Tool of the Trade: What Small Purchase Has Made Your Life Better?

Small purchases that make your life betterI saw an article on Lifehacker (I think?) a few weeks ago about small purchases that make your life markedly better. One of the things listed was a 6-foot-long lightning charger which, as soon as I saw it, I said, ACK, I have that, and it HAS made my life so much better. I primarily use mine to plug in on my bedside table while I’m sleeping so I can use the SleepCycle app, but I always grab it when I travel and it just makes everything better in hotel rooms, at the airport, or at other random “have outlet, will charge” kind of places. (Another good thing to throw in your bag: a three-sided wall tap.) So I thought we’d have a fun little “Tool of the Trade” feature: What small purchase has made your life markedly better? What small thing brings you joy, makes your life easier or more efficient, and otherwise makes you grateful for buying? I’ve got a few purchases that I’ll share…


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I’ve mentioned before how much I love my Bluetooth keyboard. It’s super lightweight, seems to never run out of batteries (I only turn it on when I’m using it), fits in most of my bags, and means that if I get 20–30 minutes to myself I can be super productive. Mine is $23, but there’s also this teenier one if you’re seriously missing your BlackBerry days, OR this bestselling keyboard with a pretty backlighting feature.
I’m late to the party on Turkish towels, but as every 20-something backpacker knows: they’re kind of awesome. If you want a super thin, packable, affordable towel (that’s as big as a bath sheet!) to take with you to the beach, keep in your car or gym bag, or even pull out for a quick picnic, it’s really hard to go wrong. (Oh: and mine dry SUPER quickly — certainly in under an hour, although I’ve never timed it.) I’ve gotten some for $10–$20 on Amazon, but I also saw recently that Nordstrom has them for $27 if you’d prefer to deal with a known seller.
Fake plants: my dirty little secret. Or rather, my non-dirty, spillproof, non-bug-attracting, no-thought-required-after-purchase little secret. Something about having greenery around really makes me happy, but we got rid of all our houseplants as part of babyproofing. (Some plants are poisonous or at least “not good to eat” if you’ve got a little one around, and I’d acquired a bunch of random plants through the years. My husband and I decided that it was easier to give them away than to try to identify what the heck they were and which were the safe ones.) I’ve had good luck with the brand Nearly Natural, but I’ve also heard great things about ZGallerie’s selection.
I believe I have a reader to thank for this — someone mentioned these roomy, mold-resistant shower caps, and they’re just about as fabulous as a $7 shower cap can be. (Ugly as sin, though, for sure.) While we were at the beach a few weeks ago, I forgot my shower cap at home and had to use the backup I keep in my suitcase — i.e., actually use the lousy shower cap you get at hotels. No comparison. If you like to take showers without washing your hair, a good shower cap is a must

Readers, do you have any small purchases that make you happy? What makes your life run more efficiently — gives you a lot of bang for your buck, so to speak?

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Picture at top (thumbs up) via Stencilrandom purchases that make your life more efficient

Comments

  1. I consider her small. My 22 lb mini labradoodle has made my life WAY better. There’s nothing like coming home from a $hitty day to a pup that is crazy excited to love on you. She’s not a small responsibility, but she is awesome.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      +1 Not exactly small in price or responsibility or costs, but my little chihuahua-mix puppy has made my life infinitely better.

    • Anonymous :

      That’s my answer too – my 18 pound chihuahua mix brings me so much happiness every single day.

    • Veronica Mars :

      + 2 – Forget a fitbit, my dog makes me get up every 2-3 hours to take him out! (I know, he’s spoiled, but it really helps break up my work day).

  2. In-House in Houston :

    Snap chat. At first I thought it was just for teenage girls to send inappropriate photos, but I use it daily to keep up with family and friends. Yes, you can text photos and videos through your phone, but Snap Chat makes it so easy and you can do so many fun things with it. I really feel connected to those who I snap on a daily (multiple times a day).

