Inspired by conversations on the Food52 hotline, we’re sharing tips and tricks that make navigating all of our kitchens easier and more fun.
Today: We could all stand to do some de-cluttering in the new year. And since we gained so much from this post the first time it ran — in 2013! — we think it deserves another look.
January is time for a fresh start. It’s a time for new resolutions, healthy habits, and clearing out your clutter. Don’t save spring cleaning until the spring: Start your year off right by clearing your kitchen of all the unnecessary tools and appliances that you never use.
Seven different melon ballers? Probably too many. And when will you use that bread machine that’s been collecting dust for years? Probably never. One cook’s trash is another cook’s treasure, and many tools that are useless to one person are essential to another — just look at the spirited discussion on this topic on our hotline. However, in an effort to help you organize and simplify, we’ve rounded up a few recommendations to streamline your kitchen and de-clutter your life.
And remember — if something is in good condition, don’t throw it away! Find a local organization that accepts kitchen-related donations, and start your year off on a do-gooder note. Because we all like to pay it forward, even in the kitchen.
Single-Use Appliances and Tools
Appliances and tools with just one (often obscure) use may not be worthy of counter space unless you use them often. How often do you really take out your panini press? Your quesadilla maker? Unless you’re a serious grilled sandwich afficionado, get rid of them. Never use your bread machine? Let it go. Giving up large or expensive appliances can be difficult — but if you’re not going to use it, you should pull the plug.
Examples: avocado slicer, lemon reamer, panini press, garlic press
There are some things that you need more than one of: mixing bowls, measuring cups, and knives may all be used simultaneously, and it’s therefore good to have a few of each. However, most of us have multiples in our kitchens that are simply redundant. Pare down your paring knives, and give your drawers room to breathe.
Examples: bottle openers, peelers, ladles, pots and pans, spatulas, colanders, tongs
The One Year Rule
Some people use their garlic press every day; some people think that owning one is useless. Kitchen tools and their necessity are quite the divisive topic! But in general, there’s just one cardinal rule: If you haven’t used it in a year, get rid of it. Exceptions should be made, of course, for what Amanda calls “big feast” cookware that you use every few years — like a paella pan or a turkey fryer. Family heirlooms fall into this category as well.
A Little Vanity is Okay
Another tip from Amanda? “Gadgets go, beautiful objects stay.” You may have one too many wooden spoons, but do they make your kitchen more beautiful? Do you smile every time you see their smooth finish? If it’s something that’s not taking up too much space, and you really love it, don’t feel bad about hanging on to it. Being emotionally tied to kitchen objects is certainly something that we can all relate to.
It’s All Subjective
As we’ve already mentioned, you may think that an avocado slicer is a necessity for the perfect piece of avocado toast. You might think that having an apple corer is silly, or you might bring yours out each fall to get started on a batch of applesauce. What’s important is assessing what works in your kitchen, and getting rid of the things you simply don’t need. Remember the old adage: If you love something, set it free. We promise, this applies to humans and saucepans alike.
Tell us: What are your rules for cleaning out the kitchen?