.m., you won't have to turn on a light. However, you'll never notice anything different about them in the daytime.
37. The missing piece in your DIY haircut plan
Been cutting your own hair with clippers? It's so easy and so much cheaper than getting a haircut. But doing the back is a challenge, right? This cutting guide lets you get that straight edge in the back that makes your haircut look sharp and professionally done. You wear it while you shave and it creates a bumper that's straight and hard to cross with the clippers, even when you can't see back there. You can vary the angle of the line depending on where you wear the strap in the front.
38. The portable silicone straws you can keep in your pocket
In some restaurants, you can't get a drink with a disposable straw — and in others, you can only find paper straws. These collapsible silicone straws give you the best of both worlds. They're soft on your teeth and easy to clean, because they come with a cleaning brush. They're also portable, so you can always have one with you. Each one comes with a tiny case and a cleaner, and they clip to your key chain so you can always have one on hand. Plus, the straws are long enough to fit whatever big cup you'd like to drink out of. This is a four-pack.
39. A whitening toothpaste made with activated charcoal
Your dentist might charge a fortune to whiten your teeth, and doing it yourself with whitening trays requires commitment. This activated charcoal toothpaste whitens while you brush, though. Unlike other whiteners and toothpastes on the market, this one is vegan and free of fluoride and peroxide. It's also made with coconut oil and fresh mint, so it'll taste super refreshing.
40. The electric callus remover that you can use in the shower
This electric device — which, yes, is waterproof — is an easy way to get rid of calluses and rough skin without resorting to a spa pedicure. Take a shower and sit down. Then, choose an attachment that suits your needs. (There are three of them to choose from, including light, regular, and extra-coarse.) When you're done, your feet will be soft, smooth, and ready for flip-flops.
41. This workout belt with pockets for your necessities
This clever belt solves the eternal problem of where to put your phone and keys — and maybe a bit of cash — when you go for a jog, walk, or bike ride. Pull it on like a pair of pants and you'll have plenty of pockets for everything. These pockets fit snug so your phone won't bounce around and your keys won't jingle. Keep a set of headphones in one of the pockets and you'll always be ready to queue up a book or some tunes. This could easily become everyday wear.
41. This ergonomic shaver for those hard-to-reach places
Hairy backs can be a thing of the past with this sleek, ergonomic back shaver. It features an elongated, comfortable handle so you can easily hit all those hard-to-reach places, and the included set of safety blades ensures that you can safely shave even those spots that you can't see. Over 12,000 shoppers on Amazon have given this grooming tool an overall 4.5-star rating, and it's backed by a 90-day guarantee.
42. An ottoman bench that hides the clutter in your living room
I love furniture that does more than one thing. A couch that's also a bed? Absolutely. An ottoman or bench that stores your shoes or blankets? Yes. This storage ottoman would be great in a mud room for shoes and sporting equipment, but it looks enough like furniture to keep in the living room for toys or blankets. Put your feet up on it or take a seat when it's closed and filled up. When you aren't using it, it folds up for storage.