People use these 45 cheap, genius things every day & wish they'd bought them sooner

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by Christina X. Wood
Originally Published: 

Have you ever discovered that other people know something you don’t and end up kicking yourself for the time, energy, and frustration you wasted due to this ignorance? Here’s an example. I once dropped my keys into a storm drain and nearly cried because, in my experience, there was no way to retrieve them. But the friend I was with shrugged, went to his car, pulled out a lighted tool, plucked them out, and handed them to me. Apparently, the rest of the world knew about this telescoping magnetic pickup tool, too. I instantly bought one but I still wonder how many other things are like that. So I looked into it. And I discovered that people use these cheap, genius things every day and wish they'd bought them sooner.

There are so many brilliant solutions here. For example, I am surprised that everyone doesn’t use motion-activated light sockets to convert the laundry room, attic, or garage to hands-free lights because it makes life so much easier and costs so little. I can’t believe how long I accepted that there was no good place to put a razor in the shower when the solution to that problem is so simple and cheap. And I have read enough dystopian fiction to know that when the lights go out, I’ll be glad that I’m the one that has a lighter that will never run out of fuel.

How many of these solutions do you already know about? And which ones will you wish you bought sooner? Scroll on for more clever finds.

1. This draft stopper that also stops noise and bugs

Noisy neighbors, escaping air conditioning, and an excess of spiders can all be stopped with this simple and effective door draft stopper. Just choose a color to match your space, cut it to size, and stick it to the bottom of the door to create an insulated seal on interior or exterior doors.

2. A set of colorful shelf liners for the fridge

Freshen up the fridge, make your produce last longer, and create an interior that’s easier to clean with these colorful, cushiony shelf liners. They are made from a porous foam that creates a soft place for fruits, quiets the sounds of glass against glass, and absorbs humidity.

3. This set of motion-activated light sockets

It’s so simple to create laundry rooms, closets, attics, and garages that light when you enter and go dark when you leave with these motion-activated light sockets — in fact, it’s weird that every rarely-used space isn’t set up this way. Just screw in the light socket, set how long you want the light to stay on after movement stops, and add a lightbulb.

4. This sponge that quickly defogs the windshield

When your windshield fogs up, you don’t want to fiddle with the vents and wait for the air to clear it up because you need to see through it, right now. Keep this windshield cleaner sponge within reach and wipe away whatever fog or condensation is obstructing your view. It works wet or dry and won’t leave fingerprints or smudges that make matters worse.

5. A 2-pack of drain stoppers that keep water in the tub

Whether you’re taking a bath in the tub or washing dishes in the kitchen sink, these large universal drain stoppers create a seal to hold water in. Sold in a two-pack, the drain stoppers are made from durable, flexible silicone that’s dishwasher-safe. Choose from five colors.

6. These garden lights that don’t need an outlet

Dress up your outdoor space by simply hanging these solar lights in trees, from fences, or along railings and setting the solar charging station somewhere sunny. They charge during the day, come on when it’s dark, and illuminate your space for hours until they run out of charge. You never have to turn them on or off and you don’t have to do any wiring.

7. A soothing body wash with a delightful tingle

This tea tree oil body wash can help soothe itchy, irritated skin as it cleanses and deodorizes. In addition to tea tree oil, it’s infused with peppermint, eucalyptus, aloe, coconut oil, and other natural ingredients. The invigorating body wash has earned a 4.5-star rating with more than 20,000 reviews.

8. A plug-in deodorizer that removes germs with UV-C light

This pluggable air sanitizer reduces odors and uses UV-C light to remove airborne germs. The compact 7-inch deodorizer is easy to plug in anywhere and it rotates 180 degrees to fit your space. One UV-C bulb is included, and it will last up to eight months before you need to replace it.

9. This treatment that quickly restores wood surfaces

You don’t have to accept scratches, sun fade, or that water ring on your coffee table from a wet or hot cup. This unique surface treatment — and a little elbow grease — will restore surfaces in a few minutes, without stripping existing finish. Just buff on with a soft cloth then wipe off, and watch the damage disappear. Nine shades match almost any wood. Reviewers love it, with 10,000 of them giving an average of 4.5 stars.

10. A dryer vent cleaning kit that will save you money

This vent cleaner kit attaches to your vacuum to quickly remove lint buildup from the dryer. Not only is this kit affordable, but it will also save you money because running a dryer with clogged vents wastes power, damages your appliance, and can be dangerous. Reviewers give this tool over 6,000 five-star reviews.

11. A pack of cable clips so wires behave

Instead of letting charging wires run rampant on your desk or hide behind the bedside table, clip them into one of these silicone cable holders and keep them right where you want them. There are three sizes in this package so you can create exactly the charging station you need. Just peel the adhesive backing, apply them to any smooth surface, and clip your wires in.

12. This oil sprayer for easy food flavoring

Add the perfect amount of flavoring to any dish with this olive oil sprayer — all you have to do is push the top button to mist your food with oil. The container is made from glass and stainless steel, it holds over 3 fluid ounces, and works great for vinegar, lemon, soy sauce, and any liquid you want to spray on foods.

