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Lifestyle

24 things you need this year that you didn’t need last year

Well, we’ve made it through. This pandemic has been going on for several months now, and we’re all still trucking along pretty well, considering. But that doesn’t mean it’s been easy.

Many of us have gone from office workers to remote employees, from parents to part-time teachers, or from single people with thriving social lives to self-distancing with streaming content at home.

I’ve been digging around for some things on Amazon that might help make life more comfortable for all of us — or at least a little easier to handle, anyway. The items below can help you with all things pandemic-related, from your mask causing foggy glasses to achy wrists from working at home.

1. Antifog spray for your glasses

If you’re wearing a mask and glasses, you know what a pain it can be when your glasses fog up. Rather than taking your glasses off constantly to clean them, invest in this antifog spray instead.

I think this antifog spray could be useful not just for people who wear glasses, but sunglass wearers or people who regularly use high-tech smart glasses or those handy blue-light blockers, too. All you have to do is spray it once on your glasses and then rub and rinse to keep things fog-free.

2. Use wireless headphones to listen to your TV shows

If your household includes kids, spouses or roommates, chances are, you’ve had a situation where someone was trying to work while someone else watches a TV show or movie in the background. This can cause major annoyance for the person trying to be productive. I’m not naming any names …

That’s why this SIMOLIO Digital Wireless Headset caught my eye. These wireless headphones work with most TVs and offer clear, seamless sound for up to 100 feet. They’re an easy way to keep the noise to a minimum. Now everyone can work and lounge in peace.

3. Eliminate annoying noise with a soundproof door strip

One thing I’ve noticed now that I’m spending more time at home is that a lot of outside noise seeps in through the exterior doors. If you’re dealing with that too, this KELIIYO Door Weather Stripping could help. This indoor weather stripping is resilient and easy to install.

It doesn’t just block noise, either. The stripping can help cut down on the wind, dust, sound and cold that seeps through both windows and doors. You can use it on drafty windows, too. Grab some now for the upcoming winter!

4. A charging station for all your devices

I’m on my phone, my tablet or my laptop all day long, and I don’t like fighting with Ian and Barry over chargers. Do those things just get up on their own and walk away?

This Hercules Tuff Charging Station for Multiple Devices is great for a house like mine, with lots of people who need to charge. What I like about this charging station is that it can handle up to six devices at once, and it comes with four Apple Lightning Cables, one Type-C Cable and one Micro-USB cable so all your gadgets are covered.

5. Screen for fevers with a no-touch infrared thermometer

One of the easiest ways to monitor you or your family members for the coronavirus is by checking for a fever. I like the iHealth No-Touch Forehead Thermometer, which uses the latest technology to allow you to screen for a fever in a fast, reliable and hygienic way. No sharing a therometer that goes in your mouth.

If you’re worried about keeping an eye on your kids’ health as they’re heading back to school, this is a great buy. The infrared sensor collects more than 100 data points per second from the forehead, and you can use it from a safe distance to screen any visitors or friends who come by your house, too.

6. Cut down on achy wrists with a mouse pad with wrist support

I had a pretty mouse pad at home, but once I started working here all the time, I knew it wasn’t going to cut it anymore. If you’re dealing with wrist issues from a poor quality mouse pad, check out this AmazonBasics Gel Computer Mouse Pad with Wrist Support Rest.

It’s filled with gel and has a gel-filled wrist rest, which conforms to your wrist to provide support while you’re working on the computer. It can help cut down on achy wrists and hands, and it makes working remotely a lot more comfortable.

7. Use a Fire TV stick to get more streaming shows to watch

Life indoors can get boring — especially when you’re stuck watching reruns on cable. You can cut the cord and still stay entertained during the pandemic, though, if you snag a Fire TV stick.

My Fire TV stick gives you access to Netflix, YouTube, Prime Video, Disney+, Apple TV, HBO and other streaming services. You can choose from over 500,000 movies and TV episodes to help wipe out the boredom.

8. Stock up on frozen food with this chest freezer for your house, garage, basement or apartment

If you tried to stock up on frozen food at the start of the pandemic, you know the selection of both grocery items and spare freezers were extremely limited. I started ordering from specialty shops online — so much that I needed an extra freezer to hold it all.

