50 Clever Things That Are Helping People Make 2021 A Way Better Year

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2020 was a year for the books (to put it mildly), and it’s safe to say most of us are digging our way out of a very unprecedented era. Now that the dust is beginning to settle, I think it’s safe to say we’re all on the hunt for some massive life improvements, which is why I’ve rounded up a collection of clever things on Amazon that are helping people make 2021 a way better year. (Because we deserve it.)

For starters, many of us have spent lots of time at home by this point, which is why this list packed with little upgrades that make it feel nicer, like throw pillow covers to replace the ones you’ve now worn out (so much time on the couch) and café string lights that add a festive feel to your backyard for outdoor hangs — they’re even solar-powered, so you won’t be adding any heft to your electricity bill.

And because people did a lot more cooking last year, I’ve also included some fan-favorite kitchen products for both experienced home chefs and newly minted foodies alike. And of course, no let’s-make-this-year-better list would be complete without some self-care tools that help manage stress, like aromatherapy shower steamers and scented soy candles that help set a peaceful mood. There’s no way this year won’t be superior to the last (knock on wood), and these helpful products just might help put us over the top.


This Cooling Pillow Filled With Shredded Memory Foam

Beat the heat by sleeping on this pillow made from cooling gel memory foam. The memory foam inside is actually shredded — instead of in a solid block — so you can remove as much as you like to get the right amount of loft. Plus, one side of the pillow cover is made with cooling fibers, and the other side is made from soft bamboo — perfect so you don’t get too cold when winter rolls around.


A Fleece Picnic Blanket With A Waterproof Backing

2020 introduced a lot of us to the pleasures of the great outdoors, and if you’re like me, you have no intention of giving that up. Take this picnic blanket along on your next outing — it’s made with soft fleece on one side and waterproof backing on the other, so you can even use it on wet grass. Choose from stripes and three classic herringbone styles.


The Solar-Powered String Lights That Are Pure Backyard Joy

Give your backyard a more festive feel with these solar-powered café lights that won’t add a penny to your electric bill. The 27-foot string offers up to eight hours of illumination on a solar charge, but you can also charge it via USB if you want to plug it in the minute it arrives on your doorstep.


A 50-Pack Of Disposable Masks In 3 Colors

Vaccines are becoming commonplace, but you might not want to give up your practice of wearing masks quite yet (or ever, if you want to avoid the fallout of cold and flu season). This 50-pack of disposable masks features three-ply protection and comes in black, gray, and pink.


This Lumbar Support Pillow With 20,000 Reviews

If you worked at home during the pandemic, there’s a good chance you experienced the perils (and muscle tension) of setting up a makeshift home office. For all-day comfort, this lumbar support pillow is contoured to provide lower back support and improve posture. It’s made with memory foam and has two straps to keep it secured to your chair.


A Calming Essential Oil Roller To Reduce Stress

2020 brought with it unprecedented levels of stress, and along with it, the awareness that it’s worth having some self-care tools on hand. This essential oil roller is designed to induce feelings of calmness, thanks to its unique blend of cardamom, peppermint, Spanish sage, and more. Roll it on your wrists and temples any time you feel your stress levels rise.


This 5-Year Diary That Tells The Story Of Your Life

This five-year diary lets you revisit what happened on that date in previous years every time you make an entry, and it’s an amazing way to watch the story of your life (and the world) unfold. It’s made by the classic stationary company Letts of London, and the coated paper cover and gold foil accents are totally timeless.


A Laptop Stand Your Neck Will Thank You For

Bid farewell to that end-of-day crick in your neck with this laptop stand. It elevates the screen to eye level, helping to improve posture and prevent hunching, and the open-back design keeps air flowing, so your computer won’t overheat.


The Back Seat Organizers That Wrangle The Essentials

Whether you’re running around town daily, or are planning to hit the open road, these back seat organizers make it easy to keep your ride clutter-free. They hook over your car headrests and have multiple pockets for all your essentials — there’s even a clear-window pocket, so back seat passengers can watch shows on their tablets.


This Hot Air Popcorn Popper That Doesn’t Need Oil To Pop

With this hot air popcorn popper, you can do your best “night at the movies” in the comfort of your living room. It uses hot air (no oil required) to pop up to 16 cups of popcorn, and there’s a built-in butter melter on the top, so you can add a little extra flavor. Choose from three colors: aqua, red, and white.


