35 Products I Swear By

Summer's Best Buys Even

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!

Hi, I’m Summer. I’m a mother from New Zealand with far too many piles of books, an excessive number of accessories, and a debilitating need to pat all the dogs all the time. These are 35 things I own that I swear by.

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Never Peel a Slippery Kiwi Again With This Dedicated Kiwi Spoon Knife

kiwi knife

My kid and I eat kiwifruit like New Zealand is going to run out tomorrow, we can’t get enough. However, the chances of me peeling a kiwi are very slim. Not only are they incredibly slippery, but it’s just an unnecessary extra step. This kiwi multi-tool is a knife and spoon in one. Furnish your child with a plate, three kiwis, one of these, and let them go to town.

Clever Alternative: Better for younger kids, this kiwi tool peels and quarters kiwi halves.

Everyday EXTRA in a Leopard Print Maxi Long Sleeve Cardigan

long cardigan

Are you all about looking extra on a daily basis but lack time to compile a look? This leopard print maxi long sleeve cardigan is lightweight, comes in a range of sizes, and brings the drama. Plus it feels soft and comfy. I add black leggings, Docs, a black singlet, and mahoosive earrings before going 100 meters down the road to buy milk.

Clever Alternative: For the days when your leopard duster is in the wash but you still want people to know what you’re about, this dramatic T-shirt is a great alternative.

I Can’t Stop Touching My Legs in These Leggings


The perfect pair of black leggings has always seemed like an elusive dream. But it’s now my reality with these butter-soft leggings from Viv Collection, which live up to the hype and their butter-soft name. I cannot stop stroking my own legs and I’m not ashamed.

Clever Alternative: People who do more than drink wine in their yoga pants should take a look at these leggings.

Moonlit Nights Courtesy of the Moon Lamp

Moon lamp

Literal-minded small people expect us to deliver on what we say. While it isn’t the moon on a stick I promised my child, this moon lamp on a wooden stand is the closest approximation around. It comes with a cool little remote too, so you can shout ‘turn down the moon’ for added bedtime fun.

Clever Alternative: Keep the moon for yourself and give the kids a lava lamp. Watching its gentle blobs is the OG relaxing activity.

I Destress and Detangle the Mornings With This Hairbrush

shampoo brush

Children are very bad at brushing their hair. They’re also very bad at being brushed. In my house, there are tears, sweat, and blood (okay, not blood) at hair-brushing time, which adds unwanted stress to the mornings. Do yourself a favor and switch to a Tangle Teezer Hairbrush, there’s also a dedicated version for thick and curly hair.

Clever Alternative: If the child will not allow their hair to be brushed, spray this leave-in conditioner stuff on their illustrious head and send them out the door (you can brush the child later).

Knock 20 Minutes off Drying Time With a Hair Towel

Hair Towel

We live in a cold area so going to bed with wet hair is a big no-no. Turbie Twists are the ultimate head towel; wrap around a child’s head for 30 minutes and their hair is much easier to quickly blow dry, meaning no delays to the scheduled bedtime.

Clever Alternative: Older kids can brush and blow dry their own hair with this two-in-one tool.

Everything Is Soup Now Thanks To my Stick Hand Blender

KitchenAid KHBV53DG Variable Speed Corded Hand Blender, Matte Charcoal Gray, 8 in

Take it from me: everything can be soup if you want it to be. Give me 10 minutes, an array of end-of-the-week vegetables, and this hand blender and I’ll give you soup. Boil stuff in a pot, be liberal with butter, spices, and salt, then let it cool. Attack the mix with a stick blender. Et voilà, it’s dinner, it’s lunch, it’s everything.

Clever Alternative: If you’re flush for a stick blender, do you have bowls with handles?

These Rose Gold Wine Glasses Make it Fancy

PG Copper / Rose Gold Stem Stainless Steel Wine Glass Set 4 - 18.5 oz

There’s just something about pouring oneself a glass of wine once the kids are asleep, and these rose gold ‘wine glasses‘ make it extra special. And as they’re shatterproof stainless steel, there’s no need to worry about broken stems or the two-bottles-deep breakages you and your bestie face regularly.