If you’re in the market for a spare freezer this 5-cubic-foot freezer can fit easily in small spaces. While this freezer is compact, it offers tons of space inside, and it won’t take a ton of extra energy to power it.

9. Mosquito repellent for your patio that works

I’ve been spending more time outside lately while social distancing, but those summer mosquitoes are a real nuisance to deal with. If you’ve been spending time outdoors this summer, you know what I mean.

This Thermacell MR300 Portable Mosquito Repeller could be the solution to those itchy mosquito issues for both of us. This repeller it uses DEET-free and scent-free. It gives you a 15-foot zone of protection — plus it’s mobile, convenient and offers up to 12 hours of comfort outdoors.

Related: Kim’s DIY security tip for online shopping

10. Use a 3D mask bracket to breathe easier and protect your lipstick

Finding a mask that fits just right is tough. If your is too tight across your mouth, try this 3D Mask Bracket. I love that it doesn’t smear my lipstick.

What’s interesting about this mask bracket is that it uses soft silicone plastic to hold the mask material away from your face. The silicone makes it comfortable to wear — plus it’s non-toxic, safe, recyclable and washable. As an added bonus, this 3D mask bracket can make it easier to breathe by holding the mask away from your mouth.

11. Stock up on disposable face masks

Reusable masks aren’t for everybody. If you prefer disposable face masks to cloth masks, I like these TCP Global Salon World Safety Masks. Disposable masks were tough to find at the start of the pandemic, so it makes sense to stock up now while they’re available. They have three layers for added protection, and they come in boxes of 50 with a perforated dispenser top, which keeps the masks safe and sanitary until you need one.

12. Get rid of bulky surge protectors with this USB charger wall outlet

I’m not a fan of the look of bulky surge protectors, but I know it’s important to keep my electronics protected by plugging into one. What caught my eye about this USB wall charger is that it looks nothing like those strip outlets with surge protection. It’s barely noticeable and plugs right into the wall outlet instead.

It also offers two USB charging ports, a three-sided power strip, six adapter spaced outlets and an LED nightlight so you can see it in the dark. It makes your typical wall socket a multi-use outlet, and all you have to do is plug it in. Pretty nice!

13. Use an Echo Show for easy hands-free video calling — plus you can use this link to get a free Food Network subscription 

We’re all sick of cooking the same things. I started venturing out, and you might want to, too. Learn some new skills with the Echo Show 8 and Food Network bundle.

The bundle includes an Echo Show 8 — which does everything your typical Echo device does: make video calls, watch shows, integrate with other smart devices, and more — plus you’ll get a complimentary 1-year subscription to Food Network Kitchen. That gives you access to live cooking classes with Food Network chefs and the accompanying recipes so you can become a kitchen whiz. Fun!

14. Or be like Ben, our News Director. Use a Fire Tablet with the docking station to turn your tablet into an Echo Show. So smart!

Not feeling the Echo Show? You can use the Kindle Fire Tablet along with a docking station to create your own version of an Echo Show instead. That’s what our News Director Ben does, and it’s pretty smart.

All you need is a Kindle Fire and this docking station to make it work. Simply place your tablet in the dock to automatically switch to Show Mode, making it easy to go hands-free while watching videos, streaming content or listening to podcasts.

15. A desk protector that’s also a mouse pad

I like the idea of protecting my wooden desk from scratches, but I don’t want to invest in a desk protector that makes my mouse lag. That’s why this desk protector caught my eye.

This durable PVC leather desk protector not only helps keep your desk from getting damaged, but it works as a mouse pad, too. It comes in a wide range of colors, and it makes typing and using the computer more comfortable than it would be normally. If you have little ones learning from home this year, this will protect your tables.

16. Protect your electronics with an auto shutoff outlet

Leaving your devices plugged in to charge all the time can damage their batteries. If you’re always forgetting, let the Simple Touch Auto Shut-Off Safety Outlet do it for you.

This outlet doesn’t require you to use dials or controls, and it saves energy by shutting off your appliances when you forget. It works with all plugin appliances and electrical devices, so you can use it with the lamp or to protect your phone battery from overcharging.

