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12 Practical Under-$20 Things I Swear By In My Kitchen

Here's the budget-friendly stuff I'm obsessed with.

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But my home kitchen is actually pretty small — so I'm always looking for practical items that'll save me space, time, money, or (preferably!) all three. Here are 12 of my day-to-day favorites that I keep coming back to.

1. These flexible cutting boards that streamline prep-to-pan transport.

Amazon

These are perfect for quick prep jobs (like cutting fruits or vegetables) because when you're done, you just curl the board and use it as a funnel to get your prepped items directly into wherever they need to go: pots, pans, storage containers, etc. They're also great because although they're durable, they're also really thin/non-bulky — so you can easily slip them into even the fullest of dishwashers or cabinets.

Get a set of three on Amazon for $5.48, Walmart for $8.77, or Jet for $10.77.

2. A stainless steel drainable holder that keeps sink supplies in easy order. (And that won't fall down.)

Amazon

This is isn't the cheapest kitchen sink caddy, but I've tried a few others under $5, and all of them had suction cups that stopped sticking a few weeks or months. So I recommend spending the few extra bucks to get a sturdier version that hooks over the sink — rather than sticks to the wall of it. (Reviewers point out you can also hook this one over bathtub bars to organize shower stuff.)

Get it on Amazon for $12.99 or Walmart for $11.28.

3. This super-functional organizer that lets me store pans and pot lids neatly in cabinets — either vertically or horizontally.

There are lots of stack organizers out there, but what I like most about this one is that you can use it both vertically and horizontally, depending on your cabinet or pantry setup. The tiers are also wide enough for stuff beyond pans and lids, like sheet trays or thick cutting boards.

Get it on Amazon for $14.97 or from Walmart for $16.13.

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4. These slow cooker liners that cut clean-up time in half.

Amazon, treatsandsneaks.com

First, let me just say that when I slow cook, I *usually* clean up the manual way. It's the cheaper, less wasteful option. I know this! Still... I keep these slow cooker liners stocked as a backup, because every now and then, I'll cheat cleanup with them. (Usually on a recipe that I know will require some heavy-duty scrubbing, and/or an overnight soak.) They're BPA-free and FDA-compliant, and for those times, they're a huge time-saver.

Get them on Amazon for $8 or Walmart for $8.79.

5. These bendable ice cube trays for plain ice...

Melissa Harrison / BuzzFeed

Having grown up with a family freezer that was stocked with those hard (definitively '90s!) trays that took forever to actually get ice out, I was late to the game on silicone versions. But after a friend introduced me to them — and how the ice pops out once you give the tray a quick twist — I never went back. These things rule.

Get a two-pack on Amazon for $8.99.

6. And covered ice cube trays for other stuff — like smoothie starters or baby food.

I use these covered ice cube trays for anything that's not water — either because it might give off a scent in the freezer over time (like overripe avocados, which I'll puree and use as smoothie starters); or because I need a smooth edge on the cube (like fruit purees, which I'll freeze and drop into a teething toy for my kid.)

Sidenote: The lidded cover is also great if you have a small (or extra-packed) freezer, because it lets you store trays vertically.

Get it from Amazon or Jet for $9.99.

7. A silicone spatula made out of one solid piece.

Amazon, Melissa Harrison / BuzzFeed

Silicone spatulas are incredibly useful, but IMO, it's worth stocking up on ones that are built as one single piece. The ones that are two pieces — a silicone head, and either a wooden or separate silicone handle — usually have a small connective gap or ridge that little bits of food can get stuck in. My go-to is this super-durable black and white OXO version for $8.99, but there are similar one-piece sets you can get for cheaper.

Get a set of four silicone spatulas from Amazon for $8.29; or the OXO grippable spatula from Amazon or Jet for $8.99.

8. This leveraged jar opener that'll easily unstick even the most stuck-AF containers.

amazon.com

LOL, I got this as a white elephant gift one year. Someone offered up a six-pack of beer, a bag of tortilla chips, a jar of salsa, and this jar opener — along with a note about how the last thing would come in handy, if you had too much of the first. 🍺

Fast-forward a few years — and this is still in my kitchen, and comes in handy more frequently than I'd like to admit. (Amazon reviewers point out that this is also really useful if you have arthritis or trouble with your hands.)

Get it on Amazon for $7.54 or from Walmart for $8.77.

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9. A set of multifunctional Pyrex glass bowls that you can use for mixing, prepping, storing, and more.

Amazon, instagram.com / Via instagram.com

Everyone needs at least one solid set of bowls in their kitchen, and these Pyrex glass ones are basically the standard-bearer. Unlike cheaper plastic ones, these won't stain, and they're safe for the freezer, microwave, and dishwasher. They stack neatly, too!

Get a set of 4 from Amazon for $20.46 or Jet for $19.89.

10. This flexible strainer that catches all the little food bits before they clog your sink.

Amazon

Clogged sink and bathtub drains are the absolute worst — but you can prevent the former with this handy strainer. The outer part is stainless steel so it can take lots of wear and tear, and the middle part is silicone — so you can pop it inside out to easily remove the junk inside. When it's time for a deep clean, just toss it in the dishwasher.

Get it from Amazon for $7.99 or Jet for $9.99.

11. A surprisingly handy garlic press — which helps cut prep time way down.

Amazon

A while back, I'd asked BuzzFeed Food readers to share the most underrated gadget in their kitchen — and a ton responded with their garlic press. I had my doubts (just use a knife!) but I eventually picked this one up to see what the fuss was about. And let me just say: I GET IT NOW. If you use a ton of garlic when you cook, this little thing saves so much time. Just peel your cloves, pop 'em in (about three-ish cloves can fit at a time), and press down. Instant minced garlic. You'll never go back to the manual way. (Or at least I won't. 😛 )

Get it on Amazon for $15.99, Jet for $15.99, or Walmart for $16.16.

12. A bunch of these Rubbermaid food storage containers — which you can use for everything from storing leftovers, to packing work lunches, to rounding up kiddie snacks.

Amazon, Melissa Harrison / BuzzFeed

I use the small ones for baby food, the big ones for leftovers — and all the other ones for everything in between. I've had these for years so they've gone through a billion dishwasher cycles, and they're still super durable and functional. (My only slight complaint is that, though they stack neatly, they still take up a good chunk of cabinet real estate. If you have smart storage tips, let me know below.)

Get a 42-piece set (21 bases, 21 lids) on Amazon for $16.99.

What's your favorite under-$20 kitchen item? Share in the comments!

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