    • So true – I feel like I can share the mundane oddities of life with my friends no longer living in the same city as me. Its been a great tool for when I see something in a store or around town that reminds me of them and I can just go, saw this and thought of you! Yea, I could text that to them – but then its in my camera roll and then gets backed up and just ends up cluttering things up there and annoying me.

  3. Wanderlust :

    A Spotify subscription- I love music, but I hate curating my own music, and I hate commercials. They make a weekly playlist for me, and I’m almost never disappointed. I listen to Spotify on my commute, while working out, while making dinner, everything.

    • New Job, Who Dis :

      omg yes. My husband upgraded me to a family plan with the no commercials… honestly I’m such a music person and Spotify makes my life 110% better

    • I use Pandora, but same thing – I constantly have music running, with good variety, but I don’t have to curate it myself. My regular stations have even turned me on to new artists in my genre, adding that much more enjoyment to my music listening. And +1 to the no-commercials version.

  4. A sunglasses case — I no longer scratch up and need to replace my sunglasses every 3 months.

  5. The turbie towel (or whatever the generic brand they sell at CVS is called)- I put my hair up in it right after the shower, and my hair towel dries and stays off my face while I’m doing my makeup. At $5 or so each, I have one at my apartment, my sisters, my moms, etc….

  6. A turbie towel, also on Amazon, it’s a highly absorbant towel that has cut 5-8 minutes off my blow dry time. And it’s easier to walk around with it on than a towel.

    • Constant Reader :

      +1 can also get at Bed Bath and Beyond in a two-pack

    • +2

      Commented same thing but my comment got eaten.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      Off of this, a pack of three microfiber towels. One is my dog-bath towel, and the other two are used to towel dry my hair. So much faster than air-drying.

    • The turbie towel didn’t work for me for some reason, but we recently bought a bunch of microfiber towels and they are AWESOME. We send them with the kids for daycare splash day, carry one in each car to dry off wet playgrounds, and I use them to dry my hair.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        I also bought microfiber washcloths. I keep 6 in the kitchen and 6 in the bathroom and they get used to wash my face, mop up spills, quickly wipe off the countertops, etc. Love them.

    • I had this AMAZING one from Target sold in a 2-pack. My husband used one as a dust rag (he’s basically dead to me now) and the other is used so heavily I need a backup but they don’t sell them anymore. They were way more powerful than the Bed Bath & Beyond version I had – if anyone knows of an even upgraded one I would love to know!

  7. Constant Reader :

    Kitchen: instant read meat thermometer, because I’m the type of person that worries about the chicken being cooked to a safe temperature, and now I don’t.

    Fashion/wearables:
    A watch. My expensive one needs a new battery, but my under $50 sport Timex is just fine for the time being, and I bashed my discount Skagen from Nordstrom Rack and am still mourning it.

    Fashion Tape. Could not live without it. Solves shirt bust gap, wayward collars/lapels, emergency hem repair, gaping necklines, and makes scarves do impossible gravity-defying frothy and swoopy arrangements on my necklines.

    Bath/Beauty: Shisheido eyelash curler. Way better than the alternatives.

    Tech: These are free: installing LastPass password manager on my phone. Reduces password/account frustration by orders of magnitude. White Noise App for falling asleep to crickets and frogs so I don’t hear my tinnitus.

    • LastPass is the BEST thing in the world. Definitely one of those things that if I had to pare down subscriptions that I would not cancel. It also really simplifies managing the household with DH as we can share passwords easily to accounts like our utilities and whatnot when the other makes it.

    • MsMaryMary :

      A white noise app is essential, especially when I travel. It’s a lifesaver when you’re stuck in a room by the elevators or ice machine. I don’t use it every night at home, but it’s great if you want to drown out late night neighbors or whatever your guests might be doing in the guest room. I’ve even used it when my dog gets riled up about some nighttime critter outside and I want him to stop barking and go back to sleep.

  8. Not cheap, but I love my Apple watch for getting real time test and call updates at work. It’s nice to be able to be stealthy in a meeting and I don’t miss calls anymore.

  9. Anonymous :

    I bought a silicone thing that suction cups over the overflow drain on my bathtub so I can fill the tub up ALL THE WAY! I take baths almost daily so it was life changing for me.

