I just did the math, and I've been an Amazon customer for 20 years! Back then, as a carefree girl trying online shopping for the first time, I felt pretty adventurous ordering books and CDs on the World Wide Web. Amazon and I have both changed a lot over the years. Now, I shop for a busy family of five, so I know where to find good deals and worthwhile products. I still buy a lot on Amazon, though I'm more likely to order lunchboxes and socks than a novel.
Today, I'm sharing a bunch of my favorite products that I've actually bought on Amazon for my family. There are plenty of super-practical recommendations, including a 24-pack of cleaning cloths that we use all over the house. I'm also recommending my kids' favorite card game and my secret ingredient for making just about anything taste better. I hope you find some of these useful, too!
We hope you find these handy products as awesome as we do. Just an FYI: we participate in affiliate programs, and may receive a share of sales from links on this page.
This Versatile 24-Pack of Microfiber Cloths
via: AmazonA few years ago, I decided to cut back on paper towels, and this 24-pack of microfiber cloths made that humblest of dreams come true. I use them to mop spills, scrub counters, and polish mirrors. They come out of the washer/dryer ready for more work, and they're holding up really well.
This Affordable Leather iWatch Band
via: AmazonHave an Apple Watch? If so, I'm here to save you a lot of time and package-returning-trouble. Forget all other bands and order this affordable leather band that comes in an amazing array of 45 colors. It feels smooth, smells good, and looks like it costs ten times more than it does.
These Anti-Blister Socks for Running, Walking, Hiking
via: AmazonFor everyday socks, I'm fine with any old 10-pack that gets the job done. But for serious exercise, these anti-blister socks make a HUGE difference in comfort and health. They're meticulously designed with ventilated areas, padding on the toes and heels, and compression in the arch. The result is a high-quality sock that's won a bunch of awards, including Runner's World Editors' Choice.
This Easy-to-Use Apple Corer
via: AmazonApple pie and baked apples (filled with butter and brown sugar...yum...) are on a steady rotation in my house. Which is why this apple corer is indispensable. It's easy enough for kids to use, and the results are a lot more consistent than coring with a knife.
This Black Garlic Salt Is My Secret Ingredient
via: AmazonAdd umami (that savory, satisfying, protein-y flavor) to meals with this Black Garlic Salt. I'm a big fan of Portland's Jacobsen Salt Company, and I think this particular flavor gives the most bang for the buck. A sprinkle on top of eggs, pasta, and other savory dishes turns everyday food into delicious meals.
This Fun Cake Pop Maker
via: AmazonWhen my kids asked me to make cake pops, I was horrified to learn that the usual method involves baking a cake, crumbling that cake, mixing the crumbs by hand with frosting, then molding the mush into balls. No. Thank. You. Instead, we got this cake pop maker, which uses any old cake mix to cook adorable cake spheres in four minutes. Clean, easy, and the results look and taste amazing!
These Life-Saving Closet Shelf Dividers
via: AmazonI'm worried that when I tell you these closet shelf dividers saved my life, you'll think I'm exaggerating. Listen. I had a shelf crammed with shoe boxes, purses, sweaters; you name it. One day, trying to extricate an item, the whole lot came down and nearly buried me. Determined to prevent future crushing incidents, I finally organized that shelf with the help of these dividers. Learn from me.
This Collapsible Travel Kettle
via: AmazonI like: Enjoying a hot drink first thing in the morning, even while on vacation. I don't like: Wandering a hotel in search of a hot drink, and paying hotel prices for it. Solution: I now travel with this smart little kettle, which collapses down to fit easily in my suitcase. I use it to heat water in hotel rooms for coffee, tea, and oatmeal--giving me instant gratification and saving on expenses!
This Waterproof Pet Food Mat
via: AmazonWhile researching this article, I realized that I buy most of my dog Rosie's products on Amazon. Dog food, poop bags, even her three beds (yes, my dog has three beds--she is our Good Girl and deserves All The Comfy Beds). One of the most practical items I've bought is this silicone mat. It prevents food bowls from slipping, contains splashes, and keeps the feeding area neat.
