Out of all the things I’ve purchased on Amazon (and there have been a LOT), these 30 items are my favorites that I’d buy over and over again in a heartbeat.
The list ranges from no-tie elastic shoelaces that speed up my kids’ morning routine to slim laundry baskets that fit small spaces perfectly, but all the purchases share a common purpose: to make life a little easier and more enjoyable. By being the perfect solution to a specific problem and simply working as well as they claim to, these products definitely pay for themselves many times over.
While I firmly believe in the phrase “Buy it nice or buy it twice”, the good news is that many of the items on my short list are affordable and haven’t let me down after years of use! See if you agree with these picks for my 30 favorite Amazon purchases ever.
These Gel Pens Are Smooth as Silk
A friend gifted me some adult coloring books last Christmas and the kids’ dried-up markers weren’t cutting it for the intricate illustrations. Enter this set of 48 gel pens. The colors are amazingly bright, plus the metallics and glitter ones are awesome. These smooth pens are perfect for coloring, doodling or jotting down notes – over 1,000 five-star reviews aren’t wrong!
This Zinc Sunscreen Goes on Clear!
As a very pale mom of two redheaded kids, sun protection is non-negotiable in this house. This zinc sunscreen is perfect for faces, and the best part is it’s immediately effective so you don’t have to apply 30 minutes before going outside. (Which for kids waiting to go in the pool is equivalent to 798 years). Good news is that it’s free of Oxybenzone, parabens and other yucky stuff, and it’s reef friendly.
Sunday Riley’s Good Genes is a Facial in a Jar
I’m a skincare minimalist but also approaching 40, so time isn’t necessarily on my side when it comes to facial skin. Good thing this Good Genes all-in-one lactic acid treatment from Sunday Riley is an amazing multitasker – after one application, my sensitive skin was noticeably softer, clearer and brighter thanks to the exfoliating, plumping and fine-line reducing effects. Easy to see why it’s a runaway cult fave! Highly, highly recommend for all ages and types of skin.
This Children’s Chef Knife Is Perfect for Budding Cooks
My seven-year-old loves helping chop veggies but her current knife skills give me a heart attack. To make sure she keeps all her fingers and doesn’t bleed all over dinner, we got her this beginner chef knife and it’s working like a charm. The handle is heavy enough and the blade sharp enough to cut crunchy veggies and soft fruit (but not little fingers) and sized right for small hands.
This Apple Slicer Changed My Life
Ok, maybe that’s a bit dramatic but it’s totally true! As a mom of two ravenous, apple-loving kids, I used to spend so much time chopping fruit into small pieces so nobody chokes. This apple slicer and corer cuts 16 perfect pieces with one push – the best part is the kids can even do it themselves so I can get back to playing Words With Friends.
These No-Tie Shoelaces Streamlined My Kids’ Morning Routine
I’m so in love with these elastic no-tie shoelaces for making our mornings run much smoother. My kids don’t have to fuss with tying shoes and boots when we’re trying to rush out the door before they miss the bus, and shoes don’t come untied during the day. They also fit adult sizes – you just trim to fit, pop on the plastic closure and go on your merry way! They turn any shoe into a slip-on, the best for moms with no extra hands or lazy people (I qualify for both).
These Pencil Grips Are Teacher-Endorsed
My 2nd grader still has trouble with the pinch grip, so I was looking for some of the old school triangle-shaped grips I used as a kid. These modern pencil grips are SO MUCH BETTER. One reviewer who’s a teacher says they’re “perfect for hands of all sizes and learning to hold a pencil correctly”. They come in a set of 6 bright colors that my daughter loved and we saw a big improvement in her writing immediately!
These Chalk Markers Are So Satisfying
In a fit of domesticity earlier this year, I decided to up my meal-planning game and write the weekly menu on a cute chalkboard. The regular chalk was too dusty and blunt, so I was so happy to find these smooth, bright white chalk markers. They write like a dream and have reversible tips for thin or thick lines. Just use a wet paper towel or Magic Eraser when you’re ready to erase!
This Building Set Is Portable and Fun
These plus-shaped building toys are amazing for keeping kids entertained when you’re out and about. They’re like flat Legos and you can build 2D mosaics or 3D models. I bought one pack and split between two zippered pouches for the kids – they’re a lifesaver when we’re waiting at the doctor’s office or out to dinner!