Clever Alternative: Drop the pretense and get to business. The Big Betty wine glass holds a whole bottle, in one go!

Still a Lil Bit Punk ‘Cause Leather Boots

black boots

Every woman has her go-to shoe. For me, it’s Doc Martens’ Leather Boots. I pop these puppies on and am somewhat transported back to my 20s. My most controversial opinion is that Docs go with everything: wear them with fancy dresses, workaday leggings, school run clothes (which can be questionable), and more.

Clever Alternative: Less than half the price of Docs, these Combat Boots are still eminently stompable.

I Did Not Grow This Boston Fern Myself 

realistic fake fern
Everything Clever

Like most elder millennials, I need many house plants. Unlike most millennials, I cannot keep my plants alive. Although I’m plastic-plant adverse, this Boston Fern looks incredibly real and because it hangs near the ceiling, no one knows it’s a doppelganger.

Clever Alternative: Got green fingers? Get a two-pack of the real deal so you can keep at least one alive.

Be Better Than Other People With Luxury Scrabble

Deluxe Scrabble

Few things feel better than placing a 7-letter bingo on a triple-word score. But doing it on your Luxury Edition Scrabble board is next-level smugness. This set is the real deal: turntable to easily switch between players, lux tiles that glide between your fingers, and a raised grid so tiles can’t slip.

Clever Alternative: This Big Bananagrams is easy for kids to play and it keeps their sticky fingers off your Luxury Scrabble.

The Echo Dot Is a Clever Little Smart Speaker

Amazon Alexa

Even though it’s a glorified egg timer, I still love it. Connect your new egg timer to your Spotify account and instantly have voice-activated access to your favorite music. For such a little smart speaker, it packs a surprising punch. It also comes in handy when I need to cook an egg.

Clever Alternative: This JBL isn’t restricted by a plug and can go everywhere.

I Like to Air My Emotional Baggage and This Tote Bag Helps

Emotional Baggage Tote

I like to take my emotional baggage out for outings and this tote bag, which leaves few doubts about any issues I may have, is up to the task. Fill it up with shopping, the secondhand books you really don’t need, farmer’s market finds, or any unresolved issues.

Clever Alternative: Or keep it classy and don’t tell strangers what’s wrong with you, either way, both tote bags are good for the environment.

My Giant Cockroach Plush Pillow Serves Absolutely No Purpose

Creative Cockroach Plush Pillow 3D Animal Insect Stuffed Throw Pillow Funny Home Sofa Car Decoration Play Toy Doll Unique Birthday Gift (55 cm=21.5 in)

And yet I’m incredibly fond of it. At 21.5 inches long, it’s big enough to be disturbing yet small enough to fit in the car if you’d like to take it on holiday. While it is a soft toy, the realistic 3D-printed cover renders this plush pillow unsnuggable. Instead, it perches around the house, creepily.

Clever Alternative: Read Kafka in this book that features giant roaches.

This Sucking Vibrator Definitely Sucks, but It Doesn’t Blow

Clitoral Sucking Vibrator

No mother has time for a marathon self-love session (unfortunately). But that doesn’t mean the process should be perfunctory, as proven by this nifty little vibrator. A word to the wise, newbies: you gotta build up to the higher levels. Like defeating the final boss in a video game, things can get messy from level six onward.

Clever Alternative: It’s the original Magic Wand personal massager, nuff said.

Robot Vacuum Cleaner for the Win!

Robot Vaccum Cleaner

I never thought I’d be bougie enough for a robot vacuum cleaner, and yet here we are. The Eufy robo-vac is small, unobtrusive, and gets the job done. It can even navigate door ledges and when it’s low on charge, it heads back to its charging station to re-juice. At under $200, it’s a no-brainer.

Clever Alternative: When the idea of housework gets overwhelming, I put on my crying pants.

My Acupuncture Mat Is Pleasure and Pain

I don’t know if I’m just a masochist or if it’s truly effective, but my Shakti mat makes me feel good every day. Laying on it for 15 minutes seems to help work out any pesky knots in my shoulders and does wonders for my lower back. Plus it leaves a really cool pattern of indents on my skin that’s like a sensory experience in its own right.

