There’s never a bad time to upgrade your home. Take me, I’ve been on a home improvement tear lately. I have spent hours reorganizing my kitchen and closet. I have consulted the wisdom of online organization and home improvement gurus. And, I had a blast. The best part is that now my home runs a little more smoothly, things are a little easier (and a lot more organized), and I have the satisfaction of feeling more at peace in my surroundings. And how could I not? Now my kitchen cooks at high speed, getting dressed is like shopping at a boutique, and there is light and comfort where once there were dark corners and hard surfaces. It was like the fresh start of moving without any of the demoralizing packing of crates or lifting of heavy furniture. Along the way, I discovered 40 of the most genius home improvement products that are getting wildly popular right now, precisely because they make home improvement easy and affordable.
One trick that I learned was to make everything I often reach for as easily accessible as possible. And that idea guided my decisions as I chose everything from tiered shelving to devices that make my appliances easier to store and access to storage solutions.
If you’ve ever wished your home to be tidier and function at a higher level, simply scroll onward and check out the stuff I found.
1. A wall rack to keep your pans & utensils at hand
Mount this 29-inch long, powder-coated wall rack — with 15 S-hooks — behind the sink so just-washed pans can drip dry or on the wall behind the stove so your pans and utensils are right where you want them, instead of buried in a cupboard. It turns your tools into the decor, makes working in the kitchen more convenient, and frees up cupboard space.
2. This motion-sensitive ceiling light for automatic illumination
Install this ceiling light in a closet, hallway, pantry, or anywhere you want the light to come on for you when approach and turn off again when you are gone. Not only is this super convenient but the light this light throws is bright enough to illuminate all the corners of your closet or bathroom. It has two modes so you can set it to turn on only at night or whether it is night or day. Choose from cool or warm white light.
3. This glider for easy access to appliances
When your coffee machine, mixer, or other appliances sit under an overhead cabinet, you have to haul it out whenever you want to use it. This appliance glider makes that once-onerous task so easy. Just press the lever and the tray — and the appliance on top — glide forward and slide back with so little struggle you can do it with one finger. It comes in two sizes.
4. These floating wall shelves in a wide choice of finishes
These decorative wall shelves are great for creating a book nook, spice rack, bar, bathroom storage, or whatever else you can imagine. Just choose the color that suits your space — there are nine options — and mount them in an artful grouping. They come with all the necessary mounting hardware in three sizes that create a decorative, graduated effect.
5. This set of 6 airtight containers to organize your pantry & fridge
Store everything from pasta and flour to fresh-baked muffins and produce in these stackable containers that fit neatly on shelves. They’re clear so you can easily see what’s in them. There are two large (one gallon) and seven smaller (about half-gallon) containers and they come with a set of chalkboard stickers and even a marker for labeling them.
6. A motion-sensitive light that requires no installation
Peel and stick (or use the included screws) to set up this battery-operated motion sensing light inside a closet, under the cabinets, or in any dark corner and it will come on when it senses motion, and turn off again 20 seconds later. Set it to turn on only at night or when ambient light is needed to suit your situation. “I keep finding more places to use these,” says one reviewer. “I put them in unlit closets, the pantry, under the sink, in the dark garage, under cabinets, and in the laundry room.”
7. This soft & squishy mat for a more pleasant standing surface
Set this comfortable anti-fatigue mat down on the floor where you work to soften the surface and give feet, legs, and back a break from hard surfaces. It’s great with a standing desk, in the kitchen, or as an ergonomic alternative to a bath mat in the bathroom. It comes in five colors and three sizes to match your environment, is easy to clean, and won’t collect pet hair. Over 9,000 people give it five stars.
8. These clear bumpers that are useful for all objects that can slam
Stick these door bumpers to cabinet doors and drawers to soften the sound when people bang them closed. Stick them under a cutting board so it doesn’t slide around the counter. Stick them to the underside of a tile to create your own trivet or coasters. It is surprising how helpful these 100 clear, rubbery, stick-on, sound-softening bumpers can be all over the house.
9. The outlet extender that turns 2 plugs into 6 (& adds USB ports)
Let’s face it, that two-plug outlet that was wired into your house in a less tech-heavy era is not up to the demands of your gadgets and appliances. This outlet extender will fix that. Plug it into a standard two-plug outlet, replacing the center screw with the one that comes with it, and you will have six standard plugs, two USB ports, and a dusk-to-dawn, smart night light too (if you wish).