13. These stretchy and clear lids for food storage

Instead of transferring leftovers to a storage container, just cover your bowl, cup, can, or fruit with these durable silicone stretch lids. They seal tight, are clear so you can see what’s in there, and accommodate many shapes of container. This set of 14 lids includes seven sizes, including a small cover to fit a glass, a big one that stretches to a 12-inch diameter, and incremental sizes in between.

14. This box for hiding messy cables

Once you put a power strip and all those plugs, cords, and wires inside this cable management box, you'll wonder why you waited so long. This organizer has air vents to prevent overheating, entry and exit ports for wires in the back, and come in two sizes. Choose black or white.

15. This liner so you don’t have to clean the oven

If you are planning to cook something that might boil over, spill cheese, or drip oil into the bottom of your oven, save yourself a lot of time and frustration by setting one of these nonstick oven liners on the rack below. It withstands temperatures up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, cleans up easily, and can be cut with scissors to fit your oven or microwave.

16. This in-car trash can with storage

You will be amazed at how much easier it is to keep your vehicle clean with this waterproof car trash can installed on a seat back or hanging from the console. It has a push-through top to contain trash, pockets to store sundries like tissues or wipes, and comes with a starter pack of trash liners.

17. This cell phone holder that’s easy to mount on the dashboard

This cell phone holder uses adhesive backing to mount on the dashboard, keeping your phone at a comfortable viewing angle. The base is made from textured silicone and allows for one-handed operation, so you can easily mount your phone and grab it once you reach your destination. The holder is compatible with most phones and comes in four colors.

18. These sturdy self-adhesive hooks

Create instant storage space with this two-pack of self-adhesive hooks. The stainless steel hooks are incredibly easy to install — just peel and stick — and work on any smooth wall. You can choose from silver and black, and they’re also available in a four-pack.

19. This pocket for the gap next to your car’s console

After you install these car seat organizers that fit neatly between the front seats and center console, you will never have to waste time digging around under the seat for the keys, glasses, or the phone you dropped through that gap. These pockets block the gap so that won’t happen and they give you a handy place to store everything you want to keep within reach.

20. A desk that snaps onto your steering wheel

The first time you pull over and eat your take-out food in the car on a table that keeps your drink handy and the sauces from spilling into your lap, you’ll wonder how you managed in-car meals before. This steering wheel desk stores flat and out of the way and snaps on quickly so you can work or eat more comfortably in the car.

21. These markers that repair furniture

This is a complete furniture repair kit — with eight markers, eight wax sticks, and a sharpener — for fixing marks, scratches, and dings on all the wood surfaces in your home. For scratches and discoloration, choose a marker that matches the color and draw over the blemish. For deeper dings, opt for the wax crayons that fill as well as color. It’s fun to do and very effective.

22. These helpful LED flashlight gloves

If you are working on a car, fishing in the dark, or walking the dog at night, these LED flashlight gloves are extremely helpful. Two bright LEDs on the thumbs and index fingers are controlled by the switch on the back of your hand in these useful, stretch-to-fit polyester gloves.

23. These silicone sponges that smell like peaches

Silicone makes a terrific sponge material because it’s soft and durable, and this three-pack of peach-colored — and scented — silicone sponges have a textured surface that scrubs dishes clean. But they don’t absorb water, so they dry quickly, and that means they don’t mildew or cause odors in your kitchen.

24. These bands that keep sheets on the mattress

It’s annoying when the sheets constantly come off the mattress but the solution is so simple you will kick yourself for not buying these Bed Bands sooner. Just attach these elastic bands to the sheets and loop them under the mattress. Then use the adjustable cord lock button to loosen or tighten them so they fit the bed perfectly. Users love them and give them almost 11,500 five star reviews.

25. This shoe repair glue that’s so easy to use

If you are someone who throws shoes away when the sole starts falling apart or the shoe develops a hole or rip, this waterproof shoe glue will save you a lot of money and trouble. You can use it to glue things back together, patch holes, and add traction to soles. It seals permanently and protects shoes at the same time.

26. This garden sprinkler for green grass and fun

This highly adjustable and targetable lawn sprinkler will let you direct water exactly where your grass needs it, so it stays green without wasting water. And, while the grass is getting a drink, invite the kids to play in the fun spray for a refreshing outing.

27. This bamboo cookbook stand with adjustable viewing angles

Not only does this bamboo cookbook stand make it easier to read recipes while you’re cooking, but it’s also a great stand for a tablet, smartphone, or laptop. The durable stand has three adjustable angles for comfortable viewing, and it folds down flat for convenient storage when it’s not in use.

28. This brush set that turns your power drill into a cleaning tool

Scrub the tub, buff the car, or clean the grout with these scrub brush power drill attachments. Sold in a set of four, there’s a round brush, ball brush, sponge brush, and scrubber brush to take on whatever cleaning job you have, whether it’s a delicate car finish or a filthy shower stall.

