When I moved into my first apartment at the tender age of 19, I was overwhelmed by how much stuff was necessary for basic living. Furniture, electronics, towels, dishes...that's a lot of decisions to make! It helped to think of the products in my parents' home as a blueprint for my new adult life. For example, if they had a Dustbuster, I needed a Dustbuster! Of course, I couldn't afford everything right away, but knowing which Amazon products my mom recommended helped a lot.
Now I'm the mom, and someday, my own kids will need my advice to set up their first apartments. When they do, I'll be ready to share my favorite Amazon products, including an affordable cast iron pan, a versatile closet organizer, and this backpack to keep on hand for emergencies--and those are just for starters. Read on for all my top mom picks!
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.
A Basic but ~Nice~ Set of Wine Glasses
via: AmazonIt's past time to ditch the mismatched glassware and invest in a sparkling new set of wine glasses! This four-pack by Amazon Basics is affordable--less than $5 each--and their all-purpose stemless shape makes them perfect for red wine, white wine, or to double as water glasses. Bonus tip: No matter how careful you are, wine glasses break easily, so I recommend you purchase at least two sets at a time. (Maybe a stemmed and stemless?! Go nuts.)
This Sign That Reminds You to Wash Your Hands
via: AmazonYour mom and I both want you to wash your hands frequently, pandemic or not! Remind anyone using your bathroom or kitchen to wash up with this kitschy sign that's as cute as it is functional. It measures 7 by 10 inches and is made of plastic with holes in the corners for easy mounting. Safe to use outdoors, too.
These Rad Coasters Look Like Vinyl Records
via: AmazonCoasters protect wood furniture from water marks, but if I'm being totally honest, most coasters are ugly and boring. Not these vinyl coasters, though! They look like tiny throwback records and add fun personality to your space.
These Toilet Cleaning Tablets Prevent Hard Water and Rust Stains
via: AmazonThere is no excuse for a nasty, stained toilet. Take five seconds to drop one of these magical toilet cleaning tablets into the tank, and the long-lasting formula prevents rust and hard water stains from forming for up to 45 days.
These Silicone Baking Cups Are SO HANDY for Cupcakes and Muffins
via: AmazonDitch the paper liners and invest in a set of silicone baking cups. Trust me, you won't regret this purchase! These flexible, brightly colored cups are the best way to bake and serve cupcakes and muffins. You don't even need a muffin pan; these cups are sturdy enough to stand up on a baking sheet.
This Shower Filter Removes Chlorine, Heavy Metals, and Sediment
via: AmazonYour shower should be an oasis of cleanliness and Celine Dion-style solos, not a deluge of chlorine, fluoride, heavy metals, and sediment that build up on your hair and skin. Yuck. Purify shower water with this easy-to-install shower filter, which attaches to just about any showerhead. Includes two filter cartridges that should last about a year.
This Sewing Kit So You Can Replace Your Own Buttons
via: AmazonEveryone should own a basic sewing kit, and this one is well-priced at under $10. It's made by Singer, a trusted brand when it comes to sewing products, and includes everything you need for beginner-level mending: fabric scissors, needles, thread, pin cushion, tap measure, marking pencils, and more.
This Panini Press for Delicious Sandwiches and Quesadillas
via: AmazonOne of the handiest countertop appliances out there! This panini press by Hamilton Beach is not only surprisingly affordable, it's also designed to accommodate nice, thick sandwiches thanks to its floating lid. It's earned thousands of 5-star ratings from Amazon customers, who have called it, "excellent" and "hugely versatile."
These Puzzle Sorting Trays to Enhance Your Favorite Boomer Hobby
via: AmazonOne of the most surprising side-effects of the pandemic has been the new popularity of jigsaw puzzles. It seems like every millennial I know is begging their boomer parents for second-hand puzzles, and--of course!--posting photos of the finished masterpieces on social media. There are a zillion puzzles for sale on Amazon of course, but make sure you pick up these puzzle sorting trays, too. They're shaped like puzzle pieces (cute!) and help you stay neat and organized (handy!).
This Quick-Fold Side Table Weighs Under 4 Pounds
via: AmazonNeed more table space for outdoor activities? This quick-fold side table may be exactly what you're looking for. Made of durable resin with a UV-protectant (so the colors won't fade), it's designed to fold flat for easy storage and portability. Set it up in two seconds flat, then make use of the 17.5 by 15-inch surface. Comes in 15 colors.