This Recipe Tin Makes Me Feel Like a Grown-Ass Lady
I decided to upgrade my food-stained, unorganized binder of recipes ripped from magazines or jotted on random paper scraps. This recipe tin is just as cute and much more affordable than similar versions, and it comes with recipe cards and labeled section dividers to keep everything in order. I can find what I’m looking for so much easier and it looks adorable on my counter!
This S’well Bottle Keeps My Water Cold For Days
When I lost my full-sized insulated water bottle I wasn’t super excited about shelling out for another one, but haaate drinking water that’s anything less than ice cold. I did a quick Amazon search and found this S’ip by S’well water bottle for much less! You won’t even notice the slightly smaller size (15oz vs 17 for regular S’wells) and it comes in such cute designs and solid colors. It seriously keeps my bedside water nice and cold overnight and well into the next day!
This Digital Scale Is Sleek and Accurate
During my annual New Year health kick I did a search for the best digital bathroom scale and found this baby. It’s incredibly sleek and thin so you can store it away easily and has been very accurate so far. Super easy to use, just step on and the backlit display quickly pops up with your weight. It even comes with batteries for added convenience!
This Silk Pillowcase Fights Wrinkles and Looks Great
I was so excited to read that sleeping on a silk pillowcase reduces wrinkles since a) I love fancy, comfy things and b) I can’t sleep in any position other than on my face, despite the ill effects. Long-term anti-wrinkle effects remain to be seen, but the cool smoothness feels great on my face and my hair’s not a total ball of tangles in the morning. This silk pillowcase is a much better price point than popular brands, really high quality with reviews to back it up and comes in tons of colors to match your bedding.
This Slim Laundry Basket Is Made for Small Spaces
Our washer and dryer are in a closet in our not-huge bathroom, and our old laundry hamper was too large for the space. Now we have these slim, streamlined laundry baskets (one for lights, one for darks) on wheels that easily roll to and from the laundry closet and hold a decent amount of clothing from our family of four. These would be great for small laundry rooms and apartments as well. They’ve held up really well for a few years of heavy use so far and look great!
This Conditioning Spray Detangles and Prevents Lice!
Frequent lice outbreaks strike fear in many a grade school parent’s heart – just the thought of the little buggers makes me itchy. I saw this lice-repelling conditioning spray recommended on a mom blog and immediately bought it – we’ve been using it for years and haven’t ever had a lice incident (knock on wood). It detangles my kids’ curls effortlessly and smells really fresh.
This Korean Sunscreen Doubles as a Primer
As a reckless teenager I didn’t practice safe sun and have definitely dealt with repercussions, evident from the basal cell skin cancer removal scars on my face. Sun protection is an essential part of my everyday routine but I detest the smell and feel of most sunscreens, especially on my face. I read about this Korean sunscreen on reddit and fell in love – it’s more milky than creamy, not greasy and the “soft finish” dries matte so it doubles as a primer. I love that there’s no white cast and the SPF protection is more sophisticated than brands typically sold in the US.
This Small-Batch Cocktail Tonic Seriously Elevates Your G&T
This small-batch cocktail tonic is a delicious game-changer for any home bar. My husband’s a huge gin & tonic fan and is obsessed with this – he swears it makes homemade drinks a billion times better. It’s a great alternative to expensive “fancy” tonic waters and this is by far the best price I’ve seen. The flavor’s perfectly balanced, no overly-quinine or cloying notes, just perfect tonic taste.
These Food Containers Make Meal-Prep a Breeze
These meal-prep containers have made an unexciting chore suprisingly so much more enjoyable. They come in a pack of 10 so there are more than enough to store dinners for the week for my husband and me. The bento-box style has room for a main dish and two sides, and the lids and containers stack so they stay organized and don’t take up tons of room in the cabinet.
This Milk Frother Is a Genius Parenting Hack
Perhaps the best secret in my arsenal of parenting hacks, this milk frother made calcium cool again. My eldest decided milk was gross one day, and images of future osteoporosis flashed before me. Then I remembered she loved the foamy milk on top of cappucino and found this little gadget. It creates mountains of foam and the kids love using it to make “fancy milk”, which they request on the daily. #winning
This Leatherman Multitool Does It All
I originally bought this Leatherman multitool for my dad, but once I saw how useful it was I immediately wanted one! It packs 17 tools into a compact package, including knives, pliers, screwdrivers, wire cutters, an electrical crimper, a wire stripper, bottle and can openers, a file, a saw, an awl, and a ruler. A practical and awesome gift.
