Household Must-Haves + Repeat Buys.

By: Jen Shoop

What household buys do you love and/or replenish instantly? A few of our favorites that you may or may not be familiar with, many of which I have extolled in posts past, and many of which would make excellent stocking stuffers…

amazon household must-haves

+CURAPROX TOOTHBRUSHES — These Swiss-made toothbrushes have like 5,000 individual filaments in the bristles to clean teeth better than they’ve ever been cleaned…but they’re soft, so they don’t scrape enamel. The hexagonal handle means you can angle the toothbrush to get every nook and cranny.

+LIVING LIBATIONS CLEANSING OIL — This product has earned a cult-following for good reason. I’ve been wedded to this oil cleanser in my morning routine for nearly a year now and have never looked back. It has a medicinal smell that I’ve come to love but — caveat if you’re sensitive! It leaves my skin cleansed, glowing, and moisturized in the morning. J’adore j’adore j’adore. I wrote a full review here ICYMI.

+LEUCHTTERM NOTEBOOKS — My favorite because they have gridded and dotted options, and I prefer those styles to lined, both for functional and aesthetic reasons. I also love the built-in bookmark, so it’s always easy to find my place. I wish it came in a top-bound version because I’m a leftie, but alas.

+TRUE TAP WINE KEYS — We’ve long preferred these bartender-approved keys to any of the other fancier wine openers (Rabbits, automated ones, etc.). I always have a few extra in my “gift closet” to bundle with bottles of wine when visiting friends.

+CASPARI TAPER CANDLES — Come in the absolute best colors. Great quality.

+CASPARI COCKTAIL NAPKINS — I always have a few of these on hand in fun, seasonal prints.

+KITCHEN TOWELS — These inexpensive and highly absorbent no-name towels are a major utility buy in our home. We more or less use them in lieu of paper towels and toss them into this wire bin I keep under the second sink in our kitchen. I launder them every few days. They are so cheap it doesn’t matter if a few get destroyed every few months! Much better value than the Williams-Sonoma ones that are inevitably similarly destroyed!

+O-CEDAR SPONGES — Switched to these on the rec of the Wirecutter, I believe, and both Mr. Magpie and I were instantly obsessed. It’s far thicker and more durable than your run-of-the-mill grocery store variety and I find it holds up much longer to intensive use.

+CONTINUOUS SPRAY BOTTLE — A hero product I learned about from a Magpie. I use this if I’d prefer to let my hair air-dry while I sleep (my favorite indulgence — going to bed with wet hair!) and then want to re-wet in the morning to style with my Revlon One-Step. I also use this daily on mini’s hair. Her hair is super fine and I find it much easier to handle (especially when tying braids) if damp. Just the best!

+CLAW CLIPS — I rediscovered these last year and frankly don’t know how survived without these for the ten or twenty years I went without. The best for pulling back hair into a half-up-half-down without the crease or severity of a hair tie. Also love these for quickly pulling back hair when washing my face, brushing my teeth, etc. Am now never without these in my bags and drawers and have already ordered multiple sets. I love the size of this particular set!

+PANTENE PRO-V SHAMPOO + CONDITIONER — I have written about this elsewhere, but I personally think hair care is one of those splurge or save scenarios. I either go with Oribe or Pantene, and nothing in between. I find the mid-priced stuff not worth the incremental cost compared to Pantene, and no where near as good as Oribe, so I either save a bundle with Pantene or majorly treat myself with Oribe and just take turns!

+WET BRUSH — I bought mini a Mason Pearson children’s brush when she was much younger but found it frustrating, upon moving to Bethesda, that I’d frequently be running upstairs in its pursuit (I tie her hair back in the kitchen in the mornings) or downstairs in its pursuit (when brushing her hair post-bath) so decided to buy a second brush to keep off the kitchen. I wasn’t about to spend another $130 on a hairbrush, and I’d heard good things about this under-$10 one. Well, now I find I’m back in the same pickle because our nanny prefers this one to the Mason Pearson, so she will often bring this one upstairs! Ha! But seriously — $10 for a brush that some prefer to Mason Pearson! It does a better job of grabbing all hair and detangling I think. The MP distributes oil wonderfully but is not as much of a knot-buster.

+WOOL + CASHMERE SHAMPOO. I’ve saved a small fortune by using this to hand-wash my cashmere and wool sweaters at home. I used to have them all dry-cleaned! Love the scent, too. Frankly, I love all of the Laundress products with the exception of their starch alternative, which I found did nothing at all. (Definitely worth upgrading to Linenpress for that.) I believe I’ve tried and loved all of their products, though I do think their detergents are a bit spend-y for everyday use and find Tide to be better at stain removal. Still, I always have a bottle or two of their beautiful detergents, especially in the limited edition scents (currently loving their floral 723 scent!) for laundering our sheets and towels.

+LE PENS — I have minuscule handwriting and appreciate the ultra-fine tip (and saturated colors!) of these pens. I’ve used these since high school. J’adore.

