Home Household items 7 must-have household items you didn’t know you needed

7 must-have household items you didn’t know you needed


Home Sweet Home is presented by the Washington State Housing Finance Commission

Who knew there were so many things you didn’t know you needed for your home? You can never have too many things to make your life easier! Whether saving lives or saving time, these random household items are a must-have.

Silicone Ice Trays

Simply as an ice cube tray, silicone trays are superior to plastic ones. They are more flexible, making it easier to get the cubes out, especially if you only need one. Use the trays to make individual servings of pesto sauce, baby food, or cookie dough.

Not sure what to do with leftover ingredients you won’t use until they go bad? Freeze that broth, tomato paste, coconut milk, or wine. You can even freeze fresh herbs in oil to use later. But the fun doesn’t stop there as the silicone is heat resistant and ideal for cooking all sorts of mini desserts or breakfast treats.

Item Locator

Do you remember when you wished there was a device that would tell you where you left your keys? Or wallet? Or phone? Or remotely? Now there are! So maybe you knew you needed it. But, you may not be familiar with the variety of options available.

When you select the right item finder, compare ranges, battery life, alarm sounds, and the ability to track multiple devices. Also consider whether you need the option to locate a device’s last location on a map when it’s out of range of blue teeth.

Strainer set above sink and handle

Sometimes the most life-changing things are simple solutions to common problems. Anyone who’s tried emptying a large pot of pasta into a regular colander knows there are two options. 1) Scald yourself with hot water while holding the colander over the sink, or 2) Put the colander in the sink and cringe at any germs that touch your food when the water goes back into the colander.

This set will take it all this worry away. Use the colander with handle to drain small amounts and the one above the sink to handle large amounts of heavy pasta. Plus, it’s foldable for easy storage.

Shelf liners

A shelf liner roll has more benefits and uses than you probably know. They protect shelves from damage, make cleaning easier, cover old stains with a new look, and keep containers or household items organized in place. Some key areas to put liners on include places where messes frequently occur, such as under the sink, pet bowls, shoe racks, and refrigerator and freezer shelves.

Patterned shelf liners can spruce up a small wall, the back of a shelf, or a serving tray. They can also be cut smaller and used as a dish or casserole liner. Or use pieces as placemats.

Wet/dry vacuum cleaner

Maybe you’ve been hesitant to buy a wet/dry vacuum, thinking you won’t be using it very often. There is a lot of useful ways to use one, making it a worthwhile purchase. The design of the wet vacuum allows it to clean liquids, and dry vacuums can handle larger and heavier materials than a regular vacuum. These vacuums are suitable for cleaning grills, fireplaces, aquariums and post-construction debris. You can even use it to scoop up those tiny lego pieces, glitter or confetti.

The wet vacuum also comes in handy when there is a large spill or flood in a basement or due to a broken appliance. Or use it to clean up the snowy mess after everyone’s thrown out their winter clothes.

Photo: Inna Dodor via 123RF


A squeegee is another versatile tool that you may want to add to your household items. Professional window cleaners use it as their favorite tool. It’s also handy for other cleaning tasks such as removing pet hair from the floor, furniture or car upholstery. The squeegees also effectively clean shower glass, mirrors and tile or linoleum floors.

A squeegee will quickly clean up spills, including any broken glass. In addition, it can smooth wallpaper or draw liners.

Tube squeezers

Do you ever get frustrated trying to squeeze the last bit of toothpaste or cream out of a tube? Tube squeezers to the rescue! No more waste of expensive creams, cosmetics or medicines. They are also handy for craft and artist projects for pressing paint, glues, caulking and other adhesives. Look for one wide enough for various tube sizes and professional grade to handle even the stiffest container materials.

How many of these items are currently in your home? Are you using them to their full potential? Or is it time to run to the store or open those drawers to put those ideas to good use?

Home Sweet Home is brought to you by the Washington Homeowner Assistance Fund of the Washington State Housing Finance Commission. The Homeowners Relief Fund helps homeowners who have fallen on hard times due to the pandemic. Call 1-877-894-4663 for more information on how they can help you.