Clever Thing-a-ma-jigs You Didn’t Know You Needed

posted in: Shopping Tips

Let’s face it, life is already complicated enough without little inconveniences like brown sugar that’s as hard as a rock, butter that’s impossible to spread, and long dresses that drag on the floor of your closet. I’ve found over 20 items that prevent or make quick work of those little bummers! 

The Brown Sugar Bear ($5.99 at Bed, Bath & Beyond)

Brown sugar that’s hard as a rock? No more! Moisten this little bear and place it in your brown sugar to keep it moist for ages. The bear can also be used to keep cookies and dried fruits from hardening.


USB Lighter Company Rechargeable Lighter ($30 at

How many times have you scrounged around for a disposable lighter, only to find it empty or inoperable? This butane-free lighter, which is perfect for lighting candles, fires, gas stoves, and more, generates its flame with a long-lasting, lithium-ion battery that can be easily recharged. 


Butter Crayon ($24.95 at  

You know what a pain it can be to butter bread and corn on the cob or to grease a pan with cold, refrigerated butter. To make buttering a breeze, insert a stick of butter into this clever silicone sleeve and spread away!


FryAway ($9.99 and up at Amazon) 

If you like to fry food, disposing of the oil presents a conundrum. Sure, if you have a tiny bit of oil you can soak it up with a paper towel, but what to do with a pan of oil after a batch of deep frying? Simply blend this plant-based powder with your hot cooking oil and then scoop the results into the trash where it will break down in about 30 days. The company is also a partner with 1% For The Planet.


The Best Friend ($29.99 at 

You don’t always have a partner or friend around to zip you up! Tackle that zipper on your own by attaching the clip of The Best Friend to the back zipper of any dress, blouse, or sweater and extend the cord. After you put the garment on, reach back and pull the little doll at the end of the cord upwards to zip your garment! Available in two colors. 


Ceres Chill ($72 on Amazon)

If you’re a new mom and need to pump, you know how tricky it can be to keep your breastmilk chilled on the go. This multifunctional thermos connects with most major pumps and it has two chambers, two bottles, and two ways to pump breastmilk into it. And unlike more post-natal items, you can continue to use it! Once you’ve moved on from breastfeeding, the sturdy, insulated bottle can be used as a water bottle or thermos.


The Smart Hanger by Cove ($22 or $80 for a 5-pack at

Maxi dresses are on-trend, but don’t you hate it when they drag on the floor of your closet? This patented clothing hanger resolves that issue with a 2-piece design that gently lifts the bottom of long items without creating unnecessary creases.  


Disguise The Surprise ($14.95 and up at

This woman-owned company makes clever gift box dividers to easily disguise obviously-shaped gifts, like jewelry boxes, books, and more. Disguise the Suprise is also great to have on hand for making themed gift boxes or giving multiple gifts at once. Made in the USA. 


Ivy Alexander handbag hooks ($33.95 and up at

Did you know that bags that are placed on the floor are often dirtier than toilets? Some establishments offer hooks for your bags, but only some. These compact hooks, which are anti-slip and come in a variety of stylish colors, can be tucked into your purse so you’re ready to hang your bag on most flat surfaces.  


Trudeau Toss & Chop Tool Green ($21.99 at JOANN)

Why dirty a cutting board and knife when you don’t have to? This chopping tool allows you to chop fruits and veggies right over your bowl, pan, or plate. Especially handy if you’re just cooking for one! The tool features sharp micro-serrated stainless steel blades and a safety lock for storage.  


LooLoo ($39.99 at 

No one likes a smelly bathroom, but nature does call! This battery-operated gadget clips onto any toilet and automatically sprays the toilet with a mild, all-natural essential oil fragrance. The scent cartridges last 3+ months and are available in four scents: Lavender Fields, Citrus Fresh, Coconut Lime, or Peppermint Vanilla. The Loo Loo even has a nightlight!


Loop Experience earbuds ($26.95 at Amazon) 

If you’re like me, the second a concert starts you wish you had brought a pair of earplugs. Loop’s Experience earbuds are designed to block out excessive noise without dampening your auditory experience, and they come in a tiny case that can be clipped onto your keychain so you won’t forget them. Loops have adjustable sizing, are available in a variety of colors, and there are different versions for social gatherings, sleep, and more.  


Magic BrushOff ($14.50 at

This reusable, dual-sided sponge makes quick work of pesky marks on fabric from deodorant, makeup, salt, and more, all without water or chemicals. It has its own carrying case, making it convenient for travel when you’re unable to do laundry. 


Maya J Bracelet Hair Ties ($18 for a set of 3 at

Never be without a hair tie again! Available in gold or silver color or enamel, these stylish, comfortable bracelets double as a hair tie whenever you need one. I wear a few all the time so I’m always prepared.  



