For all of the advancements we’ve made in modern technology, we’ve got a long way to go in some areas of everyday life. Take buttered toast, for instance. How is such a menial task still so maddening in its own little way? Or cutting boards: the shape alone isn’t conducive for chopping and cooking, and they’re a total pain to clean. It’s enough to hope that someone comes up with a suite of inventions—brilliant solutions that solve everyday problems.
The answer, you might be surprised to find, is that people have come up with solutions—they just haven’t quite reached the mainstream market yet. Though they haven’t picked up steam as fast as, say, the selfie stick, you’ll find that the new inventions below are just as brilliant, and hopefully will catch on soon. So for ingenious answers to tiny problems in your day-to-day, look no further. And for more life hacks, don’t miss the 17 Genius Email Hacks That Will Improve Your Life.
An Easy-to-Load Toilet Paper Holder
$14; buy now at amazon.com
How no one thought of this before, we aren’t sure. What we do know is that we need one of these in our bathroom ASAP. It has spring hinges on both sides so you can load and unload toilet paper without ever removing the holder. Genius!
A Scent-Based Alarm Clock
$59; preorder now at kickstarter.com
Who wants the brutal beeping of an alarm clock waking them up every morning and starting their day off on the wrong foot? Nobody, that’s who. This revolutionary alarm clock replaces that shrill sound with a soothing melody—oh, and a pleasant odor. Think: freshly ground coffee, freshly mown grass, and the freshly rejuvenating scent of peppermint. (Spot the trend?)
Fanny Pack Sandals
$50; buy now at finishline.com
Meet the fanny pack sandals. They might not be the most fashionable shoes on the market—okay, they definitely aren’t—but they’re certainly the most pragmatic if you’re tooling around the pool or the beach wearing something with no pockets. The slip-ons have a “zippered pocket for small item storage,” which is too brilliant for words. And if you’re more the type who prefers fashion over functionality, check out these 15 Killer Style Accessories You Never Knew You Needed.
A Sofa That Turns Into Bunk Beds
$3,900; buy now at spaceman.com
People who often host overnight guests will benefit from investing in this couch that conveniently turns into bunk beds with a simple spin. And your guests won’t be complaining about stiff backs the following morning: Both of the mattresses have orthopedic-slated bases. Plus, even with the bunk beds open, it takes up minimal space.
A Pillow With a Hole For Your Glasses
$89; buy now at amazon.com
Fellow four-eyes, rejoice: There now exists a pillow with a special slot just for your glasses frame. And those of you with 20/20 vision might be thinking to yourself, “But why would you need a pillow like this if you don’t need glasses to sleep?,” to which we answer: “Because sometimes we like to lie down while watching TV!” Speaking of television, don’t miss The 30 Most Outrageous Late-Night TV Moments Ever.
A Knife That Warms Butter As It Spreads
$20; buy now at amazon.com
Few things are as heartbreaking as watching your toast rip as you struggle to spread a cold piece of butter on it. The toast loses its puffy goodness, you lose your appetite, and all hope is lost for the breakfast you envisioned. Thankfully, there’s a simple solution—and it can live right in your utensil drawer. With this warming butter knife, your butter will soften as it spreads. As one Amazon reviewer wrote, “spreading butter is no longer a pain.”
A Mug with a Customizable Temperature
$80; buy now at nordstrom.com
Scalding hot coffee is no fun—just ask the woman who sued McDonald’s for the burns she suffered after spilling a cup o’ joe on her lap. Luckily, one company has come up with a solution for liquids that are perpetually too hot. They designed a mug that allows you to choose your ideal liquid temperature, and their technology will maintain the temp as you sip leisurely. The mug is so hi-tech that you can even connect it to your phone and it will keep you updated on the status of the temperature. And for some reasons to actually drink coffee (not that you need any more), read up on the 75 Amazing Benefits of Coffee.
Containers That Remind You When Food Is about to Expire
$75; buy now at kickstarter.com
Americans throw away nearly $165 billion worth of food every year, which averages out to approximately $2,200 per household, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). So what can you do about it? Well, for starters, you can invest in a set of smart containers. They track what’s in your kitchen and when it’s about to expire, and you can view the contents of your fridge from your phone at any time. It may be easy to forget about that bag of spinach in the back of the fridge—but not when there’s a notification on your phone reminding you that you only have 24 hours left to scarf it down. And for more ways to utilize everything you have, check out these 20 Easy Ways to Stop Wasting Money.
A Strainer That Attaches to the Pot
$12; buy now at amazon.com
No longer will you have to use a lid to try (and fail) to drain your pasta over the sink. This clip-on silicone colander will strain the water from your pasta straight from the pot, so you can continue to use the pot to mix in sauces and whatever else your palate desires. Plus, this lightweight gadget is much easier to store than the traditional bulky strainers we’re used to—and if you live in a small apartment or are lacking in kitchen area, every inch of cabinet space counts.
A Piggy Bank That Tracks Your Money
$14; buy now at amazon.com
The only time one ever truly knows how much dough a piggy bank contains is when it gets emptied into a Coinstar. But if you’d rather know how much money you have as you collect it (and who wouldn’t?), just hand over the $14 for this coin bank that will count your scratch for you. It even keeps track of rare half-dollars and dollar coins. Cha-ching!
$70; buy now at amazon.com
In an official government survey, a staggering 50 percent of people in the United Kingdom admitted to keeping the lights on when they leave the house. The sad reality is that sometimes we forget to turn the lights off (and other times, we’re just too lazy to walk over to the light switch). But there’s a simple solution: Voice-activated light switches. If you own an Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, then these automated lights will connect to your smart device so you can command them to dim, stay on for a specified period of time, or just turn off completely. Light-related lethargy has met its match.
