Sometimes, the smallest thing can make a huge difference in your life. A friend recently told me about a can opener he bought that revolutionized his meal-prep experience. And the opener is nothing fancy. It just makes a clean-cut (no sharp edges) and holds onto the top so it doesn’t fall into the can. Those kinds of improvements to an everyday tool can make a big difference in life.
That got me thinking. What other simple products can be life-changing? I poked around online and put together a list of 37 easy and affordable (under $50) things that can make your everyday life better. There’s the luxurious set of 100% cotton sheets that Oprah’s magazine raved about. There’s the daily planner that keeps you focused on happiness and gratitude. And there’s the Crock-Pot slow cooker that helps even the busiest person prepare delicious hot meals.
Have your best night’s sleep on these 400-thread-count 100% cotton sheets
Almost nothing has a bigger effect on day-to-day life than the quality of your sleep. Set yourself up for rejuvenating slumber with a luxurious set of 100% cotton sheets. These soft and smooth medium-weight sheets have optimum breathability, keeping you fresh and cool. Choose from dozens of beautiful colors and patterns. You get two standard pillow cases, a flat sheet and a fitted bottom sheet with a deep pocket and extra strong elastic for a snug fit. Amazon buyers love these sheets, giving them 4.6 stars on almost 14,000 ratings. And O, The Oprah Magazine named them among the Top 10 Best Cotton Sheets for Your Money.
Make more than 100 delicious, healthy meals using this real food cookbook
You don’t have to be a vegetarian to enjoy this vegetarian cookbook. It’s got more than 100 recipes for tasty morsels almost anyone would love, from coconut banana pancakes to roasted eggplant lasagna to peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. This handy guide comes to you from Kathryne Taylor, the creator of America’s most popular vegetarian food blog, Cookie + Kate. It has lots of photos of delicious meals, easy-to-follow recipes, plus pics and stories of Taylor’s rescue dog and sous-chef Cookie.
Make calls, listen to music and cancel out noise with these wireless headphones
When it comes to life-changing products, a great pair of headphones like these offer triple benefits: 1) Excellent sound quality for the music that feeds your soul, 2) Noise canceling properties to give you silence when you need it, and 3) Crystal clear hands-free phone call abilities. For under $50, these wireless headphones offer 30 hours of playtime on a single charge. They have soft ear pads and 90-degree swiveling ear cups. Plus, they come in several fun colors!
Add color and life to your home with this beautiful houseplant
One easy and healthy way to improve your home life is by getting yourself a houseplant. Not only will it add color and texture to your decor, but it’ll purify the air and be a respectfully quiet living companion. The bond between man and nature is hardwired, so bringing a bit of nature into your home has lots of health benefits, both physical and emotional. This particular plant is called Aglaonema. It’s about 14 inches tall and comes in a white-and-beige pot. Just put it in a nice bright room and water it once a week, and you’ve got a lovely longtime pal.
This portable power bank can change the way you power your devices
Most people think of a portable power bank as something to use on-the-go to keep your phone or tablet charged while traveling or working remotely. And it’s true, they’re great for that. But have you ever thought about using one around the house, too? They’re great for charging up in locations that aren’t close to a power outlet. Rather than buying a six- to ten-foot charging cord, you can just set this little baby beside you and plug your phone right in. When the power bank gets low, it recharges in a snap. Plug the power bank in overnight, and it’s ready to be by your side all day, keeping you from being tethered to those pesky wall outlets.
Fill each day with happiness and productivity with this daily planner
These lovely little Panda Planners are the perfect way to add structure to your life without feeling too boxed in. Their primary goal is happiness, so each day’s page starts with three things you’re grateful for and excited about. There’s also space for things like the day’s focus, exercise and priorities, and an end-of-day review citing your wins and how you can improve. Created using the lessons of positive psychology and neuroscience, these planners are a way to feel centered and empowered in a world that’s often moving too fast to keep up with.
