Spring Cleaning Party: How Many Small Appliances Does a Person Really Need?

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Can I tell you a secret? I’m a terrible cook. I’m getting better the more I practice, but the truth is that I over think everything and have no gut instincts when I’m cooking, and I have this uncanny ability to ruin any meal. Kind of pathetic.

But what makes it even more pathetic is my love for all things kitchen. I mean, I’ve been asking for small appliances for my birthday and Christmas since I was 16. Smoothie makers, toaster ovens, quesadilla makers, waffle irons, dehydrators, pressure cookers, pizelle makers, panini presses, crockpots, latte makers – really, I could go on.

To make it worse, I not only had a Pampered Chef bridal shower (which really was an incredibly fun way to stock my kitchen!), but I also became a consultant for a while after we got married. Between all of those things, my kitchen was not just well stocked; it was overstocked. I had gadgets and gizmos galore, which might be okay for someone who loves to cook and spends hours in the kitchen creating amazing meals. For me? Not so much.

Last year, I began the process of decluttering before we moved into our new home. I looked at all those kitchen accessories crowding my kitchen (and laundry room and, ahem, closet…), and I decided something had to change. Let’s just say I think I made quite a few people at the Salvation Army very happy that day.

Making Tough Decisions

But seriously, many of these small appliances and gadgets are useful, so how do you decide which you should keep and which it’s time to pass on?

:: 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. Use the same process as you consider your gadgets and gizmos to decide which you really need to keep and which you could live without.

:: Are you holding on to it because you love it or because you’re afraid you’ll miss it? I’m going to address the elephant in the room for a minute. Yes, chances are that you will regret at least one decision as you go through this decluttering process. For me, it’s my springform pan, which I didn’t realize at the time could be used for more than cheesecake. But you know what? The peace of mind and simplicity that comes from decluttering my kitchen more than outweighs the regret over that little gadget. And if I continue to find more dinner recipes I think our family would enjoy that call for a springform pan, I can always pick up an inexpensive one to replace the one I decluttered.

Don’t hold on to things just because you’re afraid you’ll miss them! And if that’s the thing holding you back, use the method we talked about earlier this week where you pack up everything and store it in the basement for a while before giving it away.

:: 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. One could argue that since you’ve lived without it for so long anyway, it should go into the give/sell pile, but it’s okay to move it to a new home (in one of the cabinets or drawers you’ve already emptied through your decluttering!) and see if that makes you more likely to use it. Maybe you’ll look back in six months and realize you’re still not using it and end up giving it away anyway, but you might find that you use it a lot more once it’s convenient for you.

Just Do It

As we spring clean our kitchens today and tomorrow, I encourage you to look at each and every item you pull out of your drawers and cabinets and think through the questions above. If you’re afraid of making the wrong decision, simply put them in a box and try living without them. My guess is that you’ll miss very little of what you pack away!

Be Careful What You Buy

One more thing. For those of us who are compulsive about our kitchen gadgets, it’s important to ask those same questions before buying any new gadgets or appliances as well. To be honest, I avoid Pampered Chef parties these days because I really do love their products, and it’d be easy to convince myself that I love and need any number of items from the catalog.

There is one additional question I ask myself before any purchase (or adding an item to my gift wishlist): Do I have a convenient space or something else that I’m willing to get rid of to make room for it? Keeping my kitchen and home uncluttered is important enough to me that I let it dictate the decisions I make in other areas, which makes it easier to just say no.

Do you share my love for kitchen appliances and gadgets? Is there something in your kitchen right now that you rarely use but haven’t wanted to let go of either?

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About the Author

Mandi Ehman

Hi. My name is Mandi and I’m an organizing junkie. I’m also a wife, and Momma to four little girls (5, 3.5, 2 and a new baby!). I've worked at home since our oldest was a baby, and like a lot of other moms, my life is a constant balancing act of caring for my family and my home, meeting my obligations and finding time for hobbies in there somewhere. Oh, yeah, in the interest of full disclosure, I’m somewhat of a kitchen dunce and I only like to pretend that I’m crafty. Read more here!

