Admittedly Boring Things Made Better By Great Design.

Today, sharing a few items I have discovered over the past few years that have delighted me with their design, utility, and cost-saving benefits. Many of these I have raved about previously and on multiple occasions, but here they are, in one space:

+WOOL DRYER BALLS. I have raved about these to no fewer than half of my friends. Why? You use them instead of dryer sheets, which means a) you are no longer on the hook for buying dryer sheets every few months, as these reusable balls can be used for years — aka, one less thing to buy and one less thing to keep on top of; b) they have no scent, which I have learned I prefer, though you can buy essential oils to drop onto the balls if you prefer scented laundry; c) you are no longer tossing a single-use dryer sheet after every dryer session; d) they expedite the drying process because they help keep linens/clothing separate while tumbling dry, which saves time, energy, etc. On the last point: they are especially helpful when laundering sheets and towels! I swear they reduce the drying time by at least a quarter (maybe a half?) because sheets are no longer clumping together. Seriously a delightful discovery for this laundry-laden mother. You can stow in a glass apothecary jar when not in use.

+COCOFLOSS. (You can also buy individually if you want to test.) Will never use another brand of floss again — this has seriously improved my dental hygiene regimen. You will notice immediately that it has a textured weave that is totally dissimilar from the slick, glossy floss you’ve been using for years, and its fibers act like velcro for whatever is between your teeth. Amazing.

+GRANDEUR HOSPITALITY 12 PACK OF HAND TOWELS. I can’t tell you how many towels I have ruined with my mascara/makeup. How do women not destroy their towels? Do most grown-up women wash their hands every other second while applying makeup? For awhile, I used Weezie’s makeup towels, which are brilliant because they are black so it doesn’t matter if you schmear them with mascara and concealer, but I found I wanted a larger towel for face-washing and makeup application. I also found them to be fairly pricey for just two, and I needed more than two unless I wanted to do laundry more frequently than I typically do. All to say: I ended up buying a 12 pack of these inexpensive hand towels, which (funny enough) I learned about via my parents, as my Dad likes to have a stack of inexpensive towels in their fitness center, and these are their go-tos. I feel liberated by having 12 towels I don’t need to feel guilty about staining — I keep a nice clean stack of them right next to my makeup (because they come in a pack of 12, I always have at least six or eight clean ones on hand), and it is le best. I even keep one right outside the shower so I can pat my face with it without marking up my more expensive Matouk bath towels and sheets. (All my favorite towels here.)

+SORBUS STORAGE BINS. I find these to be the best all-around shape and size for organization of just about ANYTHING. I have a row of them in my office closet to organize cords, stationery, notepads, and other office supplies, but they are equally handy in my pantry (great dimensions for organizing individual snack packs, jars/bottles, condiments, etc), my cleaning closet (wide enough to hold spray bottles in a tidy row), my children’s closets and drawers (perfect for hair bows, overflow socks, shampoo/conditioner/etc), and my linen closet for bulky things like deodorant, soap, toothpaste, etc.

+BROTHER LABELMAKER. Hard to explain how much joy this brings me. I label all the Sorbus bins above, the tops of spice jars (SO much easier to locate spices this way, versus rifling through a bunch reading their labels on the front), flour/sugar keepers, bulky bins in our basement, etc. Wee! Joy! I found this so wonderfully easy to learn how to use. You basically pop in the tape and can get going immediately.

+ARTIS OVAL 7 BRUSH. I use this every single day and frankly don’t know what I did before. I love this for applying and blending Westman Atelier foundation, concealer, and even blush on top. I find this tool absorbs so little makeup, applies makeup super smoothly, and does an insane job of blending multiple layers of product together seamlessly. It also feels amazing (so soft!). I broke the handle of my first one somehow, and ordered a replacement of this size on the spot. Frankly, I’m not sure I needed to buy any other sizes — this is the one I use constantly.

+METAL STRAWS. I love this pack of reusable metal straws because they come in two lengths, with some straws featuring an angled top and others a straight. It’s handy because if Mr. Magpie and I are both drinking cocktails, I’ll take a bent one and he’ll take the straight so we can distinguish between glasses — ha! These are also better not only because you are no longer chucking single-use straws but because they do not disintegrate like paper ones do!

+ZIPPERED POUCHES. Have mentioned these at least 25x on the blog, but these have been a gamechanger for organizing the children’s toys and gear. We decanted all our toy sets from bulky/disintegrating/collapsing boxes into these and keep all small sets of toys together this way. Also handy for things like hair ties, Barbie accessories, stray buttons, etc. More great pouch solutions here.

+LAUNDRESS STAIN BRUSH. This plus liquid Palmolive and hot water will absolutely erase any stain you come across. I’ve gotten chocolate, blood, coffee, and more out of white fabrics with this combo of tools. The brush is super-small so you can control it easily, and the bristles are stiff but thin so they really get materials out of fabric!

+PRADA CARD CASE. OK, this one is a bit more exciting, but I don’t know how I lived without a card case? I basically only use this on a daily basis. I keep my ID, major credit cards, and insurance card in there, and then any other ancillary cards I keep in a bigger wallet I can throw into my bag if I know I will need them. I find the card case so easy to transfer between bags, grab for a coffee run, toss into a clutch, etc. Mine is Prada, but I also like these Bottega ones, these monogrammable ones from Neely + Chloe, this deeply discounted Smythson, and this Cuyana.

+PEARL MASK CHAIN. I just love this thing. I feel like it adds a little panache to my everyday look (love pearls!) and it is so handy when you are taking your mask on/off all the time.

+REPLAY PLATES. I’ve mentioned these a lot lately, but they’ve been on my mind because I have had several friends comment on them during play dates recently. They really are the best — durable, great colors (no cheesy designs), microwavable, dishwasher-safe, with compartments sufficiently deep to house yogurt/pasta with sauce/ketchup/etc. I also find these have held up really nicely over time. They look brand-new still!

+BAR MOP / KITCHEN TOWELS. Super inexpensive, highly absorbent. We try to use these in lieu of paper towels in our house and just throw them in the laundry bin at the end of the day. Random: also good for covering meats that are dry-brining in the fridge! I find these to be preferable to the Williams-Sonoma ones we used for years because I find myself more likely to use them like paper towels!

+SEVILLE EXPANDABLE CUTLERY ORGANIZER. This is so amazing — we had this in NYC and it can expand/contract to be a perfect fit for nearly any width of drawer for a custom/tailored fit. It’s made of the best, sturdiest wood and super attractive. Love.

What other must-have utility items do you rave about?

P.S. More recent utility buys for our home here and all my favorite home gear here.

P.P.S. “Things must end to begin again.”

P.P.P.S. “Always say ‘my peace is more important’ when you find yourself reacting to something that doesn’t deserve your energy.”

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