+KUHN RIKON PEELERS — The best, sharpest, easiest-to-wield little peelers on earth. Super cheap too.

+COCOFLOSS — I’ll never go back to Glide. This stuff is infinitely superior. Like velcro between the teeth! Comes in fun flavors, too.

+LAUNDRESS STAIN BRUSH — It sounds weird, but this tiny brush is ultra-powerful. I have removed countless (countless!) stains with this little tool and even gifted to my mom. It is SO good. I think because it’s small you can really exert a lot of elbow grease on a specific spot/focus on a tiny area. My go-to treatment process: apply liquid soap directly to stain, dab brush with really hot water, and scrub. Repeat until stain disappears.

+REPLAY DIVIDED CHILDREN’S PLATES — Microwave and dishwasher-safe, with wells deep enough to hold liquid/semi-liquid items like applesauce and yogurt, and great colors.

+CHIP CLIPS — Just make me happy. Come in great colors.

Not seen above, but definitely worth a try/consideration:

+BEST EYELINER EVER — Under $8 and IMO no different from Stila, which was my erstwhile favorite. My only complaint is that the “brush”/”applicator” hairs can go awry after multiple uses, which makes it difficult to apply clearly, but a reader wrote in to say she uses nail clippers to trim those stray hairs and — voila. Problem now solved.

+MR. CLEAN GLOVES — Salvation for anyone who insists on weekly manicures but still does a lot of dishes! I specifically like this pair because they are lined/flocked on the interior so you aren’t bothered by ultra-hot water and the gloves don’t transmit that gross plastic smell to your fingers. These were strangely hard to come by during the peak of the pandemic so I recently bought about 10 pairs when they became more widely available! I replace once a month or so.

+PANTENE PRO V RESCUE SHOTS — These are truly wonderful for ultra-dry winter hair. So inexpensive, too! Worth tucking into your stocking!

+SORBUS CLEAR BINS — My favorite tool for organizing closet, pantry, etc. Perfect size and — importantly — clear so you can see everything.

+LINENPRESS STARCH SPRAY –This is a wunderproduct. Far exceeds results of any other starch I’ve ever used and lasts an absolute eternity. Comes in different scents, too!

+CALDREA COUNTER SPRAY IN ROSEWATER DRIFTWOOD — The best scented counter spray you will ever encounter. I know I’ve converted many of you into believers this based on this description: “It’s as if Jo Malone has cleaned your bathroom herself.”

P.S. My favorite home gear (think vacuums, etc.) of all time and utility buys made better by great design.

P.P.S. Do you have any hobbies?

P.P.P.S. “The true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit.”

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8 thoughts on “Household Must-Haves + Repeat Buys.

  1. To add to your “must haves”:

    for burns, chapping, rashes

    will save you at least 10 minutes of drying time. I wrap it around my hair before I put on my makeup, and it is halfway dry when I am finished, and ready to blow dry.

    really sets your under eye concealer without being heavy.

    1. Love all of these items, and just made me realize I want to repurchase that brightening powder! Thanks!


  2. You have timed this post perfectly! We just moved from an apartment to a house (in the DC area – how did I not realize we were “neighbors”??) and I am relating so hard to your anecdote about hairbrushes upstairs and downstairs with a tot who needs to get out the door. Thank you for these recommendations which are much-needed for nesting and getting organized in our new home! For one, I have a huge bag of wool sweaters I need to hand-wash, and I’ve got the Laundress shampoo ready to go — this might be my nudge to just do it already 🙂

  3. These are my favorite kind of posts!

    Random question but since you mentioned laundry products here I thought I would ask. How do you take care of your nice winter coats? I.e usually wool or something similar. I have a fabulous winter white peacoat I’ve had for a few years and when I pulled it out recently I noticed a few spots and could use nice refresh. Thanks in advance! I always trust your recommendations.

    1. Yay! So glad to hear it!

      For coats, I do leave it to the experts since I’m always a little worried about what will happen if the coat doesn’t dry properly after I hand-wash or hand-treat (wet wool and/or mildew smells!). I take mine to a trusted cleaner and have them do the work. If you (or any other readers!) are in NYC, Landmark Cleaners at 86th and Broadway is incredible. They have a great tailor, Uri, who worked wonders with many designer pieces of mine. I once went in with a Horror Vacui skirt with the intention of hemming it and he insisted I leave the hem on to preserve the proportions — “just wear a high heel!” — and I trusted him implicitly after that, as it never felt that he was trying to upsell or mischarge me. He just wants to make sure the pieces look lovely on!


  4. These are such great recommendations! I have a giant collection of vintage sweaters from my grandmother and her best friend and I simply don’t trust them to the dry cleaner, so the Laundress’s wool & cashmere shampoo has saved me. Plus the wool & cashmere spray for between wearing, and before storing for the year! I’d also add their scented vinegar. I use vinegar for cleaning everything in the house, so it’s so nice to have a softer scent!

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