Kitchen Tips: Keeping It Simple In The Kitchen.

Points to ponder when cleaning, organizing and getting rid of unused kitchen items.

A few years ago during one of my spring cleaning binges I came to the realization of two important facts. The first being that I watch entirely too many infomercials. The second was that I buy too many things from these infomercials. But how does a person know how to differentiate between items you'll use and those you won't?

In order to keep this applicable to just about everyone's situation, I'll generalize. I've found that over the years I've accumulated more than a few items that I thought were great when I first saw them. After using them once or twice, the quickly became my most hated kitchen appliances. Whether it was because I didn't achieve the desired results, or the unit was just too hard to clean, they were cast off into the dark recesses of my cabinets never to surface again until one of my spring cleaning binges. There was nothing more frustrating for me than seeing one of these items on the table during a yard sale and thinking, "˜I paid $40 for that. Why am I selling it for $2?'. To avoid making this mistake in the future, you can use reliable websites to find reviews on kitchen appliances to ensure that you are getting the best of the best in terms of quality.

The key to keeping your kitchen a simple and stocked workplace is to carefully consider your cooking style. From a family of five to a single person, everyone is different when it comes to cooking and how much time they spend in the kitchen. Not limited to infomercials, there is a vast market of small kitchen appliances and gadgets available for purchase to simplify every task imaginable. If purchased, you'd easily fill your kitchen up over time with a great many items that, while the concept is great you just don't use it enough to bother having one. The following is a list of questions and points to consider when thinning out the shelves, cabinets and drawers in your kitchen:

- Get rid of anything you haven't used in a year and take a close look at these items before you send them packing. Getting a good idea for items that have caught your attention in the past, but failed to be a regular performer in your kitchen will help with future impulse buys.

- Dedicate one cabinet to the storage of your small appliances and when it's full, don't get anymore until you can get rid of something. This is especially important for those of us with limited space; any more than one cabinet and you'll be making a mess finding an appliance before you even have a chance to dirty up the kitchen cooking.

- When considering purchasing an appliance or gadget, does it make or help you make a type of food you'll want on a regular basis? (Think sandwich makers or those rotisserie ovens that cook the same sorts of food or food for large groups.)

- With kitchen drawers holding all your utensils, take inventory of any items you have duplicates of and get rid of the multiples. Or, if you have a hefty amount of hand me downs or worn out items, spend the money to replace them and discard all the rest. Old tools can be more harm than good in the kitchen. Jane Goodman, COO of Elliptical Home, says that "Just like medication, utensils age over time after the heavy wear and tear of being used everyday. It's important to replace them and take care of them."

- When considering a new appliance or tool, are you interested because you discovered you needed one the last time you were cooking, or did you just see it advertised? With the latter, you may want to wait until it comes down in price before you buy. Chances are, unless it's some groundbreaking device, you probably won't use it that much. Plus, if you wait you'll probably find your need for this item diminishes reminding you that you probably didn't need it to begin with.

Above all, think carefully and give considerable thought to any potential addition to your kitchen before you buy it. Even if the item doesn't cost that much, will it lead to clutter in your drawers later on? If so, cheap or not, it's just not worth it.

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