6 Clever Items to Simplify Your Life

Real Simple’s mission, through its 17 years, has been to simplify your life with smart finds like these.


Schoolwork Scrapbook


Endless boxes of kid-creativity? This service binds favorites into a hardcover book. Pocket dividers hold mementos (like lunch box notes).

To buy: 4-Ever Bound, from $50;

Photo by Jeff Westbrook

Dry Brush Cleaner


Sanitize natural and synthetic makeup brushes fast sans water or soap with this cleansing spray. 
Spritz the bristles (they won’t feel damp), 
then stroke the brush 
on a clean towel.

To buy: Pure Brush, $20; pure-brush.com.

Photo by Jeff Westbrook

Dog-Washing Wand


This clever wand attaches to a showerhead or spigot and creates a comblike spray to thoroughly rinse Rover. Use the pause mode to stop the water flow when it’s time to lather up.

To buy: Waterpik Pet Wand Pro, $49; amazon.com.

Photo by Jeff Westbrook


Handheld Paint Pail


Easily hold a quart of paint or stain in this container with an adjustable hand strap. A built-in magnet keeps a brush or roller in place.

To buy: Handy Pro Pail, $13, and liners, $5.50 for 4; amazon.com.

Photo by Jeff Westbrook

Glass-Cleaning Cloth


This washable microfiber cloth polishes away smudges, dirt, and water spots without scratching. Just dampen with water (no need for cleaner!).

To buy: Casabella microfiber glass cloth, $5 for two; containerstore.com.

Photo by Jeff Westbrook



Busy book lovers, this is for you: Subscribe to have the most talked-about seasonal fiction delivered to your door. Each box includes at least three books, along with a piece of custom art and a small gift. Choose from three subscriptions, depending on how often you want to receive the packages.

To buy: From $85 per box; quarterlanebooks.com.

Photo by quarterlanebooks.com