  10. Help me not discriminate :

    I kicked off an work engagement with an individual contractor. We are getting to the point where the pedal will hit the metal and the engagement will last ~90 days or more.

    I just had an in-person meeting with this individual, after 2 months of online-only contact. She is pregnant, and looks like she is due right in the middle of this planned engagement. Nothing was said about it.

    Am I wrong to be incredibly p!ssed off? Not that she is pregnant, good for her…I am angry that she obviously is not proactively planning coverage plans. I hired her to deliver a set of services during a specific timeframe and she appears obviously incapable of being available during the period that this project must take place (major tax liabilities if she does not complete on time).

    How should I handle this? We haven’t signed engagement paperwork yet, but it feels icky to dump her and frankly I’ve invested HOURS in training this person and preparing them to deliver what I need (pun, ha).

    • Two things jump out in this that you should be sure of before proceeding with anything:
      “she obviously is not proactively planning coverage plans” and “she appears obviously incapable of being available”

      Is it obvious? Maybe she is planning? Does her personal availability matter if she has coverage?

      Until you know that she IS affirmatively NOT planning coverage, and get beyond appearances and assumptions to certainty and facts, you won’t be able to do anything that won’t smack of discrimination. I understand being mad, but I also understand that you don’t want to create trouble. Good luck!

    • Anonymous :

      Ask her what her plans are.

    • I would have asked her about it at the end of the in-person meeting assuming she still hadn’t mentioned her pregnancy — “do you anticipate your pregnancy necessitating a plan for coverage in case you’re not available?”

    • Yeah, this is pretty discriminatory already. You have no idea that she is “incapable of being available.” As an individual contractor, she’s self-employed, so her “maternity leave” is probably her sending emails and managing your project from her couch while she nurses. Who are you to say she can’t do that?

    • just Karen :

      Also – you said it “looks like” she is due right in the middle of the 90 day engagement. People vary enormously in how they carry, and I don’t think you can really tell how pregnant someone is when you just met them. People thought I was about to pop when I was 6 months in on my (first/only/single) pregnancy.

    • Just want to chime in to also say you don’t *know* she is pregnant. My SIL miscarried at 6 months and walked around for a few weeks with a baby bump afterwards. She burst into tears when a sales person excitedly asked her about her baby. Certainly was not the salesperson’s fault, but ever since then I don’t say a peep about pregnancy until the person says to my face “I’m pregnant.” I also had a friend who it turned out had a tumor and cancer. She looked pregnant and most certainly was not. Her tumor was the size of a baby watermelon and popping out of her abdomen. Other people’s bodies are just not my business.

      Aside from my advice of keeping to yourself, if you are concerned about coverage, the best way to approach this would be to not say pregnancy at all and just say, “Because time is of the essence in this project, how do you feel about being able to meet these timelines/milestones/goals/whatever? Do we need to discuss alternative schedules or contingency plans before we officially sign?” That way, she can tell you what she needs to tell you (i.e. I am pregnant but due in 4 months, I am confident we can meet this deadline in 2 months or I am pregnant and due in 4 months, I am confident we can meet this deadline in 3 months and here is our fully fleshed contingency plan in the event I personally cannot… or whatever!)

      The truth is even if you hired a man, he could come down with a freak staph infection in a month or have a heart attack or whatever and you can’t control for that, so focus on knowing what you need to know (can this deadline be met).

      • Lorelai Gilmore :

        Nutella: I love your last paragraph. So smart.

      • Wow. Amazingly, well written response. Along with most of what you mentioned, when I was reading the initial post, I was thinking that what if it was a male who was expecting a baby around this deadline? Would you feel the same? In many cases (mine!), dad was just as available/unavailable as me when I was in the hospital giving birth and for the first few weeks that followed.

  11. Anonymous :

    Sonicare toothbrush. Just went to the dentist. Last time was in mid-2015 (I’m usually twice a year but . . . life). I was told I had tartar at the level some people have after 4 months. They always ask if I’m using an electric toothbrush because they are so much cleaner than others’ teeth.

