Photography: Kate Mathis1 of 17
The uses for these resealable modern marvels seem unlimited. Keep screws, nuts, and bolts organized in snack-size bags. When traveling, stash toiletries in quart-size bags. And put larger bags to use in the kitchen when you're piping frosting or marinating meat, or in need of an impromptu see-through spatter guard for your recipe.
Photography: Kate Mathis2 of 17
These mildly abrasive cleaning pads, made by Mr. Clean, can tackle an impressive array of household blemishes. Use them to lift scuff marks from wood floors, restore white baseboards and trim, remove soap scum from bathroom tiles, and make crayon scribbles vanish from living room walls, all with surprisingly little effort.
Photography: Kate Mathis3 of 17
Bon Ami Polishing Cleanser
This gently abrasive powder leaves enamel stove tops and stainless steel pans spotless, without a scratch. It's also great for routine shower and tub cleaning and removing stains from outdoor furniture. The cleanser is nontoxic and biodegradable and contains no dye, fragrance, or bleach.
Photography: Kate Mathis4 of 17
Unlike standard chlorine bleach, this environmentally safe alternative will keep clothes and linens vibrant without yellowing or weakening fibers or leaving a lingering smell. Add oxygen bleach to the wash to brighten whites and colorfast colors, or soak whites in bleach and boiling water before laundering.
Photography: Kate Mathis5 of 17
Type and print a label to mark where linens go in the closet, distinguish phone from laptop chargers, and see which switch to flip when a circuit blows.
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Photography: Kate Mathis6 of 17
With blankets stowed in the trunk of your car, you can transport things safely. Keep a few at home, too, to protect floors during painting or light construction or to slide under a box to make moving it easier.
Photography: Kate Mathis7 of 17
A one-to-one solution of vinegar and water makes an effective, economical multipurpose cleaner. The nontoxic mixture disinfects floors and bathrooms and cleans glass without leaving streaks. Rest assured, its distinctive odor disappears as soon as the liquid dries.
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When you mix it with a little water to form a paste, this household staple is an instant silverware shiner and scratch-free cleaner. Or sprinkle it in the bathtub, a trash can, even the washing machine to quell odors.
Photography: Kate Mathis9 of 17
Wooden clips (either the prong type or the more common spring version) can seal a half-empty bag of chips, keep pairs of mittens together, organize household lists, and hold down frost blankets in the garden.
Photography: Kate Mathis10 of 17
Use fewer paper towels and sponges by reaching for a washcloth when you do the dishes, wipe up spills, and clean almost any surface. Buy white washcloths in bulk and keep them in constant rotation; colored ones tend to bleed.
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Photography: Kate Mathis11 of 17
This acetone-free solvent eliminates all traces of manufacturer labels or adhesive tags without staining. The citrus-scented product also removes gum, crayon marks, and grease from almost any material, including upholstery, carpet, wood, glass, and most fabrics.
Photography: Kate Mathis12 of 17
Save spare sets of these take-out utensils and repurpose them as stakes for indoor plants and stirrers for paint. Or carefully place one under the edge of just-washed stemware that's resting on a towel to ensure the glasses dry completely.
Photography: Kate Mathis13 of 17
Portable and lightweight, a handheld vacuum fits into tight spaces where an upright model won't, such as the front seat of your car. It's adept at picking up dry spills, such as flour or dirt, and gets rid of dust bunnies and stray pet hair in seconds.
Photography: Kate Mathis14 of 17
These little surface savers keep your floors from getting scraped by chairs and your tabletops marred by vases and lamps. And when you affix them to the bottom of every piece of furniture, they enable you to rearrange and clean under them without trouble. Available in a variety of materials.
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Super Iron Out Multi-Purpose Rust Stain Remover
This product puts an end to those inevitable rust stains, no matter what the surface (including tubs, toilets, and white fabrics). The formula is so effective, it requires no scrubbing.
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Photography: Kate Mathis16 of 17
Woven from superfine synthetic fibers, these delicate cloths safely clean computer screens, stainless steel appliances, and other surfaces that are easily scratched. Fingerprints and other small smudges can be rubbed off with a dry cloth; a damp one will clear away even stubborn marks.
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This traditional cleaning tool is made from the stiff stems of a plant called broomcorn. Corn brooms are best for rough surfaces, such as a garage floor, driveway, or sidewalk. They will scrape up debris such as leaves and gravel but won't pick up fine dirt. Look for a nonslip handle that is comfortable to hold -- thicker handles cause less strain.