Features + Lifestyle

10 Small Purchases to Better Your Life

Last week, Corporette published a piece on the small purchases that can make your life better.  It was such a great idea, that I decided to share the ten small purchases that I can’t live without.  Feel free to share your inexpensive game changes in the comments.

One. A Scrunchie. Oh, I know what you’re thinking: Why is Abra channeling Kimmy Schmidt, right now?  Because when you have acne, keeping your dirty hair tied up while you sleep is a game-changer.  My acne is 40% better since I started sleeping in a scrunchie.  Is it cute?  No.  But for a drastic improvement in my skin, I’ve done more to get less.

Two. Packing Cubes and Pouches. Just $10 can keep your suitcase perfectly organized every time you travel.  These packing cube and pouch sets from Amazon keep your toiletries, laundry and other extras perfectly corralled.

Three. A Rwanda Basket. Where are my keys?  They’re in the basket.  Where are my AirPods?  In the basket.  Where is the business card I left on the counter nine days ago, that I now urgently need? The basket.

If you live with someone who leaves little trinkets and tchotchkes lying about, you need a place to store them.  I love the black-and-white basket I bought last year for corralling all K’s left behind items.  I’m thinking about adding this blush-and-black one to our bedroom decor.

Four. The Tubshroom. After spending $89 to have a plumber clear hair from a backed up shower drain, I bought a $13 Tubshroom.  The device catches hair before it’s sucked down your pipes, eliminating clogs and preventing the awful smell of a clogged drain.

Five. A Mug Warmer. You brew a perfect cup of tea, only to be called a way from your morning pick-me-up by your boss.  By the time you return, it’s ice cold.  The worst.  Buy a mug warmer for your desk, and you’ll never drink luke warm Earl Grey again.

Six. A Necklace Hanger. Putting your jewelry in a drawer is a great way to ensure that you’ll never wear any of it.  You’re also just asking for tangles.  Hanging your necklaces makes getting dressed easier and keeps your jewelry untangled and snag-free.

Seven. A Multi-Device USB Charger. Since taking on a campaign job, I’ve ended up with two cell phones, AirPods, an iPad, and an Apple Watch.  That is a lot of devices to charge, esp. when hotel room plug-ins are at a premium.  So I bought this full-speed USB wall charger with four ports.  Life changing.  I also recommend the 6ft long Lightning Cable so your phone can charge while you use it.

Eight. Liquid Chalk Markers. Are you a list maker?  Do you lay and bed and think about what you need to do in the morning instead of sleeping?  Yeah, me too.

To solve my list-somnia, I developed a system.  Before I go to bed, I write my “first thing in the morning” list on my bathroom mirror in liquid chalk.  When I’m done, it wipes right off.  This way, I never forget the number for the early call or any other morning chores.  And, I don’t have to look at my phone before bed, which can interfere with your sleep.

Nine. Poo Bag Dispenser. Have dogs?  Never forget poo bags again with this Zippy Paws dispenser that attaches to the leash and doesn’t bounce around when you’re walking your dog.  It makes life with pups so much easier.

Ten. A Giant Lint Roller. Speaking of dogs, cleaning their hair off of the couch, the pillows, and the bedspread is a nightmare.  For a neat freak, like myself, this huge Scotch-Brite lint roller is salvation.  Just roll it over the furniture and wipe the dog hair away.

[featured image here + post image here]



  1. heatherskib says:

    Permanent marker is good for writing on mirrors too. Mirrors are non porous so it will come off easily- just not as easy as dry erase.

    August 22, 2017/Reply
  2. e says:

    #6 – I recommend this necklace hanger. Super cheap from Amazon but looks more polished than many of the wall hangers I see (which give me major dorm vibes).

    August 22, 2017/Reply
  3. Anna says:

    I kept reading Tubshroom as Tushroom and thought it was something toilet related. That said, i have a drain cover to catch all my hair and have no idea how clogged my pipes would be without it. It’s crazy how much hair I lose. Homeowners should become well-acquainted with a drain snake. They aren’t super difficult to use and will save you lots in plumber costs. And speaking of long-hair problems, those giant lint rollers are also money for getting human hair off of carpet. I had one on a long stick that I would roll over my carpet before and between vacuuming. Otherwise, so much of my hair would wrap around my vacuum brush that it would stop it up completely.

    August 22, 2017/Reply
  4. JNick says:

    A one-quart Nalgene water bottle with a narrow mouth. Absolutely game changing when it comes to staying hydrated.

    August 22, 2017/Reply
    • KLC says:

      I also just invested in a Hydroflask. Definitely a tinier bit pricier than the Nalgene, but keeps water cold for 24+ hours. Its a DREAM.

      August 23, 2017/Reply
  5. LS says:

    I think I actually got the idea from Belle, but I bought a tiny bag to put all my miscellaneous purse items in and I couldn’t live without it. Switching purses is so easy – I just grab my wallet, kindle, and tiny bag and I’m good to go. My headphones, nail clippers, chapstick, etc. is all packed into that bag and I never have to worry.

