The most game-changing upgrades aren’t always the ones that cost an arm and a leg. Small things like more organized drawers, stain removers that really work, and simple-yet-effective kitchen tools are still worth admiring — which is especially satisfying when the admiring is done by impressed houseguests. The lesson here is that cheap upgrades are not cop-outs. They can be clever, beautiful, useful, and impressive. The trick is to get them while they’re available because items like these have a sneaky way of selling out.
Also, they often fly under the radar. The expensive designers, expensive home design magazines, and people who spent a lot of money remodeling are not likely going to mention them. I, on the other hand, am happy to spill. And the home upgrades you’ll find on my list are so cheap & impactful, Amazon can barely keep them in stock.
We only recommend products we love and that we think you will, too. We may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was written by our Commerce team. 01 These long-handled dusters for cleaning the ceiling fans
Once you realize how dusty your ceiling fans are, it’s hard to ignore. But how do you fix that without climbing a ladder? Keep these two telescoping
dusters stashed within reach and you can clean the blades of your fan with very little effort whenever the mood strikes. They reach up to 47 inches, and the fluffy fibers grab and hold the dust so it doesn’t shower your living room. 02 The black light flashlight that brings forensics to your housekeeping
UV blacklight flash light in your cleaning kit and do a little forensics every time you clean. Flash it at the carpets to reveal any secret pee crimes your pet would prefer you didn’t know about. Hit the bedding with its 100 LED black lights to check for bed bugs. And at your next party, scare your guests by taking them outside and showing them how many scorpions are hiding in plain sight. 03 This air filter that helps clean your personal space
Set this three-stage HEPA-filtering
air purifier on your bedside table or desk to clean the air in the space around you, reducing allergens like pet dander and pollen so you can sleep and feel better. It pulls air in from 360 degrees around the device and forces it through the filters to remove small particles. There is also a carbon filter that reduces smoke and odors. It has three fan speeds and is super quiet. 04 The bamboo drawer dividers that let you design your storage
These spring-loaded bamboo
drawer dividers are an affordable way to create custom storage in your drawers. Divide the space however you like, change your mind, and do it again. The strong springs hold the dividers firmly in most drawer sizes, either vertically or horizontally. You can even stack them for deep drawers so they work in the bedroom or kitchen. 05 A garment steamer that’s ideal for travel
This simple and affordable handheld
garment steamer is popular because it heats quickly, removes wrinkles in clothing while they hang, has a high capacity so you don’t have to keep refilling it, and has an auto shut-off feature so it can’t get too hot or operate without water. It’s also compact and portable so you can bring it with you when you travel. 06 This set of brushes that cleans every bottle you have
When the bottles start to proliferate in your home, this set of
bottle brushes is ready to clean all of them. Whether you brew kombucha, have a baby, or just collect thermal flasks, there is a brush that will work. There’s a fat one for coffee mugs and Hydra flasks, a skinny one for thermal water flasks, and even one that will clean the straws. Over 21,000 people gave this kit five stars. 07 The stain remover that helps remove spills instantly
You can stop stressing about spilling on your good shirt. This fast-acting
stain remover will help rescue you from whatever happens. Just spray it on, blot it off, and your mistakes will be erased. It even works on the furniture, so feel free to invite your messy neighbor over again.
“I have NEVER used a product that completely removes a Sharpie Marker stain,” said one of the 22,000 five-star reviewers. “This is a household staple in my home ... Not only does it work [but it also] has no smell.”