Clever Alternative: Easier to rub in than the original balm, Tiger Balm Ointment is a stiff shoulder lifesaver.

This Magic 8 Ball for Key Life Decisions

Magic Eight Ball
Everything Clever

When faced with an important decision, I find outsourcing an excellent option. With my magic 8 ball, which is always on the coffee table, I can embrace my latent carefree self and quickly reach a conclusion. Stick to yes/no answers for the best results and remember: if you don’t get the answer you want, go for the best two out of three.

Clever Alternative: For those who value engaging with key decisions, this book is a must.

I’m a Leave-the-Light-on Person Because of My Salt Lamp

Himalayan Salt Lamp 6-8” (4-7 lb) with Dimmer Switch - All Natural and Handcrafted with Wooden Base and an Extra Bulb

The right lighting can make or break the mood, amiright? In the dark is boring. Under the harsh glow of a blazing ceiling light is plain psychopathic. My salt lamp provides the exact amount of gentle glow to smooth out my late-30-something lumps and bumps.

Clever Alternative: Make it sacrificial with this set of no less than nine battery-operated pillar candles.

Bad Hair Days Be Gone With These Wired Headbands

headband with tie
Everything Clever

These headband and scarf combos have wire inside so they stay put in the shape of your choice. I like to wrap mine around a messy bun or pony with a false bow at the front. It’s the ideal way to quickly add interest to jeans and a white tee (they’re also great for those days when one’s hair isn’t quite clean so needs to be bundled up).

Clever Alternative: Not all dry shampoo is created equal. Aussie dry shampoo smells amazing and gets the job done quickly.

Wake Up and Smell the Fresh Coffee With a Burr Coffee Grinder

Coffee grinder

The best coffee is made with freshly ground beans, and the best type of grinder is a burr model. Few things are of greater importance to me than good morning coffee. Thinking about my burr grinder and the subsequent double espresso shot help me haul myself out of bed every morning.

Clever Alternative: This highly annoying alarm clock has wheels so it runs away from you, meaning you have no choice but to get out of bed.

My Kid Says I’m Weird for Having This Vintage Print Poster in the Bathroom

Old time print

But I’m sure we’ve all felt like this child at some point or another: facing the world stoically while in a rather preposterous situation. In this case, though, the subject of the poster is facing the world with a large chicken by his side.

Clever Alternative: It’s giving me slight boomer vibes, but 13/10 I would hang this metal sign in my bathroom.

All the Books None of the Guilt Courtesy of the Kindle

Kindle e-reader tablet

I collect books like a madwoman. I don’t have an attic to store my books, so they end up in piles all around my house. These piles give me stress thinking about how I’ll never read everything I want to in my lifetime. My Kindle takes some of the weight off and means I can collect with impunity.

Clever Alternative: These funky shelves mean fewer piles scattered indiscriminately around the house.

These Jeans Help Me Relive My Youth

flared jeans denim

Remember in the 90s how we all walked around with our wide-leg jeans half dragging on the ground and soaking up all the puddles? I’m doing it again and no lies: I feel fly in these jeans and they’re transporting me back to the heady days of youth. Puddles be damned.

Clever Alternative: Just that little bit higher and less flarey, these Levi’s won’t capture all the water while you run errands.

We Lovingly Call This Cat Litter Box the ‘Igpoo’.

Cat litter box igloo

There’s little doubt that cat litter boxes are unattractive, but this sleek and modern igloo is a cat-poop game changer. If you have to have a little box in the living room or hallway, you can’t beat the ‘igpoo.’

Clever Alternative: It’s not as aesthetically pleasing, but this model is self-cleaning.

It’s Leggings Season Always With These Fleece-lined Pants

joggers pants

Leggings are my uniform. They’re the perfect piece of clothing, but annoyingly useless in the middle of winter when the wind whips around my legs and blows up my shirt. These fluffy and super warm fleece-lined leggings mean I can wear my preferred uniform year-round.

Clever Alternative: Hide your thermal protection under your regular clothes with these retro-style long johns.