13 Responses to “ Spring Cleaning Party: How Many Small Appliances Does a Person Really Need? ”

  1. [...] drawers, and the surfaces. You can get some advance inspiration today at Organizing Your Way, where Mandi walks you through a process of deciding whether you really need certain appliances, tools, and [...]

  2. Beautifully said, Mandi, as usual. I really do think through whether a gadget is worth the rent it’ll pay in my kitchen, taking up valuable space. Nine times out of ten, it’s not worth it.


  3. We have a tiny kitchen, so I am really picky with what “gets” to stay out and what doesn’t. Our block of knives is a must, and that pesky microwave ;) I do struggle with the Magic Bullet. I use it *nearly* daily to make the little one’s baby food… but since we have the big daddy of bullets (the Platinum Pro) it takes up just a tad more space than I’m happy with. Sigh.

    I suppose I could create a bit of cabinet space to keep it in while not in use… thanks for the great post!

    Angie @ The Creative Mama’s last blog post…Shabby Chic – distress for less.


  4. Oh Mandi, I myself have a weakness for Pampered Chef. I can convince myself that I would use, and therefore need, each product in their catalog. I am fortunate to have a large kitchen with many, many drawers and cabinets. However, I’m finding that I am out of room. So, thank you for your post today. I’m going to be scheduling time this afternoon to start going through and decluttering what I don’t use. There may be some tears involved…I’m a die-hard gadget collector :) .

    Yvonne’s last blog post…Recipe Template


  5. We have TWO slow cookers (I can’t use these to save my life, seriously) and one beautiful red electric mixer that don’t get used much. So, yes, I would love to get rid of the slow cookers. At least one of them. But I can’t get rid of the mixer. It’s huge, I got a great deal on it, and I seem to have it ingrained in my mind that all mothers must make cookies and cakes and other baked goods, and therefore, need a lovely mixer.

    Wouldn’t you know it, but I have a springform pan? Yep. Got it for a recipe maybe two years ago. It’s still in the plastic. Oops. Guess I didn’t make that recipe.


  6. I am a kitchen gadget/dish fiend. I have been trying to edit since we are moving (yet again) and hate packing/unpacking. I have many gadgets, but I use them. I am working on it, though. How many bowls do I really need? And I’m looking at not having a dishwasher, so the less, the better. So here I go to get rid of more junk…

    jen’s last blog post…The One Where I Update Yesterday’s Post


  7. I have a pantry full of small appliances… but like everything else, I have such a hard time ditching them! I am, without a doubt, absolutely awful at getting rid of things!

    [email protected]’s last blog post…True Confessions


  8. [...] may not need. Mandi at Organizing Your Way wrote an excellent piece yesterday, guiding you through some questions to ask about whether you should keep your kitchen tools. Ask yourself those [...]

  9. I like the comment about would you use it more if you could get to it easier. I have two processers one manual and one electric. I can get to the manual but not the electric. So atleast three times a week I get an arm workout.


  10. I am not afraid to purge unused items, and permanently get exile them from my kitchen. However, I do find it hard to keep up sometimes. Family members know I love to bake and cook, and keep giving me these weird single-use items that I know I will never use. Like this fritter skillet. Exiled!
    Thanks for the great post…and wonderful tips. Abbie

    Abbie’s last blog post…Spring Cleaning Party Day 5


  11. my problem is with guilt. the whole but so and so gave it to me, i feel bad getting rid of it. or, i never used it, but it is a big applaince and bridal shower gift i registered for, how can i get rid of it?


  12. Uck, I wish I could get my partner to get rid of all of our extra appliances! Other than our veggie steamer (which in reality we can easily do without), we never use any of them. Of course, if I mention getting rid of them he start to use them for awhile.
    Our biggest problem is the fact that we have two (yes two) ice cream makers. One of them is broken but he insists on keeping them “just in case”
    Blah. My kitchen is in great shape though, for my little apartment. Thanks for all the hints! I might be able to convince him to get rid of a few.

    Erica’s last blog post…Space Junk Earrings- Capacitors, Resistors, Lasers, and More


  13. Keep up this good blog;great job!


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