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Are you a big shopper? Shopping is not one of my preferred leisure activities. I'm also something of a midlife minimalist. Still, I often come across products that just make life easier, more productive, less painful, and overall just better. I've gathered some personal favorites for you, below.
Curved Curtain Rod
Want that luxury hotel feel in your bathrooms? We put these curved tension rods in all the tub/shower combos in our house. It gives you a much more spacious feel and never leaves you with the cold curtain liner adhering to your backside.
These ridiculously ingenious clips are perfect for closing up bags of chips, cereal, snacks, treats, etc. There are 48 pieces and they come in six sizes. We've used these for years and given them as part of a wedding gift set. They are so handy they have become indispensable. (Buy a couple!)
Double Line Floss Picks
It's true that I'm one of those people who can say with 100% honesty that they floss every single day. I have for decades and, at 56, have no cavities in my mouth as proof. Discovering floss picks (when recommended by a dentist to incentivize my kids) was a game changer and finding double lined picks was a double game changer. These are by far my favorite and I keep them stocked. (For the record, I've tried the triple line kind and don't find them as effective. Your mileage may vary.) Keep those teeth healthy!
Dishwasher Clean/Dirty Magnet
We have two dishwashers because when we built our home a decade ago, we still had six kids at home. Even now with just five people in the house, keeping track of that status of the dishes inside is a constant frustration. Either people load dirty dishes on top of the clean ones or they pull out dirty dishes to eat off of. Finally we got a couple of these cute magnets and the problem is solved. Now only the person starting and emptying the dishwasher (preferably not me) has to pay enough attention to flip the magnet and everyone else can tell at a glance what's inside.
Acne Pimple Patches
I know! Midlife women should not have to worry about acne. Didn't we serve our time as teens? Still, we all tend to have an occasional, annoying flair up. A few months ago, I tested out a more expensive version of this product. (The one in the skincare products vlog was Zitsticka.) It actually worked! I was surprised and impressed.
One of my daughters is a full-time film actress. That means she is constantly covered in all sorts of products, a process which wreaks havoc on the skin. Yet, she depends on her face being camera ready all the time. She depends on these stickers to keep her skin looking great.
Reusable Stretch Lids
I saw these in an infomercial for these silicone lids a few years ago and was intrigued right away. Finally grabbed a low-cost set to try. This set has six round and six rectangle pieces, to accommodate all kinds of containers and objects. So much easier than plastic wrap (or “cling film” as we called it in England) and doesn't stick to itself!
My entire kitchen is outfitted with OXO brand kitchen utensils. I like sets of things and, I admit, I have utensils I never use. I have all the basics, but this is a new one that will actually be used! It's perfect for carrots, potatoes, cucumbers, apples, zucchini. Fast way to make healthier eating fun.
Anti-Aging Serum Pack
Face procedures are off the table for me. And I'm pretty lazy about my skin care regimen. This three-step serum set is something have done for about a year consistently, so that is really saying something about convenience. Occasionally I use another brand when it's on a really good deal (same three products), but this is my favorite. The product consistency seems more substantial and smooths on nicely.
You can also buy the products separately. I use more of the Vitamin C Serum than the others, so stock up on that once in a while. Using the “Subscribe & Save” feature saves me about 10–15% on each shipment, too.
When I was a kid, my Grandma Moore had a set of colorful aluminum cups. I loved them because they were so pretty and kept our drinks super cold. A few years ago I mentioned them to Sam and he, too, had grandparents who had them. We went on a search.
At the time couldn't find any at reasonable prices, so we purchased stainless steel tumblers instead. They aren't as pretty but are super durable and have a similar feel. They are also good if you are concerned about aluminum in your eating products.
Giant Shopping Bag Carabiner
Right now I have two strapping young sons at home who are not only capable of carrying 14 bags of groceries up from the garage in a single trip, but they are proudly competitive about their strength. In a couple of years, my free labor will no longer be here and I'll have to figure out another way.
I just found this cool bag clip with a padded handle. It's designed to be hooked on a stroller to corral a purse and/or diaper bag. But it's also a perfect way to gather a whole slew of grocery bags and carry them all at once.
Garbage Disposal Cleaner Deodorizer
Never cleaned your garbage disposal before? You are not alone. But stick your hand down there (please make sure it's turned off—need I say that?) and feel that slime. Here isa simple three-step cleaning process that will take less than two minutes. This brand is my favorite, but there are many to choose from. (I also love Arm & Hammer laundry detergent and have used it for years. Check that out!)
Bathtub Shower Drain Hair Catcher
You long grey locks are beautiful, but they do not help keep your shower running freely. If you frequently find yourself standing in three inches of undrained water while showering, try out this handle little gadget. With four long-haired daughters, we've used things like this for years to stop the clogged drain problem before it starts.
No Show Women's Belt
Having bigger hips and a smaller waist have caused me pants problems for decades. Pants just aren't made to fit my body. But belting up is often bulky and bulgy. I found a sleek solution to the problem with a slim flat-buckle belt!
To top it off, it comes in multiple colors. I'm just not a black-wearer due to my pasty skin. They offer a nice brown and tan color in addition to black, blue, grey, white. And there are multiple buckle colors to choose from, too. Now you can cinch your waist nicely without the bulk.
Skin Tag Remover Patches
One morning about 15 years ago, I woke up to find a bump on my eyelid. Literally overnight, this growth sprung up. I thought I had an eyelid tumor. I thought it might disappear, but it didn't.
After about a year, I learned it was a skin tag. I also learned that the “easiest” way to remove it was to tightly tie a piece of floss at the base of the tag and then clip the tag off with nail clippers. Yes, that's what I learned on the internet that day.
So…I did it. Let's just say it hurt like @$#%! and eyelids bleed like a geyser.
Now they have these handy little patches (kind of like the zit patches above) that dissolve them over time. I don't know if I'd use it on my eyelids (please, check product directions), but on most body parts this would be more pleasant.
Silicone Cable Clips
I'm an organizational freak. I like everything neat and orderly. One of my pet peeves over the past few decades has been cords. Cords everywhere for everything. They look messy and can make even the most minimal space look chaotic. One solution (I'll be showing all mine in the upcoming home office makeover vlog) is to wrangle those cords in with a hand little silicone clip.
This set has 34 pieces, half white, half black. You can also find versatile sets that include only a single color.
Share Your Favorites!
What are your favorite gadgets? Have you found something simple that makes big impact? Please share your finds!
Alison Moore Smith is a 57-year-old entrepreneur. She has been (very happily) married to Samuel M. Smith for 36 years. They are the parents of six incredible children and the grandparents to one astounding ginger grandson.
She is the author of The 7 Success Habits of Homeschoolers.
Join her on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and (barely) TikTok.