This Blackhead Vacuum With a Camera Is So Gross

Blackhead Pore sucker

Yet it’s so satisfying and I’ll never stop. It’s like having a live-action Dr. Pimple Popper video happening on your face. Because this nifty little sucker has a camera, you can watch all the grossness on your phone in real-time as you vacuum away merrily.

Clever Alternative: This blackhead removing mask is cute, weird, and it smells amazing.

I Am IN LOVE With My E-scooter


To hell with trying to drive around the city and double to hell with finding affordable parking. Since I bought my Segway e-scooter, I am now an electric transportation convert. This puppy can hit up to 30 km per hour on the flat and packs enough punch to climb hills. I even use it to drop my kid off at school (yes, I am that parent).

Clever Alternative: Cheaper than the Segway, the Razor is ideal if you’re still on the e-scooter fence.

De-other Yourself With The Second Sex

The Second Sex Book

Simone de Beauvoir’s best-known work deconstructs the concept of Western ‘womanhood’ and is a key read in second-wave feminism. If you’re new to canonical feminist works, this book is an excellent place to start. I always have a copy on my bookshelf right next to texts by bell hooks, Angela N. Davis, and Judith Butler.

Clever Alternative: Is this mug why my coffee tastes so good?

I Will Never Stop Wearing These Sunglasses

Reflective Sunglasses

They’re big, they’re pink, they’re rose-gold mirrored. These are my new go-to statement sunglasses and I own a couple of different pairs in various shades. Pull them out on Sunday mornings when it’s really for the best no one sees your eyes.

Clever Alternative: Take a chemical hangover cure and call me at 3 p.m.

These Monopoly Cards Because a Three-hour Game Holds No Appeal

Monopoly Deal Card Game

Fewer sentences inspire as much dread as ‘will you play Monopoly with me?’ A three-hour foray into the pits of capitalism holds little interest, but I do like playing games with my kid so Monopoly Deal is the perfect middle ground. Each game lasts around 15 minutes and there’s no concern your child might be robbing the bank while you’re in the bathroom.

Clever Alternative: If you must play Monopoly, make it the cat version because saying ‘I have to mortgage a cat’ is linguistically pleasing.

Moka Pot Coffee Hits Different

Primula Stovetop Espresso and Coffee Maker, Moka Pot for Classic Italian and Cuban Café Brewing, Cafetera, Six Cup

All types of coffee are valid, in my opinion, but there’s something special about Moka pot coffee. Maybe it’s the preparation and process, maybe it’s the taste, but either way, I can’t live without my Moka pot.

Clever Alternative: No matter your device of choice, fill it with the world’s strongest coffee.

These Body Harnesses Make Me Think I’m in the Matrix

Womens Leg Harness Cage Garter Waist Belt Dance Elastic Punk Gothic Carnival Accessories (Black+Gold)

And I’m feeling myself even though I look nothing like Trinity. Because it’s elasticated, this waist and thigh harness set fits over my leggings or tights with no issues while the adjustable straps are good for days when I’ve eaten all the pies. I don’t know why the listing says this harness is ‘carnival’ wear when it’s clearly suitable for every day.

Clever Alternative: Take the plunge and go all out in a wine-red full-body harness.

I’m on My Fourth Copy of This de Botton Book

Proust Book

Confined to his bed for the last three years of his life, French author Marcel Proust still managed to complete his magnum opus, In Search of Lost Time. Philosopher Alain de Botton covers Proust’s life, his unique style, and more in this innovative little book.

Clever Alternative: Read the first volume, Swann’s Way, by Proust himself.

My Toast Beach Towel Makes Me Feel Like I’m a Snack

BigMouth Inc Giant Slice of Toast with Butter Beach Blanket, Oversized Beach Towel, Ulta-Soft Microfiber Towel, 5 Feet Wide, Washing Machine Friendly

Be the snack this summer on a beach towel that’s shaped like a giant piece of toast. It serves very little purpose other than novelty value, and sometimes that’s quite all right.

Clever Alternative: I got 99 problems but a lack of weird towels ain’t one.

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