Scaling Down ~ Things Your Kitchen Doesn’t Really Need that made others a small fortune and in the END didn’t Really Save you ANY time, but gave you headaches!
Our recent garage sale was a complete kitchen clean out! Generally, I only have cooking tools and serving items that I truly love AND use, but over the years I had accumulated SOOOOOOOO many things! Whether they were gifts, impulse purchases or oh so many duplicates that gave me optional colors for food photography and they no longer matter to me.
I NEEDED to streamline my choices and options. Eventually, I got tired of all the “STUFF” and have dwindled down to just my favorites and easily reached items. You know the “go to” pieces because you love the feel or look of them.
One of the things I kept hearing about our garage sale items was that people couldn’t believe how nice they were. My first rule of thumb is I don’t purchase low quality, inexpensive kitchen tools. EVER! When I purchase things for the kitchen I buy high grade and useful items, intending to keep them for life! I grew up being taught quality that lasts forever is best.
Our Eagles Lodge is benefitting from all the leftovers from our sale by replacing worn out items in their kitchen or bar area and the overflow being donated to their upcoming yard sale.
I’ve read SEVERAL articles lately and they ALL made me realize that ENOUGH is ENOUGH! Too many choices is actually NOT a good thing.
I LOVE a clear and easily maneuverable work space. In order to do that, MANY things just had to go. Once I started on the work space I moved on to the drawers and cabinets and pantry. Before I knew it, we had the makings of a phenomenal quality garage sale and a MUCH, MUCH happier me.
Cabinets are another sore point for me! If I can’t reach it, I don’t need it in my opinion. Also, if I have to empty the cabinet to get to darkest depths of that long ignored space to reach the item I’m looking for, I DON’T need it! And drawers FULL of “gadgets” are sooooooooo frustrating!
I’d love to say I came up with the ultimate “KEY” to what you need in your kitchen, but the truth is, what YOU need in your kitchen is up to you. BUT, I’m willing to bet you have MANY things you don’t need.
No matter your cooking skill level there are a few things that every home chef needs. Personally, I recommend buying QUALITY over QUANTITY. Quality will give you the lifetime use and in the end save you money in the long run. Some of the items I personally recommend are:
- 2-3 Stainless Steel baking sheets
- 1 Heavy Duty Cast Iron Skillet
- 1 Large Heavy Duty enameled cast iron sauce pan with lid
- 1 enameled covered cast iron dutch oven with Lid
- 1-2 9×9 Baking Dishes (I like Staub or Le Crueset)
- 1 6×9 QUALITY baking dish
- 1-2 9×13 cake pan/ baking dish
- 4 QUALITY ramekins
- 1 NESTED set of QUALITY Mixing Bowls
- 1 NESTED set of QUALITY spring form pans
- A QUALITY knife set
- QUALITY kitchen shears
- A QUALITY cutting board set
- A QUALITY set of stainless steel pots and pans (Personally I avoid non-stick ALWAYS)
- 1 set (1/8th cup – 1 cup) of stainless steel measuring cups for dry measure
- 1 set (1 cup, 2 cups and 4 cups) of glass measuring cups for liquid measure
- 2-3 sets stainless measuring spoons – I say multiple sets because I use a clean one for each ingredient
- Service for 8+ QUALITY tableware
- Service for 8+ QUALITY cutlery with matching serve ware
- Silicone heat resistant spatulas
Everything else is up for debate based on YOUR needs and likes. BUT, to TRULY de-clutter you are going to HAVE to let go of a few (MANY) things. For us, many of these things were easier to get rid of as I started scaling recipes down for just the 2 of us and am not having as many of the hosting duties for large crowds.
I give you ranges because maybe you prefer baking to cooking, etc… I ALSO avoid ALL the specialty pans that take up precious cabinet space! Things like mini doughnut pans, mini brownie pans, mini cheesecake pans, etc… UNLESS you make those items regularly. Many of the really cutesy bundt cake pans are also a thing I now avoid. They are sometimes a pain to clean and require a separate cleaning tool that only clogs up drawer space.
Many of the items I ended up selling were “guilt” type items – gifts or hand me downs from loved ones that know how much I LOVE to cook and… well, you know that story. You don’t want to hurt their feelings so that item gets pulled out whenever they are going to be around.
Many of these items are things like gift coffee mugs, travel mugs that don’t fit your cupholder, the “MUST HAVE” seen on TV gadgets that are only good for one type of task, 2 old plates from Aunt Susie that are not valuable, but WERE sentimental to your mother so you keep them, small appliances you never use like specialty peelers/spiralizers, margarita machine from your college days, hot dog cookers, pasta makers from that long ago class you took but then decided it was easier to buy the pasta… this also includes cook books, souvenir cups and party supplies. The true question is are you going to use it anytime soon and if not, why are you keeping it?
So the next question is do you sell, donate or toss the items? Anything that has only been rarely or gently used is good for donation as are multiples and duplicates. ANYTHING that is worn, has burnt or rough edges should be tossed. Tossed items should also include worn out dishtowels and hot pads with burnt edges, old take out menus, old condiment packets from take out food, ANYTHING chipped or stained beyond use and ANYTHING well passed it’s use by date like 20 year old spices.
My GO TO donation sites are Salvation Army, Habitat Restore and St. Vincents in that order. Now that Goodwill is “FOR PROFIT” and not a TRUE donation company I avoid them. Most of them will also accept working small appliances like waffle irons, mixers etc… BUT, make sure they are in GOOD AND CLEAN as well as in WORKING order.
If you are having trouble doing this task, ask a close friend (one that will be brutally honest with you) to help. Add a glass of wine, maybe a charcuterie board to snack on while you work and some music to turn it into a fun event. You will be surprised how quickly you clear out a TON of space and how GOOD you will feel when it’s done!