This Sonic Bomb Alarm Clock Wakes You Up Three Different Ways
via: AmazonBeing an adult means you need a foolproof alarm clock. Don't just trust your phone, which you might leave in another room or forget to plug up. Instead, plunk this Sonic Bomb Alarm Clock next to your bed, and rest assured that you will not be able to sleep through the super loud sound, flashing lights, and shaking attachment.
This Skidmore's Restoration Cream Beautifully Restores Leather and Wood
via: AmazonMake leather and wood look like new! Skidmore's Restoration Cream is an all-natural conditioner that moisturizes and protects leather and wood, erasing scuffs and improving color and texture. Works beautifully on leather sofas, boots, wood trim, kitchen cabinets, and more. Check out the before and after photos in the user reviews for inspiration!
These Reusable Bamboo Towels Replace 6 Months of Paper Towels
via: AmazonCut down on waste and expense with this roll of reusable bamboo towels. They look and act just like regular paper towels, but you can wash, air-dry, and reuse them up to 120 times. If they get too dirty, just toss them. Amazon reviewers say they work great on Swiffer brooms, too!
This Salad Dressing Shaker for Healthier, Tastier Dressings
via: AmazonFor the same price as a couple bottles of store-bought dressing, you can purchase this handy salad dressing shaker! Once you realize how easy it is to make dressings from scratch, you'll never want bottled dressing again. This shaker by OXO holds 1 1/2 cups and has a leak-proof lid for easy shaking, storing, and serving.
These Oven Rack Shields Prevent Burns
via: AmazonAvoid painful burns by installing these ingenious oven rack shields. Each 14-inch silicone shield slips onto the edge of an oven rack. If it's too long to fit your rack, just trim with scissors.
This Knife Sharpener Keeps Kitchen Knives Super Sharp
via: AmazonGet ready to slice and dice a lot more effectively! This compact, affordable knife sharpener lets you easily sharpen any kitchen knives, with two stages of sharpening. When you're done, it's small enough to tuck away in any kitchen drawer.
These Real House Plants Bring Instant Life to Your Space
via: AmazonYou really can get anything from Amazon, can't you? Including this set of three real house plants! Each plant arrives ready to go, with the total size being 10-15 inches tall. All you have to do is unwrap the plant and pick the perfect spot!
This Healthy Snacks Care Package Contains 30 Yummy Treats
via: Amazon / LifeisgoodDuring my college years, I often "shopped" in my parents' kitchen cabinets for snacks to take back to my apartment. That memory inspired this healthy snacks care package by Cravebox, a popular brand known for its great packaging and fun selections. This version includes 30 snacks that are delicious, yet still relatively healthy, like popcorn, nuts, fruit chews, and veggie chips.
This Grill & Grate Gel Cleans Baked-On Grease and Carbon
via: AmazonGrills are no fun to clean. Make the job easier with this Grill & Grate Gel by Goo Gone, and at least it'll be over with fast! Spray it on grill exterior, interior, grates, and drip pans. The formula loosens baked-on carbon and grease, including that burnt black residue you thought would never come off. Scrub and wipe clean for a grill that looks like new!
This Grandma's Secret Spot Remover Works on Dried Grease Stains and So Much More
via: AmazonTake care of your clothes like your mom (and grandma) want you to with Grandma's Secret Spot Remover. This stain remover is environmentally safe, biodegradable, nontoxic, and best of all...it works. Like, really well. The Amazon user reviews are full of raves, including happy customers who report that it works on blood stains, pet stains, and even old, dry grease stains.
This Dish Drying Mat Speeds Up Drying Time
via: AmazonMake dishwashing a little less time-consuming with this dish drying mat. This 16 by 12-inch silicone mat is designed with raised ridges to maximize aeration and drainage, meaning wet dishes dry faster. The non-slip surface is safe for delicate glassware, and when not in use, the mat rolls up for easy storage.
This Dustbuster Has Over 22,000 Ratings
via: AmazonIf you don't have a hand-vac yet, what are you waiting for? The Black+Decker Dustbuster is affordable, durable, and extremely handy around the house and car. Charge it up on the included charging base for cordless vacuuming wherever you need it.
This Emergency Backpack Includes Survival Supplies for 3 Days
via: AmazonOrder this Emergency Backpack and stash it in your car or home for peace of mind. If there's a natural disaster or other emergency, you can grab the backpack and be set with enough survival supplies to last two people for three days. It includes food, water, a first aid kit, light sticks, and more.
This Facial Brush Deep Cleans and Exfoliates
via: AmazonReduce break-outs, brighten skin tone, and freshen your look with this highly-rated facial brush. Made by Olay, this battery-operated brush has two speeds so you can choose between a basic daily cleaning, or a more thorough exfoliation. It's water-resistant, which means it's safe to use in the shower.
