We’re living in strange times. Not only are many of us working from home right now, but a lot of kids are doing their schoolwork from home, too.
The overlapping of school, work and home life can make it tough to get organized. Most of us have notebooks, pens, schoolbooks, office supplies and computers or tablets strewn across our homes as we try to navigate life during a pandemic. Working from home? Tap or click here for tips for managing remote employees.
When you add routine daily chores, it is a recipe for disaster. If you’re struggling to find ways to make your life easier, you aren’t alone. Fortunately, there are plenty of low-cost gadgets that can help. From handy laptop camera covers to new measuring cups, these 10 low-cost items will make life a little easier right now.
1. Stop wondering if your laptop’s webcam could be used to spy on you with these covers
You won't even know it's there. This tiny cover works with a ton of different laptops, PCs and even your phone camera. For less than $7, it's worth the cost for some peace of mind.
Promising review: "I work at an organization that uses a lot of conference lines with external clients and having this manual option to prevent others from seeing my video is such a nice piece of mind. It doesn't block the lens when opened and is super easy to apply. I also love that it is super discreet, and doesn't prevent my laptop from closing properly."
2. Add some light to darker areas of your house and pick your own color
You can customize it, too. There are a ton of different modes, including a solid-color mode that lets you choose your favorite of the eight available colors. You can also use the color-changing modem, which automatically cycles through the available colors, or the soft-white mode, which lets you opt for a more traditional night light.
Promising review: "Very cool night light that can either change colors or be one solid color. It’s bright enough to see with the Dark colors and the bright colors really add plenty of light."
3. Stop trying to awkwardly read the side of a measuring cup when you can see levels by looking inside
The angled surface lets you read measurements from above so you can be sure you've measured the correct amount of each ingredient. Plus, these measuring cups are dishwasher safe, so you don't have to worry about hand-washing or other tedious care instructions.
Promising review: "Most of the measuring cups in our home are large and very heavy glass. This thing is light as a feather but what surprised me is the plastic holds up to extremely hot water: the handle did not get warm either. I have only had it a short time but it so far it is a great little essential tool for my morning/evening cup of coffee!"
4. Adds organization to your desk or nightstand and always keeps your screen in view
Promising review: "I’ve had this in my wish list and finally decided to purchase. I’m so glad I finally did. I was most surprised by the fact it is made of metal and not plastic. It is sturdy and keeps my phone in easy reach on my desk at work."
5. Perfect for those surfaces that aren’t exactly conducive to using your mouse and comes with a non-slip rubber base
Not only is this mouse pad reinforced with stitching to keep it from wearing, but the dense shading and anti-slip natural rubber pad base can firmly grip the desktop or other surfaces, too. Plus, the premium soft material gives you more comfort and mouse-control. It's great for gaming, working or just surfing the web.
Promising review: "I am not often given to hyperbole, but this is one of the best mouse pads I've ever used at any price, and I've used some high-end, gaming-peripheral-brand gaming mouse pads."
6. Stop juggling multiple remotes for your TV, soundbar and streaming device
It also works with up to 4 different audio and video components such as TVs, Blu-Ray/DVD players, cable/satellite receivers, and other streaming media players, sounds bars, and more.
Promising review: "Holy Mother of Pearl this remote is all that my husband and I can talk about since opening it. It made our cumbersome Apple TV into an everyday use item. Plus, this turns the soundbar into our default audio, no more having to play with it every time we turn on the TV."
7. Finally organize all the bins in your storage room
Promising review: "You could say I'm going Dymo crazy! I had originally decided to get one of these label makers to label my Fujifilm Instax mini pictures, and it works great! I also decided to label a few other things, too."
8. No light built into that e-reader? No problem
Promising review: "I love that it is sturdy, but lightweight so that I can use it on paperback books. It stays attached, flexes and brightens the pages well and doesn’t leave any marks on the covers or pages where it is “pinched” closed."
9. A simple way to know the status of what’s in the dishwasher
Promising review: "I live with two boys who hate to put dishes away so they end up just pulling clean dishes out of the dishwasher and I could never really tell if it was a clean or dirty load. I decided to go with the slider option over a double-sided magnet just for ease of use. They are still working on using it every time but so far it's made a difference."
10. Got a few things to plug in and only two outlets? Add this for a cleaner look than a typical surge protector
Promising review: "Great multi-plug!! I needed a multi-plug surge protector for my kitchen and livingroom. I was extremely happy when these arrived! There is plenty of space between the 2 sections of the 3 plug areas and they look great on the wall!"