Little Home Things, Big Home Improvements

If you’re anything like me (which for your sake I kinda hope you’re not), you view the holidays and their aftermath as an occasion to Make Stuff Better Around The House. “WHAT IS ALL THIS JUNK? UGH, GET RID OF IT. ALSO, UPGRADE.” To that end, here’re a few things I’ve acquired (for myself or as gifts) that definitely count as “whoa that’s so much better” :

KALKGRUND SOAP DISPENSER ($9.99 at Ikea) : Dude I cannot tell you how many fucking soap dispensers I’ve bought over the years — most of them way more expensive than this. And always, after a few months (or weeks, in some very disappointing cases), they fail me. They break, they start leaking, they’re impossible to open, the nozzle or other metal parts start to rust or just straight-up crumble (looking at you, every single one I’ve bought from Target). It doesn’t matter if they’re from the dollar store or Saks, and I know because I’ve owned both — most of them are shite. But THIS ONE. <3! I’ve had this one for over a year now and I still 10000% adore it. It’s clean, it’s sleek, it dispenses a reasonable amount of product every time, and it still looks good as new. The whole stainless steel top screws off for cleaning, but you can also just lift out the top portion (the round top surface with attached nozzle) and refill via the hole. I waited a while to make sure this thing wouldn’t end up disappointing me, but now I’m buying one for every sink in the house.

SIMPLE HUMAN GROCERY BAG HOLDER ($14.97 at Amazon) : Do you have a drawer full of plastic grocery bags? Or worse, do you have a wad of them inside another bag in a cabinet, and every time you try to grab one there’s a little plastic avalanche? Get one of these. Wad your bags up, stuff ’em down the top, and easily pull one out the front slot as needed. Mount via screws or even heavy-duty double-stick tape on the inside of a cabinet or its door (mine’s on the wall of the pantry), and have one less mess in your life.

FINE, Stannis. Fewer.

LANCASTER STEEL PINT GLASSES ($16 or four for $56 at Amazon) : I just got these as a gift for le boy and holy crap they’re legit AMAZING. Brushed stainless steel, suuuuper light weight and surprisingly slim, with double-walled vacuum-insulated construction and a smooth lip. They’re gorgeous, they’re exceptionally pleasing to hold and use, and you will straight up not BELIEVE how long they keep a beer (or whatever) cold. Like, leave two inches of beer in the glass, come back half an hour later, and it’s still chilled AF. HOW. (Magic! Science!)

TILE FOR DIY COASTERS ($8.40 at Amazon) : Do you struggle to find coasters that’re both attractive and, you know, actually functional? Me too. So I ordered this here sampler of tumbled grey marble tile (a perfect 4″ square and about 3/8″ thick), because it’s pretty, it’s sturdy, and it’s actually kinda absorbent. Grab some self-adhesive felt furniture pads, cut one into four quadrants, stick ’em on the corners, and boom — cute and functional coasters.

RECHARGEABLE LED MOTION LIGHT BAR ($14.99 at Amazon) : Yeah, my closet has a light. BUT! I have limited options for my standing mirror, and the only place that really works involves putting it right on top of the closet’s light switch. UGH, I just need to grab ONE THING REAL QUICK, I do not want to pull out the mirror to turn on the damn light. Oh hey now I don’t have to! This little guy isn’t bright enough to provide full illumination, but it’s definitely bright enough to allow me to locate a particular thing. Comes on when you open the door (or wave at it), recharges pretty quick via a USB hookup, and the charge lasts me a month or two. This would also be ideal for poorly-lit pantries or large cabinets, or even as undercabinet lighting — no cords, slim shape, and installs easily via an adhesive magnetic strip.

ANCHOR HOCKING TRUESEAL GLASS STORAGE : (various sizes and prices on Amazon) I have a slew of these in the two-cup size, and I use them for evvvvverything. I don’t know if I’d trust them to, say, pack a soup-based lunch to take to work? But for everything else they’re aces. Chopped herbs and other cooking-prep stuff, dips, sauces, leftovers … and they’re glass, and actually attractive enough to serve out of. Lids come off and on easily without a lot of irritating futzing around, they’re sturdy, they’re microwaveable, and I hearts them lots.

ACRYLIC RISERS (various sizes and prices on Amazon or eBay) : Limited space, and bolting a shelf to the wall isn’t an option? SADDLE RISERS. Also called a “u-shaped riser,” these can also be found if you just search for like “acrylic display products.” Create tiers for stacking shoes in your closet, a second level of makeup organization in the bathroom, slap one under the sink to increase your storage space, and I’ve got one straddling the output tray of one of my printers to “file” stuff on, i.e. pile up things I need quick easy access to.

Got any little fiddly house things you love and can’t believe how long you lived without? Tell tell tell!