Get the best night’s sleep of your life with these blackout curtains
If you have the luxury of sleeping past sunrise, which thank goodness I do, a good set of blackout curtains is a must! These come in lots of different colors and sizes, letting you customize them to fit your room perfectly. Sleep is such an important factor in overall health and happiness, and a really dark room can increase your sleep quality like you wouldn’t imagine. These puppies have a black liner on back, making them thick and impenetrable. And on hot summer days, these curtains can do double-duty by helping to block out the heat as well. These babies are rated 4.8 on nearly 10,000 reviews!
Create easy one-pot meals with this cook-and-carry slow cooker
When you’re pressed for time but want a hearty meal, a slow cooker can be a real savior. Just pop the ingredients in the crock pot, program it to cook slowly throughout the day, and come evening you have a hot and juicy dinner just waiting for you. This six quart cook-and-carry slow cooker serves seven or more people. You can program it to cook anywhere from 30 minutes to 20 hours. It’ll shift automatically to the warming setting once cooking completes. Because this model is easy to transport (and has an extra-tight seal to prevent leakage), it’s ideal for parties and potlucks.
Protect yourself in the event of an accident with this car dash cam
Enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’re recording your commute and will have footage to share in the event anything happens on the road. This dash cam is affordable and has excellent features: 1080p resolution, a three-inch LCD screen, a 170-degree wide-angle lens, super night vision, and a built-in G-sensor that automatically locks-down footage when there’s a shake or collision. It even has the ability to monitor your car while it’s parked in case anything happens in the parking lot.
This book will touch your heart and inspire you to overcome obstacles
This is one of those books that will put your own life into perspective and leave you in a place of gratitude. The Diary of a Young Girl is 13-year-old Anne Frank’s chronicle of two years living in hiding from the Nazis. The New York Times Book Review calls it “the single most compelling personal account of the Holocaust.” Given the pandemic, quarantine and political unrest of 2020, there’s no better time to read this story of the unbreakable human spirit.
Give your body the strength and flexibility it longs for with this exercise and stability ball
My three must-haves for daily health are nutrition, sleep and exercise. The exercise doesn’t have to be high-impact. It’s just important to move around on a regular basis and keep my body strong and limber. This is especially important for someone in a sedentary job, like me. That’s why I love this exercise and stability ball. It can be used for some many different workouts, but it’s also a great alternate desk chair that engages my core and improves my posture while I’m working at the computer. You can choose from several colors and sizes, and it’s only $26!
Make daily meal prep a breeze with this buyer-fave set of stainless steel knives
If you prepare even a small number of meals at home, nothing will change your day-to-day experience like a good set of kitchen knives. I use mine mainly for chopping fruits and vegetables, and they get multiple daily uses. This five-piece stainless steel set (chef, carving, bread, utility and paring) is in beautiful black and comes with a cool-looking clear holder that displays them like a fan. You also get a knife sharpener so you can keep them in top form. More than 10,000 Amazon buyers rate this set a 4.7, and it’s only $30!
Say goodbye to jagged edges and dropped lids with this improved can opener
A can opener is a can opener, right? Wrong. The classic can opener has some shortcomings that are fixed in this improved design. For one, this can opener cuts the lid cleanly, leaving no sharp, jagged edges to cut yourself on (and no little metal shavings to fall inside the can). It also fixes the all-too-common problem of the freshly-cut lid falling into the can, where you have to fish it out of the soup with your fingers. This little baby uses a magnet to secure the lid to the can opener once it’s cut. The final touches are a nice big ergonomic handle and a premium stainless steel blade — all for a ridiculously low price.
Let this soft and breathable body pillow improve your sleep and brighten your mornings
This medium-firm body pillow offers just the right amount of support and coziness. If you’re a side-sleeper, it makes a great cuddle companion and cushion between the knees to keep the pressure off your back. It’s also great for pregnant moms who need that extra support and comfort. The soft bamboo cover is breathable, keeping you cool at night. Just unzip it and pop it in the washer to keep it clean.
