I don’t know about you, but I generally feel that the kitchen has turned into a major battlefield of man/woman against the machine: so many gadgets are available on the market and it feels like a new one comes along every year to replace all the others – until next year! Let’s have a look at the stuff that sits in the modern kitchen!
There are the classics, of course: cooker/oven, toaster, water kettle, fridge and freezer. Note how all those are directly linked to storing and cooking food and I bet you’d agree that these are bare necessities. Most of these have been around for a long time in some form or other, and their current form is simply the latest version of something very traditional: the cooker/oven is derived from the old wood stove cooker, the water kettle is a upgraded electrical version of the pot on the stove, fridge and freezer can be considered upgrades from the icebox, and the toaster is an automatized version of the open fire grill.
You may wonder about the missing microwave. It’s a relatively new kind of technology and – if we are being really honest – is just a convenience rather than a necessity. That brings the subject to the conveniences, and those are the bulk of what clutters up kitchens these days. Not only are most of them electrical devices (and thus eating away at your energy bill), but also they tend to be used only very sporadically and usually are pretty bulky.
A juicer makes juices from fresh fruit and vegetables, a food processor can do magic with its ingredients, a coffee maker with a timer is ever so convenient and the waffle iron makes the best waffles you can think of. While that may be true, they have one thing in common: they are not used all the time and they are – strictly speaking – luxury items. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not disputing the usefulness of all these things, but the necessity. Just ask yourself: How many gadgets do you have on the kitchen counter? Do often do I really use them? How many more gadgets do you have stored away? Do you remember the last time you used any of the items you have stored away?
Here’s a little tale: One lovely day you bought the last new gadget and you were excited about it to a point where you used it all the time. Within a short time, you started using it less and less until it just sat on the countertop, and then it was stored away because it was in the way of something else that was absolutely indispensable at that time. Do you see the pattern? Gadgets come and go, and most of them are not made to keep our attention forever. All of these things are not necessary as such: a coffee maker can be replaced by an old-fashioned filter and coffee jar, a food processor or a juicer by manual work, a waffle iron by making pancakes in a frying pan instead.
Again, we see the distinction between “necessary” and “useful”. Some things, like an oven or a fridge, could be seen as a necessity and a modern household could pretty much not be run without them. A waffle iron is a luxury item that spends most of its time doing nothing, and clutters up the kitchen all the same. If you are having storage issues in the kitchen, my advice is to start looking at electrical gadgets and make some tough choices about keeping the necessary and letting go of others.
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Hi, my name is Tilo Flache. My current mission: help my clients declutter mind and space.
This blog contains pointers for your journey towards a happier living experience.