This Dragonwood Card and Dice Game That's Fun for Kids AND Parents
via: AmazonMy family plays a lot of board games, and our perennial problem is finding games that are legitimately fun for adults while being easy enough for kids. Dragonwood is that rare game that pleases everyone. Even kids as young as 5 or 6 can play with a little reading and math help.
This Time-Saving Dry Shampoo That Smells Good Toodry shampoo, that wonder of modern technology that eliminates grease, adds volume, and makes children's heads smell good again.
This Floofy Duvet Insert
via: Amazon / KapLast year I bought an expensive duvet for my bed from a fancy store. It's fabulous. Then, I went on Amazon to buy duvets for my kids' beds at a fraction of the price. And you know what? They're truly almost as nice. Pro tip: When this duvet insert arrives, it's squished flat and you might think it's not as floofy as I promised, but just throw it in the dryer for 30 minutes and it will fluff up nicely.
These Bento-Style Easy Lunchbox Containers
via: AmazonThese Easy Lunchbox Containers are one of my top recommendations! They're perfectly sized for school or work lunches, and the lids fit tightly enough that the foods don't leak into each other. Dishwasher safe and durable (we've been using the same set for years). One piece of advice: Make sure your lunchbox is big enough; these Wildkin lunchboxes fit perfectly.
These Cute Lunchboxes Are Perfectly Sized for the Easy Lunchbox ContainersWildkin lunchboxes, which have enough room for the Easy Lunchbox container, an ice pack, and a juice pouch. They also come in dozens of colors and designs for kiddos to choose from.
These Fill-in-the-Blank Thank You Cards
via: AmazonMy mom raised me to write thank you notes, so it's important to me that my kids learn the same lesson. These thank you cards are not only cute, but they're also fun and easy for kids to fill out. (Very small kids can dictate their answers to you and draw a scribble on the back.)
These Folding Headphones Fit Better in Backpacks
via: AmazonWhen my daughter started middle school, she informed me she needed a pair of headphones for use at school. A quick Amazon search yielded this pair of headphones that had everything we needed. They're affordable, fold up to fit in a side pocket of a backpack, and come in bright colors that stand out among all the other headphones.
These Hogwarts T-Shirts
via: AmazonMy family has a couple of Ravenclaws (including me), a couple of Gryffindors, and one teenage Slytherin I have to keep a very close eye on. We all have these Hogwarts T-Shirts that are affordable, soft, and wash well.
This Cutie-Cute Hot Dog Server
via: AmazonFor toddlers (and as it turns out, teens with a goofy sense of humor), this hot dog server is a huge hit. Pop in a hot dog (or veggie dog), press down to slice it into bite-size pieces, then eat up (be sure to fill the doggy dish with your favorite dip).
This Enormous Storage Basket
via: AmazonI need one of these for every room in the house. These huge storage baskets manage to look like part of the decor when stashed in the corner, but their real purpose is to hide the toys, blankets, shoes, and other clutter driving you nuts.
This Unscented Insect Repellent Lotion
via: AmazonUnlike sticky, stinky sprays, this insect repellent lotion is unscented, easy to apply, and feels like any ordinary lotion. My whole family has been using it to ward off mosquito bites, and it's been working great.
These Incredibly Useful Kitchen Shears
via: AmazonI can't believe it took me so long to discover the magic of kitchen shears. I use them to cut up chicken parts, snip herbs, open food packages, and lots of other kitchen tasks. I hand-wash mine like it's a knife, and it's stayed very sharp.
This Lightbox Makes Every Occasion More Speciallightbox all the time. Every birthday, holiday, and movie night gets a lit-up message to set the tone, and we've used it to display greetings and jokes, too.
These Flip-Cap Lids for Jars
via: AmazonEvery time we finish a jar of jam or sauce, I'm faced with a decision. Recycle or reuse? Lately, we've been successfully reusing a lot of jars thanks to these flip-cap tops. They basically turn any mason jar into a storage container that easily dispenses its contents.