10. This carpet tape that makes sure your rugs stay put
This double-sided carpet tape is just the thing to keep rugs from curling up, crumpling when the pets scamper over them, or sliding — potentially dangerously — out from under feet. It sticks to the underside of rugs and to whatever flooring surface is under them, be that carpet, tile, laminate, and beyond. The tape is both strong and moisture resistant so you can use it indoors or out. Reviewers report, “this carpet tape is amazing!”
11. This rustic lantern that’s actually a night light
This decorative, rustic, framed-bulb lamp plugs into any outlet and acts as a dusk-to-dawn nightlight, making it a super simple way to make dark entries safer, illuminate a dark corner of the kitchen, or keep a bathroom or garage lit at night. And to do so with a bit of flair. The light is bright enough to light a small space, cool to the touch, and you never have to replace the LED bulb. It comes in three styles and finishes.
12. This matte black wall hook that brings stylish order to your space
This attractive wall-mounted hook provides a place to hang towels and bathrobes in the bathroom, coats or bags in the entry, and hot mitts and dishtowels in the kitchen. The matte finish is modern and decorative, and the low-profile hook with two prongs is easy to sneak into a lot of situations. It comes with all the necessary mounting hardware and detailed instructions.
13. This wireless doorbell that’s so easy to install
Skip the electrician and hefty bill in favor of peeling-and-sticking this wireless doorbell at the entry instead. Plug the receivers into an outlet in the rooms where you want to hear the alert and, voila, you have a new doorbell. The bell and receivers pair at the touch of a button and you can choose your favorite ring tone from 52 available. The bell part is durable enough to withstand the weather, and the system has a 400-meter range so it will work in large homes. It comes in black and white and you can add more receivers if you need them.
14. These draft stoppers that keep out cold, noise, & bugs
If your room — or home — is loud and cold, there is probably a gap under the door that lets in sound and drains your efforts at heating and cooling. This is so easy to fix with this two-pack of door-draft stoppers. Just cut one to fit any door and peel-and-stick it to the bottom of the door. It works for an entry or inside door. In addition to keeping your heat and air conditioning in and the noise out, the flexible two-layer insulation keeps insects from finding a way in. It comes in four colors.
15. An attractive caddy for all your dishwashing tools
Set this handy sink caddy down next to the sink and instantly stop the wet spot, spilled soap, and clutter. It has a space for sponges, soap, and brushes, and it directs all the water and soap that drips off your gear into a basin in the bottom. This strategy not only keeps your sinkside area clean, but it dresses that space up so your tools become tidy and even decorative. Over 6,000 people give it five stars.
16. These outlet timers that put any pluggable appliance on a schedule
If you want your lamp, TV, fan, or any other electric appliance to turn on and off on a schedule, this mechanical outlet timer is the simple way to do it. There’s no need to connect it to your phone or the internet. Just push the pins down that represent the times you want your appliance to turn on and plug it into the outlet. Let analog wonders do the rest. This is a two-pack.
17. A cool-mist humidifier that can diffuse essential oils
This cool-mist humidifier has a sleek look, a large (2.5 liter) capacity, and is super simple to use. Just pour water in the top and turn the dial to the level of mist you’re looking for. If you want to scent the mist with essential oils, just add a few drops to your water. The tank is clear so you can see when it’s time to fill it and the wide opening makes it super easy to clean.
18. This touch-controlled task light that’s bright & portable
If you need better lighting to read or work in bed, at your desk, or on the couch, this LED lamp is such a simple solution. It’s lightweight (1.5 pounds) and folds so you can move it from room to room. The brightness adjusts three levels with a light touch to the base. It plugs into a USB port so you can use it even when there’s not an outlet handy. And the arm adjusts to throw the light right where you need it.
19. These handy organizers for your fridge or pantry
Maximize the storage in your fridge, cupboards, and pantry with this set of six storage bins. You can put like items together — even on an awkward shelf — such as condiments, cheese, or fruit — and pull them all out at once when creating a meal. The can storage bin creates a dispenser for soft drinks or canned goods, and your eggs will be safe and visible (ahead of that next grocery trip) in the stackable egg container.
