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Living Space: Innovative household gadgets make life easier

By By Kathryn Weber
April 5, 2012 at midnight
Updated April 4, 2012 at 11:05 p.m.

Touchless faucets are now available for home use.

In every household, some gadgets and tools are indispensable - and there's always something new on the horizon to make life even easier. Here's a list of useful devices you may want to add to your inventory:

Autoclosing toilet seats. With a toilet seat and lid that both self-close, there's no need to argue about who left the seat up.

Touchless faucets. Common for years in public restrooms, these handy faucets are now made for residential consumers. They gain strong points for messy jobs like washing up after cutting meat or chicken.

Laser level. When doing a big job, such as hanging curtains on a wide window, this tool makes sure your work is on the level. It's easy to use and only costs about $30.

Hands-free garbage cans. Opening a lidded garbage can to toss out messy items means the can needs frequent scrubbing. Enter the touchless garbage can that opens automatically when it senses you near. Prices range from $50 upward, depending on size.

Garage trash compactor. The Gladiator GarageWorks compactor can be used to recycle aluminum cans, plastic bottles or paper products. It also "creates a cleaner environment by keeping trash and odors contained." It's pricey at around $700, but if you're a heavier recycler, the stainless steel-clad device "powerfully crushes and compresses trash, for approximately 75 percent less garbage."

Get a Scooba. If you have indoor pets, heavy traffic in and out of the house, or you just like clean floors but don't want to mop, the Scooba is your answer. From the makers of the Roomba, this floor-washing robot can remove up to 98 percent of bacteria. Price is around $500. (irobot.com)

Cordless combo tool kit. Any job is easier when you have the right tools, and these kits featuring a circular saw, reciprocating saw and power drill are suitable for many jobs. Most come in a bag for portability. At around $250-$600, they make outfitting your home with power tools affordable, although most don't offer a jigsaw, terrific for home decorating projects.

PoachPods. Enjoy poached eggs in the morning, but don't feel like rooting around in the cupboard for your old poaching pan? These simple non-stick silicone cups can hold eggs to poach in any pan, and clean up in a snap. A set of two is $10. (Fusionbrands.com)

Motion-sensing nightlights. If you need to see in the dark, but don't want a nightlight glowing all the time, these motion-sensing lights turn on only when they sense someone's presence. A bargain at around $10.

Wireless TV transmitter. Want to watch TV in the kitchen, but don't want a service bill for the extra hook up? There are many wireless transmitters on the market that allow you to transmit the signal from one TV to another. They run about $100; no wiring or drilling required. Try the RF-Link Audio and Video Transmission System, but read the reviews thoroughly. (Amazon.com)

Kathryn Weber is a home and decorating columnist and publishes the Red Lotus Letter feng shui ezine. For more information, contact Weber through her website, redlotusletter.com.

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