30 of the Best Purchases I Ever Made

Everything Clever / Tracy Ingham

This is Best Buys Ever, where writers, readers, and everyone in-between shares their all-time, desert-island, best things they can’t live without. Want to share yours? Contact us!

Hello! I’m Tracy, a designer. Graphic and web design is my bread and butter, but I moonlight as an interior designer, landscaper, and illustrator. I love making things beautiful and finding creative solutions.

I’ve been using Amazon since 2006. Here are a few of my favorite finds of all time, including the BEST stain remover on the market, a futuristic-yet-effective nail file, and the best hair brush I’ve ever used. 

Everything Clever is a participant in the Amazon Associates program. As a participant, Everything Clever earns commissions from qualifying purchases made from links on this article.

This Antibacterial Soap Makes My Hands Feel Great

Chemical Guys HYG10116 OnHand Antibacterial Hand Sanitizing Soap, 16 oz

This stuff is fantastic! Not only does it kill germs and come in an awesome spray bottle (perfect for guests), it also leaves my hands feeling soft and silky smooth instead of dry and cracked, like most sanitizers. It literally feels like I’ve applied lotion when I use it!

Clever Alternative: For dry, cracked hands, this cult-favorite honey hand peel if both effective and satisfying!

I’m Using This Cheap Matte Top Coat With Amazing Results

essie matte about you top coat, mattify nail polish, 0.46 fl. oz. (Packaging May Vary)

The pandemic got me started on a journey of perfecting my own manicures and pedicures, and this Matte About You topcoat was my very best discovery along the way! Adding this matte nail polish allowed me to change up my existing colors without having to buy all new polish. One thin top coat gives an awesome, matte look to any polish! Plus, it helps make your nail polish last even longer!

Clever Alternative: We all struggle with brittle nails sometimes, but this Hard as Hoof nail strengthening cream is the cure-all answer for tens of thousands of happy users.

This Wine Stain Remover Removes EVERY Kind of Stain

Tracy Ingham

This isn’t just the most amazing wine stain remover, it’s the best stain remover I’ve ever used. I have taken out red wine stains from white carpet, I’ve removed spilled cranberry juice out of leather, coffee out of velvet curtains, you name it! I use this stain remover for everything. It also smells great and doesn’t damage anything I apply it to.

Clever Alternative: This carpet spot remover has its own cult following.

This Toilet Paper Holder Saves So Much Space

TQVAI Over The Tank Toilet Paper Roll Holder for Bathroom Tissue, Chrome Finish

Limited space? I use this toilet paper holder to keep my rolls right where I need them – not sitting on the bathroom floor, or taking up valuable cabinet space. I love that it makes replacement rolls easily accessible for you and guests when they come over.

Clever Alternative: I’m definitely tempted by this toilet paper roll holder that has its own shelf and drawer built-in.

This Cheap Hair Catcher Has Saved Me SO Much in Plumbing Bills

tub hair catcher
Drain Hair Catcher | Tracy Ingham

When you have long, fine hair, you are also inevitably going to be cursed clogging the shower drain. This little guy does a big job, collects all my loose hair and lets me know when its time to clean it out. All I have to do is pull the black attachment off and slide the spool of my hair into the trash. My future husband will thank me.

Clever Alternative: While we’re talking bathtub accessories, this incredibly popular and simple device turns your regular bathtub into an ultra-deep, soaking spa.

This Loofah Bathmat Cleans My Feet as I Shower

Asvin Soft Textured Bath, Shower, Tub Mat, 24x16 Inch, Phthalate Free, Non Slip Comfort Bathtub Mats with Drain, PVC Loofah Bathroom Mats for Wet Areas, Quick Drying

With its rough loofah surface, my favorite bathmat cleans my feet and scrubs them too, as well as making me feel secure and safe from slipping in the shower. I like to rinse mine before I get out of the shower, and it dries quickly with little effort needed to keep it clean.

Clever Alternative: Another contributor is obsessed with this bargain-priced rainfall shower head.

I Take This Collapsible Water Bottle Everywhere

Tracy Ingham

Who wants to carry around a bulky water bottle when it’s empty? This clever, ultra-durable collapsible water bottle solved that problem for me. Once it’s empty you just roll it up and toss it in your purse. When it is filled with water, it’s light and easy to carry with a solid lid that doesn’t leak.

