Sometimes, the little things can make all the difference. And these ingenious designs are a testament to that – solving all sorts of tiny problems, making life just that bit easier. Alas, they’ll probably all be news to you, because for whatever reason, they aren’t anywhere near as widespread as they should be. But once you see them, you’ll very much wish they were.
20. Preview highlighters
Honestly, this is blowing our minds right now. All those years of blindly highlighting text, hoping beyond hope that we hadn’t gone too far, when we could have all been using these. It seems so simple now. In fact, we don’t think we’ll ever be able to go back to regular highlighters again – as soon as this takes off, anyway.
19. Bike holders
Any frequent cyclist will know the pain of having to find somewhere to rest their bike while they take a rest of their own. This ingenious invention, however, kills two birds with one stone. Not only can you pop your bike into the seat, but you can then park yourself on to the bench too: perfect for grabbing a drink.
18. Separately packed parts
It’s a rage-inducing scene we’re probably all way too familiar with. You’ve brought home yet another piece of flat-pack furniture, and you’re merrily assembling away. That is, until you get to the final step, and realize you used the wrong screw back in step one. This particular desk, however, packs each step’s parts separately, avoiding all that frustration. Genius.
17. Angled trash cans
In a genius anti-littering measure, Copenhagen has introduced angled trash cans for cyclists to use while zooming past. As long as their aim is on point, that is. And we’re trying not to think about what happens when the wind picks up and starts blowing trash in everyone’s faces. Otherwise, though, this is definitely a great idea.
16. Pill bottle reminder
No matter how good their internal clock is, at some point, everyone on medication forgets when they last took their pills. This bottle lid, then, is an absolute masterstroke. Indeed, it reminds you exactly when you last opened it, so you can time your doses perfectly. We just can’t believe it hasn’t taken off yet.
15. Freezer drawer ice trays
Shut up and take our money. This solves so many freezer-related problems: space being taken up by ice cube trays, ice cube trays never lying level and spilling everywhere, never remembering to refill the ice cube tray. Sure, automatic ice dispensers are a thing, but this is so much quieter. Really, it’s revolutionary.
14. Office slide
Yes, this is exactly what it looks like: an enormous, adult-sized slide from the second floor of an office all the way to the ground floor, to make clocking off for the weekend all the more whimsical. And to make workers happier, we presume. In fact, we reckon installing these everywhere would result in widespread productivity increases. What are you waiting for, business owners?
13. Priority-seat designs
While priority seating for the disabled, pregnant or elderly is nothing new, these seats in Belgium go one step further. Yes, just in case you miss the signs usually plastered all over nearby windows, these seats are patterned with diagrams of the people they’re intended for. So now there’s no excuse for “accidentally” sitting in it…
12. Soap cannons
There’s no denying it: the car wash is hardly the most exciting place on earth. This particular car wash, however, seems to have figured that out. The solution? Customer-operated soap cannons, of course. Never mind the kids – we’d have an absolute blast with this ourselves.
11. Knee notches
Long-legged folks, rejoice! Your days of pushing your knees into someone’s back, albeit through a car seat, are over. Or at least, they will be once this genius solution becomes widespread. Fingers crossed that’s any day now, as not only will it make the backseat passenger more comfortable, it’ll no doubt relieve the person in front too.
10. Hand-washing station
It seems so simple: a hand-washing station where the soap, water and dryer are all in one neat, ordered row of faucets. In fact, it’s so blindingly obvious that you have to wonder why it isn’t in place absolutely everywhere. Instead, we’re usually left with one faucet for water, soap a few sinks down and the dryer on the other side of the restroom. Handy…
9. Meetup points
Purchasing goods from strangers online is always a gamble. Thankfully, dedicated meetup spots – complete with 24/7 surveillance – are starting to become a thing. So, you can go ahead and meet up with that random guy off Craigslist with a little more assurance. But you should probably still have your wits about you…
8. Short-story dispenser
Anyone who’s ever been dragged around a mall will know how draining it is. Yes, it almost feels like your precious time on this earth is slipping away right before your eyes. To alleviate the problem and make good use of that time, then, certain malls – such as this one in Boston – have introduced short-story dispensers. Count us in.
7. Parent-child swing
Every parent will know the boredom of pushing their kids on the swings for what feels like hours on end. But equally, every parent knows just how fun it was as a kid, so they usually don’t mind. But just imagine how fun it would be to be able to swing along with your kid. Yes, these parent-child swings need installing everywhere, right now.
6. Braille ports
Sure, in time, you could probably become familiar enough with port types to recognize them simply by feel. But some ports are still similar enough that this is definitely a worthwhile endeavor. Really, we’re constantly surprised that more stuff doesn’t have braille on it these days. So when we see something that does, it’s always worth sharing.
5. Wheelchair swing
Clearly, playground swings are a major sticking point for some people. Yes, it’s not just parents and children who can ride the swings together now – even wheelchair-using folks can have a turn too. And if there’s anything that nobody should be deprived of, no matter their physical disabilities, it’s the pure, unadulterated joy of riding a swing.
4. Refrigerator water pitcher
A built-in water pitcher doesn’t sound like the most necessary thing in the world. After all, you can buy standalone jugs pretty cheap. But then you realize that this particular built-in pitcher refills itself when it’s empty. And suddenly, it’s the greatest invention mankind has ever dreamed up.
3. Pizza size chart
We’ve all eaten enough pizza to roughly know what we’re getting from different sizes. But this Texas restaurant saves you the trouble of trying to guesstimate in your head. Indeed, it has a chart that not only displays the differences between each size, but crucially, the number of slices each one will get you.
2. Cellphone vaults
Libraries may not be as popular as they once were, but that doesn’t mean nobody uses them. Nowadays, though, it can be even harder to get people to obey the rules – namely, being quiet, particularly with regards to cellphone usage. This library, then, came up with an ingenious solution: designated cellphone booths, or “cones of silence.”
1. Sheet instructions
Ask any adult what the bane of their home life is, and they’ll tell you it’s changing the sheets. Yes, there’s honestly no activity more frustrating than attempting to apply the fitted sheet the right way round. And you can bet your bottom dollar that no matter what, you’ll get it wrong the first time. Why, then, doesn’t every sheet have these tags on it?!