We have a couple of silicone basting brushes that we use to spread small amounts of oil around in a pan. It's great when just need a little for non-stick purposes, but don't want to overdo it.
Another trick that I have is actually a tool that my parents had (and that I grew up using). They have a small, somewhat shallow wooden bowl and a mezzaluna knife that has the same curvature of the bowl. It's fantastic for chopping small quantities of herbs or nuts or even onion or garlic, and way less messy than trying to do it on a cutting board. My brother gave me a mezzaluna and chopping bowl of my own as a gift at one point, and we use them all the time.
Really good, really sharp knives make all the difference in the world. I have just three Wusthof knives that nearly take care of all of our kitchen needs: an 8" chef's knife, an 8" sandwich knife (or something like that--it's less wide than the chef's knife), and a boning knife. I'd like a shorter paring knife at some point (since it can be easier to use for cutting up fruit), and I definitely want a better bread knife (ours is only so-so), but I can totally life without those for now. I love that the Wusthof knives are heavy weight and hold their edge so well. They are so much easier to use than the cheapo knives we had before.