Clever Alternative: These more classic water bottles remind you to hydrate throughout the day.

These Smart Plugs Transformed My Home

Gosund Smart Plug Works with Alexa and Google Home, 2.4GHz Wifi enabled Remote Control Smart Outlet, No Hub Required,ETL Listed(2 Packs)

These plugs make all the difference in my home. They allow me to set my lights to a timer (whether normal lights, or Christmas lights). I come home to a lovely, bright house, and when they turn off, that’s my cue to go to bed. Or, if I head to bed before they shut off, I can remotely control them from an app on my phone. They even pair with Alexa!

Clever Alternative: I may be adding these smart light switches for your wall to my set-up soon.

I Couldn’t Believe How Wonderfully This Eyebrow Shaping Solution Worked

Nad's Eyebrow Shaping Kit

Yup – I was that desperate during the pandemic that I braved more than plucking my eyebrows: I started to wax them. Surprisingly, this waxing kit actually works really well! It’s got a precision application tip, which allows you to get very detailed with your shaping, and doesn’t even have the smell the Nad’s is noted for. If you ever need to fix eyebrows in a pinch, I highly recommend.

Clever Alternative: This nosehair waxing kit has truly insane user photos!

These Odd-Looking Glass Nail Files Feel Great to Use

ClassyLady Glass Nail Files - Crystal Nail File for Natural Nails, Filing Board for Professional Fingernail Care w/Case

I don’t have long nails, so when I use a regular nail file, I tend to make a groove in the exact same place on the file, making it useless! With I can reuse over and over again without that groove and still get a great smooth shape to my nails. It also feels great – nice smooth feeling when you file. Just rinse it after your done and you’re ready to use again and again. these glass files I can use them over and over again without that groove, and still get a great smooth shape to my nails. It also feels amazing to use, with a nice smooth feeling when you file. Just rinse it after your done and you’re ready to use again and again.

Clever Alternative: This cuticle oil is beloved by beauty experts and will keep your cuticles as smooth as your newly filed nails!

This Detangling Hairbrush Displaced My 30-Year Favorite

Leyla Milani Pink Hair Detangler Brush - Miracle Brush Human Hair Brushes for Sensitive Scalp, Gentle Detangling, Shine, Volumizing, Nylon Boar Bristle, Best Paddle Brush for Women, Men, Kids

I have had the same brush for over 30 years (I’m a bit sentimental), but a friend convinced me to give this detangling brush a try. I have very fine, thin hair (baby hair really) and so it breaks very easily, especially when it’s wet. That said, this brush, with its combined hard and soft bristles, really lives up to it’s hype and cut down on my hair breakage. I can brush my hair wet or dry and it gives it a great shine without breakage or static.

Clever Alternative: This popular Wet Brush is another beloved detangling option.

This Fanny Pack is the Fanny Pack of All Fanny Packs!

Tracy Ingham

This fanny pack has a pocket for everything! It’s also got a handle, clasps, elastic band, and water bottle holder. I take this bad boy with me on walks, to the store, or an outdoor restaurant with my dog.

Clever Alternative: Fanny packs not your thing? Check out another reviewer’s perfect goldilocks backpack.

This ER-Approved Antiseptic is a Must for Every Household

Betadine First Aid Solution 8 Ounces Povidone Iodine Antiseptic with No-Sting Promise (Packaging May Vary)

So I was one of those stupid millennials who stabbed a knife through their hand while trying to get the pit out of an avocado (who doesn’t enjoy a little blood with their avocado toast?). Thankfully, I had this antiseptic on hand. It’s the exact product emergency rooms will use on open wounds and burns, but is perfect for small scrapes too. I highly recommend this for anyone with kids (or if you’re just a klutz like me) – get this in your medicine cabinet!

Clever Alternative: This Betadine spray is the perfect companion.

This Glue is My Best-Kept Secret

Pacer Technology (Zap) Zap-A-Gap Adhesives, 1 oz, White (PT-02)

A part of me doesn’t want to share this, because it is one of the best kept glue secrets of all time. I know there are those who swear by Gorilla Glue, but this beats that, Super Glue, epoxy, you name it. Zap-A-Gap was introduced to me at UCLA when I was designing theatre sets and building models of them. Not only did it dry in seconds, but worked on everything – from metals, to my fingers – and dried so clearly that you could not tell where something has been glued or not. It is by the far the greatest glue I have ever used and I’ve been using it now for nearly 15 years!

