It happens all the time, but it never stops being frustrating (not to mention a waste of money): Returning from a trip to the market, you put your favorite produce into the refrigerator, only to find later that, astonishingly quickly, much of it has spoiled. Enter the Bluapple, a clever contraption that you throw into the crisper drawer right alongside the fruits and vegetables you're storing for another day. By absorbing ethylene—the gas that causes ripening—the Bluapple can extend the freshness period far beyond the norm, sometimes as long as three months! Available at Amazon; $11.95.
Pancake Batter Dispenser
Who doesn't love a tall stack of pancakes on weekend mornings? The cleanup that comes with cooking them, however, can make flapjack day seem like it's almost more trouble than it's worth. Dodge the drips, splatters, and spills of pancake prep with this easy-pour batter dispenser. Simply pour your mixture into the device, then activate the pulley handle over a hot griddle to portion out the right amount of batter with no extra mess. Available on Amazon; $18.99.
Oven Rack Guard
When the oven heats up, so do the oven racks, as any accident-prone cook knows too well. If you find that oven mitts aren't enough to prevent minor burns associated with cooking, consider a set of silicone oven rack guards. Silicone's ability to stay cooler than metal, even in a hot oven, makes these clip-on guards a good option for safer kitchens. Keep in mind, these guards are meant to reduce the risk of oven burns but they can't prevent all injuries. Like all safety devices you install at home, use these guards only as specified, and with a hearty helping of common sense. Available on Amazon; $12.95.
Grocery Bag Handle
When unloading the car trunk on shopping day, save yourself from sore hands, and an extra trip to and from your car, with the Mighty Handle. Designed to carry multiple grocery bags at once, this gizmo can easily carry up to 50 pounds, while its comfortable grip handle evenly distributes the weight to your hand. Use it to transport groceries, dry cleaning, and more. Available at Amazon; $13.95.
It almost seems there's no good way to store leftover produce. Most plastic food storage containers are too bulky to house a half-portion of fruit, but clingy, wet plastic wrap isn't a welcome alternative. Skip the mess and clutter, when you extend the life of your food with Farberware Food Huggers. These silicone sleeves come in a range of sizes that can cover leftover fruits and vegetables. Just slip one over the sliced end to create a seal that keeps out air, and slows down the processes that lead to spoilage. When you've used up the last of your leftover foods, there's no need to hand-wash Food Huggers—just throw them in the dishwasher after dinner! Available on Amazon; $12.95.
Computer keyboards accumulate crumbs and dust quickly—particularly if you're always glued to the screen. A press of this adult version of silly putty, Cyber Clean, can lift all of the crud right from the crevices between keys. Then, simply fold and mold the putty for a clean side to use again. Not only do Cyber Clean's shape-shifting abilities allow it to reach any nook and cranny (USB ports, air vents, between remote control buttons) and wipe out the particles that have accumulated there, but it also makes this one of the most fun cleaning supplies to stock. Available on Amazon; $4.35.
Bed Sheet Suspenders
Does tossing and turning all night tug the sheets right off of your bed? Wake up without the responsibility of redressing the bed when you clip on these Bed Sheet Suspenders from The Nyche Designs. The adjustable heavy-duty elastic with clips at either end takes genius of the old-fashioned pants accessory and applies it to other home fabrics you might want to secure—fitted sheets, flat sheets, mattress pads, and even ironing board covers—allowing you a little extra time to sleep in. Available on Amazon; $9 for a set of four.
Wireless Phone Charger
Smartphones, tablets, and laptops aren't going anywhere soon, even if their battery life is on the decline. Power up, and cut out cord clutter with DC4All's Wireless Qi Charger. To use, simply set the charger in a convenient location and drop your phone on the dock. A high amp output cuts down on charging time, and the pad's smart cooling technology keeps your tech from overheating. Plus, the sleek acrylic casing and gold edges will make this the one charger you'll want to keep on display. Available on Amazon; $19.99.
Scratches and gouges, nicks and scuffs: If you have stained wood flooring, furniture, trim or cabinetry, any such minor imperfections can drive you a little crazy. Of course, you can always refinish the wood, but doing so takes time and effort, or if you hire out the job, a sizable chunk of change. Thank goodness there's an alternative. Available in a wide range of colors (including Cherry, Mahogany, Golden Oak and Dark Walnut), the Minwax Wood Finish Stain Marker makes surface touch-ups not only quick and easy, but very inexpensive as well. Available at Amazon; $5.98.
If you have the money to hire a handyman for every household woe, go ahead. But if you want to hang on to your cash and exercise some self-sufficiency, check out these clever products that solve a million and one little problems around the house. Go now!