The Best Things We Bought in 2019

YouCopia Storemore Adjustable Bakeware Rack ($20 at the time of publication)

After months of carefully extracting sheet trays, cutting boards, a pizza stone, and a pie plate from a stacked, wobbling, Jenga-like tower, I bought the YouCopia Storemore Adjustable Bakeware Rack, from our small kitchen ideas guide. This bakeware rack immediately brings order to chaos with its foolproof assembly and adjustable tines, which let you fit many pieces of gear of different sizes vertically within the rack. Now there’s no excuse to pile stuff helter-skelter, and it’s so much easier to find and reach for what I need for the task at hand, whether that’s baking off a salted honey pie or roasting some sausage, greens, and peppers for a sheet-pan dinner.

— Anna Perling, staff writer

Sun Joe SPX3000 Electric Pressure Washer ($135 at the time of publication)

I’d had our budget pressure washer pick sitting in my online shopping cart for a little over a year — I could never quite justify buying it because I thought we’d use it for the one thing we needed it for and then it would languish unused, dusty and forgotten. But I needed to wash my deck, so I finally caved and ordered it because the situation was getting dire and rentals seemed like a hassle. I am happy to report I have now also pressure washed everything in my backyard: the car, the exterior house walls, the bird bath, our outdoor furniture, the grill … the list just keeps growing. My neighbors have also borrowed it, because they’ve seen me outside washing everything and can’t resist how easy it looks to wash years of accumulated grime off things. (And a little neighborly camaraderie feels pretty good.) So if you too have been looking for a project to sink hours into, look no further.

— Daniela Gorny, associate managing editor

Benchcrafted Mag-Blok ($40 for the 12-inch size at the time of publication)

My New York apartment kitchen has no drawers. As such, my knives were piled atop one another inside what was meant to be a wine cubby (why, architects?). That was bad for a few reasons: First, the knives could nick or dull by banging together, and second, it’s dangerous to reach into a pile of sharp knives (duh). I bought the Benchcrafted Mag-Blok, which we recommend in our small kitchen ideas guide, so I could reach for knives quickly and easily, store them more safely, and incentivize myself to immediately dry my knives after cleaning them instead of leaving them on the dish rack. Plus, the Mag-Blok is as sleek as a piece of heirloom furniture, and it’s something I know I’ll keep for a long time.

— Anna Perling, staff writer

Urban Arrow Family ($6,700 at the time of publication)

This summer my family moved to Amsterdam, a city where owning a car is expensive but bike lanes are ubiquitous. This cargo bike (or bakfiets in Dutch) lets me take my 2- and 4-year-old to school or around town, rain or shine, without our having to buy a second car. In addition to a bench seat with two safety harnesses, the Urban Arrow Family has a Bosch electric assist motor, making it easier for me to pedal, and a rain cover for the bucket so the kids stay warm and dry and get to school in style, with room left over for their school bags or a load of groceries. As for their chauffeur, well, I’ve made good use of our guide to gear for foul-weather bike commuting.

— Nathan Edwards, senior editor

“How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy” ($16 at the time of publication)

I buy only those books that I want to revisit; I prefer to borrow from my local library. But I know I will be meditating on Jenny Odell’s “How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy” for years to come (plus, there were too many library holds to wait). Despite the hot-pink, flowery cover and the clickbait title, this book is a cry to reconsider the politics and philosophies behind how people live in a digital world. Odell seamlessly weaves together anecdotes about visiting California’s natural gems with literary theory and insights into how big data uses human consciousness. She makes it all click — and will make you question your own clicking.

— Anna Perling, staff writer

RAVPower Wireless Charging Stand RP-PC069 ($50 at the time of publication)

I had a problem: The flimsy iPhone charger that comes standard with new Apple devices kept sliding behind my nightstand. The solution: the sharp and sturdy RAVPower Wireless Charging Stand RP-PC069. It looks great, charges fast, and is solid enough that it’s never in danger of sliding behind furniture — even when my frenzied daughter is doing her patented flips and “super swoops” on my bed. Also, can we all just admit that it’s a pain to plug that little charging cable into the tiny slot on your phone? My wife initially made fun of me on this latter point: “Oh, it’s sooo hard to plug your phone in, boo hoo.” But I had the last laugh. After several nights of her watching me easily plunk my phone down on this handsome wireless charger while she searched for her cord behind her nightstand and then futzed with plugging it in, she relented and ordered a RAVPower of her own. It’s the little things in life ….

— Ben Frumin, editor in chief

OXO Good Grips Salad Spinner ($30 at the time of publication)

I’ve struggled with washing lettuce for years, stubbornly rinsing, shaking, paper-toweling, fumbling, and cursing my way through the task. The end result was always a bit too waterlogged, a smidgen too gritty, a lot all over the place. No more. In an effort to up my greens-cleaning game, I bought the OXO Good Grips Salad Spinner, from our guide to the best salad spinners, and I haven’t looked back. The spinning mechanism is surprisingly satisfying, a grippy bottom keeps the bowl (which doubles as a serving bowl) in place, and it handles everything from lacinato kale to beet greens with care. “This is a crazy thing,” said my kid, “but I love it!” Enough said.

— Ingrid Skjong, staff writer

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