An adjustable monitor arm can revolutionize the way you work
Ever since I mounted my computer monitor on an adjustable arm, my work day has been much more comfortable. Whatever position I want to be in, I can simply swing the arm over, raise it up or down, and tilt it to just the right angle to see clearly without any strain. Then, when I’m done working, I can push the arm back and collapse it into the most compact position so the monitor is unobtrusive. This monitor arm works for screens up to 32 inches and 17.6 pounds. It’s fully adjustable and comes with a C-clamp and VESA plate to attach it securely to your desk.
Type in a healthier, more natural position using this wave design keyboard
Working on a keyboard all day, or even part of the day, can be rough on the body. It’s not hard manual labor, but it is a repetitive motion that involves being in a slightly unnatural position for an extended period of time. Anything you can do to reduce that strain can help you avoid carpal tunnel and similar injuries. The curved layout of this wireless keyboard is meant to help with that by guiding your hands naturally into just the right position. This keyboard has a long battery life (up to three years) and easily pairs with your computer using a USB receiver.
Combat depression with a light therapy lamp that mimics the sun’s natural light
As I write this, we’re living through the Covid-19 pandemic, which is keeping all of us indoors more often than usual. So it’s not surprising I’m drawn to a product that can help replace some of the positive effects we would normally get from sunshine. This light therapy lamp delivers bright light at up to 10,000 lux. This is UV-free LED light, which you can set to your choice of three brightness levels. Light therapy is a way to treat seasonal affective disorder and other types of depression by mimicking the effects of natural sunlight.
Soothe anxiety and improve sleep with this soft cotton weighted blanket
Weighted blankets have become all the rage for their many health benefits. They distribute light pressure evenly across the body, kind of like a soothing hug. This can reduce anxiety, calm restlessness, improve mood and increase the quality of sleep. This weighted blanket has 100% natural cotton fabric with an adorable yellow flower print. You can choose from lots of other colors and prints, too. Just select the right size and weight (various increments between 5 and 25 pounds) using the provided chart.
Keep your car and garage spick-and-span with this wet/dry shop vac
If you drive on a daily basis, and let’s face it, most of us do, having a clean car can make a huge difference in daily life. It’s easy to feel like life is out of control when you’re sitting in traffic looking at a passenger seat covered in crumbs and a floor littered with receipts and wrappers. Not to mention a dashboard thick with dust. This 2.5-gallon utility vacuum is the perfect way to revamp your daily commute. Just spend an hour giving your car a once-over with this little puppy and it’ll be spotless. It has a 10-foot cord and comes with attachments that’ll make it a breeze to detail the car vents, cup holders and everything else.
Recreate the feel of a Himalayan salt sauna at home with this salt lamp
This lamp is made from hand-carved Himalayan rock salt from Pakistan. Light it up and it radiates a warm amber glow, creating the kind of peaceful, relaxing environment you get in a Himalayan salt sauna. This is great on your desk, in your yoga space or on your bedside table. It has a handy dimmer switch, allowing you to control the brightness, and a stainless steel base that manages drainage and protects against moisture build-up. You could even set it on a timer to come on in the morning, creating the feel of the sunrise.
These no-cut gloves will make meal prep easier and pain-free
I can’t count the number of times I’ve cut my fingers while chopping vegetables. I tell myself to go more slowly and pay more attention, but that only helps a certain amount. A better solution is a pair of these cut-resistant gloves. Made of food-safe materials four-times stronger than leather, these gloves prevent almost any kitchen knife slip-up you can imagine. They’re ultra-thin, soft against the skin and highly elastic. Best of all, they come in four sizes, so you can get the perfect fit. (Use their size chart to measure your hand before buying.) After use, just pop them in the washing machine and hang up to dry.
Use these little gnat traps indoors and outdoors to catch annoying flying insects
I added some houseplants to my living room to brighten up the atmosphere and purify the air. It worked! It’s a much more soothing environment. Except for one thing: the gnats. Apparently they too love my houseplants. I can’t express how annoying it is to try to watch TV while swatting at tiny uncatchable gnats. That’s where these little yellow gnat traps come in handy. They do the work for me, attracting and catching those pesky suckers. Just stick these in the soil of your plant pot and, voila, a bug-free home!
