Stay Sane Mom Founder
Published in House, Organization on October 24, 2018
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Okay, so let's be real here. New gadgets and gizmos come out all the time. I'm admittedly more of a sucker than most when it comes to technology, organization, or cleaning gizmos.
However, you get to reap the benefits of my hoarder-like tendencies, because I have tried, tested, abused, and otherwise attempted to utilize almost every household product under the sun.
What follows is a list that is currently 'complete' but will be regularly updated as I discover new goodies. I might also add lists by category (i.e. best cleaning products, best organization products, etc.) but this is really the greatest hits list.
One quick disclaimer: some of these are affiliate links. That means if you buy the product using the link here I make a small amount of money (without increasing your price...duh). In an attempt to show you that I really am only giving you the very best, I'll also disclose how many of each item we currently have running in our house as I write. I'd never recommend anything I didn't absolutely love.
And with that done, I present to you the full list of the products that are keeping my household from falling into utter chaos and disarray. The prices change from time to time so I can't put exact figures, but I included a ballpark for each item.
Number Currently Living In Our House: 6
General Purpose: These hold small amounts of paint and keep them fresh until you need them to retouch your walls, at which point they act as no-mess paint rollers. They're also reusable.
These are quite literally magical. Seriously. The only way to get one is to sing a happy song with the window open and one will be carried to you by the animated forest animals from every Disney princess movie ever. Either that or the mighty webbernet.
Anyway, these little guys store about a cup or two of the paint and keep it fresh and usable. The magic is that all you have to do to use the paint is twist the top and it self-dispenses through the little roller on top. After you're done, you can just twist it closed, snap the roller off for a quick rinse, then replace it in your garage for the next time your wall needs a touch-up because your teen ran headlong into it on their "indoor" skateboard (which is somehow different than an "outdoor" skateboard.
We currently have one storing each and every paint color we have in our house.
Number Currently Living In Our House: 8+ Rolls
General Purpose: This sticks on your window like sticky wrapping paper and makes it look like stained glass. You keep your light, but the neighbors can't see in.
I can't tell you how much I love these. We have a lot of downstairs windows in our house. Some face the pretty backyard, but most face our busy neighborhood street or our very tightly-packed next door neighbors' windows. As someone who does not enjoy living in a fishbowl, my first impulse for these windows was to keep the blinds closed all the time. And my house felt like an underwater grotto due to lack of light.
Enter this majestic creation. It takes about five minutes to put on (maybe 10 if you cut and measure with crazy precision), but it transforms your windows into stained glass windows. I was very skeptical about quality at first, but it looks so good my husband even commented on how professional of a job I had done. (Knowing how observant men usually are about these things, you can tell what a big deal that was for me.)
Now my house has all the light of keeping the windows open, without that feeling that the whole neighborhood can see you run downstairs in your bunny slippers.
Number Currently Living In Our House: 1 (used weekly, but still alive after a year of use)
General Purpose: These bad boys are like dog brushes that attach to your hands. The basic value proposition is that they're less irritating to dogs than brushing (because the fuzzy idiots just think they're getting patted) and they work just as well (or better) than a normal brush.
This gift from the gods has been thoroughly tested by our two large, shaggy, disgusting, beastmonsters. We have a Husky/Australian Shepherd mix who sheds to the extent where, if his fur could be used as an alternative fuel source, we would have no energy crisis in America. As if that wasn't enough, we also have a 140 pound Great Dane who drools like a teenage boy at a Victoria's Secret fashion show and is at the perfect "head height" to use his little brother as a drool rag. Short version: we do a lot of dog bathing in our house.
I originally bought these bad boys for the purpose of brushing the dogs, but my (genius) husband suggested I try them in the shower on my next weekly game of "let's see just how hairy you can get my master bathroom shower" and it was the best thing ever. Usually bathing what sums up to over 200 pounds of dog is an hour-long expedition that leaves my fingers (and soul) more than a little pruny.
The first time I tried these out, I was shocked at all the extra fur, dirt, scabs, disgusting unmentionable ickyness that came pouring off our boys. Shortly after, I was shocked again when it took about a third of the time to bathe them that it normally does. Seriously. Two giant, fuzzy, dirty monsters bathed in under 20 minutes.
Long story short, I'll never bathe the dogs without these guys ever again. They've also held up being used heavily and machine washed once a week for the last year. True lifesavers.
Number Currently Living In Our House: Undeterminable, but Definitely More than 20
General Purpose: As basic as it sounds, you peel off the sticky backing and put this on things (usually walls or furniture) then they hold your cords in place.
I have put these everywhere in our house. Literally. Everywhere.
In a house with 4 smart phones, 3 kindles, 3 laptops, 3 iPads, and who knows how many other devices, cords are everywhere. We have chargers everywhere. We are drowning in chargers. And then, as if just to spite us, there never seemed to be a charger nearby when you needed it.
