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Do We Really Need All of Those Gadgets?

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On my post about the slicer/dicer yesterday, MeganM left a comment:

I think 99% of gadget-type purchases can be eliminated. No one needs a slicer when a plain old knife will do just fine for sandwich meat.

I think MeganM is absolutely right. I’m mentally going through my kitchen right now and we have a cute little frog cheese slicer. I remember buying that on clearance because I thought it was cute. Too bad it’s so small that it isn’t big enough to slice most blocks of cheese. Then there’s the chicken egg slicer. It was cute, and I thought we needed an egg slicer. I use it a few times a year, but a fork worked well in the past. We didn’t really need it.

Let’s not even start talking about gadget appliances. We have a waffle maker. I think we’ve used it twice in the three years we’ve had it. Oh, and the sandwich maker? We barely use that thing as well. I could go on for a while with the other things we have purchased throughout our life that could be considered gadgets.

We didn’t really need them. We barely use them!

It’s funny…at the time, we thought these gadgets would be great things to have. We’ll use them all the time! You can do so much with them! They’ll make life so much easier! Not really. They just ended up costing us money that we really didn’t need to spend.

At our last garage sale, I tried to get rid of a few of the gadgets we had and they didn’t sell even though the price was dirt cheap. I guess that should say something LOL 😛

What about you? Have any gadgets that are collecting dust?


26 Comments

  • Reply Kelly from My Small Cents |

    I’ve had to be ruthless with gadgets because our house is so small. I haven’t even replaced the recently deceased microwave!

  • Reply April |

    I’m anti-gadget, which is why I recommend a chef’s knife over a slicer.

    My husband and I are sometimes tempted by waffle makers and panini presses, but we never buy them because we already know they won’t get much use. Better to spend the money on quality knives, a great blender, etc.–things that multitask.

    If you are trying to decide what’s essential, I highly recommend Cook’s Illustrated. YOu can get a trial membership online and look at their articles about kitchen essentials and setting up your first kitchen (we already had kitchen stuff, but that sort of article will tell you what you REALLY need). They also review all kinds of kitchen stuff, and often they do not recommend the most expensive brand.

    Also, Jamie Oliver has a book called Jamie Cooks that reviews his kitchen essentials.

    On a side note, what surprised me is that both of those resources recommended a salad spinner, which I thought was another useless gadget. We received one as a wedding gift, however, and I use it at least twice a week.

  • Reply DC Smith |

    My First Rule of Gadgetry keeps my clutter to a minimum.

    If I’m not doing it the hard way now, stuff to make it easier will not get used.

    So, after knife-slicing I don’t know how many potatoes (and other veggies) for a long time, I finally bought an inexpensive mandoline. However, since I rarely make hot sandwiches, I don’t have a sandwich maker. Same goes for gardening gadgets, tools, cleaning supplies, exercise stuff, pretty much everything.

    Forcing myself (not always easy) to follow/remember this rule has worked very well for me.

  • Reply Christy |

    Heh. This really hits home. I went looking for my bread machine yesterday (not in pantry, must be in basement where kitchen overflow ends up), and couldn’t find it. I couldn’t find the directions/recipe book either, so I must have given it away and forgotten about it. Pathetic.

  • Reply My Crazy Debt |

    I have a bread machine that I just had to buy about 10 years ago. Of course I went out and bought the best and I bet I’m still paying for it today, I’m sure its probably part of the $40,000+ I owe on credit cards. How stupid is that? I haven’t used it in over 8 years!

    I also have a blender under my bathroom sick. I can count on one hand how many times I’ve used it. What a joke!

    I’ll admit, I have a George Foreman grill and I LOVE it! It’s about 6 years old and I still used it a few times a month. I also have a Kitchen Aid stand mixer and a really nice food processor and I use them both weekly.

    Right now I’m really wanting an ice cream machine but I know in the back of my head, I’ll probably use it a few times and then put it up. I still can’t help but want one. I’ve had this want for about a year and I’m still holding out. I just hope one day I don’t get the impulse to actually buy it.

  • Reply Dedicated |

    You know, I don’t fit in here, because unlike the rest – every single kitchen gadget I have purchased, I use. Regularly.

