8 absurd — and cheap — household items I bought online that have changed my life forever
Don’t knock it till you try it
The Virgo in me is all about productivity and organisation. Add to that disposition a middle-class upbringing where you learn the art of chalu jugaad. Why throw away a delivery box when it can be cut in half and repurposed as a small bookshelf? I get my order, get a new bookshelf and save some bucks I’d have had to spend on other storage solutions.
I’m also lazy, which means when I spot products and decor to buy online, they’re usually those that make life a lot easier. These also end up being the most absurd and random things. The kind that you see an advertisement for and think “Who buys this stuff?”
Me, that’s who. I didn’t know I needed any of these, but now that I’ve bought them, life has changed.
Far from impulse purchases you forget about, once you use these, you’ll realise that their existence makes complete sense.
If others laugh at what you buy online, saying it’s a waste of money, just make them try these products out once. They’ll be filling up their shopping cart at a speed faster than your new self-stirring coffee mug.
8 handy products you should buy online to make life more efficient
Home Cube dishwashing soap dispenser with sponge holder,₹449
Doing the dishes is cathartic, working your way through a pile feels like an accomplishment. But I can’t remember the number of plates and cups that have slipped out of my soapy hands and shattered while juggling between dispensing soap and rinsing, squeezing and cleaning.
It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but trust me, this is such a handy tool because it allows you to seamlessly go from one dish to the next. All you have to do is press down with the sponge to get the right amount of soap needed for the task.
When I had to go back to my previous way of life, pre-dispenser, after this broke, I truly felt the loss. You don’t know how good you’ve got it until it’s gone.
Under-the-bed storage containers, ₹599
When I moved from Delhi to Mumbai, it took me a while to get used to the cramped spaces and bathrooms the size of cupboards. When you’re living on top of each other, you have to adapt and pick up diverse storage options.
Once I graduated from gadda-on-the-floor to an actual bed, I realised that the area underneath it can serve as more than just a hiding spot for my cat when I’m trying to give her medicine.
These fabric storage containers come in a variety of sizes, with handles and wheels in every combination you desire. Instead of piling all the extras on top of my already overworked small cupboard, I slid one of these bad boys under the bed. Out of sight and out of mind.
They may not be very aesthetically pleasing but it gets the job done. There are always fancier ones you can go for if you’re willing to spend a bit more. Slide away your linens, clothes, shoes and secret stash of snacks.
Dr Charcoal air purifiers, ₹349
Speaking of closets and linens, every monsoon reduces at least one cupboard in our house to a mouldy mess.
There aren’t enough Absorb-it packets in the market to get us through the rains. Instead, I opted for a more eco-friendly alternative. Dr Charcoal is just one of the companies that make what are essentially jute pouches of charcoal — alternatives to your expensive electric air-purifying machines.
Drop one of these scentless sacks in your closet, drawers and more and it does a pretty good job of drawing in the moisture and cutting through that very specific monsoon-y smell that seeps into your clothes. These also prevent the mould and mildew from building and last up to a year.
WallDesign whiteboard fridge magnet, ₹433
Living in a household where everyone works on a different schedule can get a lot of communication wires tangled up. Somewhere in between the long chain of text messages ,my sister and I would forget an item or two every time we stepped out for groceries.
Now in lockdown, grocery shopping needed more planning than ever before. With our different sleep and work cycles, we used this whiteboard on the fridge to share reminders, important messages and to-do lists with each other.
This easy-to-apply strip can just be stuck on and used. You wipe away the message once it’s received and there’s no shadow handwriting left behind to annoy your inner control freak.
Angry mama microwave cleaner, ₹194
A round of applause for the mind behind this clever design and creation. This little figurine is a cute microwave pre-cleanse that’ll save you the effort of scrubbing away grime, food spills and stains.
Fill angry mama with water and vinegar and send her for a spin in the microwave for 5-7 minutes (stick to what’s directed on the label to be safe). Watch the steam blast out of mama’s head and loosen up all the grime stuck inside for an easy wipe down after.
Of course, it’s not going to completely clear out the heavy-duty damage from that one time you ended up over-heating dal. But with consistent use, it’ll do the job of microwave maintenance in the long run.
This is one mama you will really like when she’s angry.
Stainless steel kitchen sink strainer, ₹199
Never knew how much I needed you, oh sink strainer! The thought of such a device never occurred to me all those times I emptied packet after packet of Drainex down the drain to clear the clogged-up kitchen sink.
Like a little channi, it’ll collect any leftover food bits and particles when you rinse your plate. Empty it into the wet waste bin once you’re done.
You get extra goodies for your at-home compost and prevent any backed-up pipes. You also won’t have to dig out any squishy food bits stopping the water from draining through the sink’s drainage holes *gags*.
Pigeon mini vegetable chopper, ₹276
There’s a reason this little box went viral. You can get one of these non-electric choppers with either two or three blades inside. Attached to it is a string you pull and it’ll chop your tomatoes, capsicum, potatoes in a matter of seconds.
My favourite part of it? It’s a 1/3 the price of an electric food processor and it’ll save me chopping onions while wearing sunglasses indoors.
Step aside Johnson’s baby shampoo. This device holds the true meaning of no more tears.
BACKGAMMON mobility lacrosse ball, ₹349
Listen up, people who spend hours hunched over their computer screen. If there’s anything from this list that you buy online, make it this.
This is going to be your new WFH companion. Roll out all the sore muscles after long workouts and knotted shoulders from typing away at your laptop screen all day.
It’s going to seem strange at first, rubbing up against the wall with this ball. But the self-massage is going to feel amazing.
Pull up a tutorial video to know just the right moves to hit the trigger points that will loosen up your tense muscles.