  12. anon a mouse :

    Not a specific product, but I bought scissors for just about every room in the house where I might need them and labeled them “kitchen,” “office,” etc. No more scissor-hunts!

  13. Anonymous :

    Metal sliding roll out under cabinet trays (by any of simple human, rev-a-shelf, or lynx chrome under cabinet). We installed these all over at our last house in the kitchens and bathrooms and they are fantastic. We just moved this past weekend to a new house and haven’t finished installing them here yet and it’s truly incredible the difference between having and not having them. It is so nice not to have to crouch down or get down on your hands and knees to find something in the back of an under counter cabinet.

    They’re not cheap, but make life so, so, so much better.

    • I had custom designed my last kitchen via a hardware store and the cabinet sliders were something I assumed was standard. When I moved to my new house they weren’t there and suddenly my kitchen couldn’t fit anything. I finally figured out the way I wanted to use each cabinet and when I saw a sale at Home Depot with free shipping I jumped on it and installed them. I even converted a skinny little cabinet to a pull out one for cookie sheets and cutting boards. I then cut down the lower shelves and added more to my upper cabinets and I can fit so much in now and I don’t have to strain to get to anything. Totally worth it.

  14. Sloan Sabbith :

    1. Amazon Basics lightning cords. Love those things, they seem indestructible, and they’re cheap.
    2. A pack of 12 pens that I just kept in my office drawer. I hate hate hate the pens we have at the office, but for a few months I could never find a pen I liked. Having a pack of 12 means that even if I bring a few home I never am totally lacking.
    3. A phone case with a pocket in the back for my ID, bus pass, and debit card. Game changer.
    4. Lip balm at work, at home on my counter and in my most-often-carried purse. All the same. I like one type of lip balm and I kept misplacing it or leaving it at work.
    5. 6 pairs of barre socks, because I don’t do laundry enough to have clean socks if I only have 2-3 pairs.

    • KateMiddletown :

      Can I ask you what pens you use? I am that kind of nerd, too.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        Pilot G2s, .38mm tip. Love them. Refillable ink, the larger mm tips come in a ton of colors, and I find they last for a really long time.

        • anon in sv :

          These are also my pens and I also buy them myself.

        • Hahaha, ditto! Love my G2s, esp. because they come in an ultra-dark navy blue that I vastly prefer to either blue or black ink.

        • Meg March :

          Love my G-2s, but I prefer the thicker .7s. Just bought a big pack for law school.

        • Ditto, but I like the extra fine and have been buying them for years. when everyone in my office started using them, our office manager finally started ordering them.

      • Anonymous :

        I love the Pentel Energel Deluxe 0.5mm needle tip in black. It’s the only kind of pen I will use in my office. I have a box of them that I ordered from Amazon and had them sent straight to the office, as well as a box of pen refills (cheaper that way than reordering another box of pens). I have given them to friends at the office and they always get upset if they lose their “special” pen or if it runs out of ink. Clearly, I’m a pen nerd too.

    • +1 for lip balm everywhere. Every drawer (home & work), all my purses / work totes / backpacks. Cheap & easier than hunting around for it!

  15. Surge protectors with flat, square bases and several USB ports. We each have one on our side of the bed, and I have them in my guest room so that you always have a place to plug in without searching! I love them! (Joto brand on amazon)

    Those, plus the 6ft long iphone cords.

    • In that vein, also crooknosed interlocking forceps (similar on Amazon under “curved hemostat”, I like the 8 inch locking). The solution to when the copier or printer jams after staff goes home or your favorite pen falls behind the credenza.

    • Anonymous :

      Similarly, my husband installed several outlets that include USB ports alongside regular outlets in key locations in our apartment. We still need a USB cable but not an adapter.

  16. We bought some surgical towels and use them constantly in the kitchen as dishrags, potholders, mops, chair covers for kids.