These Popcorn Seasonings That Are A Serious Flavor Upgrade

Level up your movie night even more with this set of popcorn seasonings. The set comes with four crave-worthy flavors: butter, white cheddar, garlic parmesan, and nacho cheddar. Sprinkle them on your popcorn for a mouthful of deliciousness with every handful.


A Whole-Body Exfoliating Towel For Super Soft Skin

This Japanese exfoliating towel is woven with two types of threads for a superior scrubbing experience: 1.) tightly woven threads to create next-level soap lather, and 2.) textured threads to exfoliate skin. Plus, it’s roughly 4 feet long and 1 foot wide, so you can target a large surface area — like your back — with just a few scrubs.


This Cast Iron Pan That Makes Food Taste Even Better

If you’ve spent more time cooking during isolation than you ever thought you would, it might be time to take your kitchenware to the next level with this cast iron pan. The heavyweight pan distributes heat evenly for more consistent results, and unlike other pan materials, it actually infuses your food with more flavor — i.e., it’s a great shortcut to becoming a 21st century Julia Child.


The Mask Extenders That Relieve Pressure On Your Ears

In 2020, we all gained newfound respect for medical professionals who’d already been wearing masks for years. These mask extenders are a more comfortable way to wear your face covering since they alleviate pressure on your ears, and they’re adjustable, so you can get a perfect fit.


These Soft Joggers In 100+ Colors & Styles

While vaccines might usher in a more tailored look (and shorter haircuts), there’s no doubt that stretchy clothes are here to stay. (They’re just too comfortable to give up.) These lightweight joggers are the perfect all-season sweats, and one reviewer wrote, “These are probably the softest pants I've ever owned.” Plus, they come in more than 150 (!) colors and styles.

  • Available sizes: Small — 3X
  • Available color and styles: 166


The Unbreakable Wine Glasses That Are Perfect For Outside Sipping

If quarantining fostered both a love for wine and an appreciation for drinking it outside, these unbreakable wine glasses are for you. Made from indestructible Tritan plastic, they’ll resist accidental drops on concrete, and they’re also safe for poolside or bath tub sipping. They’re dishwasher-safe for easy post-pinot cleaning.


This Desk Lamp With 2 USB Ports

Not only does this desk lamp shine light on your work (so nice for tired eyes), but it also has two USB ports for charging devices and two AC outlets for plugging in other appliances. Available in black and white, it has three brightness levels and three color modes, and since the arm is adjustable, you can aim the beam where you need it most.


These Aromatherapy Steamers For A Spa-Grade Shower

Whether you’re jump-starting your day or unwinding before bed, these aromatherapy shower steamers can help conjure up the mood you’re looking for. They release fragrance the minute steam hits them, and the set of 12 includes scents like lavender to relax, peppermint to energize, and eucalyptus to help clear your sinuses.


A 2-Stage Knife Sharpener That’s Super Affordable

A sharp blade makes chopping and slicing so much easier (really), and this affordable knife sharpener features two slots for coarse and fine sharpening, so you can cover all the bases. Plus, the wedge design means you can place it on the ledge of your counter for extra traction while you sharpen.


This Chenille Blanket That’s Perfect For Naps

Not only is this chenille throw blanket a soft and cozy couch companion, but it also adds a nice finishing touch to your living room. Boasting a subtle chevron pattern and fringe, it comes in three understated colors: gray, navy, and off-white.


The Shiatsu Massager That’s Easy To Keep In Place

Just about the best stand-in for a real-life massage, this shiatsu massager has multi-directional modes and a heating option to work out knots and relax tense muscles. It also has slings for your arms, making it easy to position the massager right where you want it.


An Essential Oil Diffuser That’s Small Enough For Your Desk

This essential oil diffuser is about the size of a smartphone, so you can place it on your desk or nightstand for aromatherapy while you work or sleep. With a run time of up to eight hours, it also features a color-changing LED and multiple brightness settings. Pair it with a set of essential oils, and you’ll be all ready for your first aromatherapy session.


These Fan-Favorite Face Masks For An Evening Of Self Care

This seven-pack of sheet masks boasts an impressive 4.7-star overall rating from beauty fans who report that they “deliver results” and are “really great for sensitive skin.” The set includes masks infused with essences like detoxifying charcoal, brightening vitamin C, and deeply hydrating ceramides.


A Productivity Planner That Keeps You On Track To Your Goals

A lot of us put productivity on the back burner during quarantine, so if you’re ready to jump-start prioritizing your goals again, add this undated productivity planner to your cart. Not only does it keeps track of appointments and tasks, but it has entries for mini vision boards, priorities, and self-reflection. Plus, it comes with highlighters, stickers, and color-coded pens to keep you on track.


