Going out on your own is never easy, whether it be as a freshman in your first dorm, or leaving your folks’ home for your first apartment. There are a number of consumer goods out there to make your life a bit easier.
We are supposed to spend eight hours a day getting sleep in order to be at our healthiest. IKEA and Crate & Barrel specialize in beds that are designed for close quarters. Some of their models have drawers under the mattress so that you can store clothing and other items. Castro Convertibles, a store name familiar to nearly every baby boomer, has relaunched with new ownership and is once again making couches that open up at night into beds.
Vera Bradley, the Indiana company best known for its handbags has quietly been increasing its product line over the past few years. The company has just started manufacturing comforter sets. Lands End also makes high quality and reasonably priced bedding.
It is hard to be at your best if you continually toss and turn. Bed manufacturer Tempur-Pedic has created a new subsidiary line, Tempur-Contour, which makes high-end foam pillows that relax your head, neck and shoulder muscles while helping you maintain your posture as you catch forty winks.
Keeping the air in your apartment clean is just as important as cleaning the surfaces of it. The Venta Airwasher is a compact humidifier that keeps the air in your room from getting dry and stale thus making it easier to breathe, particularly in the winter when many apartments get too hot from radiator steam. Air fresheners such as the ones made by Yankee Candle and Little Trees are a good idea for your closets and obviously your bathroom.
Dyson, which makes arguably the best vacuums in the world, produces a bladeless fan called the Air Multiplier which helps keep surrounding air dust-free. Its newest product, the Air Multiplier 09 Hot & Cool, can either cool off a hot room or warm up a chilly one. Its small size doesn’t take up a lot of valuable apartment space.
Even the least handy of us has to occasionally drive a nail into the wall. Black & Decker’s well-named “Fat Max” oversized hammer makes it easier to hang a picture on a dense wall. Stanley also makes a full line of hammers, plyers, screwdrivers, and of course power tools.
Black & Decker also manufactures the George Foreman Indoor Grill that claims to eliminate at least forty per cent of the fat in hamburgers.
Hamilton Beach, a company best known for its blenders (which are great for preparing smoothies) and popcorn makers, also makes a low price point indoor grill as well.
It is getting harder to find banks to offer safe deposit boxes to store one’s valuables. Sentry makes small safes that you can put in any closet.
With identity theft being rampant it is crucial not just to half-heartedly tear up documents that have account numbers, or even more problematic, your social security number on them. It’s imperative to have a durable shredder such as the ones manufactured by Fellowes which you can find at Staples.
Just as Kleenex is synonymous with tissues themselves, and Jell-o is used my most people when they want gelatin, so is Thermos identified with any beverage bottle that can keep hot beverages hot and cold beverages cold for long periods of time. The company is expanding from liquids into solid foods as it’s now offering food jars that will keep lunch items at their desired temperatures even if you are away from an oven or refrigerator for a number of hours. The same can be said for Thermos’ longtime rival, Aladdin, which seems to match them product for product.
Tableware and utensils are easy to overlook until you want to have guests over. Both Stonewall Kitchen out of Maine and the Savannah Bee Company out of beautiful Savannah, Georgia are terrific one-stop shops for plates, bowls, and glasses as well as for soaps and gift baskets.
Vitamins are important at any age and you can’t always get the ones you need from your daily diet. Quality of Life (QOL), Nature’s Bounty, New Chapter, Herbtheory, Rise-N-Shine,and Nature Made all produce a wide array of vitamins from a daily multi to Vitamin C to CoQ10.
Sitting by your desktop, and particularly your laptop, can cause back strain. Staples has many comfortable and ergonomically designed desk chairs. Backjoy has a line of plastic devices that you can place on top of chairs that were not designed for optimal dorsal comfort so that you can avoid back issues.
As much we take it for granted that we are living in a high tech world, Hurricane Sandy reminded us three years ago that there is very much a place for old school products such as Radio Shack pocket radios, VTech corded landline telephones, and of course, Eveready flashlights and lanterns.
The fall is traditionally the most popular time of the year for guys to spruce up their wardrobes.
Alberto, Carl Gross, Haupt, Codice, American Eagle, Armani Exchange, and Lands End all make great looking shirts, pants and jackets that are ideal for both socializing, business meetings and job interviews.
Levi’s have always been considered the Rolls-Royce of jeans. Like a Rolls however they have been far more expensive than their competitors. In response to the tough economy Levi Strauss has recently created a pair of budget lines called Denizen and Signature which provide quality at affordable prices. Levi’s denim competitors, Lee and Wrangler, also make affordable and stylish jeans.
Carhatt, Outdoor Life, and Structure make a wide array of quality and stylish coats, jackets, shirts, and pants at prices that fit into practically every budget. You can find them at any Sears.
Ties have made a comeback in recent years but styles have changed from the neckwear that our dads wore to work. Ties.com is a clearinghouse for neckwear in all colors, designs, and widths.
Crocs is the Colorado-based shoe company that is best known for its ubiquitous beach clogs. Entering its second decade Crocs is expanding into everyday footwear and its suede moccasin is a comfortable and stylish shoe. Steve Madden, who has a factory/showroom in Long Island City, has been synonymous with women’s shoes but in the last few years he has expanded into men’s dress shoes as well as messenger tote bags for guys.
You can’t think about shoes without thinking of socks. PACT and Stance socks both have lively styles and are made from high quality cotton.
Moving away from where you’ve grown up is the first time is often the first time that you need to buy luggage. Transpack’s Butterfly Cargo and Ful’s Double Time are lightweight compact rolling suitcases. Both companies also have backpacks for toting books and laptops. If you need heavy duty luggage, Briggs & Riley makes suitcases that will last several lifetimes. For weekend getaways, the Helly Hansen 50L Duffel Bag is highly recommended.
Go out and get “A’s” if you are a student or land that job or promotion if you are now in the “real world.”