The Best Purchases I Have Made that Make Being an Adult a Little Less Miserable

Being an adult isn’t as glamorous as we thought it would be when we were younger. But there are a few items that can help adulthood feel a little less sucky.

Full disclaimer, I didn’t personally purchase a lot of these items myself. Rather, I ask for these items as gifts for holidays and my birthday to save me some dimes. I mean, who doesn’t want a vacuum for Christmas instead of new clothes?

These items are split into categories: Kitchen, Health & Beauty, Technology, and School/Work. Not every item fits perfectly into its category, but it gets the job done.


The first item that I have that brightens my adult life is a good pair of kitchen scissors. Having a different pair of scissors to use in the kitchen than to use in the office not only saves me a trip to a different room while cooking, it is also more sanitary. I no longer craft with the same scissors that I used last night to open a pack of chicken.

Once I started cooking for myself, I quickly fell in love with using garlic as an ingredient in everything, which meant that I was mincing garlic nearly every day. Just as quickly, I learned how bad I am at mincing garlic. Since then, I have invested in a garlic press to aide me in feeding my garlic addiction.

This last kitchen item that brings me a bit (or a lot) of joy as an adult is a silly one – an electric can opener. In my defense, I eat a lot of canned goods to help reach my nutritional needs (such as eating a lot of beans to satisfy my protein needs). Investing in (AKA being gifted) an electric can opener saves my hands from opening multiple cans with each meal. If you don’t want to purchase an electric can opener, I’d suggest at least spending more money on a quality can opener, rather than the dollar can opener I purchased at Target (it was pink, I couldn’t resist).

Health and Beauty

This category is a bit all over the place, but I argue that they are all somehow health related.

Firstly, one of my favorite toiletry products is a face scrub. Nothing too abrasive, nothing too expensive. But this is a repeat purchase that I will always have in my bathroom. A face scrub has plenty of benefits, including removing a layer of dead skin from your face, helping reduce acne, and leaving your skin soft and supple. I only use it once a week to avoid over-scrubbing, but I look forward to those days when I can indulge in self-care and use my face scrub.

A recent purchase that I have made that has changed my life (only a little dramatic) is reusable cotton rounds. I used to use cotton balls to remove my makeup or clean my face. Investing in reusable cotton rounds saves me money, as I made a one-time purchase and will no longer need to buy new cotton balls/rounds every month or so). It is also much more sustainable and environmentally friendly.

The last bathroom item that I love is a furniture piece that is actually quite versatile. I have used my over-the-toilet storage rack for four years, and every year I used it for something different. Not only has it been used as it is intended to be used, it has been used in the kitchen, as extra storage above my dorm mini fridge, and in the living room as shelving to display artwork. For $20, it has gotten a lot of use and has made my transition to adulthood smoother.

Another recent investment is a clothing drying rack. I have always hung my delicates and as I become more of an adult and wear nicer clothing, I hang a greater number of clothing items rather than throwing them in the dryer. Investing in a clothing rack saves time, saves space, and dries my clothing faster than my old method of hanging the clothing around my living space with hangers (which was a bit awkward for the few years I had a roommate).

Finally, the last health-related item that brings some happiness into my adult life is my plants. I entered plant mom life slowly, with one or two low maintenance plants here and there. But, as many others have experienced, quarantine has turned me into a full-time plant mom, and I can’t stop buying more. I threw these into the health category not only because they improve my mental health, but some plants offer health benefits, such as acting as air purifiers.


These items may be a bit pricier than the previous items discussed but have offered me many benefits as a (somewhat) functioning adult.

The first item that is by no means necessary but is nice to have around is a smart home device. Personally, I have an Alexa. I received it as a gift when I moved into my first apartment and I was blown away by how much I used and loved it. Having a smart device offers you a Bluetooth speaker, fun games to play (I love Jeopardy), an answer to a quick question, and many other tricks.

A cheap, must-have in my adult life is a long phone charger. The typical iPhone charger is 3 feet, which may not be long enough depending on where your outlets are located. I have two 6-foot phone chargers, one for my bedroom and one for the living room. Since my rental space doesn’t have an abundance of outlets, this offers me the ability to sit on the couch and use my phone while it is charging. Since these long phone chargers have improved my life so much, I have also invested in a super long Nintendo Switch charger, which offers the same benefits.

This next item might just be the best investment of my adult years, and the item that I recommend the most. Having a good vacuum can make or break your cleaning game. I used to use a hand-me-down vacuum in my dorm rooms, then switched to a cheap (under $25) vacuum for my first year and a half living in an apartment. It wasn’t until the past Christmas (when I asked for a nice vacuum as my big gift) did I understand what I had been missing out on. My new vacuum allows me to get a better clean in a with less time and effort.


I swear by having a three-hole punch in my possession. I have always saved my class notes for important and relevant classes, and I organize them in corresponding binders. Since I transitioned to taking most of my notes on my laptop and printing them later, I needed to punch holes in them. Our campus library had three-hole punches available, but they were old, worn, and frequently ripped my papers. Instead, I invested in my own, and now it is a staple (excuse the office pun) that I will always keep by my desk.

I have had a lap desk since I was young, so this isn’t a purchase that I have made in my recent adult years. However, I use my lap desk more now as an adult than I did when I was younger. It allows me to do work in places other than just my desk or kitchen table. I can do work, use my laptop, color, craft, paint my nails, eat, etc. in pretty much any location. Like the over-the-toilet storage, it is a versatile product that is a must-have to better your adult experience.

A pretty standard purchase that offers better organization and time management is a planner. I won’t go into too much detail, as I am sure you know what a planner is. I do advise, however, that you take time to figure out what type of planner you like best. Do you prefer a monthly spread, a weekly spread, or a daily spread planner? Do you want it to have stickers included? Should it be plain black or patterned? Do you want a small, pocket planner or a larger planner? There is an abundance of planners out there, and there’s bound to be one that’ll make your life as an adult a little less miserable.

This list is by no means comprehensive. These items are also highly tailored to my life and personal experiences as I transition into adulthood. But, they are worth some consideration and may help make your experience as an adult a tiny bit less miserable.

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