A cool tool can be any book, gadget, software, video, map, hardware, material, or website that is tried and true. All reviews on this site are written by readers who have actually used the tool and others like it. Items can be either old or new as long as they are wonderful. We post things we like and ignore the rest. Suggestions for tools much better than what is recommended here are always wanted.
Travel clothesline I’ve used this Retractable Portable Clothesline in 4 different hotels and I highly recommend it. You never lose the clothespins since they are attached to an elastic cord. Positioning beads on the cord prevents clothing items from sliding along it. There are hooks on the ends of the cord instead of suction cups, so you’ll need to be creative to set it up, but I find a way every time. — MF
Black glues Clear caulking and clear hot glue are the norms. But caulking and glue also come in colors, like black. For instance black caulking and black hot glue are perfect for projects involving light seals, or when working with dark materials. Curiously, a black patch or seam will often disappear more than a clear one. — KK
Transparent salaries across the U.S. Salary Transparent Street shares videos of people on the street being asked “what do you do?” and “how much do you make?” It’s humbling and (mind-boggling!) imagining how I would survive in the Bay Area on certain salaries across the U.S. The channel’s goal is to promote pay transparency across the United States, close the gender pay gap, increase diversity and equal opportunities. You can follow it on Instagram, YouTube or TikTok. — CD
What you can control and what you can't I like this visual reminder I came across on Reddit of “What I can control and what I can’t.” It reminds me to celebrate the wins — I no longer reactively say, “You make me feel this.” I used to have to correct myself to say, “When you do this, it makes me feel this.” But after years of practicing, it’s now become second nature to take responsibility for how I feel. — CD
Quick-dry travel pants I own three pairs of Roark Explorer Adventure pants. They dry quickly in my hotel room after being washed. They feature a side zipper pocket for cell phones and passports, as well as a hidden back zipper pocket for wallets. I was in Carcassonne last week and warned that pickpockets were active there, so I was glad to have my belongings secured. — MF
Tools for possibilities We think you’ll like our newest newsletter, Tools for Possibilities. Every Monday we’ll send you a one-pager with the best parts of my Cool Tools book, which is now out of print. This oversized book rounded up the best tools we knew about in 2013 and presented them by category. I called it a Catalog of Possibilities. Our succinct newsletter takes each category and selects the reviews for 2 to 4 tools in that category. It is basically a way to distill and re-distribute the deep, deep archive of the Cool Tools website, which has been reviewing tools daily since 2003. The information about the tools, whether they are still available or even still the very best, has NOT been updated. (They are just a search away.) We present this stream of tools – defined in its broadest sense as anything handy for an individual or small group – as an easy way to see what possibilities there exist if you want to make things happen. It’s brief and free. Sign up for Tools for Possibilities here. — KK