This FreshPaper Keeps Bread and Muffins Fresher, Longer
via: AmazonThe geniuses over at FreshPaper have developed a new product that keeps bread and other baked goods fresh, soft, and mold-free for 2-4 times longer than usual. FreshPaper is 100% BPA-free, chemical-free, plastic-free, and designed for food use. It's made with all-natural botanicals and spices, and can be composted or recycled after use.
This Germ Guardian Plugs In to Purify Air
via: AmazonStinky bathroom? Stale office? Freshen the air in any room with the Germ Guardian. Simply plug it into any outlet and it will immediately start killing germs. There's never any filter to change! Instead, the Germ Guardian uses a UV-C light that kills airborne viruses and eliminates odors. Depending on use, the UV-C bulb will need to be replaced about every 10-12 months.
This Glass Pitcher Withstands Temperatures Up to 300 Degrees
via: AmazonImpress your parents and other dinner guests with a beautiful glass pitcher perfect for serving water, iced tea, juice, and other drinks. The diamond pattern gives it a vintage look, but it's made of borosilicate glass, which is specially formulated to withstand temperatures from 0 to 300 degrees.
This Door Mat Keeps Your House Cleaner
via: AmazonKids, dogs, everyone's shoes--the world is constantly trying to track dirt into the house. This door mat helps! Made of cotton and microfiber in a light gray color, it looks great with any decor. After doing its job trapping dirt and moisture, throw the mat in the washing machine for easy cleaning.
This Corner Shelf Organizer Increases Dish Storage Space
via: AmazonSmall kitchen? Cramped cabinets? Make the most of every inch with this corner shelf organizer. Made from sturdy iron with a sleek, platinum finish, this two-tier rack is designed to tuck neatly into the corner of a cabinet or on a kitchen counter. Use it to store or display dishes, cups, or other items.
This Cold/Hot Pack Relieves Pain
via: AmazonAfter hours hunched over my laptop, I often need relief for my sore back and neck. This cold/hot pack helps! At 11 by 14.5 inches, it's a great size for covering a large area of the back or wrapping around an arm or leg. Heat it in the microwave or store in the freezer.
This Closet Organizer Is Surprisingly Affordable
via: AmazonAnother winner from Whitmor! This free-standing organizer provides three fabric shelves and two collapsible fabric drawers that help you tidy up your closet or other space. It's easy to assemble and doesn't require any tools.
This Cast Iron Pan for a Lifetime of Better Cooking
via: AmazonUnlike nonstick skillets that have to replaced every few years, a good cast iron pan will last a lifetime. This 12" cast iron pan by Lodge arrives pre-seasoned with vegetable oil, saving you the hassle and worry of seasoning it yourself. Use to sear, sauté, bake, broil, braise, fry, or grill--in the oven, on the stove, on the grill, or over a campfire. You'll be hard pressed to find a more versatile or durable pan at this price!
This Bluapple Absorbs Ethylene Gas to Keep Produce Fresher, Longer
via: AmazonI saw a gif the other day of someone removing spoiled fruit from the fridge and replacing it with identical containers of new fruit. Yep. Fruits and veggies never last as long as I need them to, which is why I went searching for something that could help. That led me to the Bluapple. This genius gadget absorbs ethylene gas, slowing the ripening process and helping fruits and veggies stay fresh longer.
These Bestselling Pillows for a Better Night's Sleep
via: AmazonIf you're not sleeping well, have neck pain, or haven't bought new pillows for a few years, then my friend, it is time. I'll save you the effort of searching with this recommendation! These pillows are bestsellers and have earned over 15,000 ratings on Amazon (the vast majority of which are 5-stars). They have cotton covers and gel memory foam interiors, which means they're allergen-free and machine-washable.
It's Time for a Better Beach Towel
via: AmazonGet ready for your next vacation, beach day, or pool visit with the best beach towel you'll ever own. What makes it so great? It's oversized (78 by 35 inches), yet exceptionally lightweight and folds down to almost nothing (you can then slip that almost-nothing into the included travel pouch). Because it's made of microfiber, it's incredibly soft and absorbent, yet dries much faster than a typical cotton-terry towel. Comes in a bunch of bright colors to choose from.
This Baking Dish Set for Sharing Your Delicious Cooking
via: AmazonHere's another Amazon product Mom recommends: She has this exact baking dish set and uses it all the time. The 3-quart Pyrex glass pan is perfect for lasagna, brownies, and other baked dishes and desserts. To tote a dish to a gathering or drop off homemade food for a friend, use the included lid, gel pack, and insulated carrying case to deliver it safely and securely.