  17. PS. The original article was on USA Today. 15 Products under $40 that Totally Changed my Life

  18. I got two mesh top zip cases at a conference: one a six inch square that holds power cords, chargers, small headphones and earbuds and one an 11 by 4 inch that holds pencils, pens, highlighters, post-its etc. Keeping both of those stocked at all times and being able to throw both of those into a lit bag, my briefcase, or a travel tote has made life at work and home so much easier.

    Also, four pairs of Flexies reading glasses – one for work, one for my purse, one for my bedroom and one spare that usually lives on my kitchen charger. They are color coded so that I know if the pink ones are lying around somewhere, then they need to go to my bedroom. I always have a pair of cheaters on hand and always know where to find them. The $15-18 per pair investment is well worth never having to hunt in order to read.

  19. I just posted about this yesterday in a thread on meal delivery services, but I have been using a meal planning app, Mealime, that has changed my life. I used the free version for a few months and recently upgraded to the paid version ($49, I think). It has made my work-to-home transition so much easier, knowing I have everything I need to make a fairly quick and healthy dinner.

    • Anonymous :

      I use eMeals for low carb dinners. I made my husband and 15 year old daughter download the app. Now they can work on getting dinner started while I am still here at work.

  20. Closet lights. When we moved we had these installed in every closet and it’s been so helpful. The one closet that doesn’t have it seems super dark now even though it’s in a well lit area.
    Also: tongs with silicone tips on them so I don’t scratch up my pots and pans, and a tea caddy/organizer.

    Not sure this qualifies as “small” but my electric tea kettle is the best idea ever. It’s super quick and I never have to worry I left the oven on.

  21. Agree with so many of the above. Extra long phone charger, yes.

    Phone charger plug in part with two USB ports for travel.

    A separate extra electric toothbrush for travel (after forgetting my home toothbrush several times). I just get the $39.99 Braun rechargeable, and usually there’s a rebate, so I don’t know why I didn’t do this sooner.

    • Oh, and generally for travel, I do not repack cosmetics and toiletries every time. I have duplicates of everything that live in my suitcase full-time.

      On the last day of the trip I use the hotel notepad to write down what is low or empty and stick this note in my suitcase. Next time I travel I refil anything on this note and ignore the rest.

      • Anonymous :

        +1 to having travel toiletries and small sizes of all your products. I never pack any of my regular stuff. It makes packing so easy. I even have travel sized makeup brushes and flat iron.

      • Rebecca in Dallas :

        I do the same! It saves a lot of time packing.

      • +3 this is life-changing! When I’m packing to go home at the end of the trip, I add anything that is running low to a shopping list I keep on my iPhone so I can re-stock next time I’m at the store. I actually got home from a bachelorette party late last night (Sunday) and all I had to do was throw my clothes in the hamper and zip up and store my suitcase – I was unpacked in a matter of minutes.

  22. What a great post! I’m intrigued by these turbie towels…

    After a recent trip where DH and I bought several cups of coffee, I decided we needed travel reusable coffee tumblers. I found some collapsible silicone ones on Amazon. We saved 4 cups last weekend! They are small enough I can throw them in my purse on the weekends and easily pack them for vacations.

    • Oh, this is smart. We have a set of collapsible silicone cups–not mugs, no lids–that live in our suitcases so we can always have a cup in the hotel room, and then two for the inevitable wine-in-the-park picnic.

  23. Anonymous :

    A fine tipped Sharpie pen in my purse and on my fridge. I use them all the time for random stuff.

    • Anonymous :

      Along the same lines, I carry a regular Sharpie in my purse. It is awesome – line long for nametags at a conference? I can grab and go. Scuffed a heel? Cover it up. I’ve pulled it out a surprising number of times.

      • Yes! When I worked in sports, I always carried a black, gold, and silver sharpie, because you never knew what an athlete you were with would be asked to sign. I still carry a black one with me!!

  24. Metal shower drain hair catcher (posted about it last week – life changing for shedders like me), a wheeled laundry cart so I don’t have to schlep all of my laundry down to the basement laundry room in my building, and my SO just got me a cold brew kit (64 oz mason jar, special-sized filter that fits in the jar, and a spout lid) that makes several days worth of cold brew in one container instead of MacGyver-ing a paper filter + strainer + bowl + tupperware to make a small batch.