17. Customize your home-from-work space with a computer monitor riser stand

If you’re dealing with neck aches or other issues from a low computer monitor, this AmazonBasics Adjustable Computer Monitor Riser may do the trick to fix it.

It can be used for monitors, laptops or printers to achieve the right height without any permanent fixtures. The height is up to 4-7/8 inches, and it even comes with an 11-inch-wide storage space underneath it to minimize desk clutter.

18. Sanitize your smartphone with this disinfector and charger

Dragging your phone with you from place to place means it gets covered in germs and bacteria on a regular basis. We all need to take the time to clean and disinfect our phones — especially right now.

What I like about this PhoneSoap 3 UV Smartphone Sanitizer & Universal Charger is that you can do that without spray chemicals or other harmful cleaners — and your phone will charge as it disinfects. This phone sanitizer uses two scientifically proven germicidal UV-C bulbs to completely sanitize your entire phone, killing 99.99% of all bacteria and germs on it.

19. Organize your accessories with a full-length mirror that is also a jewelry cabinet and organizer

I keep a ton of jewelry and accessories in my closet, but it can be tough to find a way to organize them all. That’s why this SONGMICS 6 LEDs Mirror Jewelry Cabinet caught my attention. It lets you keep all your jewelry organized and in one place.

This unit comes with a large ring cushion, a longer bracelet rod, two bottom drawers, five shelves, 32 necklace hooks, 48 stud earring holes and 90 earring slots, all tucked away neatly inside of a full-length mirror. You can use the mirror to get ready in the mornings, and then open it to grab your accessories before you head out.

20. Keep your power going in an emergency with this battery backup and surge protector

Not only are we in the midst of a pandemic, we’re also right in the middle of hurricane season. I don’t like the idea of being without power for extended periods of time, but that can happen when there’s inclement weather outside.

If you haven’t invested in a battery backup and surge protector, take a look at this one. This 600VA/330W backup battery power supply comes with seven outlets (NEMA 5-15R), including a USB charger port for cell phones and other portable electronics.

21. Get two free audiobooks 

If you’ve also binge-watched all the shows on your list, change things up with some audiobooks instead. If you try Audible right now, you can get two free audiobooks, along with access to thousands of included titles in its Plus Catalog.

What I like about this deal is that it allows you to try out Audible and see if it’s right for you without making a commitment. If it’s a good fit, you can stick with the subscription and continue your audiobook adventure. Here’s a smart trick: Bump up the playback speed just a bit. Your brain will get used to it, and you’ll finish your book faster.

22. Prepare for emergencies with an solar hand crank portable radio

If the last several months have taught us anything, it’s that you can never be too prepared for disasters. What I like about this emergency weather radio is that it helps you prepare for multiple disaster-related issues in one device.

In addition to keeping you connected to the news with weather radio capabilities, this radio’s crank lever and solar panel are both capable of regenerating enough power to keep the radio, lights and SOS alarm ready to go when you need it most. Plus, it’s got solar power and battery backups.

23. My favorite hose for the yard

If you’re looking for a new hose for your yard, my favorite is the Flexi Hose and 8 Function Nozzle. It’s so great I gave it away at last year’s office Secret Santa party! It’s so light, so you won’t have to fight with it to roll it back up.

It looks compact and short, but it expands to 50 feet in length when it’s full of water. There are no leaking issues, and it’s functional, lightweight and flexible, making it easy — and long enough — to drag across the lawn to the spot where I need it.

24. Find your happy place with this 320 square-foot house for your backyard 

Feeling cooped up and in need of your own space? What about this this 320 square foot house that fits right in the backyard?

If you’ve been dreaming of a home office away from the chaos inside your house, this is mighty appearing. It’s modern and sleek and comes with all the fixtures you’d need, including an AC, fire alarms and smoke detectors — and it can be delivered in less than a month depoending on where you live. Plus, wouldn’t it be fun to say you ordered a house on Amazon?

By clicking our links, you’re supporting our research, as we may earn a very small commission. Recommendations are not part of any business incentives.

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