08 A magnet that tells you if the dishes are clean or dirty
dishwasher magnet is such a simple, but elegant, solution to a universal problem. Are the dishes in the dishwasher clean or dirty? A glance at the door will tell you. When you run it, flip the magnet to clean. When you unload it, flip it back to dirty. It’s so easy and you will never contaminate a clean load again. It comes with a stick-on plate so it works even if your machine has no magnetic metals in the door. 09 These 2 vintage window frames for clever wall art
If your walls are bare and your budget is tight, these two
window frames are a clever way to decorate the walls while creating a feeling of space. Put a photo behind them to create the illusion of a view or just hang them as they are to break up monotonous walls. They come in three distressed colors. 10 A set of 6 stick-on LEDs that solve so many challenging lighting problems
Mount one of these six
stick-on lights in a dark closet, above a dim shelf, or under your kitchen cabinets to illuminate your workspace. Then use the remote control to adjust the brightness and set the auto-off timer. When you want to see into that closet or to work in your kitchen, just tap. They will turn off again according to your settings so the batteries last a long time. Almost 24,000 people gave them five stars. 11 The cheese board that has a secret drawer full of cutlery
Turn your cheese, fruit, and sliced meats into an elegant charcuterie and call it dinner or a party. This
cheese board has four stainless steel serving tools stored in a secret drawer so you don’t even have to fetch utensils. The deep concave channels around the edge are the perfect place to put crackers and nuts so they don't roll away. And the beautiful bamboo makes a terrific canvas for your snacks. 12 This patio umbrella light so you can dine al fresco & see what you are eating
Installing this LED patio
umbrella light into the upper reaches of the umbrella over your outdoor dining area is so easy. Just snap it closed over the umbrella pole and use the remote to set the brightness level. Set it to turn off so you don’t forget and leave it on all night. Because the LEDs draw very little power, it runs for 75 hours on three AA batteries. 13 An expandable bamboo drawer organizer for all your tools
drawer organizer will adjust to fit the drawers you have so you can change your mind about what drawer to put it in any time you like. When expanded to its full size, it has five compartments. When at its smallest size, there are three compartments. For anything in between, the two outside sections will change size. It makes a great kitchen or desk organizer. 14 A set of locking storage containers that brings order to the fridge
storage containers seal so tightly — due to the silicone locking lids — that you can fill them with liquid and they won’t leak. They are perfect for storing leftovers and bringing those leftovers for lunch. They stack so they create order in your fridge or freezer. And you can put them in the microwave to heat up a meal. 15 A bidet attachment that will transform your bathroom for less than $30
Once you install this
bidet — which is super easy to do — you will wonder how you ever lived without it. At the turn of a dial, you can have an upside-down shower clean your nether parts more effectively than wiping with dry paper ever could. You will never feel the need to horde TP again. It comes with everything you need to attach it under your toilet seat. 16 A bamboo bath mat that creates a clean, zen vibe
Create a zen — and easy-to-clean — bathroom style by replacing the bath mats with this
bamboo bath mat that never needs to go in the laundry and looks like it belongs in a spa. It has a protective seal so it will withstand the damp environment, has a nonslip coating and grippy gaskets on the bottom to keep things stable, and wipes clean. 17 These bags that store your clothes in less space
vacuum storage bags let you store so much more in the same amount of closet space. They do it by squishing all the air out so your coats and fabrics take up less space. This also keeps them safe from insects. Just load up your jackets, off-season clothes, and garments you rarely wear, zip the bag, and use your vacuum cleaner or the included hand pump to remove the air. They come in five sizes and get over 60,000 five-star reviews. 18 This clever trick for fixing leaky shower doors
Does your shower door leave a trail of water on the floor when you get out? The fix is easier than cleaning that up. This
shower door seal snaps over the bottom of the door and creates a seal that keeps all the water inside the shower. A hard vinyl firmly grips the glass while the soft vinyl fins create a water barrier. Reviewers say it works beautifully and takes only a few minutes to install. 19 The calendar & chore chart that sticks to the fridge
calendar and chore chart duo onto the fridge and keep track of everyone’s comings and goings — and cleaning duties. They come with six colored dry-erase markers and a little eraser that also hang on the fridge.
Said one reviewer, “Having 3 teenagers in the house this was perfect! Just stuck to the fridge and fill it out as needed and it’s right where everyone can see it. Keeps everything needed in one place! Great for managing everyone’s time and appointment's.”