Clever Alternative: This larger bottle of Zap-a-Gap would keep you supplied for years.

These Squishy Silicone Oven Mitts and Trivets Last Forever

Tracy Ingham

I’ve had this set for over 4 years because they LAST. The silicone construction makes it easy to wash off food and grease (dishwasher-safe!), the gloves are super thick so I can use them under extremely high-heat temperatures and the trivets not only work to protect surfaces but I can use them as bottle openers too.

Clever Alternative: These table runners are also heat-proof trivets, so you can set hot dishes anywhere, safely.

This Cute Doormat Keeps My House Clean

Tracy Ingham

I don’t know about you, but I hate having to tell people to remove their shoes when they enter my home. My solution is to roll out this doormat, so they know to pop off those shoes before they even walk in! It’s light and thin, so its easy to roll up and put away when you aren’t worried about guests, but its also durable enough to leave outside too.

Clever Alternative: The same company makes some fun, quite sassy alternatives.

These Mask Lanyards May Not Be Chic, But They’re Necessary

Teskyer 8 Pack - Adjustable Length Face Mask Lanyard - Handy & Convenient Safety Mask Holder & Hanger - Comfortable Around The Neck Facemask Rest & Ear Saver - Easy On & Off, Mix Color

These lanyards may feel like the equivalent of a reading glasses chain or a pocket protector, but no matter how nerdy – they works. The clasps are large enough to secure around any size mask strap and the adjustable length makes it so your mask can be as close to your face as you want. It takes the “where’s my mask?” feeling out of the equation.

Clever Alternative: These silicone mask brackets give you some much-needed breathing room.

These Platypus Tea Infusers Just Make Me Happy

Tea Infuser Gift Set for Loose Leaf Tea, Cute Platypus Tea Strainer Pair in Lovely Gift Box, Ideal Couples Gift, Set of 2, Grey and Pink

I am not into a lot of waste, so I prefer to use loose leaf tea instead of teabags. I can fill these little guys up and stick them in a mug of boiling water. If I want them to diffuse faster, I just squeeze their little bellies. But mainly, they just make me smile, and who doesn’t need that with their morning tea?

Clever Alternative: These sloth tea infusers may have to join my tea-infusing menagerie!

These Cooling Towels Really Work

Tracy Ingham

I love these cooling towels! They’re compact and can be thrown in a purse or attached on the outside of a bag. They are great for drying off sweat or if you pour water on them, they become super cold to the touch and can keep you cool the rest of the day. I used them at Disneyland for my Mom who has some health problems that make her sweat a lot and get over-heated easily – they made all the difference in the trip. She was able to stay cool and enjoy the day. Just throw them in the wash after you’re done and they’ll be good to go.

Clever Alternative: Users swear by this bladeless neck fan for ultimate cooling power.

I Adore This Ring Light For One Major Reason…

Tracy Ingham

A ring light is a ring light – but this one clips! It has blue, white, and yellow light with three different disable settings, but mainly….IT CLIPS. I love being able to walk around my house and not worry about lighting because I take it with me.

Clever Alternative: These 10-inch ring lights provide seriously powerful lighting on the cheap.

I Love Love Love These Knives

Tracy Ingham

Not only does this set look cool on my counter, but the see-through display makes it easy to see which knife I need without having to pull them out of the block. Not to mention, they’re incredibly sharp and since they’re crafted from one solid piece of metal, you don’t have to worry about handles breaking or wearing out!

Clever Alternative: These super-popular Cuisinart knives are a lovely, colorful, incredible popular alternative at an even more affordable price.

These Reusable Booties Save My Floors (and Awkward Interactions)

Tracy Ingham

As I mentioned earlier, I like when people take off their shoes in my home, but that’s not always practical for every visitor (cable guys, plumbers, stubborn friends). So, my alternative is to give them these booties that fit over their shoes and save my floors. Some of my friends even like to use them over socks to keep their feet warm. They are easily washable and can be used over and over again.

Clever Alternative: It might be time to switch to these dusting slippers that clean your floors as you wear them!