These Mini Silicone Scrapers Are So Very Useful
via: AmazonSure, you can use a butter knife to scrape out the last of the cream cheese or peanut butter. You can try, anyway. Or, you can do the job faster, easier, and neater with this mini silicone scraper. It's one of the best little kitchen gadgets we own.
This Multi-Bottle Opener
via: AmazonI don't know if my kids are weaker than average or just lazy, but they seem to always need help opening bottles. That's why I'm getting this multi-bottle opener, which works on everything from nail polish to soda bottles. (Bonus: It's also extremely helpful for people with arthritis!)
This Noodle Bowl With Chopsticks
via: AmazonPerfect for ramen or buttered noodles, this noodle bowl is cute, deep, and includes chopsticks that fit in notches on the rim. It makes the simplest of meals seem a bit nicer.
This Portable Charger With Two Ports
via: Amazon / JoshuaIf I counted up how many Apple devices my family owns, I'd probably feel pressured to order yet another of these highly rated portable chargers. They are a lifesaver during long family outings or vacations, and this model has two ports for charging two devices simultaneously.
This Shiatsu Massager for Neck, Shoulders, Back
via: AmazonI spend a lot of my day hunched over one screen or another. I'm guessing you do, too. So I'm recommending one of the best Amazon purchases I've made in the past year: This shiatsu massager with heat and variable speed. It works especially well on stiff, achy shoulders.
These Smencils Are a Homework Hero
via: AmazonIf you look up tips for helping kids develop good homework habits, you'll find advice like, "set up a designated area" and "do homework the same time every day." Fine, but my list would start with, "Buy a set of Smencils." These strongly scented pencils (each in its own scent-preserving tube) are hugely motivating when you only break them out for homework.
This Sugar Dispenser Controls Portions
via: AmazonAfter I discovered my teenager's daily cup of tea contained more sugar than a box of cookies, I decided a little portion control was in order. This sugar dispenser has a dial on top that lets you dispense 1/4, 1/2, or 1 teaspoon at a time.
These Taco Shell Tongs
via: AmazonI'm not normally a fan of one-use kitchen gadgets, but I made an exception for these tongs because of my family's deep and abiding love for tacos. They're perfect for forming and frying corn tortillas into crispy shells.
This Bathroom Timer for Kids
via: AmazonThis little timer is very helpful at helping kids transition to greater independence. Instead of you yelling at them to brush their teeth longer, the timer does the reminding! Press the hand for 20 seconds of hand-washing time, or the tooth for 2 minutes of teeth-brushing time.
This Thermos Food Jar Won My Own Little Contest
via: Amazon / AmberI conducted a highly unscientific study to find the best container for keeping food warm. I ordered three different jars on Amazon, packed them with hot food in the morning, then checked them at lunchtime. This Thermos food jar won! The food was piping hot hours later. My kids also love the folding spoon that snaps into the lid.
This Tofu Press Makes Tofu Turn Out So Much BetterFor years, I was cooking tofu wrong. I pressed it with paper towels to try to get out some moisture, but I had no idea what a difference it would make to use a proper tofu press. Now, the tofu I cook has a much better texture and is more like what we get in restaurants.
This Shoe Organizer Fits Under the Bed
via: AmazonI don't know about your family, but we are chronically short on storage space. We have a bunch of these under-bed shoe organizers (although we use them for more than shoes!). I like that there's a plastic top that zips shut, and dividers to keep the shoes tidy. It works well for toy storage, too.
This Wobble Cushion Helps Wiggly Kids Stay in Their Seats
via: AmazonActive, fidgety kids who have trouble sitting still can really benefit from a Wobble Cushion. It's an air-filled plastic cushion that gives kids the sensory input they crave. Basically, their bodies have something to do (balance on the cushion) while their minds and hands need to focus (like on dinner or homework).