These Scented Candles That Offer “Big Fragrance”

Scented candles are a necessary luxury, adding coziness, ambiance, and an overall sense that things are going to be all right. These soy candles come highly rated by thousands of reviewers, and you can choose from a diverse range of scents, like lemon biscotti, nag champa, and tobacco, spice, and vanilla.


A Crepe Maker That’s Almost Like Being In Paris

If you’ve been longing for Paris (le sigh) or just brunch at a crowded indoor restaurant, this crepe maker is here to satisfy those cravings (and it’s also a lot cheaper than both options). The 12-inch griddle features a nonstick surface and comes with spreading spatulas for paper-thin crepes.


The Foot Spa With Soothing Massage Bubbles

There’s nothing more relaxing at the end of the day than soaking in this foot spa. Just fill it with warm water and use the toe-touch control to turn on the massaging bubbles. There’s even a splash guard to prevent spills and a pumice stone for exfoliation.


This Lap Desk With A Mouse Pad & Phone Slot

Working from your couch is comfortable in theory, until you find yourself unsuccessfully trying to balance your computer on your knees. This lap desk has a flat surface for your laptop and bolsters on the underside that are gentle on legs. Plus, it has an integrated mouse pad and phone holder, so it’s almost like being at your desk.


These Dry-Erase Sticky Notes That Are So Convenient

Save some trees and use these dry-erase sticky notes instead of paper notes. They’re reusable up to 2,000 times, and the micro-suction backing lets you stick them to any smooth surface without leaving residue behind. Pair them with some dry-erase markers and use them for reminders, to keep track of work tasks, or to leave motivational quotes anywhere in the house.


The Pillow Covers That Instantly Upgrade Your Sofa

Chances are you’ve spent a lot of time at home recently and possibly have grown tired of your surroundings. Give your sofa or bed an instant update with these velvet throw pillow covers. Available in a range of sizes and lots of colors, you can slip them over your existing pillows or buy a set of inserts and start anew.


An Outlet Extender That’s More Space-Efficient Than A Cord

A huge improvement over a bulky extension cord that sits on the floor, this outlet extender plugs directly into the wall and features three USB ports and eight AC outlets — and since they’re placed on all sides, you can plug in from any direction. The best part? It has a shelf where you can stash your phone while it’s charging.


These Grill Mats That Make Post-BBQ Cleanup A Cinch

Perfect for your next backyard hang, these grill mats keep food and sauce from falling through the grates — which means less post-BBQ cleanup. And although they’re durable, they’re still thin, which means you won’t lose any flavor, and you’ll still get those enviable grill marks. They’re heat-resistant, nonstick, and dishwasher-safe.


This Fan-Favorite Game That’s Simple & Fast

If you dread the time commitment of games like Monopoly, you’ll love Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza. In this fast-paced and easy-to-learn game, each player repeats the words “taco, cat, goat, cheese, pizza” while laying down cards from their deck. If the image on the card matches the the word just spoken — slap your hand on the pile (and don’t be the last!). With a stellar 4.8-star overall rating, the game is surprisingly challenging and super fun.


An Over-The-Sink Colander That Frees Up Your Hands

We’re always on the hunt for kitchen products that streamline meal prep, and this over-the-sink colander fits the bill completely. It extends across the sink, freeing up your hands to thoroughly rinse produce or strain a big batch of pasta. It collapses for storage and comes in pretty-as-a-picture colors like lemon yellow and turquoise.


The Smart Plugs That Let You Voice Control Appliances

Sync these smart plugs to your Alexa or Google Assistant, and you can use voice commands to control lights, fans, the radio, or anything else that’s plugged in. You can also use the smartphone app to set schedules or control the plugs from anywhere in the world — perfect since you just might be leaving the house a little more often.


This Marble Wine Chiller That Works Without Ice

Keep this marble wine chiller in the fridge, and it’ll do a bang-up job of keeping your rosé or sauvignon blanc at the perfect drinking temperature. It looks pretty elegant, and it’s a lot less mess than an ice bath, which is likely to leave water all over your table every time your pour.


An Insulated Backpack Cooler For Outdoor Lunches

With enough capacity for 30 cans, this insulated backpack cooler has multiple compartments that can keep items hot or cold for up to 16 hours. Plus, since you can sling it over both shoulders (instead of carrying a basket with one hand), hiking to your picnic site is a breeze. Choose from three colors: navy, black, and gray.