This Simple Phone Stand is a True Godsend

Cell Phone Stand, OMOTON Angle Height Adjustable Phone Stand, Aluminum Desktop Phone Holder Dock Stand for Desk, Compatible with iPhone 11/Xr/Xs Max, All Smartphones and All Tablets(4-11''), Silver

The world is not made for tall people. After years of looking down at my phone, with or without a stand, my neck was killing me. Finally, some tall genius created the perfect stand that brings my phone to MY level. It makes it easier for me to read recipes on my iPad or video conferences with my friends. It’s got durable, heavy aluminum construction, and rock-steady built quality to boot!

Clever Alternative: These smaller phone stands are a popular desktop alternative.

I Use These Ice Bags an Embarrassing Amount

Ice Bag Packs for Injuries, Ohuhu 3 Packs [11

I am a total klutz, so I love this 3-pack of ice bags. The 3 sizes make it easy to get to get coverage on the right spots and the 2 straps make it possible to hold them in place hands-free.

Clever Alternative: These strap-on cold/hot compression braces are a great stay-in-place option.

This Weird-Looking Chair Re-aligned My Back

This Silverware Organizer Made My Drawer Beautiful

Joseph Joseph

There are few things I love more than beautifully-designed things I’ll use every day, so this Joseph Joseph DrawerStore has certainly earned its place on my list. Its incredibly efficient design allows me to store a ton of silverware (I do like to entertain), while keeping everything in perfect order. It’s made of a very durable, very washable plastic, and mine still looks brand-new after a few years of use.

Clever Alternative: This clever gadget lets you put your knife block in your silverware drawer. 

These Magnetic Curtain Tie-Backs Are Beautiful AND Wall-Friendly

Tracy Ingham

Mind you, this set is very girly as I was decorating quite the princess room at the time. Whether you use these tiebacks or prefer another style, magnetic tiebacks are great for people living in rentals! We can get the curtains out of the way without securing/screwing holders to the walls.

Clever Alternative: These pearl tie-backs may be the most popular option out there right now!

This Programmable Thermostat Is a Killer Nest Alternative

Honeywell Home Wi-Fi 7-Day Programmable Thermostat (RTH6580WF), Requires C Wire, Works with Alexa

Don’t have or want to spend money on the ever-expensive Nest? This Honeywell thermostat was my affordable and amazing alternative. Like the Nest, it has an app for your phone that allows you to adjust the temperature of your home from anywhere (literally I adjusted the temp on the train one day!). It also allows you to schedule your climate control, and adjust it instantly, at a nowhere near the price.

Clever Alternative: Oh, and it even works with Alexa devices.

This Indoor Grill is Truly Incredible

Tracy Ingham

When you don’t have outdoor space, or if it’s rainy season but you still to grill, this gadget is a must. The T-Fal Indoor Grill defrosts meet, grills everything from steaks, bacon, fish, and paninis and it beeps at you for every step of the way, so that you don’t have do anything but listen. The color indicator shows you how well-done your meat is so you can tell without ever having to lift the lid or poke and prod the meat.

Clever Alternative: This Hamilton Beach indoor grill is cheaper, but less loaded with features.

This Tiny Screwdriver Set Has Saved So Many Headaches

Tracy Ingham

Ever notice that those pre-made toolkits don’t have the smallest screwdrivers – you know the kind you need for when your glasses break, or you need to take that backing of a toy? This set covers all your needs from Phillips to Flatheads. They’re great quality, inexpensive, and are great to have at the ready.

Clever Alternative: This Geekey multi-tool puts every tool you need on your keychain.

This Incredible Foldable Rowing Machine Turned My Home Into a Gym

Bluefin Fitness Rower Machine Blade Home Gym Foldable | Magnetic Resistance Rower | 8 x Tension Levels | Smooth Belt Drive | LCD Digital Fitness Console | Smartphone App | Black & Grey Silver

When I found this collapsible rowing machine, I was ecstatic! Rowing is one of the best all over body workouts (it’s a combined cardio AND strength exercise), but often rowing machines take up way too much space to be practical. Fortunately, this one folds up easily, and tucks behind my bedroom door! Since I’m not going back to the gym anytime soon, this machine has made all the difference.

Clever Alternative: Rowing works out your lower back a LOT, so we recommend these lower back stretchers to keep everything flexible.

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