This Instant Pot Eliminates the Dinner Scramble
When 5pm rolled around, I used to turn to my poor children and say, “So, mac and cheese or scrambled eggs (for the 300th night in a row)? Since we drank the Internet Kool-Aid and got an Instant Pot last year, dinner time’s been much less of a drag. My favorite thing is that you don’t have to plan ahead or remember to start the slow cooker six hours before you want to eat – I can throw in some frozen chicken breasts and 10 minutes later have perfectly cooked meat I can shred for tacos, salads, or sandwiches. I also love the sauté feature, which cuts down on things to wash. It’s truly a one-pot meal!
This Cool-Mist Humidifier Works as Good As It Looks
From October through at least April, it’s runny nose central around here with two kids bringing home every germ they meet at school. This cool mist humidifier is incredibly cute and works so well to soothe stuffy heads. I love adding yummy smelling essential oils that make the whole house smell amazing, too. It’s also much easier to clean than the huge clunky ones, just rinse and go!
This Mini Trampoline Is Fun All Year
What’s the most favorite Christmas present three years running? This Little Tikes trampoline! It’s small enough to fit in the corner of the living room and a lifesaver on long winter afternoons when it’s too cold to play outside and the kids are bouncing off the walls (literally).
These Microfiber Towels Dry So Fast
We originally bought this set of microfiber towels for my brother-in-law who lives in a humid climate and was getting musty towels. My husband picked up another set to use for the gym and I stole the handtowel that comes with the generously-sized 52″ x 32″ body towel. They dry so incredibly fast that there’s never even a hint of funk and they’re butter soft on the skin. They pack down to basically nothing so they’re great for travel or camping, too.
This Shoe Rack Possibly Saved My Marriage
You could say I’ve got a bit of a shoe problem. They just always fit (unlike pants and swimsuits) and I like lots of footwear options, ok? The clutter drives my hubby crazy so we needed a storage solution that holds lots of shoes in a small space. This over-the-door shoe rack holds an impressive 36 pairs and fits easily on our closet door. There’s even space for a pair of his shoes!
This Ear and Forehead Thermometer Is Fast and Accurate
Kids get fevers all the time, and their temp is the first thing the doctor wants to know when you call for advice. This infant thermometer, which everyone in the family uses, works lightning fast and more importantly, is really accurate. You can use it in the ear or sweep it across the forehead for a quick digital reading, which is key when dealing with a squirming, cranky kiddo. Or husband.
This Amazon Echo Dot Is My Fave Impulse Buy
I picked up an Amazon Echo Dot on a whim last year during a sale and am so glad I did. We use it daily to play podcasts, request any song we can think of, get the weather, make shopping lists and so much more. Of course, the kids’ favorite thing is “Alexa, make a fart!” – their reaction never fails to make me crack a smile, so worth it I guess?
I Bought This Diaper Backpack After My Kids Were Potty Trained
Diaper bags are actually genius laptop bags in disguise. I was having trouble finding a laptop backpack that looked great, was durable and had lots of pockets, then I realized a diaper backpack was the perfect solution. This one’s affordable, has a million storage options inside and out, and comes with two zippered pouches I use for cords, battery packs and other important stuff like snacks. Best of all, it doesn’t look at all like a diaper bag!
This Bedside Shelf Is Made For Small Spaces
My daughter’s bed is too close to her closet to fit a nightstand so we needed to improvise something to hold her water bottle, books and alarm clock. I found this Bunk Buddy bedside shelf and it’s worked perfectly! It’s actually meant to be a nightstand for the top bunk, but we just use it on her regular bed. Installation is easy peasy – it simply clips on to the side of the bed, no hardware needed!
This Headphone Headband Is Perfect for Young Kids
Whenever we fly, my kids like to play on the iPad or watch movies on the portable DVD player to pass the time but the little one found regular headphones uncomfortable or too big. This stretchy headphone headband has been a great find – it’s fleecy soft, has volume-limited ultra-thin speakers and comes in tons of cute animal or character themes (we’re partial to the unicorn).