The Dual-Sided Desk Mat That Doubles As A Mouse Pad

Add a pop of color to your workspace with this desk mat that also doubles as an extra-large mouse pad. Just as good, it’s waterproof, so it’ll protect your desk from spills. Available in eight options, the mat features a different color on each side, so you can opt for green/gray, purple/pink, black/red, and more.


This Bath Pillow With A Bolster For Your Neck

For a tub that’s as comfortable as your bed, add this bath pillow to your cart. Offering nearly 4 inches of padding, the pillow features a panel to cushion your shoulders and upper back and a bolster to support your neck. The cover is made with soft, fast-drying mesh, and the airtight suction cups keep the pillow firmly in place.


These Bath Bombs Infused With Moisturizing Shea Butter

Soften your skin while you soak with these bath bombs infused with deeply hydrating coconut oil and shea butter. Made from natural and organic ingredients, the extra-large bombs also add bright color to your water while giving off delicate scents, like lavender, rose, and chocolate mint.


A Magnetic Knife Holder That Mounts To The Wall

Spending lots of time at home can really illuminate how squeezed you are for space — get some precious real estate back in your kitchen by using this wall-mounted knife holder instead of a countertop knife block. The magnetic strip instantly secures knives and keeps them all within easy reach.


The Illuminating Moisturizer That Makes Skin Radiant

One reviewer wrote that L’Oréal’s Lumi Glotion gives you “a stunning glow from within look” and another wrote that it makes skin “radiant without looking too shiny.” The illuminating moisturizer is formulated with shea butter and glycerin for all-day hydration, and you can use it for all-over brightness or just dab it in certain places to highlight.

  • Available shades: deep, medium, light, fair


This Remote Control Holder That Hangs Over Your Sofa Armrest

More TV watching during quarantine has meant more opportunity to lose your remote between the cushions. Stash it in this remote control holder and never lose it again. The holder hangs over the armrest and features additional pockets for your phone and other essentials, and the nonslip backing keeps it in place. Choose from 20 colors and styles.


These 17-Inch Grill Tongs With A Stellar Overall Rating

With an overall 4.8-star rating after 2,500 reviews, these grill tongs are a legitimate fan favorite. The wallet-friendly tongs are made from stainless steel, and the 17-inch length will keep hands at a safe distance from flames. They’re dishwasher-safe, and the pull-ring locks the tongs together for compact storage.


This Face Mask Case You Can Stash In Your Bag

Keep a few face coverings on hand with this face mask case that keeps them safely protected. Sized perfectly for disposable masks, the slim case features a snap-shut lid and is easy to stash in your bag, desk, or car glove compartment.


The Wireless Earbuds With 100K Reviews

Perfect for Zoom meetings and listening to podcasts on your daily walk, these affordable Bluetooth earbuds have earned an astounding 100,000 reviews and a 4.5-star overall rating. Offering up to six hours of play time on a charge (with an additional 24 hours from the charging case), they’re IPX8 waterproof and come in colors like basic black, champagne, and shimmery sage green.


These Fluffy Slippers That Are A Treat For Feet

Aside from a strong cup of coffee, nothing will make you want to get out of bed more than stepping into these fluffy slippers. The faux fur slippers feature criss-cross uppers and non-skid soles, and they come in options like leopard print, tie-dye, and mint.


An Indoor/Outdoor Rug That Warms Up Any Space

Whether you use it indoors under your coffee table, or outdoors under your patio chairs, this indoor/outdoor rug is a quick way to add texture to bare floors or concrete. Designed to withstand everyday wear and tear, it comes in neutrals like ivory and tan, as well as soft shades like aqua and pink.


This Instant-Read Thermometer That Takes The Guesswork Out Of Grilling

Grilling steaks to a perfect medium-rare is a true mystery, and crossing your fingers that roasted chicken is actually done is downright risky. Stop living on the edge and get this meat thermometer that offers readings in just two seconds. The backlit digital display is easy to read (even when grilling in the dark), and it’s imprinted with a handy cooking temperature chart.


A Ring Light That Upgrades Your Zoom Calls On The Cheap

Frequent Zoom calls and FaceTimes have introduced us all to the virtues of good on-screen lighting, but instead of turning on every lamp in your room, allow this ring light to eliminate weird shadows and evenly diffuse light. It features three warmth settings and 10 levels of brightness and comes with a tripod you can set on your desk.