Let’s talk about kitchen organization. As I was trying to write this post title I got stuck on the word “utensils.” Is there a better word for all of those spatulas, whisks, measuring cups, and whatever? So I did a quick search on Pinterest and the word “gadget” came up.
Did you know that the name for the Walmart aisle that contains this sort of stuff is the “Gadget Aisle.” Yeah, me either until I started working there and my coworkers were just like “oh yeah, check the gadget aisle” and I was just like “the-what-aisle.” It took about four different people explaining it to me before I got that it was the aisle with all the kitchen utensils and mixing bowls, timers, cheese graters, produce scales, and matches.
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When You Start Living On Your Own
When you’re just starting out living on your own you usually need to buy utensils cheaply. My freshman year of college I bought a ziploc bag full of forks, spoons, knives, and an ice cream scoop from a Goodwill thrift store. I still have just about all of it. I have also bought a lot of stuff from Dollar Tree and Walmart. I’ve had to replace more than a few things and I’ve traded items with various roommates.
Eventually you’ll be able to start replacing your kitchen utensils with “quality” ones (which are all sold separately and expensive, especially if you want pretty colors). It’s not really necessary to replace utensils if they are still in working condition. Just because a matching set would be pretty doesn’t mean you need one. You need functionality more than anything.
Every year or so it’s a good idea to sort through your utensils and gadgets and take stock of what you actually have. Especially if you’ve moved, you’ve broken anything, or you’ve bought anything new.
The first thing I want you to do is get every utensil, gadget, and piece of silverware you have and lay them all out on the counter. Look through them and really get a good feel for what you have. Is there anything you notice that definitely needs to go? I moved twice this last summer and got rid of all of my unnecessary items. I offered them to my roommates before we parted ways and everything else went to Goodwill.
Make Three Categories
The specific items in each category are how I organize my own items within the space that I have.
This is the stuff you use every day or at least a few times a week.
- Fancy Santoku Knife
- Pizza Cutter
- Can Opener
- Kitchen Scissors
- Ice Cream scoop (it stays here in hopes that I will eventually buy ice cream again but I usually just buy those small ones and eat the entire thing with a spoon)
This is the stuff you use at least once a week.
This category is for stuff that only gets used during certain parts of the year.
- Apple Slicer
- Frosting Tips
- Cookie Cutters
- Personalized Cake/Pie Server
- Wine Bottle Opener
- Meat Thermometer
- Herb Scissors
Dealing with Multiples
When you wind up with more than one type of utensil you really have to ask yourself if you need it or are going to use it. Do you really need two whisks? Okay, I do have two but to be fair they were part of a set of three and I did get rid of one. It is nice to have a large and small one.
When I lived with roommates last year we basically just had everyone’s utensils in a drawer so there were three pizza cutters, three can openers, a ton of those mixing spoons. It was a mess. But I found I always used a specific pizza cutter and can opener. Because they worked the best. If it was dirty I would wash it because it was the one I liked. This also helps you keep on top of your dishes. You have to wash your pizza cutter if you want to make pizza again.
I do recommend having at least two sets of measuring cups and spoons. If you’re baking it can be a hassle to stop in the middle to wash something just so you can measure something else. It also saves you some stress if one of them magically goes missing as they have the tendency to do.
Getting Rid of Stuff
Don’t throw anything away unless it’s actually broken beyond saving. Unless it’s a can opener. If that thing even starts acting up chuck it and buy a new one. See if any of your friends are interested in your extra utensils. Chances are they won’t be but it’s always nice to give them first dibs. Then donate everything else to a thrift store or church. Your area likely also has organizations that accept donations of household items for victims of house fires and natural disasters.
What is the Weirdest Thing You Found?
For me it’s got to be the spaghetti measurer that I have never used since I bought it. My husband likes to make spaghetti and it’s just easier to let him make enough to feed an army and then eat leftovers for a few days.