15 Things Under $20 That Will Radically Improve Your Life—Seriously
Peel an avocado painlessly, erase zits overnight, and Never. Drop. Your. Phone. Again.
A vacuum at your fingertips
The scene: Breakfast. Your toddler is eating their Cheerios peacefully until the dog comes bursting through the room, knocking the bowl to the floor. Quick, do you first a) comfort the child, b) put the dog outside, c) clean up the mess? Chances are, cleaning up wasn’t your first choice. In fact, at dinner that night you may be still crunching cereal under your feet. Why? Because vacuums are a pain. They’re big, noisy, and hard to maneuver. Fix that problem and clean your kitchen in a snap with the super affordable Dirt Devil combination stick- and hand- vac. (Dirt Devil Simpli-Stik Lightweight Vacuum Cleaner, $19.99) Time crunched? Here’s how to speed clean your kitchen in five minutes.
The perfect way to balance your phone
Chances are you’ve seen a teenager with a fancy colored circle on the back of their phone, but unlike lots of teen trends this one translates just as well (or even better?) to adults. Attach a Pop Socket (PopSocket, $9.99) to the back of your phone and you’ll never drop your phone again. Not only can you wrap your fingers around it but it will prop your phone up for easy hands-free viewing. Then simply collapse it when not in use and slide your phone into your pocket. Plus, with a million different colors and patterns they are a cheap way to add a little flare to your phone. Just make sure you’re following these 12 technology etiquette rules!
Avocados without the mess
From avocado toast to fresh guacamole, it’s safe to say avocados are having A Moment right now. There’s only one downside: The green fruit is a slippery mess to peel and slice, leading to painful cuts or worse. Sure, you could just be more careful when prepping them. Or you could get this handy avocado peeler and cutter and save yourself time and bloody cuts. Your choice. (OXO Good Grips 3-in-1 Avocado Slicer, $9.99) Stuck with a green avocado? Here’s how to ripen an avocado in under 10 minutes.
Make your makeup last all day
Nothing is more frustrating than taking the time to carefully apply a full face of makeup only to have it all slide off your face by lunchtime. You could buy expensive, high-end products designed to stay on all day. Or you could buy this simple setting spray. Mist it over your made-up face in the morning and your makeup will stay put through heat, sweat, light rain, and whatever mysterious force makes eye shadow vanish into the ether. (NYX Matte Cosmetics Setting Spray, $5.99) Want more beauty advice? Try these 47 ageless beauty tips from grandmas.
A charging station for every device
Finding a way to charge your phone, tablet, laptop, smartwatch, and other devices is a major concern these days (cue the First World Problems tiny violin). Having dead gadgets can seriously hamper your life and happiness, yet keeping track of the right chargers for each type of device is a Herculean task, or rather, a Gordian knot. Keep your desk tidy, your cords untangled, and your tech charged up with a portable power station, like this one from Vogek. It’s “smart” so it automatically asses the type of charging required by different devices and adjust accordingly. Just don’t charge your phone in bed! (Vogek 6-Port Charging Station, $15.99)
Dissolve a giant zit overnight
Sadly, acne isn’t one of the things that goes away as you grow up and most adults will wake up to find one or two (or five) painful blemishes on occasion. But you don’t have to accept morphing into Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer for your big presentation at work. These tiny hydrocolloid patches draw pus and oil out of the zit (the evidence of which you can admire later if you’re into that kind of thing) and drastically reduce acne redness and swelling. Best part: Because they use no medication they don’t dry out your skin. (CosRX Acne Pimple Master Patch, 24 count, $4.95) For more skincare tips, try these 17 tips dermatologists use themselves.