    My waffle iron has been a staple since the kids were small – every Sunday this is what we have for breakfast.

    My bread machine – love it. Nothing like a fresh loaf with some seasoned olive oil – with dinner.

    My processor – slicer/dicer – a MUST – I use it for cucumber salads, making carrot cake, making homemade french fries, etc.

    My KitchenAid Mixer – never leaves the counter. Used that often! Even yesterday for daughters b-day cake.

    Of course, I’m a kitchen girl. I’d be happy to stay there cooking and baking – if only I didn’t have to work!

  • Reply Amphritrite |

    This is so true. I own:

    1 knife.
    1 steamer pot.
    1 frying pan.
    1 strainer.

    When I moved back in October, I bought a rice cooker, which is invaluable to do anything from the basic making of rice to creating stock to defrosting frozen veggies or soup to reheating stuff.

    Most recently, because I was burning the bottom of my steamer pot black, I picked up a popcorn maker. Between this and the rice cooker, these are the only two gadgets I own.

    Additionally, I don’t own a microwave, a cheese grater, a bread machine or an apple corer.

    Very shortly, I may take my mother’s bread machine (she offered it, and heck yes, I love fresh bread). Until recently, I didn’t even own a can opener. Living Spartan is not depriving yourself, but making do with what you have.

  • Reply Susan |

    I had a sandwich maker that we got as an engagement gift. I used it a few times, but it was such a hassle to clean. I also received a pressure cooker, but I was afraid of it exploding, so I never used that. Both of those items sold in the garage sale we had a few years ago.

    I have 2 crock pots I use all the time (one big, one small), and a yogurt maker that I bought for $1 at a garage sale (which I should get back into using). Otherwise I’m gadget free and I cook with cast iron cookware (that I also get at garage sales).

  • Reply Karen |

    I think the purchase of gadgets is one of those things that is greatly influenced by advertising. Since I DVR most of the shows I watch nowadays and fast forward through the commercials, I seem to have much less “wants” – always a good thing!! Now if I could just give up the Sunday paper with all those yummy sales ads……

  • Reply mv |

    hmm…a hand-me-down rice cooker that is never used is the top gadget collecting dust. Too bad I forgot about it during a recent garage sale. I haven’t used my pressure cooker recently, although, I do like it and won’t get rid of it. I like that I can make something that normally takes 3 hrs in just over an hour when I get home from work. One thing I didn’t know when I got the pressure cooker (as a gift), is that if it had a temperature gauge on it, I could use it for canning veggies. I make jam and fruit products use boiling-water canner, but veggies require pressure-canning. I’m afraid to use it without the temperature gauge. Maybe one day I’ll get brave.

    The most useless gadget? Hands down a toss-up between the electric can opener and the hand blender/mixer. Maybe the sandwich maker, too. I like the Foreman grill – tasty grillin’ in very little time, although, it is a pain to clean.

  • Reply Jim ~ mydebtblog.com |

    I have a DVR to avoid commercials. People remember stupid commercials and “why didn’t I think of that” type of things. Most of the ads we are bombarded with day to day are crap we don’t actually need or want.

    Useful things in the kitchen, crock pot, toaster, microwave, blender, and can opener. I don’t own the stupid ‘gadgets’ for chopping or slicing, we have a good set of knives and I have a steady hand (wanted to be a laparoscopic surgeon at one point). I think it’s important to be able to hide this useful stuff too so it’s not taking up counter space. My microwave however doubles as the fan/light for the range though.

    Regarding tools I have an assortment of screwdrivers, socket set, hammer, utility knife, and a good roll of duct tape. You would be amazed at what the latter can fix when all else fails.

  • Reply CanadianKate |

    Hmmmm. I have a number of unused gadgets that I’ve received or bought. My egg slicer has never been used that I can recall. Neither has the layer-cake slicer (a gift.) Most are small, the big stuff has long since we moved out of my life.

    My biggest regret was the ice cube maker that froze the ice in long tubes to go in water bottles. I could never get the ice out easily so it was a waste of money (and is a waste of cupboard space.)

    My specialty microwave ware isn’t used now but was when the kids were little.

    My popcorn maker gets used almost daily. As does my cheese grater and mandolin.

