In a consumerist society marketing is everywhere. From a young age we are told to get on the capitalist treadmill – earn, spend, impress, repeat.
It can be hard to decipher how much is really necessary, and sometimes it seems like the more money we earn, the more stuff we find to spend it on. Then we end up in strife with too much stuff.
Here is my hot take on some household items you definitely don’t need.
KITCHEN items you definitely don’t need
Unitaskers. Any gadget that only has one job is superfluous. I’m talking about that avocado-holder (it’s just a container with limited use), the olive pitter (a knife works), the pie maker (hello oven!), the apple slicer (doesn’t work well, I tried it) and herb scissors (they are just … scissors). Even if some of them are handy, they are used so rarely that you can never find them. Their spot hiding at the back the junk drawer is further entrenched, and it’s a vicious circle.
Sandwich press. Toasties in the oven are fine and in the frying pan are even better.
Coffee pod machine. Are people really still using these?
Spoon rest. It’s just a teeny tiny plate and I already have other plates, of many sizes. The beauty of my other plates, is that they can be used for other things.
Glasses for every beverage. Red wine glasses, white wine glasses, whiskey glasses, flutes, the list goes on. No need to try and disguise your alcoholism with this kind of middle class pretence – just drink everything out of tumblers and be done with it. Call it a ‘stemless glass’ if you want to wow your guests.
Microwave. This is controversial but personally I prefer to have the space for other things and use my oven instead.
Bottled water. The bottled water industry is one of the success stories of our generation, as they managed to do the equivalent of selling sea water to seals. Water is free and it’s available everywhere.
Infused cooking oils. You can fill the cupboard with every version of oil – garlic, lemon, rosemary, chilli. Or, you can just use oil and add the secondary ingredient as required.
Excess condiments. Can anyone actually taste the difference between soy sauce and Tamari anyway?
Fancy gourmet food. A study in 2008 had participants comparing pate and dog food which were identically presented in a pleasing way. Most couldn’t correctly identify which was which. Similar studies have been done with wine. They found that presentation and perception add value where it otherwise doesn’t exist.
Cookbooks. These are a bit last century. We have the internet now. You don’t need to prove your culinary worth by having the Stephanie Alexander Cook’s Companion on display.
Juicer. Wake me up when this trend is over. Too many bits to clean.
Storage baskets/tubs. Unless you have a tiny kitchen, it’s optimal to have a place for everything in drawers and cupboards. Why have a beautifully renovated kitchen with lots of storage and gleaming bench tops, only to plop a $10 Kmart caddy on top with Liptons tea bags in it. Surely when you make a cuppa you can reach into a drawer?
Napkin rings. Nobody needs these.
Coasters and placemats. It’s just more crap to wipe. Tables are there to be used.
Display cabinets with fancy serving ware. It’s not the 1960s and nobody wants to see your spoon collection.
CLOTHING items you definitely don’t need
Formalwear. Perhaps not used often enough to justify its space in the wardrobe. Also fashions change, even for men’s suits. And our sizes can change too, not always in a good way. Rental can work well.
Niche exercise gear. There are lots of exceptions to this for specialty sports and for serious athletes. But for most of us, we don’t need four different pants for running, yoga, CrossFit and aerobics. Something breathable and comfortable will cover those and many other sports. It’s called activewear and by the way it also works for school pickups and coffee dates.
10 pillows on your bed. Unless you are hosting a party in there, what’s the point of dressing the bed up like a Better Homes and Gardens shoot? It’s just more washing and my partner throws them on the floor anyway.
CHILDREN’S items you definitely don’t need
Shoes and jeans for babies. Bubs has just come out of a uterine sack, they don’t need to be in denim and tiny Converse right away. All babies do is sleep, so let them do it in a onesie like the rest of us.
Nappy bins. Unless you are that lady who had eight babies at once, surely you can just take each poopy nappy outside as you go. Do you need to entomb and collect them all inside a perfumed tub?
LAUNDRY items you definitely don’t need
Different cleaners for each surface. Another vote against unitaskers. You don’t need a wood cleaner, a laminate cleaner, a tile cleaner, and a leather cleaner. Most household cleaning tackles dust, occasionally a spilled drink or something sticky. Warm water and if you’re feeling fancy a dash of dish liquid, vinegar or bicarb soda will work for most things. For any unusual spills I use Google on a case-by-case basis.
Clothes dryer. Not great for the clothes or the environment. We have air, and lots of it. Sometimes even sunshine.
Ironing board. It’s just a flat surface, replaceable by your bench top and some padding. If you want to go a step further get rid of the iron as well, and give clothes a decent shake before hanging outside.
BATHROOM items you definitely don’t need
Bath gel. Can be useful for travel if it can triple as shampoo and hand wash but in your own bathroom. bars of soap last heaps longer and use less packaging.
GARDEN items you definitely don’t need
Leaf blower. Your neighbours will hate you, so don’t do it. There is never a good time for a loud pointless contraption. Also, ever heard of a broom?
If you need more clarity about what to keep, check out this post.
Feel free to reach out and get in touch for help streamlining your wares.