This outdoor security camera gives you peace of mind in your home
I only had to log on to the Nextdoor app one time to realize how useful a security camera can be. There are constantly people posting about things they saw on their security cameras from the night before, like someone hopping fences or stealing packages off doorsteps. Though I try not to overload on negative news, one thing I learned from these posts is that it can be really useful to have security camera footage if something bad does happen. If your packages are stolen, you may have video of the culprit in action. And you might even be able to head off problems by seeing what’s going on before it gets too bad. This outdoor security camera connects to your wifi and records in 1080p. It has a two megapixel HD lens that records clearly, day and night, even in harsh weather conditions. Plus, you can connect it to Alexa so you can control it by voice command.
Give your body the support it needs with these high-quality insoles
These PowerStep orthotics were recommended by my podiatrist, and they’ve made a huge difference in my everyday comfort. Whether you’ve got an existing condition like a bunion or flat feet, or whether you’re just looking to keep your healthy feet in good shape on an everyday basis, PowerStep has an insole for you. This particular insole, the Pinnacle, has neutral arch support and is ideal for sore, aching feet or foot, arch and heel pain.
Combat aging skin and frizzy hair with this 100% silk pillowcase
Tired of waking up with your hair all frazzled and impossible to tame? Want a softer, more restful sleep experience? A silk pillowcase could be the answer. Silk pillowcases don’t conduct electricity or attract dust mites. They can help your skin retain its natural moisture and fight hair breakage. And they’re so soft and smooth to the touch. Choose from dozens of beautiful colors, each with a hidden zipper to hold the pillow securely inside.
Give yourself extra room to move around in the shower with a curved shower curtain rod
This is revolutionary! This curved shower curtain rod will expand the area around your upper body, giving you a freedom of movement you’ve never known before within the confines of your shower. Though you still have the same amount of space down at the bottom, where the shower curtain liner tucks into the bathtub, you have lots of extra space up top, which is where you need it anyway. After all, that’s where your arms are. Enjoy the freedom of movement this extra space offers. And, with the shower curtain pulled away from your upper body, you’ll never again have to experience that annoying feeling of the shower curtain suction-cupping itself to your arm while you’re trying to wash your hair.
Strengthen, tone and rejuvenate with these handheld weights
Exercise is right up there with sleep when it comes to the keys to a healthy and happy life. Hand weights are a great tool for staying strong and fit. These dumbbells come individually or in pairs, and in varying weights from two to 12 pounds. They have an iron core that’s coated in neoprene of different colors depending on the weight. That way, when you buy a set of varying weights, you can easily spot the one you want to use based on its color: hot pink (3 pounds) for this workout, blue (2 pounds) for that workout.
Boost the beauty and comfort of your bedroom with this 100% washed cotton duvet cover set
These soft comforter covers are designed to have a luscious crinkly look thanks to the 100% washed cotton they’re made from. They’re incredibly soft, durable and resistant to shrinking and fading. Each duvet cover comes with two matching pillow cases with hidden zippers. Choose from six colors for whatever size bed you have. The style of this linen is simple and classic, but the experience is pure luxury.
Make your life easier and more colorful with these smart LED lightbulbs
These lightbulbs are from the future. You can set them to come on in different colors and at scheduled times. Control them remotely using the app or by simple voice command using Alexa, Siri or Google Home Assistant. What a difference it makes in your life when you can set your mood lighting without having to lift a finger, and when you can control each bulb independently, giving you a fully customizable experience. Dim the lights, change the colors, or set them to come on at just the right time to wake you up — you can do it all with these smart bulbs.
