9 Very Useful Things That Will Make You Say ‘Wow! This Is Really Useful!’

9 Very Useful Things That Will Make You Say ‘Wow! This Is Really Useful!’
Carly Jacobs

I was standing in the kitchen opening a can of tuna when I realised I couldn’t remember where or when we had bought our can opener, which is weird because I’ve used it most days for the last few years. It’s a bloody good can opener. You know how you can tell when you have a good can opener? You don’t notice it because it’s doing exactly what it should be doing. Like comfortable shoes. The goal is not to notice your shoes. If you’re aware of them, they’re probably not that comfy. And before you ask, I have no idea what brand of can opener it is or where you can buy it. It’s really old so the label has worn off and I highly doubt they even make it anymore. I was almost certainly wearing hipster jeans and clunky shoes when I bought it so it was QUITE a while ago. 

This got me thinking about other things I’ve bought that I use every day that I don’t really give enough credit to. 

If you’ve been reading Smaggle for a while you know I’m very into making sensible purchases. I’m not zero waste but I’m environmentally conscious and I really hate having to replace things shortly after I just bought them. I’d rather pay $100 for something once than pay $20 for something five times. This is why I don’t buy cheap shoes anymore, it’s not worth the hassle of breaking them in only to have to replace them in a few months. For real, if I could pay $1000 for a pair of perfect, comfortable, nude leather ballet flats that were guaranteed to last and look amazing when I’m 80 years old, I’d buy them tomorrow. I really don’t like shopping so it would be worth it for the time saving alone. 

Here are some things I’ve bought that have turned out to be excellent purchases. 

Useful Things

1. T2 tea strainers

There’s nothing fancy about these tea strainers, they’re just the simple cup shaped ones you can buy for a few dollars at T2 but we use these about three times a day. We switched to loose leaf tea a few years ago. We just reckon loose leaf tea tastes better than bag tea and these are super easy to use/clean. We actually have to get some more because we only have 3 of them so we can only make 3 cups of a tea at time which is super annoying when you have a house full of people and you have to drink tea in shifts. 

Useful Things

2. Microplane

One of my mates gave me this years ago and no shit, it’s the actual shit. I use it instead of a garlic mincer and it finely grates anything that needs grating. I use it for garlic, ginger, lemongrass, cheese, turmeric. I’ve had it for about 5 years and it’s still going strong. I don’t have a large grater or a garlic mincer – this is all I use. I also frequently forget that it’s called the Microplane and I often call it the Aquaplane which makes it sound kind of magical. 

Useful Things

3. Collapsible washing basket

I’ve never in my adult life had a proper laundry. It’s pretty much always been a washing machine in a cupboard. Even now that we live in a proper house on a 2 acre block, we still have a washing machine in a cupboard for a laundry. Can’t say I hate it – not sure what I’d do with a whole laundry room. The only issue is where to store the bloody laundry basket. Those things take up a huge amount of space. We found these ones at IKEA and they’re the best. You can fold them up and pop them on a shelf. Bonza. 

Useful Things

4. Robot vacuum 

We had a Roomba for about 7 years and he slowly died in the last year of his life after he knocked a glass of water off a table and on to his head. We replaced him with one of these guys and it’s like our life is complete again. We go for a walk most afternoons and make the house ‘Rock ready’ which means picking up all the crap off the floor so he can do a good job and while we’re gone, the house gets vacuumed. They’re so ace. We still do a ‘proper’ vacuum every week or so but these daily in between cleans are life. I love emptying the dust bin on it – so satisfying seeing all the filth he sucked up. 

Useful Things

5. Muji foaming hand soap dispensers – can’t link to it because you can’t buy it online in Australia. Sad face. 

I experimented with going low tox a few years ago and while I’m not perfect (I haven’t found many low tox make-up brands that work for me) there are a few things I switched to that really stuck. One was Dr Bronners castille soap. We buy big bottles of the peppermint scented Dr Bronners and use it for almost everything. We water it down and put it in these foaming dispensers and it’s just delicious. I tell you what though, commercial hand soaps now make want to heave. Every time I wash my hands with something other than Bronners I can smell the gross perfumes on my hands for hours. Blergh. Artificial scents can die in a dumpster fire. Gross. 

Useful Things

6. Akubra Hat 

Mr Smaggle and I bought each other Akubra hats for Christmas two years ago and it was the best decision ever. They’re pretty exxy (about $200) but honestly I’ve bought so many sub-par hats in my time and never wore them because they didn’t look right/weren’t comfortable/weren’t breathable. This is totally my forever hat and I rarely leave the house without it on my head. I have the traveller version in a duck egg blue. 

Useful Things

7. AirPods

I have had so many of my friends ask me if AirPods are ‘worth it’ I should just get my answers tattooed on my face. They are 100% worth it. They don’t fall out, they’re really comfortable, I’ve never lost one and they’re easily one of the best purchases I’ve made. Everyone seems really suspicious of them like they’re almost too good to be true. I have BOSE noise cancelling headphones that are awesome for work and planes but they’re too intense for every day pottering. I love the Airpods because I can dry my hair while wearing them (it’s 20 minute job!), I can hear my girl waking up from her nap and I can go for a walk and still hear whats going on around me. AirPods are excellent. Well worth the money and I don’t know of too many people who have regretted buying them. 

Useful Things

8. Resuable back pack bag

We have a few different styles of reusable bags (mainly from Baggu) but we grabbed this Notabag one when we were overseas and it’s awesome. We actually fight over it so we’ll definitely need to get another one. It’s a backpack reusable bag and we use it for everything. Market shopping, grocery shopping, as a nappy bag, to carry our mugs after we’ve had our coffee. It’s really stylish so you don’t feel like a little kid on a school excursion when you carry it around. 

Useful Things

9. Muji underwear 

Most comfortable underwear ever. I get the midi style but there’s lots of different styles to choose from. They’re not super cheap but they last ages (well, they last ages now – the first lot I bought fell apart but the second and subsequent lots I bought are still going strong – they must have fixed whatever issue was causing it). My only complaint is that they rarely have the colours/materials I want in my size and you can’t shop online or Muji in Australia yet. When you CAN shop online I’m getting twenty identical pairs and that will be my underwear life. 

What are your top favourite most useful things? Things you use every day and they’re so great you hardly even notice them?

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1 Comment

  1. Missy D 2 months ago

    That microplane is amazing – I’m not stranger to a microplane, but have never seen one in a box like that. Buying it immediately!

    My things:

    * Bose noise cancelling headphones! I know what you mean about them being intense, I used to only use them on planes and at the office and change into bud earphones when I was walking around, but they’re so good I just wear them everywhere now – wearing them right now.

    * Market trolley – I have this solid double basket trolley for shopping at farmer’s markets on the weekend (I bought it after a super busy, hot and heavy bag day there where I couldn’t carry my goods anymore and went and bought one). Seriously makes shopping at markets such a breeze now – just walking around pushing my trolley. I can also just unload the baskets straight into the boot and nothing falls over.

    * Washing trolley – hahaha, this one is so simple, but after years of carrying washing baskets out to the line and putting them on the ground and bending over to pick up clothes, I bought a simple washing basket trolley. Don’t know why it took so long to get one.

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