A Backpack with a USB Charger
$24; buy now at amazon.com
Finding an open plug in a public place, like an airport, is akin to winning the lottery: It almost never happens. But with this backpack, you won’t need to. It has a built-in USB charger so you can juice as you go, plus it comes with a combination lock that will thwart any thief. And if you plan on traveling soon, make sure you avoid The 10 Worst U.S. Airports for Summer Travel.
A Foldable Cutting Board
Starts at $12; buy now at amazon.com
Cutting boards: they’re hard to wash, and even harder to store. Luckily, someone finally figured out how to make one out of something other than wood, and so now we have a plastic cutting board that’s actually dishwasher-friendly! As an added bonus, this board folds up so you can easily transport your chopped food to the pot, or wherever else it needs to go. And when you’re done using it, stashing the thing away is effortless, since it folds to a fraction of its size.
A Spike That Automatically Waters Your Plants
$14 for 4; buy now at amazon.com
There are plenty of people you can hire to take care of your pets while you’re away, but it can be tough to find a house-sitter to water your plant. Anthophiles, pay close attention. This terra cotta spike will automatically water your plants for you while you’re away; just stick them into the soil, and they’ll take care of the rest. And if you don’t have a plant yet, consider investing in one, as having one is one of the 30 Easy Ways to Make Your Home More Eco-Friendly.
A Chip Bag Resealer
$16 for 2; buy now at amazon.com
Given how popular potato chips are—we collectively consume 1.2 billion pounds every year, if you’re wondering—it’s truly shocking that no one came up with something like this sooner. This gadget uses heat to reseal snack bags once you’re ready to put them back in the pantry, ensuring your food stays fresh and maintains its flavor far past the initial opening.
An LED Car Display
$46; buy now at amazon.com
Many luxury cars (see: anything new from BMW) come with the option to add an LED display. But if you don’t own a vehicle equipped with this feature, consider investing in a separate LED display. It connects directly to your car and displays everything from your speed to the temperature, straight onto your windshield. You’ll never get distracted looking down at the dashboard again!
An Instant Voice Translator
$85; buy now at cooltrendingclub.com
Since at least 350 languages are spoken throughout America, being bilingual is an invaluable skill. That said, most of us don’t exactly have the time on our hands to learn that many languages, so the next-best thing is this device that will translate over 32 languages in real time. One person tested the device and raved that it is “simple and intuitive, with decent information on word synonyms.”
A Wine Purifier
$80; buy now at ullowine.com
“Ullo is a revolutionary wine purifier that uses selective sulfite capture technology to filter sulfites and sediments, bringing wine back to its natural state,” reads the product’s website. Not only does it make the wine taste better, but it also filters out the preservatives that give people those legendarily debilitating wine hangovers. Win-win!
A Time-Locking Container
$55; buy now at amazon.com
Sneaking a midnight snack is much more difficult when your culinary vices are safely stored in this container. Set the time of your choosing, and you’ll be unable to open this thing until the time expires. (Don’t worry: it’s airtight, so your food won’t do any expiring.) Whether you lock your food away for three hours or ten days, this product guarantees that you, your spouse, and your kids won’t be sneaking any cookies before dinner. And for more ways to overcome those vices, don’t miss the 40 Science-Backed Ways to Kick Old Habits.
And An Ice Cream Lock
$10; buy now at benjerry.com
How many times have you come home after a brutal day at work only to find that the Americone Dream you’ve been looking forward to is now an empty carton in in the trash? (Roommates, darn you!) This lock will keep any unwanted grubby hands off of your precious pint, so you never have to worry about empty containers again.
From $36; buy now at showerspass.com
Whether it’s raining outside or you’re planning on hiking through some muddy forests—or you’re just a supremely sweaty individual—these waterproof socks will come in handy. Instead of drudging around all day in soaking socks, you can keep your feet dry and warm—and never again will you lose a pair of sneakers to the nasty odor of wet shoes.
An Umbrella For Your Dog
$17; buy now at amazon.com
Why should your furry friend have to suffer through the downpour while you get to stay nice and dry? Treat your pup to this special pet umbrella, so whenever it rains, the little fella will never have to do that dog-shaking-water-everywhere thing. And for for great puppy content, don’t miss these 25 Photos That Prove Dogs Are the Best Co-Workers.
A Super Portable Water Bottle
$20; buy now at bedbathandbeyond.com
Every inch of space is precious when you’re traveling, so don’t waste an inch on a bulky water bottle. Instead, invest in this travel-friendly bottle that collapses to less-than-an-inch when you’re done using it. It’s so small that it’ll even fit in your pocket!
$30; buy now at williams-sonoma.com
One of the worst feelings is taking a perfect pizza out of the oven, only to ruin it by cutting out an uneven first slice. But with these pizza scissors, that won’t be a problem any longer. They slide under the crust of your pizza for a clean, precise cut, and you won’t have to worry about any cheese escaping from your crust as you cut. As one reviewer wrote: “These… perfectly slice through any topping you have on your pizza, leaving no overhanging cheese or pepperoni.” Waste not, want not!
A Highly Specific Towel
$45; buy now at tatatowels.com
Men will never understand the struggle of trying to dry under your breasts after a shower or a strenuous workout at the gym. But those ladies who have experienced this conundrum will appreciate the Ta-Ta Towel. It’s especially designed to comfortably dry your goodies as you get ready for the day. And for more amazing products, don’t forget to check out the 20 Products That Make Cleaning So Much Easier.
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