Friday, November 16, 2012

De-cluttering Kitchen Utensils

It’s time to evaluate kitchen utensils!  (Yaaaaaaaaay!!!)

Recently my husband Devon and I were making some black bean salad and I pulled one of the small knives from our knife drawer to start cutting up the Roma tomatoes and I got a little frustrated that the knife didn’t cut very well.   I told Devon this, and he informed me I was using a steak knife. 

What!?  I had not realized they were steak knives!  (I can be a little slow on these things..)  Yes, Devon said, they don’t really have very good edges for cutting things besides steak.  I certainly agreed with him. 

I thought about how often we had steak… which was not very often.  Hardly ever, in fact.  It became clear to me that with our low steak-eating frequency, there really wasn’t much reason for us to have those steak knives.  They didn’t work very well for cutting foods besides steak.  And guess what, we had other steak knives that we both liked to use better, so when we had steak we didn’t use them anyway.   

You know what that means?   It is time to put those annoying steak knives in the give-away box in the garage!  GOODBYE and GOOD RIDDANCE! 

Every once in a while, it is good to take a good hard look at your kitchen utensils and think about
·      whether you use them,
·      what you use them on,
·      and whether you even like to use them. 

Do you use them?

Usually when we set up house for the first time, whether it is going out on our own or getting married, or whatever, there will be times when people give us kitchen utensils as gifts.   Some are useful, some are not.   We may get knife sets, mixing bowl sets, measuring cups and spoons sets, dishtowels, spatulas, and all manner of gadgets.  Every few years it is good to reexamine the kitchen drawers and think about whether you really use the avocado seed remover tool.   If someone gives you an egg slicer—you know, that thing that has a lid that looks like a tiny harp)—feel free to let it go if you never need to slice boiled eggs.  (They’re also handy for slicing strawberries, so I found an excuse to keep mine.)   I had an over-abundance of dishtowels, so I went through and picked out the ones that I wasn’t two excited about using.   Two drawers of dishtowels and dishcloths was too much.

What do you use them on?

What you don’t want is a bunch of single-function utensils you hardly ever use.   For instance, I am tired of the pumpkin carving saws.  Next Halloween, I’m just going to use my drill instead.  I’ve heard that is faster anyway. 

Do you stuff olives often enough that you need a stainless steel olive stuffer?  Or do you prefer to buy your olives pre-stuffed?   Do you often need a lemon reamer or an apple corer?   Do you actually cut onions often enough (or slow enough) that you need onion goggles?   Are you really in such a hurry that you need a banana slicer instead of a knife?

If you only stuff the olives or pit the cherries once a year, you really don’t need to get the olive stuffer or the cherry pitter, Williams-Sonoma advertisements notwithstanding.

Do you like using them?

If you find yourself always using one spatula and carefully avoiding another spatula because you don’t like to use it, that’s a pretty good sign that maligned spatula shouldn’t be in your kitchen.  If you don’t like using certain knives or certain bowls or certain cups, that is also a good sign that they don’t belong in your kitchen.  Just because some of those things were gifts does not mean that they are going to be perfect for you. 

One of my clients had five pizza cutters.  I laid them all out for her and she pointed to one that she really loved.  She had two others because her son kept threatening to steal her favorite and she kept hoping he would fixate on one of those.  And two others she easily parted with.  Later, when she had an occasion to test one of the two extra she kept, she decided she hated how it worked and she let go of that one too.   Brave woman. 

So, what are you waiting for!  Ready, set, DE-CLUTTER!

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Rozy Lass said...

I did this! And getting rid of the stuff I didn't use gave me room for the things I use daily. Some advise getting rid of duplicates but I have three sets of some things like measuring cups and spoons because I cook and bake A LOT and I don't like to have to wash something to be able to use it quickly, it's easier for me to have lots of the common things. Also I look for ways to use what I have rather than buy another gadget. Keep up the good work.

Michaela Stephens said...

Rozy Lass, you are right; it is good to have duplicates of very commonly used utensils. Where to draw the line is what requires experience and probing questions..

That's wonderful that you look for creative ways to use what you have instead of buying another gadget. We are resourceful and creative!

LeAnn said...

I did clean out my drawers not long ago and go rid of doubles and triples of different items.
It is so wonderfl to de-clutter once in a while.
Loved this one!

Michaela Stephens said...

Glad to hear it, Leann! You go, girl!