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7 Home Products You Didn’t Know You Needed

The products on display at the Housewares show range from the bizarre to the practical and promise to change your life. You be the judge: Will these gizmos help you?

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International Housewares Show 2012 show floor

The International Housewares Show includes all kinds of products for your home. Which ones are essential for you? Image: International Housewares Association/Oscar Einzig

When you’re a geek about all things home — we assume that’s why you’re reading this — there’s no better entertainment than the International Housewares Show, which runs through today in Chicago. The massive home accoutrement spectacle features thousands of vendors from all over the world hawking storage, cleaning, pet, cooking, and green products.

There are also the products that seem out of place but are worth the price of admission, like this butt enhancer. Sorry, but who needs butt padding?!

Butt enhancer

Anyway, HouseLogic, and by that I mean I, walked the miles of show floor yesterday to share some home products that the vendors believe will make your life so much easier. You tell us — will they?

1. Combo paper and plastic trash bag. Clean Cubes, which won the IHA Innovation Award in the home storage and organization category, is a super simple product — aren’t those always the best? — for trash gathering at your next patio party. The disposable trash and recycle bags feature a paper bag with built-in plastic garbage bag. Stand it up anywhere to collect trash. Then tie the drawstrings and toss in the garbage or recycling bin. The vendor says the bags are biodegradable. About $10 for a 3 pack on Amazon.com.

Clean cubes

2. No-clog drain. The Permaflow no-clog drain is a see-through p-trap that replaces your existing sink p-traps. A twist of a dial moves a visible clog along its way or retrieves jewelry, so no chemicals or snakes are needed. The vendor says it’s OK for use with plastic or metal pipes. About $20 at Amazon, Home Depot, Ace Hardware, and others.

No clog

3. Weighted toilet flapper. The flapper on one of my toilets never closes, so when I saw this weighted flapper I was pretty excited. Problem is, the website for this particular product is “not found.” So I went online to see how to jerry-rig an existing flapper. You can add a fishing weight to either a link above the flapper or the eyelet on the flapper, says eHow. Or, heck, I can just by a new flapper with a longer chain. They’re only a couple of bucks at any hardware store.

Toilet flapper

4. Dryer balls. These nubby rubber balls help sort and fluff your clothes, so say goodbye to fabric sheets. Nellie’s also sells fragrance sticks you can add to their dryer balls so your clothes smell like lavender or citrus. Nellie’s pack of 10 fragrance sticks ($10); pack of 2 dryer balls compatible with fragrance sticks ($20); without fragrance compartment ($12). You can also search dryer balls online for cheaper offerings.

Dryer balls

5. Add-ons for Roomba. Trick out your Roomba robotic vacuum with all sorts of extras:

  • Scent strips, the newest offering in partnership with Yankee Candle, so that your mobile vacuum dispenses air freshener on its merry way.
  • Cleaning pads that affix to the base. Add your floor cleaner or a green cleaning option like vinegar.
  • Soft bumper so the robot doesn’t bang into furniture.
  • Keep-out strips that tell Roomba to back up before it knocks over your pet’s bowl.
  • Extender-type horn that prevents the vacuum from wedging itself under furniture.

6. Peel-and-stick hooks. Um! reusable sticky hooks made from nano-sized suction cups claim to hold up to 10 pounds and don’t remove the paint on your walls or cabinetry. They also stick to stainless steel. ($7)

Sticky hooks

7. Sweeping handle. The Robohandle’s ring and handle fit over a broom, mop, rake, or dustpan and your arm to make sweeping a no-bend task and give you more leverage. ($15)

Would you use any of these products? Let us know what you think.

christina_hoffmann Christina Hoffmann

has been an editor in the real estate and housing field for two decades—most recently as content manager for HouseLogic. She’s given her 100-year-old frame home the attention it deserves: new kitchen, siding, HVAC, and windows and doors. She’s betting the roof is next.

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