    In the winter, my Chinese hot water pot (a kettle that keeps water hot all day long) gets refilled at least once a day and in the summer my kettle is used daily for my morning tea.

    Some things get used according to the seasons (winter = crock pots and at Christmas all three of mine are used simultaneously), or whims (I’ll go on a bread making binge and then stop when I start to gain weight.)

    Tonight we are using my steamer/crock pot/deep fryer unit to make homemade french fries. They take only 10 minutes longer than processed fries and taste way better.

    When I downsize, it will come with us, but the microwave cookware will be in the garage sale along with the egg slicer!

  • Reply Kris |

    When we did a big move to another city a few years ago I got rid of so many cool gadgets and tools: air popper, wok, sandwich maker, waffle iron, electric meat slicer, potato twister, electric skillet. At the last move, just across town, I shed the pressure cooker (I was afraid to use it because I don’t think the seal was tight enough) and the George Foreman (I liked it A LOT, but it was too small to use for a family).

    I miss the waffle iron, but we eat pancakes instead. Making pancakes with a skillet was a pain, so I got a new electric skillet. (I have a bigger family now, too, so it wasn’t just of pancakes.) I like the size much, much better, but it doesn’t heat as well as my old one–I think it is because the the whole tray comes off for cleaning and the heating elements don’t heat the whole thing.

    What I should have done is bought one of the cast off that are surely in abundance at the second-hand store…

  • Reply danielle |

    I have a food saver, and it has paid for itself with sales from the meat department and making my own frozen meals for when I am too tired to cook.
    I also have a George Foreman grill, and I believe it has also paid for itself in electricity usage. Same goes for the crock pot.

    The only one I believe we really don’t use is the toaster oven.

    We have a heart shaped waffle maker, and use it quite often, actually…

  • Reply Tricia |

    To be fair, there are some kitchen gadgets that we do use a lot. There is a griddle that ALWAYS gets used. The handle is broken and it looks pretty bad. But it still is great for many things. We also have a Kitchen Aid mixer. We use that a lot too.

    I agree about the commercials as well. And we can’t forget the likes of QVC and HSN. I saw something on there that made puffs and included an injector to insert filling into them and I was almost sold. A few years ago, I probably would have been sold.

  • Reply Michele |

    oh oh oh my favorite worst time purchase… is the pancake maker!! a mix up at the company and I ended up with 3 of them! I have not used it ONE TIME! hehe

  • Reply chosha |

    I have some friends who never seem to know what to get me for a present, so I now own a steamer, a sandwich press, etc. Another friend gave me a George Foreman contact roaster…knowing that I would have to take it home on the plane with me. But the one I can’t blame anyone else for…that would be the Magic Bullet chopper/mixer/blender thingy. Late night infomercials: stay away!

  • Reply Family Man |

    Half my kitchen are gadgets we don’t use…or it it half the house. We are so programmed for the as seen on TV, and gotta have it, we have become the debt nation!

  • Reply Frugal Babe |

    We got rid of a bunch of kitchen gadgets that were gathering dust, and pared down to the ones we use all the time: crockpot, food processor, air popper for popcorn, flavorwave. That’s pretty much it. We have good knives and chopping boards – don’t need much else.

  • Reply Sam |

    I have a rotato (I think that’s what it’s called) it’s supposed to peel a potato it doesn’t… and I have no idea why it’s even still in my house!

  • Reply mv |

    ooh…I forgot about the FoodSaver – that one gets used a quite a bit. Great for storing smaller meat portions before freezing, great for packing food for camping…can’t go wrong with the FoodSaver. Of course, mine is the small compact size, not the big family / canister set one…too much money for that one.

  • Reply Da Big D |

    I love me some gadgets!!!! I use them all the time. Slow cooker, popcorn maker, knives, slicers, dicers, you name it we got it. And we use them. Not every meal, but enough to say that they were worth every penny.

    Now who has a steamer that is built into the counter that they don’t want???

  • Reply Penny |

    Like Alton Brown says, if it doesn’t serve at least two uses, it shouldn’t be taking up space in the kitchen.

    I also avoid buying anything in sets. Screwdrivers, pots and pans, dishes, towels, etc. etc. I usually only wind up using a few of the set.

So, what do you think ?