20. This pen so you can stop trying to scrub that old grout
If you have been struggling to get your stained, grey, and tired-looking grout clean again, you can put the elbow grease away. Paint it back to its original brightness instead with this clever grout pen. A single pen can paint 150 feet of 2mm grout and it’s as easy as coloring in a coloring book — if that coloring book was on the floor or wall. Almost 8,000 reviewers say, “Five stars!”
21. A set of deep cleaning tools to make everything easier
These five cleaning tools are everything you need to whip through cleaning everything from your sink to the shower, to the details of your windows or even the pool. There’s a pair of flat scrub brushes with handles, a fine detail brush for getting into grooves and gaps, a narrow scrubbing brush for tile corners and other small spaces, and a scouring pad for gently scrubbing the sink or counters.
22. The genius paint pen that makes touching up anything super easy
This paint pen takes all the hassle out of touching up your painted walls and furniture. Instead of working with a messy, dripping paintbrush, you fill this pen — like a syringe — with your paint. Then just repaint the scratches, dings, and dry wall repairs as if you are writing with a brush-tip marker. It traps the paint in an airtight chamber, too, so once you load it with paint, you can use it for years.
23. This chenille bath rug that feels luscious to your feet
The soft, microfiber fingers of this chenille bathroom rug feel delicious to your feet, whether you are stepping out of the shower or standing barefoot in front of the sink. That lush, multi-fiber fabric is serious about trapping water, too. So your feet will dry quickly post-bath. The fibers of the rug will also dry quickly. It comes in 10 colors and six sizes and is machine washable.
24. A waterproof mattress protector that doesn’t feel like plastic
You want to protect your expensive mattress from spills, baby accidents, and pet mishaps — but you don’t want to sleep on a crinkly, plastic-feeling bed to do it. This waterproof mattress protector is here to (silently) save the day. The cotton terry texture is cool, breathable, and quiet — no crinkling! — and yet it is made from super absorbent material with a high-tech backing that blocks moisture transfer. Almost 11,000 people give it five stars.
25. The shower curtain that doesn’t mildew, billow, or leak
A shower curtain is a simple thing, but so important. You want one that doesn’t billow all over you, grow mold and mildew, or leak water into the bathroom. This vinyl shower curtain liner is it. It’s also attractive, lightweight, and comes in clear, white, or frosted. It’s designed so water beads and rolls off it quickly, preventing the moist environment that harbors mildew. “I shower daily,” says one reviewer. “And after several weeks, the LIBA is just as clear, clean, and fresh as the day it was hung.”
26. This clever, space-saving countertop rack
This tiered shelf creates storage on your kitchen counters for everything from spices to knives, with three levels — one with an adjustable height — and a side rack to slide knives into. It’s versatile enough, though, to be useful on a desk or bathroom vanity. The eco-friendly bamboo is sustainable, waterproof, and easy to clean.
27. A pair of smart plugs to futurize your home
These two smart plugs connect your appliances, fans, lights, and anything else that plugs in to a standard outlet to either the Kasa app or your smart home system — Amazon Alexa, Google Home, IFTT. Just plug them in and follow the in-app directions to connect them. Then you can shout, “Alexa! I’m home!” when you walk in the door and your home will welcome you with the routine you set up.
28. These pads that stop furniture from sliding
If your furniture slides away from you because it rests on slick hardwood or tile floors, these grippy, rubber-bottomed pads are the easy solution. Just set the furniture legs on them and your furniture won’t budge. You can use the included adhesive if you like, but the weight of the furniture is usually enough to keep the pads in place.
29. This magnetic curtain that’s easier than a screen door
Installing a screen door is no easy task, but hanging this screen curtain is. This solution is also easy to walk through with your hands full of cocktails or gardening tools. It’s so easy that your pets and small children will be able to go through the door without help. In fact, the only creature this screen stops is the bugs that can’t fly through the mesh. It closes automatically because of the magnets in the center seam to keep out flies and mosquitos with ease.