29. This adapter that connects your phone to the car

If your car isn’t connected enough to let you listen to Spotify or take phone calls through its speakers, this wireless Bluetooth transmitter will fix that. Plug it into the lighter, connect it to an FM station, and suddenly your car and phone are connected. You can even see who is calling on the LCD display and plug devices into its USB port.

30. This cup holder that lets you drive with your big bottle

If you love your giant water bottle but it’s too big to take on the go, this car cup holder will fix that. Just drop it into your car’s cup holder and it creates an expanded-size holder that fits bottles up to 3.8 inches in diameter, so your beverage can ride shotgun and keep you hydrated on the road.

31. This stick-on lighting strip that’s motion-activated

If you've ever stood in front of a dim closet, stairs, or another dark area and wished for better light, you will be shocked at how easy that is to fix with these motion-activated lights that stick wherever you want. They’ll turn on when motion is detected and turn off automatically, too. The strip lights are battery-powered (sold separately) so you don’t need to do any wiring.

32. This moldable putty that can fix anything

Is there anything this moldable putty can’t fix? Just take the putty out of its container and mold it to suit your need, whether it’s fixing a leaky pipe, repairing furniture, appliances, and toys, or sealing cracks in concrete. The putty turns from blue to white when it cures, so your repairs will appear seamless.

33. A power strip that’s perfect for home or travel

This compact power strip would make a terrific charging station for a desk — with nine outlets and three USB ports — because it plugs directly into the wall and swivels so you can angle the strip in whatever way works for your situation. Its small size also makes it perfect as a travel outlet for hotel rooms where there aren’t enough power options for all your gear.

34. This reusable fridge deodorizer that works with baking soda

All you have to do to freshen up your fridge is place this fun, non-toxic refrigerator deodorizer inside. There are no filters required — just fill the penguin-shaped deodorizer with baking soda as needed and let it get to work absorbing odors in the fridge.

35. These multipurpose silicone mats for the kitchen

These multipurpose silicone mats are so helpful to have in the kitchen. They’re made from heat-resistant, food-safe silicone and can be used in the microwave to prevent messes from food splatter and spills. You can also use them as trivets, potholders, placemats, and more. Choose from three colors.

36. A genius key holder that’s right where you want it

These magnetic holders provide a brilliant place to put your keys when you walk in the door. They replace the screw that holds your light switch cover to the wall, so installing them is a matter of a simple swap. Plus, the magnets are strong enough to hold even your heavy keyring.

37. A complete shower storage solution

You can stop struggling to find a place for your bath products once you install these adhesive stainless steel shower caddies. The set includes two caddies and one soap holder, so there’s plenty of room for all your toiletries, plus convenient hooks for a loofah, washcloth, and razor.

38. This signal extender that brings internet to every corner

If your Wi-Fi doesn’t reach the garage, attic, or bedrooms, just plug this tiny Wi-Fi extender into an outlet and it will expand your signal by another 1,200 square feet. It works with whatever router you have, connects up to 20 devices, and has a simple push-button setup.

39. This rice washer that’s a terrific strainer

This small grains strainer is made for washing rice. It’s designed to strain at the ideal rate to wash impurities and starch from rice, quinoa, or your fave grain. Small, square holes prevent even the smallest grains from slipping through, and make it ideal for washing everything from beans to berries, and there’s a pour spout if you want to offload water with speed.

40. A stainless steel watermelon slicer

Just push this watermelon cutter into your halved fruit and it will quickly turn a whole watermelon into small cubes that are perfect for fruit salads or snacking. The slicer has non-sharp blades and rounded edges for safety. It’s fun, fast, and also comes with a melon baller.

41. This electric lighter that never runs out of fuel

Take this electric lighter with you camping, hunting, fishing, or into the zombie apocalypse because, because when all the other lighters are wet or out of fuel, this one will still light. It’s IP56 waterproof, durable, charges via USB, and comes in eight colors.

42. This portable fan that clips to your waistband

Don’t let the heat get to you — just use this personal clip-on fan and create your own private breeze to stay cool. You can clip the rechargeable fan to your waistband, wear it on a lanyard around your neck, or carry it by hand, and it offers three speed settings. Choose from black and green.

43. A wireless charger for all your tech

This charging station is where you will put your phone, smartwatch, earbuds, and stylus at the end of the day because you don’t have to fumble with any wires — just plug in the station and it charges everything — and it keeps everything organized and tidy. It’s capable of fast charging, your phone will be in landscape or portrait position, and the angle of the phone is adjustable.

44. This telescoping magnetic pickup tool

This simple magnetic pickup tool is a must-have for every toolkit because when you drop your keys, screws, or other metal items, it helps get your stuff back. It comes with two telescoping sizes — one that extends up to 22 inches, and one that’s ultra slim for tight spaces. Each has a powerful magnet that grabs your dropped item and brings it back to you, and the larger one has an LED light at the end for easy spying.

45. This storage container that holds a big bag of rice

If you buy your rice in big bags, this clever container will store it, dispense it, and display it nicely on a counter. Just push the button and it delivers rice — or other grains or cereal — into the cup below, with accompanying scale. A window shows you how much rice you have, and it holds up to 25 pounds.

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