And for good reason.
Still, I tend to forget about the small, everyday things that matter most and have the power to make life a whole lot easier.
The following household items are extremely useful and — better yet — each costs less than $10.
1. Chip clipsI don't know why it took me so long to purchase a set of inexpensive chip clips for our kitchen. We end up using them for far more than just sealing bags for freshness. Use magnetic clips to stick to-do lists and bills up on your refrigerator — you'll save the $10 you spent to buy them in avoided late fees.
2. Reusable coffee filterIf you're a coffee-addict like my husband, you'll want to invest in a reusable coffee filter to make your morning brew. You can find one fit most coffee makers on the market for less than $5. In other words, it'll pay for itself in a couple months of use.
3. Compact fluorescentsHaven't yet switched your bulbs to compact fluorescents? Now's the time. These bulbs use far less wattage than traditional lights, yet they give off the same amount of glow. They'll last longer, too (the ones in the link are guaranteed for nine years!).
4. Plastic jar lidsI'm that person who uses Ball jars for absolutely everything. I can tomatoes in them, I drink from them, I store bulk foods in them, I organize bathroom items (like cotton balls) in them, and I even started freezing foods in them. These plastic jar lids are extremely useful for all these purposes and easy to clean.
5. Dryer ballsWe recently purchased a set of those blue PVC dryer balls for less than $5. They fluff clothes naturally and effectively without the chemicals you'll find in dryer sheets. You'll also cut your dry time down, saving you some money on your electric or gas bill.
Flickr / artgoodieshome
6. Kitchen towelsSave hundreds of dollars on paper towels by switching exclusively to cloth. My family switched to this system years ago, and beyond the environmental impact — cloth just scrubs better than paper. We have a set of simple dish towels that are super absorbent and economical.
7. Ice cube trayI use our silicone ice cube tray for far more than making ice. Each cube measures 1-ounce, which is the perfect size for freezing herbs, smoothie cubes, coffee cubes, and even making homemade lotion cubes. (See also: You Won't Believe How Much You Can Save With an Ice Cube Tray)
8. Hanging basketYou can use a 3-tiered hanging basket in your kitchen to hold produce like onions and bananas. In your bathroom, the same basket can corral hair products and brushes. It's a basic and cheap organization tool that goes where you need it, when you need it.
Flickr / Laura Taylor
9. ClothespinsUse your dryer less by hanging up clothes indoors to dry this season. Nostalgic wooden clothespins hold clothing in place whether outside or in, but you can use them for a number of other purposes. Hang some string and pin up your child's artwork, keep cords neat and tidy, or use them in your closet to organize accessories.
10. Grocery toteBy now, most of us have a reusable grocery bag — but do you remember to bring yours to the store? We stash our set in the car for easy toting whenever we find ourselves out and about. You'll save some cash on garbage fees by avoiding plastic bags and save the environment at the same time.
11. Fleece throwStop nudging the thermostat up a degree and then another. Toss one of these colorful fleece throws over your reading chair and snuggle up whenever you feel a chill. Layering yourself with warm fabrics is a first line of defense against high utility bills.
12. Water bottleGive bottled water the cold shoulder and fill a reusable water bottle at the tap. You can find bottles in all shapes, sizes, materials, and colors to suit your unique needs. (See also:Bottled or Tap: The Right Choice Might Surprise You)
Flickr / Laura Taylor
13. Lunch boxAmericans spend nearly $1,000 annually eating lunches out. Put that money back in your pocket and purchase a smart, insulated lunch box instead. With a little planning, you'll be eating well on a dime. (See also: 10 Packed Lunch Ideas You'll Want to Steal From Your Kids)
14. FlashlightPut a basic flashlight on your shopping list today. Too many of us realize we need one when the lights go out. It's a cheap addition to your home's emergency kit, and even a small one will light your way just fine. (See also: 6 Items You Might Have Forgotten in Your Emergency Kit)
15. Shoe OrganizerTraditionally used for shoes, over-the-door organizers can be repurposed for a variety of organization projects. We have one in our entryway coat closet to keep mittens and hats at bay. Friends of ours have one in their pantry to hold stray things like spices and snack foods. And I love the idea to toss one in the utility closet to hold cleaning supplies.
16. Universal ScrewdriverMost of us don't need an entire set of screwdrivers to get by. Instead, get an all-in-one screwdriver for around $5 that boasts flathead and Phillips adapters in different sizes. We keep ours in our kitchen junk drawer for those sneaky everyday tasks.
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