30. The stainless steel mushroom that keeps your shower drain flowing
This mushroom-looking drain protector doodad is a bathroom necessity. Install it in the bathtub or shower drain and it will sit there, quietly catching every hair that could have gone down the drain. This means you don’t have to fish around in the drain pulling out a gross wad of hair to get water flowing again. You just clean off this durable, stainless steel trap periodically. The vertical strainer design keeps the hair out of sight without letting it go down the drain.
31. This pair of down-alternative pillows you can wash
This pair of pillows feel like expensive down, but are better in a few clever ways. For one, you can adjust the fill level to get exactly the firmness you want. Too firm? Take some out. Not firm enough? Steal some filling from the other pillow for yours. Also? Both pillows — filling and all — can go in the washing machine so you can have a just-cleaned pillow anytime you want. Over 7,000 people give them five stars.
32. An over-cabinet shelf that keeps your necessaries at hand
Instead of digging around under the cabinet to find your cleaning supplies, hang this clever shelf over the door, with the basket hanging inside or out, and keep the things you most search for right at hand. It works in the kitchen to hold everything from pan lids to onions, or in your office to hold notepads or other sundries. It comes in three finishes and four sizes.
33. A luxuriously soft duvet cover that won’t break the bank
This super soft, 1500-thread-count comforter cover feels like it should cost so much more money. The microfiber threads are so thin — like silk — that the result is a deliciously soft cover that is also lightweight, with none of the cost of silk or high-thread-count cotton. There are buttons on the open end to close your comforter inside and it comes with two pillow covers.
34. These blackout curtains that turn day into night
If you want to watch a movie during the day (or sleep in) these blackout curtains will put a stop to that bath of sunlight coming in through the windows. The backing is a heavy-duty, light-absorbing fabric that keeps rays from getting through. It also dampens sounds that come in from outside. This pair of curtains comes in 11 colors and 12 sizes to perfectly match your space.
35. This filter that helps purify your shower water
If you are experiencing skin reactions, scalp problems, or hair issues, your water might be hard or full of chemicals or other impurities. This multi-stage water filter fits easily onto your shower head to help reduce or eliminate those. It uses several filtering technologies, including activated carbon and ceramic beads, to purify the water before it gets to you. Almost 24,000 reviewers say it’s awesome. “I could feel a difference when showering,” says one reviewer. “The water felt softer and the chlorine smell was gone. My skin didn’t have that tight feeling and my hair felt much softer.”
36. This microfiber mop that takes the cake over disposable ones
If you love the convenience of disposable mop systems but don’t like all the waste, this microfiber mop system is the perfect upgrade. It has an adjustable aluminum handle, and the microfiber mop pads fit onto its swiveling base (up to 360 degrees!) so you can dust or damp mop easily and quickly. The handle telescopes to 60 inches so you can even use it to wash windows. When the pad is dirty, throw it in the wash and attach a clean one. There are four mop pads so you can always have one at the ready.
37. A door handle that’s stylish & easy to install
It’s so easy to upgrade the door handles in your house with this easy-to-install, yet inexpensive, lever-style handle. It requires only a Phillips screwdriver and a few minutes. This lever style (there are other options available, too) comes in four finishes. “Great quality, easy to install, and they function like they should,” reads one of the five-star reviews.
38. An attractive bamboo home for your roll of paper towels
Put your roll of paper towels on this bamboo holder and upgrade everything about using paper towels. An easy to grab handle at the top makes it simple to set on the dining table for a casual meal, the bar at the side makes pulling a single towel off one-handed a breeze, and it looks good — and stands up — wherever you leave it.
39. This smoke alarm that also detects carbon monoxide
Sleep safely through the night by sticking this double-duty alarm to a ceiling where it can detect if your home is filling with smoke or deadly, but odorless and invisible, carbon monoxide. It has a 10-year battery so you won’t find yourself on a ladder at midnight trying to stop a low battery alert. An easy-to-reach silence button lets you stop the noise quickly if that smoke is just you burning a steak.
40. A six-pack of storage bins for quick closet cleanup
These six storage cubes will take your closet from chaos to Kondo’d in a matter of minutes. They unfold quickly, are sturdy, fit into many cubbies, and hold a lot of stuff. Just put your gear in categories and start filling the bins. They come in 10 colors, are just over 10 inches square, and have an easy-to-grab handle for pulling them off shelves.
This article was originally published on