This gadget has revolutionized the way millions of people go to the bathroom
Ok, this is a delicate subject, but it’s also an important one. I’m talking about going number two. According to the folks at Squatty Potty, traditional toilets put us in an unnatural position for the elimination of waste, causing unnecessary strain and difficulties. Their product is aimed at putting people back into a natural position that unkinks the inner workings and lets things flow smoothly. That position is a squat. Just slide the Squatty Potty foot rest around the base of your toilet and rest your feet on it when you go. Millions of people swear by it as the cure for the toilet blues.
Drift off to sleep amidst the calming sound of ocean waves with this sleep sound machine
I really can’t say enough about the power of a good night’s sleep to revolutionize your life. This cute little gadget just might mean the difference between waking up every hour and sleeping soundly for 10 hours straight. (Ok, maybe you can’t afford to sleep for 10 hours, but if you can, I highly recommend it.) This sleep sound machine offers 24 different sounds in three categories: fan, white noise and nature (like ocean, crickets, thunder and more). It has a timer function so it’ll shut off after 30, 60 or 90 minutes — or you can leave it going all night. It’s also got an earphone jack, so you can use it during the day too, if you want to get a little peace and privacy in a noisy room.
These wool hiking socks boost comfort and endurance, helping you go the extra mile
Whether you’re hiking, running or taking a walk, a good pair of socks is an active person’s best friend. You may not think a pair of socks could be life-changing, but read the reviews for truly high-quality socks like these and you see the light. These Darn Tough socks are made of a wool-and-nylon blend with just a touch of lycra. They’re designed to avoid slipping, bunching and blisters. They’re knit at an extremely fine gauge and are seamless, giving them a light ultra-smooth feel.
Take the strain out of opening bottles and jars with these handy tools
I’ve got one of these jar openers and it’s amazing! I always think I’ll be able to force a difficult lid off with the power of my muscles, but when I finally resort to using this jar opener, I remember just how powerful this little tool is. Why ever struggle again? Just clamp the silicone grip around the lid and it turns with ease. This jar opener comes with an additional 5-in-one opener tool that you can use on bottles, cans and more. Between these two tools, there’s no container you won’t be able to get into!
Explore the questions of the universe in this New York Times bestselling book
There’s a reason Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time was a number one New York Times bestseller. It explores the questions we all have about life and the universe, in language that we can all understand. How did the universe begin? Does time always flow forward? Are there other dimensions in space? Hawking’s book guides us through the mysteries of the universe and helps us explore the meaning of life itself.
Reduce pressure and relieve pain from standing with one of these anti-fatigue floor mats
Whether you’re already feeling achy or just looking to stave off pain, an anti-fatigue floor mat is a perfect solution for those locations where you do a lot of standing in one place — like at a standing desk, or in the kitchen or garage. These floor mats are made of Sky Core Foam, which blends support and softness for a feel that’s so nice under your feet. They come in three sizes and nine different colors and patterns. Buyers rave about the look and feel of the floor mats, and also about the customer service from the company that makes them.
De-kink your back, shoulders and neck with this posture corrector
This clever apparatus is on my wish list. I have chronic neck, back and shoulder pain from years of slumping over a computer. I try to sit up straight, but bad posture is hard to kick. That’s where this posture corrector helps. It’s designed to retrain your muscle memory so you maintain proper form. Start out wearing it 20-30 minutes a day and then increase to one to two hours a day. That’s all it takes to start training your body to stand and sit with better posture. This model is designed to be comfortable, adjustable and easy to use for both men and women.
This ergonomic trackball mouse reduces strain on the arm and wrist
Repetitive strain from the use of a computer mouse is a real thing, and millions of us suffer from it. A trackpad can alleviate some of that, but there are many tasks for which a trackpad may not be ideal. That’s where an alternate mouse design comes in handy. This one is sculpted to fit the shape of your right hand. Just rotate the thumb-operated trackball to move the cursor around the screen. No more moving your arm or wrist to guide the cursor. The control is all in your thumb. The mouse has the standard left and right mouse buttons and the scrolling dial, plus additional backward and forward buttons. Just pair it with your Mac or PC using the USB receiver and you have wireless connectivity for up to 18 months on a single set of batteries.