    August 22, 2017/Reply
    • Belle says:

      One of my favorite tricks!

      August 22, 2017/Reply
  6. Kate says:

    Echo the necessity of the Rwandan baskets as a beautiful way to help empower women as well. I visited Mahama Refugee camp where the blush baskets are made by women with no other options for supporting their families or for livelihoods for the foreseeable future. They are worth your support and need it. Kudos to you Abra for supporting them.

    August 22, 2017/Reply
  7. nancy M says:

    Yes # 4, Tubshroom! It’s the best.
    Also, yes on the packing cubes. I recently went on a 1 week roadtrip with toddler and on the very first night I was so annoyed that I forgot them!

    August 22, 2017/Reply
  8. Cait says:

    Not to gross anyone out, but Poo-Pourri. I leave it on a shelf above the toilet and it makes sharing a bathroom so much better, whether you’re the one who needs to use it or the one who doesn’t want to witness when someone else doesn’t use it.

    August 22, 2017/Reply
  9. Emily says:

    Mine would be the wet brush. I have some it’s a 10 spray but I love that I can give my hair a product break because it truly is as amazing as everyone says!

    August 22, 2017/Reply
  10. Rachel says:

    First, I love posts like this. It’s always interesting to see what other people consider must haves.

    My top three? A necklace holder, which I also use for my earrings. A bowl by the door for my dog’s leash. My Pet Pillow – just like the My Pillows, it’s washable, so gone are the days of constantly replacing dog bedding due to smells or accidents. We washed ours three times the first week due to a little stomach bug.

    Regarding the Tubschroom, can you use it to seal the tub when you want to take a bath? My husband takes a bath instead of a shower, so it would impractical if we had to switch it out every day.

    August 22, 2017/Reply
    • Jess says:

      I swap between the OXO tub-sealer for baths and the tub shroom for showers, just leaving the other one on the side of the bath. It’s not difficult or time-consuming to pull it out — it’s soft squishy silicone. The point is the easy removal so you can clear the hair more easily since it catches more than usual tub drain grates. I swear I’ve tried every drain-strainer on the market and nothing saved my drain as much as the tubshroom and I have really really long hair.

      August 24, 2017/Reply
  11. Shannon says:

    I would add the Gal Pal deodorant remover sponge. It is a lifesaver to have at home and great for traveling, too!

    August 22, 2017/Reply
  12. IshT says:

    Excellent Post Belle.

    August 23, 2017/Reply
  13. Nicole says:

    Hi Abra, this reminds me – I’m told to always use a clean pillowcase to avoid acne. Change it every two days, and flip it over every night and you always have a clean side. Have you heard this? Rumor is that bacteria love pillowcases. I’ve not done the science to confirm. 😉 On the lint roller recommendation, I can’t say enough about the Norwex rubber brush (that is supposed to be used to remove dust and hair from the mop). It is AMAZING for removing cat hair from upholstered chairs. Life changing, actually. No, I don’t sell this, so I hope my comment survives. It is SO easy, and it does not make sticky paper trash. I’m happy to refer anyone to my friend who sells, but I’m sure everyone knows someone. Seriously, it’s the most satisfying thing to clean pet hair with. (Doesn’t work on clothes though.)

    August 23, 2017/Reply
  14. Melissa says:

    Heating pad. It can ease pain and keep you warm.

    August 23, 2017/Reply
  15. Msmarymary says:

    I swear by Downy Wrinkle Release spray. I can’t remember the last time I actually ironed something. Just spray, hang up, and the wrinkles fall out. I think hotel rooms should have compliementary bottles of this stuff, like shampoo and conditioner.

    I also highly recommend a white noise app for your phone. It’s a lifesaver when traveling to drown out noises in the hall or from your neighbors. Most apps have different “colors” of noise (pink noise, brown noise) as well as ambient noise like rain, running water, birds, etc. White noise even works to drown out the noises my dog likes to bark at at 2am.

    August 23, 2017/Reply
    • Belle says:

      A white noise app, good pull.

      August 23, 2017/Reply
  16. Jess says:

    +1 to packing cubes and pouches. One of the best side effects of an ipsy subscription was a huge stock of “free” (in terms of marginal cost) makeup bag / pouches for travel and purse organizing. I like the eagle creek packing cubes better than the amazon ones, but either way it makes finding stuff at my destination so much easier (arrive at 1am, so tired, where are my pjs?).

    Also +1 to USB hub on the side table next to the couch: I can keep my phone plugged in while I watch netflix, also I entertain a lot and my guests love it because they don’t have to hunt for a free wall plug if they’re running low — I keep at least one lightning and one microUSB in there for iphone/android folks.

    August 24, 2017/Reply
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