  25. 6ft phone charging cable & portable charger that fits in even my smallest wristlet

  26. Microfiber hair-drying towel. It gets a lot of the water out fast without snagging your hair–I usually air-dry my hair and this makes it go a lot faster. I think the one I have is from Aquis. I’d like to get another because the one I have is white and I don’t take it with me traveling because I’m afraid of mixing it up with hotel towels and leaving it behind.

  27. S in Chicago :

    4-way adapter for giving presentations. I do a fair amount of speaking in all sorts of places and my company uses Macs. Few places are Mac-friendly or the adapter they have on hand isn’t as modern a my MacBook Air. I love my computer and (more important) the programs I’ve loaded for live polling, my snippets of video, my familiarity with how to adjust screen ratio, etc. Now, no matter what the set-up, I’ll never be forced to stick something on a thumbdrive and “wing it” on a PC ever again.

    • Would you mind sharing the brand/model? I am always concerned about having to switch computers because I have the wrong adaptor, etc. I really like Keynote and it never exports seamlessly to PowerPoint if you have to switch. Thanks!

  28. I know this one sounds ridiculous but I live in the NE and keep my house pretty cool in the winter to save money.

    I got my dog a dog bed heating pad and it was seriously a life changer. She was always trying to sneak into our bed at night because she was cold and woke us up. With the heating pad, she now hangs out in her own bed all the time. It’s her favorite sleeping spot day or night. I got that tip from frugalwoods blog.

    I also put her in a dog sweater sometimes when its super cold. I save so much on heating bills and we are all cozy.

  29. Anonymous :

    Once I had a child, I started keeping a box of tissues in just about every room. I used to just grab some TP when I needed it, unless I had a cold. It gets used constantly.

  30. In-House in Houston :

    Ladies, what do you think of culottes? These caught my eye in a flash sale that Macy’s is having…

    https://www.macys.com/shop/product/olivia-grace-pleated-culottes?ID=4517965&CategoryID=62428&LinkType=&selectedSize=#fn=sp%3D6%26spc%3D3173%26ruleId%3D2|BS|BA%26slotId%3D616

    • I think there are good culottes out there but these are not good.

      Sorry.

      • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

        +1 Can be quite fashionable, but these are not. I recently bought the ones at the link below on sale.

        • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

          http://www.saksfifthavenue.com/main/ProductDetail.jsp?PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=845524447077523&R=885551772619&P_name=Tibi&Ntt=culottes&N=0&bmUID=lTIkSEP

  31. Sloan Sabbith :

    I forgot to add: my Ikea roskog cart. It holds my medical equipment in it, and I’m trying to figure out how to best mount an extension cord with a long cord on the back so it’s even more portable. Could be an awesome baby essentials cart or kitchen-to-patio cart or really anything.

  32. 1) Slice App – tracks all of my online purchases, let’s me easily find order confirmation emails, and automatically sends requests for price adjustments. I love that app.
    2) mesh packing cubes – my suitcase is super organized and I can fit more in my wheeled carry-on and sometimes avoid a checked bag altogether
    3) make-up bags in my purse – one for tech gear, one for makeup, one for random things. The only things loose in there now are my wallet, phone, and keys and it is so much easier to find everything
    4) soda stream – I drink a lot more water now
    5) mug warmer for my desk – I like hot beverages HOT; this thing saves me multiple trips to the office microwave everyday
    6) a second set of all tech cords for traveling, including a line-in cord for rental cars without Bluetooth. They live in my carry-on bag. No more hunting around for them or disconnecting them from my usual set up, and no more forgetting any at home.
    7) GearTies – for all of those travel cords and to keep other cords tidy
    8) another vote for a phone case that carries a few cards. My office has several internal locked doors that require a key card and there is no way I am going to wear my card on a lanyard or zip cord all day. I always have my phone with me anyway, so now I’m never locked out.
    9) Cutex cotton ball holder – remove a pedicure or polish from a single finger without damaging the rest of my manicure? Totally worth $2.50 for the $.05 of rubber it costs them to make these.
    10) micromesh clamshell lingerie bag for sports bras – my gym will wash whatever you can cram into the mesh laundry bag they give you. This is awesome, except the hooks on my sports Bras kept catching on the bag and getting warped or breaking. The micromesh clamshell keeps them protected.