20 A bamboo tea box to organize your collection
If making a cup of tea involves a frustrating hunt through half-empty cardboard boxes for a brew that appeals, you need this wooden
tea box. Lift the lid, enjoy the scent, and choose a tea bag to suit your mood. There is a drawer to hold small sundries and the clear lid lets your teas beckon to you as you pass. The eight interior compartments adjust to suit your collection. 21 This rack that organizes all your water bottles
Storing a water bottle collection in kitchen cabinets is absurdly challenging. Fortunately, this
water bottle organizer is here to solve that hassle. Each rack holds three bottles, lying on their side. The racks stack so you can build a storage solution as your collection grows. This is a pack of two racks. 22 This pot & pasta strainer that clips right onto the pot
Move over, bulky colanders — this simple, space-saving
pot strainer has entered the kitchen scene. It clips onto pots of various sizes, allowing for easy, one-handed straining without needing to rearrange dishes that may be in the sink. It takes up a fraction of the space of a colander and comes in five fun, vibrant shades. 23 These solar lights for nearly instant decorative lighting in your yard
This pack of 12 solar
pathway lights will spruce up your yard, providing path or garden lighting in minutes. Just stick them in the ground and they take it from there, soaking up solar energy during the day and spending that energy on producing light at night. Choose from warm or cold white light. 24 The shoe cleaner that spiffs your kicks in minutes
Clean your kicks quickly whenever you feel like it with this
shoe cleaner kit. As long as your shoes can handle getting damp, this cleaner will get them spiffy fast. Just add a few drops of the cleaner and some water to the included brush and gently scrub the whole shoe. Pat your shoes dry when you are done and they are ready to go. They will transform before you eyes. 25 The safe place to lock up your valuables
If you have prescriptions, jewelry, or other small items that you don’t want anyone to pilfer or consume, put them in this locking medicine
storage box and protect it with the combination lock. There are elastic dividers so you can create order and it is sized to fit on a shelf or under the bed. It comes in four colors. 26 This stain remover that specializes in red wine
The problem with wine is that it can make you tipsy. Then you spill. And red wine is really hard to get out of fabrics. This
red wine stain remover can do it, though. Just spray it on the couch, rug, shirt, or your date and rinse, then blot dry. That will fix it. If you don’t notice the spill till you are putting a garment in the wash, just spray and wash as usual. 27 The power scrubber that quickly cleans grout & other small spaces
Put down that toothbrush! This cordless
power scrubber is a much better tool for scrubbing the crevices and grout because it does all the work, spinning 60 times per second, which is not something that you can do with a toothbrush. It has two settings, the grip is easy on your hands, and over 10,000 reviewers love it.
“I wish I ... discovered this cleaning product a while ago! It’s so easy to use! No scrubbing needed ... it cleans grout so well!”
28 A skinny duster that gets under the furniture
You don’t have to crawl around on your hands and knees to get the dust, detritus, and pet toys out from under the couch or appliances. This
microfiber duster is long, flat, and skinny so it can get under there easily and, with a quick wipe, pull out everything that’s lurking there. The detachable microfiber cloths can go in the wash and the large cleaning surface makes quick work of this chore. 29 The fast & easy way to clean your dishwasher
It’s tough for a dishwasher tp keep cleaning dirty dishes if it is experiencing mineral and limescale buildup. Sometimes you have to clean the machines that clean, and this
dishwasher cleaner is the easy way to do it. Just place a tablet in the detergent tray when the dishwasher is empty and run a normal wash. Almost 43,000 people gave this trick five stars.
“The bottom of my dishwasher looks like it was scrubbed,” said one.