Prep a healthy lunch in under a minute
Salads are a great go-to lunch. They’re healthy, portable, and allow for nearly endless variety. (Try one of these 15 fresh salad ideas.) Yet they come with one fatal flaw: They can be a major pain to prepare. All that chopping! You could buy pre-made bagged salads. Or you could save money by using this salad cutter. Place any fruit or veggie under the dome, run the knife through the slots and you have perfectly sliced or chopped salad fixings. Now you have no excuse to hit up the vending machine for lunch! (Websun 60-Second Salad Maker, $10.99)
Go to the dentist guilt-free
Every time you go to the dentist you can count on hearing two things: Your dental insurance doesn’t cover anything useful and you should floss more. The former you can’t do much about (sadly) but the latter is totally under your control. If only flossing wasn’t such a pain! Behold the wonder of floss picks: They’re portable, disposable, discreet and they leave your teeth clean and fresh. Tuck a few into your purse, car, or bedside table and you can do a quick, satisfying de-junking of your teeth whenever you feel the urge—and never feel guilty going to the dentist again. (DenTek Fresh Clean Floss Pick, 75 count, $2.99)
Have a clean water supply anytime, anywhere
Clean water is a basic necessity of life many of us take for granted. But recent events have shown that our water supply can be more precarious than we think. Put your mind at ease with the LifeStraw, a simple, portable device that filters water on the spot. It’s perfect for hikers and campers or for anyone who just likes to be prepared. (LifeStraw, $14.99) Then move on to these 14 ways to get your home prepared for an emergency.
Organize your life
Be honest: How much of your life have you spent looking for lost things? (If your answer is “not much” then kindly move along, you are too perfect for this earth.) Save yourself hours by organizing your easily lost items with a clear over-the-door shoe hanger. Sure you can put your shoes in it. Or think bigger and use one for accessories, jewelry, small tools, children’s items, toiletries, or keys. Really the sky’s the limit with what you can hang over your door! And what you can see, you can easily grab. (SimpleHousewares 24-pocket Clear Over-The-Door Shoe Organizer, $8.87) Go next level with these 50 organizing tips you wish you’d known all along.
Tame the toy pile
It’s a rule of parenting: Toys seem to multiply overnight until one day you realize you’ve become that house: the one that is decorated solely in neon plush and carpeted in Legos. Cut the clutter and get the toys off the floor with this easy-to-hang corner hammock. (Hint: It’s one of professional organizer’s top tips!) Not only is it easy for kids to use but you can even make tidying up into a game of “basketball” by throwing soft toys in. Don’t have kids? Use the handy hammocks for shoes, holiday decorations, or any other light items you want out of the way. (Jumbo Toy Hammock, 2-Pack, $12.99)
Ditch the cat smell
Cats are awesome, adorable, cuddly furballs…who can make your whole house smell like a litter box. (Just one of the 17 things cats wish they could tell you!) Avoid the litter mess and stank with this top-rated clumping litter. Nearly 13,000 happy cat owners can’t be wrong! And for the price it’s also a great deal. (Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat Ultra Cat Litter, 40 lbs, $14.00)
Stream music in the car, no cords required
Ditch the aux cord! Take your custom phone playlists on the road with this tiny Bluetooth receiver that allows your phone to stream audio through your car’s speakers. Simply plug it into your speaker port, sync the Bluetooth with your phone, and hit play. (TaoTronics Bluetooth Reciever Car Kit, $13.49) Need ideas? Try these 13 classics for the perfect summer playlist.
Strain pasta without the fuss
Colanders are super handy kitchen tools… about 1 percent of the time. The rest of the time, when you’re not draining pasta or rinsing berries, they’re just taking up space in your cabinets like a jerk. Save space without losing function with a collapsible colander that stores flat and only pops out when you need it. Bonus: This version hooks over your sink, saving you burnt fingers and spilled food. (Comfify Collapsible Kitchen Colander, $15.49)
No more chub rub
Runners are all too familiar with what happens when sweaty skin rubs up against other sweaty skin but chafing can happen to non-athletes as well. Stop the pain and red rash between your thighs, under your armpits, at your waistline or anywhere your clothing or skin rubs uncomfortably with a stick of BodyGlide. The discreet tube looks like deodorant and can be used anywhere, anytime. Never fear wearing sundresses or running shorts again. (BodyGlide Original Anti-Chafe Balm, $9.99) Here are our other essentials for summer workouts.