MOBI E.N.T. Smart Wi-Fi Otoscope H.D. Camera ($38 and up at

It’s hard to get to the doctor’s office when you’re sick! This portable otoscope can send high-definition images or videos of your inner ear, nose, and throat to your healthcare provider to help with diagnoses if you are unable to visit in person. The images and videos are easily sent from your mobile device’s camera roll. This portable device has a 90-minute battery and is safe for kids and pets. 


NEO 185 Plus ($58 on Amazon)

If you thought bidets were only for the wealthy, you thought wrong. This easy-to-install model is under $60 with dual wash nozzles for a refreshing post-potty cleansing. It comes in several colorways to match your decor. Treat yourself! 


Nite Ize SlapLit Rechargeable LED Slap Wrap ($19.99 at

If you’re spending time outdoors when it’s dark, this rechargeable, reflective, LED slap bracelet is a must. Slap it on a wrist, ankle, or bag, and click the button for immediate visibility in “glow” or “flash” mode. The bracelet can be recharged using a micro USB cable.  


Rocketbook Fusion Plus ($44 and up at

I am already a fan and user of Rocketbook reusable notebooks, but I wanted to share their latest version, the 60-page Fusion Plus, which comes with lined paper as well as 10 other kinds of pages, including a calendar and sketch pages. Pages can be scanned and saved in the RocketBook app and then wiped clean with water and a cloth. Rocketbooks are used with FriXion erasable pens (one pen is included)


Slice Mini Cutter ($10 on Amazon) 

This tiny but mighty cutter can tackle chores like opening/breaking down boxes and slicking through clamshell packaging using a retractable, “finger-friendly” ceramic blade. There’s a built-in magnet so it can live on the fridge, or you can add it to a keychain.   


Tooktake ($4.99 and up at

If you’re like me, you might wonder, “did I/the kid/the pet rabbit take our meds today? Never ask yourself that question again! Tooktake is a label that you affix to any bottle, and when a dose is taken, you peel off the sticker for that day. 


TopTote ($48 and up on

It’s fun to wear a big hat in the summer, but how do you carry said hat when it’s not on your head? This chic hat clip loops around your tote or luggage to hold your hat with a powerful magnet. The hat stays on the outside of the bag, so it doesn’t take up precious space inside. Woman-owned.


Under Armour UA SlipSpeed ($150 at

These new SlipSpeed sneakers are loaded with features, including adjustable, no-tie laces, easy on & off with a collapsible/convertible heel design, a cooling interior with breathable perforated uppers, and they are machine washable with their own laundry bag. This new style quickly sold out when they launched at the end of October, but are available for pre-order for shipping in mid-February.  


Vejo ($99 on 

This rechargeable blender comes with your choice of two 4-pack drink blends. The powdered, plant-based blends are doctor-formulated, 100% natural, vegan, and sugar-free. Just add water and mix with a touch of a button for a smoothie on the go. Blends include Matcha Latte, Sleep, Cold Brew Coffee, and Tropical, and the stylish, portable blender is available in a variety of colors (mine is hot pink!).   


Wad-Free for Bed Sheets ($19.99 for 2 at

My fitted sheets always get tangled in the laundry so I was very excited to try this Shark Tank success, and it did not disappoint! This simple little doo-hickey attaches to your sheets, tablecloths, or other large fabric items to prevent tangling in the washer & dryer, while significantly decreasing dry times. It takes less than a minute to attach and it’s so worth it. No more tangled laundry! 


WanderFull HydroBag ($49 at 

These fashionable water bottle bags are perfect for running to the gym, taking long walks, or for travel. They hold a water bottle as large as 32oz (or a wine bottle, which I was happy to discover) and have water-resistant pockets for your phone, keys, wallet, etc. They are available in a variety of colors, including black patent, which conveniently matches my winter coat. The straps are interchangeable and adjustable.   


WhitePaws Double Velour Fleece RunMitts ($35 at

Recently featured on GoDaddy’s Made in America docuseries, these cozy fleece mitts are for those fitness warriors who run in cold weather (or walk quickly, in my case). They are thumbless, keeping all digits together and warm, and the top flips back when you need to use your hands. Because they flip open, you can also slide them down to your wrist once your hands warm up enough (handy for this weird cold/hot weather we’re having).  


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Smart Shopping Expert

Trae Bodge is an accomplished lifestyle journalist and TV commentator who has specialized in smart shopping, personal finance, and retail for more than a decade. She has appeared on TV over 1,000 times; including Today Show, GMA3, NBC Nightly News, Inside Edition, and network affiliates nationwide. She has been named a Top Voice in Retail by LinkedIn, and her expert commentary has appeared in Forbes,, Kiplinger, Yahoo Finance, and numerous others.