The Practical Home Finds That Changed AT Editors’ Lives this Year

published Dec 25, 2019
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
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A new year is right around the corner, and we’re feeling reflective—not just about the goals we’ve achieved or the memories we’ve made, but about how our homes have evolved, too. (After all, we think about the home a lot.)

This year was a great year for discovering lots of smart products and tools to make our lives easier, whether it be a new storage solution or a fancy kitchen tool, and we’re going into the new year with spaces that are just a little bit more functional than they were before. I asked Apartment Therapy editors about the best problem-solvers they bought this year, and was surprised to find that the answers ranged across all product types and prices. Read on, and let us know the best tools you bought this year in the comments!

Credit: Amazon

Brother P-Touch Cube Label Maker

“My life can be reasonably divided into A.L. and B.L. for the time I’ve spent with and without my label maker. I love that I can print labels (with icons! and photos!) from my phone without tinkering with buttons or a dial. I’ve labeled plenty of things in my kitchen, bathroom, and storage unit, but the biggest boost has been upping my organized-travel game.” —Taryn Williford, Lifestyle Director

Buy: Brother P-Touch Cube Label Maker, $59.99 $44.71 from Amazon

Credit: Amazon

Simplehuman Rose Gold Round Trash Can

“I upgraded my bathroom with this little $19.99 trashcan a few months ago. It’s rose gold and has a lid, which is pretty much anything you could ever need in a trashcan. I never knew a waste receptacle could make me so happy… but here we are.” —Laura Schocker, Editor-in-Chief

Buy: Simplehuman Rose Gold Round Trash Can, $24.99 $19.99 from Amazon

Credit: Amazon

Kenvone Magnetic Spice Rack

“This year I downsized from a 1,000 sq-ft. apartment to one that is just over 500 sq-ft. (Hey, in NYC location is everything!) Smart storage solutions have been my saving grace, and these magnetic shelves are a great way to free up counter space.” —Emma Glubiak, Social Media Manager

Buy: Kenvone Magnetic Spice Rack, $15.99 from Amazon

Credit: Amazon

Dyson Cyclone V10 Motorhead Cordless Vacuum

“I’ve been slow to jump on the Dyson train because like, who do they think they are, Apple? Why are their vacuums so expensive? Why do they weigh so little and kind of look like a toy? But then I was at my boyfriend’s dad’s home for Thanksgiving and he had a Dyson and my boyfriend seemed pretty stoked about its maneuverability and its cordlessness. We bought the Dyson Cyclone V10 and have been gleefully sucking up every speck of dirt in our home since bringing it home. I thought our home was pretty clean since we have to stay on top of our pet hair problem (we have two dogs and a cat), but then we vacuumed our rugs with the Dyson. It sucked up so much more than any vacuum before it. We realized we had been living a lie. I’d keep typing about how much I love my Dyson, but honestly all this writing about it is making me want to go use it again.” —Adrienne Breaux, House Tour Editor, who bought her Dyson on Black Friday

Buy: Dyson Cyclone V10 Motorhead Cordless Vacuum$499.99 $349.99 from Amazon

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Pure Enrichment MistAire Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier

“Like a lot of bedrooms in New York apartments, mine is tiny. It also has an ancient radiator that turns my room into the most arid of deserts. I bought this small-room humidifier thinking it might help the dryness a little, but it goes above and beyond. I’ve had some clunky humidifiers over the years, and this sleek little guy is a workhorse in disguise, sitting pretty on my nightstand.” —Madeline Bilis, Real Estate Editor

Buy: Pure Enrichment MistAire Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier, $29.99 from Amazon

Credit: Amazon

Simple Trending 3-Tier Shoe Rack

“I moved to a new apartment this year and my closet isn’t just small; it’s also very awkwardly-shaped. I knew the only option was a shoe rack outside the closet, but I was nervous about finding one that wasn’t …well, ugly. After scouring Amazon, I landed on this one. It’s inconspicuous, holds all my shoes, and comes in a nice bronze color that I didn’t hate. Plus, I put it together in less than 10 minutes.” —Nicole Lund, Associate Commerce Editor

Buy: Simple Trending 3-Tier Shoe Rack, $19.99 from Amazon

The Original Dish Drying Mat

“Dish drying racks can be such a breeding ground for germs, plus they take up a ton of precious counter space. I switched to drying mats earlier this year, and it’s been seriously life-changing. I only pull it out when I need to dry things, which has maximized the potential of my counter space. Once it’s dirty, I simply throw it in the wash. Easy-peasy!” —Sholeen Damarwala, Commerce Editor

Buy: The Original Dish Drying Mat, $8.79 from Bed Bath & Beyond

Hamilton Beach Variable Temperature Kettle

“I picked this kettle, because it’s shockingly hard to find electric kettles that don’t have any plastic pieces that touch the water inside. I’m trying to avoid eating and drinking out of plastic when I can!” —Megan Baker, Projects Editor

Buy: Hamilton Beach Variable Temperature Kettle, $49.99 from Bed Bath & Beyond

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NEX Over the Door Hook Shelf Organizer

“One of my favorite small space maxims is to utilize your vertical space, and while I didn’t want to risk it on the wall over the toilet, I did have a door that could be more useful than sporting a few hooks. Luckily, there are all sorts of over-the-door organizers available these days, and I found one that gave me that additional storage I needed.” —Tara Bellucci, News & Culture Editor, who wrote a review of this organizer here

Buy: NEX Over the Door Hook Shelf Organizer, $29.99 $25.99 from Amazon

Aarke Premium Carbonator

“I finally got an Aarke carbonator this year, and I love it. It’s sleeker and smaller than other seltzer makers, so it’s perfect for my tiny kitchen.” —Danielle Blundell, Home Director

Buy: Aarke Premium Carbonator, starts at $219.95 from Williams Sonoma

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BirdRock Home Double Laundry Hamper

“When it comes to hampers, some people like to have multiple compartments so they’re able to organize their clothes by type or color. But in the case of my double-duty hamper, it doesn’t hold whites in one and color in the other—it serves as a separator for my clothes and my fiancé’s. With a section that I can call my own, there’s no more annoyance in seeing the hamper full even before I throw one thing in or taking energy to separate my belongings from Sam’s before the long laundry process begins.” —Nicoletta Richardson, Senior Associate News & Culture Editor, who wrote about this hamper here

Buy: BirdRock Home Double Laundry Hamper, $45.96 from Amazon