Five-and-a-half years ago, my kitchen cabinets were overflowing with cooking gadgets. In fact, my laundry room was overflowing with them as well. And there were probably a few in storage too.
I have always loved kitchen stuff, and even in high school I would ask for gadgets and small appliances as gifts. Before our wedding, I was given a Pampered Chef bridal shower and later became a Pampered Chef consultant (which is laughable considering my proficiency — or lack thereof — in the kitchen at that time), and I had an abundance of gadgets and gizmos which I’d carted back and forth across the country.
As we were packing up to move to our current home (our fourth move in five years), I suddenly realized that no amount of organizing could solve the issue of clutter caused by too much stuff, and — at 7 months pregnant — I began hauling load after load of stuff to Salvation Army, giving away almost as much as I packed up for our new home.
Despite the amount I gave away, I still clung to many of my favorite (if seldom used) kitchen gadgets, and it has taken five more years of decluttering to get to the point where I can confidently say that I regularly use every item in my kitchen.
I’ve had a few regrets along the way (there are still times I wish I’d kept the springform pan, although I can’t say how much I would actually use it!), but for the most part I’ve learned to use the basics in a variety of ways without the need for specialty gadgets, and I love having uncluttered kitchen cabinets.
Over the next few months, I’ll be sharing a variety of tips from my kitchen — things like I how I make do without a garlic press, egg separator or double boiler. At some point I’ll share an inventory of the cooking tools I do have and see which ones you think I could still declutter. I hope you’ll join me!
In the meantime, here are a few questions to ask yourself as you look at the gadgets and gizmos in your kitchen:
How often do you use it? If you’re only pulling something out once every six months, chances are you could live without it. The exception to this would be something like a canner that you only pull out every six months but use extensively for a week or two before packing it away again.
Could you do the same thing without the appliance? I had a quesadilla maker for a long time that I rarely used, and I decided to let it go before our move. When my dad came to meet our newborn daughter just weeks later, he brought quesadilla fixins, expecting to use the quesadilla maker. Oops. Instead, he taught me how to make them on a pan, and I’ve never looked back.
Do you have more than one appliance or gizmo that serve the same function? For example, there’s really no reason you need a blender and a smoothie maker. A smoothie maker is a blender with an added spout on the front for easy pouring, so go ahead and give away the regular blender.
Are you holding on to it because you love it or because you’re afraid you’ll miss it? Yes, chances are that — like me — you will regret at least one decision as you go through this decluttering process. But don’t hold on to things just because you’re afraid you’ll miss them! And if that’s the thing holding you back, pack up the extras and store them in the basement for a while before giving them away, just to make sure.
Would I use it more if it was stored in a different place? I think this is an important question to ask yourself because chances are there is at least one thing in your kitchen that you think about using all the time but rarely feel like pulling out. If you think convenience or location is the problem, try a new home before you declutter it, but be willing to get rid of it if you’re still not using it after the change!
What’s the one kitchen gadget you couldn’t live without?