6 Amazon Buys That Make Rental Life So Much More Bearable, Starting at $4

published Aug 10, 2019
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Credit: Minette Hand

Between leases, landlords, and rising rents on the back end, life as a renter is hard enough. The front end’s not that easy, either—especially since the name of the renting game is learning to live with your apartment’s flaws. However, sometimes we come across products that seem revolutionary because they make rental life just a smidge easier. Honestly, a) what did people do before Command tape was invented? and b) how did Taylor Swift not know about it until this year?!

While it may seem like these actually life-changing, problem-solving products are few and far between, there are always a handful of them hiding out there if you know where to look—or who to listen to. In this case, it’s our trusted slate of editors and contributors who have solved inflexible small-space problems through the power of commerce! Read on for six of our favorite things that have revolutionized the way we live as renters:

1. Earplugs

It may feel silly to admit the effect that some cheap rolled-up material can have on our lives, but in the case of AT writer Lambeth Hochwald and AT commerce director Mark Marino, earplugs were lifesavers after you realize your new apartment comes with a serious noise issue. Whether you’re a fan of the disposable memory foam or opt for reusable silicone, it’s pretty unbelievable how well earplugs can drown out raucous neighbors upstairs and never-ending sirens outdoors.

2. A scrubber with a long handle

Sometimes a new place means new cleaning problems you didn’t even know could be a problem. At least, that was my experience when I moved into a new apartment and found out the only way to effectively clean my tub was getting into it—which was an annoying problem in and of itself. That is, until I found a miracle product at a reasonable price: A scrubber with a telescoping handle that allowed me not only to scrub my tub from the outside, but allowed me to comfortably stand while doing it!

3. Magnetic shelving

One of the more annoying rental problems? Having a lot of blank walls you’re not supposed to drill anything into and minimal kitchen cabinet and counter space. Thankfully, in the past few years, we’ve come across a ton of effective magnetic storage that turns the front and sides of our refrigerators into storage real estate.

Tara Bellucci, our news and culture editor, swears by this magnetic paper towel holder that also effectively frees up kitchen drawer space, too.

Emma Glubiak, AT’s social media editor, and Samantha Zabell, contributor, both independently came across this spacious magnetic spice rack that allows them to store their everyday spices and free up cabinet space.

4. Tension rods

Another common renter’s lament (especially for those in studios or lofts)? A good amount of space, but no walls. But take it from Taryn Williford, our lifestyle director: You don’t have to always look at your refrigerator from your bed. There is a cure, and the cure is more tension rods. Yes, they’re not just for window treatments! Williford found that if you can get these babies in long enough sizes, you can hang curtains to make walls, dividers, and doors in your open space—all without a single screw in your walls.

5. A countertop dishwasher

When you’ve got to make rent, time is money. And unfortunately, rental life is full of instances where things don’t always move as efficiently as they could. Like doing the dishes: Since so few units have dishwashers, renters are stuck wasting their precious time at the sink. That is, until they invest in a countertop dishwasher like Carrie Winiker, our creative studio’s project manager, did.

“It does an unbelievable job and we honestly couldn’t keep being renters if we didn’t have this because of the amount of dishes we do,” she says. “It saves us so much time and works as well as a normal-sized dishwasher. We probably run it every day because it doesn’t hold a ton, but it saves me from doing dishes so I’ll take it!”

6. A portable washing machine

Here’s a theory for you: Renters own more underwear than anyone else. My evidence? Personal testament, as in there have been numerous occasions where I’ve hopped over to Uniqlo to buy a pair or two of undies since I did not have the time to run to the laundromat. To put it lightly, not having a washer/dryer combo in your unit really sucks, as you have to make a biweekly standing appointment to drop all your plans and be miserable at the closest laundromat. But take it from writer Megan Wood: Your life as a renter can change significantly for just a hefty (but worth it!) investment of $250. Enter the portable washing machine. Not only did having this lil’ guy end up saving her time, it actually ended up saving her money and frustration, too! A three-in-one problem solver in this economy?! Can you believe?

Now, what about you? What renter-friendly products have changed your life?

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