30 A friendly bug that cleans your desk because it’s a vacuum cleaner
It’s OK if your desk gets covered in crumbs! This mini
desktop vacuum is happy to clean that up for you. It has strong suction (for such an adorable and small creature), runs on batteries so it’s always ready to go, and adds a decorative element to your workspace so you never have to put it away. There are four bug options. 31 The dust & broom set that’s always handy
broom and dustpan set stands on its own so you can set it in a closet or corner and always have a quick and easy way to grab spilled dog kibble, cereal, or whatever happens. The four-row bristle design is super effective at collecting the spill in one go. The big, hinged dustpan not only has a built-in scraper to clean the brush and a rubber lip so nothing goes under, it but it’s super easy to empty. It comes in four colors. 32 A gentle detergent that specializes in preserving dark colors
When you wash your dark or brightly colored garments, use this gentle
detergent that is formulated to preserve those colors and keep them from fading. You can use it in the washing machine or when you wash garments by hand, and it has a delightful faint scent of lily of the valley, jasmine, sweet musk, sandalwood, and citrus.
“Bought this originally for denim but decided on using it for high-end Japanese clothes as well,” said one reviewer. “I love the classic scent and it gives a sort of neutral’ smell ... It even keeps indigo-dyed shirts quite dark.”
33 This sleek squeegee you can mount in the shower
shower squeegee has a 10-inch rubber blade to make fast work of drying the shower so your glass door stays clear and free of soap scum, limescale, and similar buildup. And you can mount it to the shower wall with the included waterproof adhesive hook so it’s always handy. Nearly 44,000 people gave this light and simple squeegee five stars. 34 The simplest way to make the garage look fancy that costs just $15
Want to dress up the curb appeal of your home in a few minutes? Stick this collection of magnetic
garage door decor to your garage. The two handles and four hinges look surprisingly realistic and make your home look so much less bland.
“My wife wanted the wrought iron look for our garage door,” said one reviewer. “I took a chance on these magnets. They fooled both her and her cousin who thought they were real ... She got the look she wanted and I didn't need to drill holes into my garage door.”
35 A clever way to conceal & move an underutilized outlet
If you have an outlet that’s badly placed or is an eyesore, cover it and move the power source to somewhere more convenient with this ultra-thin
outlet concealer that has a power strip at the end of a 3-foot cord. It’s super easy to do without any wiring and reviewers love the results.
“I love it, really improved the look of my wall!” said one of the 42,000 five-star reviewers.
36 This coffee table that clips to the arm of your couch
If you have no room for a coffee table — or want your phone and drink closer than that — snap this
arm clip table to the arm of your favorite chair or couch. It holds firmly with spring-loaded legs, is roomy enough to eat a meal from, and is made from an easy-to-clean plastic.
“When you’re sitting nice and comfy and deep into your chair reading, the last thing you want to do is have to reach for anything,” said one reviewer. “Clip this tray onto any wide couch or chair arm and everything is immediately in reach.”
37 The ideal little lamp & phone charger for a bedside table
bedside lamp solves so many common bedside and desk problems, and it takes up almost no space doing it. The touch control base lets you adjust the brightness, there are two built-in USB ports for charging your gear, and it comes in eight shade and base color combo options. It even comes with an energy-efficient LED bulb. 38 An elegant, farmhouse-style coat rack
coat rack in your mud room or entryway so everyone will have a place to hang their jacket, hat, and other necessities when they walk in the door. It makes life easier, doesn't take up much room, and keeps clutter from accumulating in the house. It comes in seven color options to match your vibe and reviewers love it, giving it over 16,000 five-star reviews. 39 This scrubby sponge that changes texture with the water temperature
These three smiling, dual-sided
sponge and scrubber cleaners aren’t just cute, they are super effective. There are two different textures, one on each side, designed to get dishes clean. The sponge is soft and pliable in warm water and stiffer in cold water so you can vary the abrasion by changing the temperature. The eyes give you a finger hold when you are reaching into glasses and the mouth cleans utensils. 40 This handy little sandwich maker that wants to fix you breakfast
If you love the convenience of a tasty breakfast sandwich, but don’t love the hassle of schlepping to the fast food joint while the griddle’s still on, this magical
breakfast sandwich maker may be just what the doctor ordered. Crack an egg right into the egg plate, slip in (cooked) meat or cheese if you like, pop in your English muffins, and voila — breakfast is served. Learn Something New Every Day