    • +1 for the Slice app. I love that thing.

      • I too love the Slice App, but both it and the unroll.me app from the same organization do track all of your emails and sometimes sell anonymized information and I just wouldn’t want anyone to be uninformed. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/24/technology/personal-data-firm-slice-unroll-me-backlash-uber.html?_r=0

  33. Stephanie :

    Tubshroom for the bathtub drain, and the Boon Ray Drain Cover, which fits over the top of the Tubshroom.

    A small Jackery and a 6″ lightning cable, which fit even in a small crossbody/wristlet/wallet. I’m not sure if my Popsocket qualifies yet, but it sure is useful.

    Not small in cost, but small in size… iRobot Braava wet jet, Ringly.

  34. Cordless mouse with an awesome scrolly button and more programmable side buttons. The basic mouse my company provided was crap. Now I hit the scroll button once and it scrolls all the way through a document until I stop it! Seems like a small thing but I’m on my computer all day at work.

    Also a microfiber hair towel.

  35. So many of our favorites are already on here, but this is one I had never thought of and haven’t seen on here: left-handed tools. I am a righty but my husband is left-handed and now we have a set of kitchen tools just for him, which from what I hear sooooo much easier and therefore safer. I noticed he would always have to use the box cutter for certain tasks that I would use utility scissors for and I asked him why he didn’t have lefty scissors. It turned out he had never even *heard of* lefty scissors! (That broke my heart a little when I realized that he was doing things that were unnecessarily harder his whole life – I remember accidentally using lefty scissors as a kid, they are impossible!) So I set out to buy him lefty utility scissors and it turns out there is a whole store out there (like Ned Flanders Leftorium!) of things for lefties so he has utility scissors, a wooden spatula, a can opener, a box cutter, and even a knife with hollows on the right side for him. (We cook together a lot.) Also noticed when we registered that a lot of flatware is comfort-fitted for right handers. It was a world I had never even thought of!

    • Anonymous :

      THANK YOU for the reminder — I just ordered some left-handed scissors for my left-handed 4-year-old who is in a full-on craft phase and for whom I have been meaning to buy proper scissors for approximately one year!

      • Yes, it makes such a difference. I got really frustrated at that age with my kids teacher when they were complaining about his cutting skills not being great and in the next sentence admitting that they hadn’t bothered to try left handed scissors even though they realized he was a lefty. I now send a new pair with his name on them to school each year.

    • What is this store? My husband (and possibly son) is left-handed.

  36. Anonymous :

    I’m gonna say a proper toiletry bag from Eagle Creek for travels. I don’t know why it took me so darn long to get organized but it makes me feel so civilized!

  37. A small ceramic dish for next to my bed. I always put my engagement/wedding rings in there when I take them off at home, and I also keep a pretty tin of lip balm and tube of hand lotion in there as well. It’s so nice to always know where my rings are and to have lotion and lip balm on hand for middle of the night dryness or for just when I wake up in the morning and want to lay in bed. Also, because the dish and toiletries are so pretty, it makes me feel the tiniest bit like a fashion blogger (when I am definitely not one).

    Also, I hoard Sephora samples and the free shampoo/conditioner tear outs from magazines to use when traveling (hotel shampoo is the worst, 90% of the time).

  38. Sensors for our light switches. If the light is on and nobody is in the room for >10 min they go off. We use these in closets and bathrooms.

    We also have the sensors in the garage and entryway but programmmed to go on with movement. Game changer when your hands are full.

  39. I am VERY late to this party but silk pillowcases to help with my curly hair, a waterpik (I HATE flossing), and latex tape to help keep me tidy while painting my nails.

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