Then I discovered these guys. I put one on the hidden side of every night table in the house and our cell phones never went to bed uncharged again. The went under tables (for sneaky computer chargers), under cabinets, and even on baseboards when we needed to subtly run a cord from one place to another without it looking too obnoxious. It isn't a huge change, but these have dramatically improved my quality of life.
Number Currently Living In Our House: 2
General Purpose: Subtly redirecting power from an inconveniently-placed outlet to wherever you need it.
Every house has ugly, stupidly-placed outlets. This little fellow pulls power from that middle-of-the-wall socket and discretely channels it to somewhere more appropriate (read: behind the couch) for an ugly mess of cords.
Not a huge thing, but if you have one of "those" areas (you know, the ones you curse at under your breath every time you walk into the room) it's worth its weight in gold.
Number Currently Living In Our House: 4
General Purpose: This guy has two functions: making my home smell delicious (even with the two, aforementioned, smelly dogs) and making me look way classier and more zen than our family could ever hope to be (and thereby boosting my mom self-esteem).
I hate Fabreeze. I really can't tell you how much I hate Fabreeze. Something about artificial, "these are not the smelly gym shoes you're looking for" fake-flowers-in-a-can really doesn't say "clean house" to me. However, we have lots of dogs and kids and smelly meals and household odors...and houses really do smell bad sometimes.
This little buddy is the answer. You fill them up with a water-bottle full of water and a few drops of the essential oil of your choice in the morning, and the rest of the day your house smells like a dang rainforest. I personally love the smell of eucalyptus, so the only thing we really have to fear now is a panda bear invasion.
These also have the benefit of being super sleek looking and lighting up in either a rainbow of pretty colors or a single color (you can pick from about 16 choices). They're a lot of classy for not a lot of money, and my kids find them fascinating to watch, which is always a bonus.
Number Currently Living In Our House: 3
General Purpose: This robot buddy displays your calendar, plays your Spotify music, looks up things on the webbernet, puts stuff on your shopping or to do list, and a billion other things...all on voice control.
This is on the higher end of the price spectrum (read: costs more than a typical lunch at Wendy's, so it's "expensive"), but oh have I ever become an addict. As much as I would like to tell you that I only have these guys because I always wanted a robot friend (yes, I did get bullied as a child, no I don't want to talk about it), I was actually quite hesitant to get one of these little guys, figuring it wouldn't end up being that useful.
Boy, was I wrong. I use this for EVERYTHING. We started out with one in the kitchen. I quickly realized how nice it was to have something I could verbally order to put more Lowry's seasoning salt on my shopping list while I was up to my elbows in flour and burger meat grease. (The kids can also add stuff to the list, which then syncs to my phone, so I have the whole up-to-date list with me every time I'm in the grocery store.) All the sudden we stopped running out of stuff!
Similarly, I soon became rapidly addicted to being able to access all my Spotify playlists verbally. Also, as I was used to listening to music on my phone, having a device complete with a subwoofer to play actual music on actual speakers was a bit of a luxury.
We now have one of these bad guys in our upstairs family area, the original one in the kitchen, and one in the gym/garage because the sound is actually better than the scadzillions of bluetooth speakers we'd tried to use.
Number Currently Living In Our House: 1 (with another purchased for the grandparents)
General Purpose: This is the best digital photo frame of all the ones we've tried. You send pictures to it from an app on your phone, and it cycles through them (in order or at random, your choice) giving you zillions of framed photos in one.
This is the other "high ticket" item on my list. While it isn't as multi-functioning as Alexa, but for someone that takes as many pictures as I do, it's an absolute must. To say our kids are "well documented" would be like saying one passenger on the Titanic had a little too much ice in his drink.
Seriously, I take ALL THE PHOTOS. If I printed them all out, we'd run out of trees on planet Earth. If I framed even the top 10% we'd run out of wall space within a week.
While the presence of this frame in our home did save us all from a photo-printing-induced natural disaster, where this little guy really shone was as a gift for the grandparents. We gave them one for Christmas and I regularly save photos of the grandkids to it from my phone. This gives them a regular dose of updated grandchildly cuteness with really minimal effort on either of our parts.
I'm always on the prowl for new gizmos and goodies! Let me know if you have any products your house wouldn't survive without. I'll test them out and, if they hold up in my rigorous household, I'll add 'em to the list!
Founder | Contributor
Liz is a wife, mom, blogger, coder (and unabashed digital nerd), PhD student (and huge psychology geek), workout masochist, and occasional human being. She founded The Stay Sane Mom after marrying into the role of stepmom to a preteen girl (and Instagram addict) and shortly thereafter having her first bio kid (now a toddlernado supreme). Her goal is to provide tools and support to help other capable, sleep-deprived, soul-hungry moms master their domains so they have the time and energy to be more than just 'mom'.
Stay Sane Mom gives support to the over-worked, under-slept, marker-stained, soul-hungry moms of the world, so they can be more than just "mom".
You just want to keep the house clean, have a happy marriage, raise functional kids, and still have a little left in the tank to be a real person as well.
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