8 Common Kitchen Items You Don't Need

neat, organized kitchen

The Spruce / Dana Zimmerman

Shopping for culinary tools and gadgets is fun. But whether you're setting up your first kitchen or your tenth, no one wants to wind up with a bunch of stuff they regret buying. The following list shares eight common kitchen items that are a waste of your hard-earned cash and reveals the essential things you should buy instead.

  • 01 of 08

    Prefilled Spice Collections

    spice collection

    The Spruce / Dana Zimmerman

    Spices are supposed to make the foods you cook taste better. But that won’t happen if you settle for a prefilled spice rack. Some herbs like chives and basil are more flavorful fresh as opposed to dried. Also, both ground and whole spices lose their zest over time. Buying spices in small quantities, when you need them, will help you avoid cooking with flavorless seasonings.


    Many fresh herbs can be frozen

  • 02 of 08

    Opaque Food Storage Containers

    storage containers

    The Spruce / Dana Zimmerman

    Reusable food storage containers save money by reducing food waste, right? But here's the thing, you know the adage, out of sight, out of mind? Containers that you can’t see-through are like tombs for rotting food because you forget what’s in them. Luckily, if you purchase clear food storage containers, you won’t have this problem.


    Consider buying glass food storage containers. Many options can be used to heat food, too.

  • 03 of 08

    Too Many Coffee Mugs

    multiple coffee mugs

    The Spruce / Dana Zimmerman

    When it comes to kitchen clutter, coffee mugs are like a gateway drug. Sure, it starts innocently enough. You buy a cute one while on vacation. You get a few as office gifts. Then one day the shelves in your kitchen cabinets are buckling from your cup collection’s weight. If you live alone and drink hot beverages, you don’t need more than a couple of mugs. If you share dishware with a roommate, you can double that number.


    Got a gazillion coffee mugs that you want to unload? You can donate them to a local thrift store.

  • 04 of 08

    Nonstick Cookware

    nonstick cookware

    The Spruce / Dana Zimmerman

    It's no wonder why nonstick cookware is a kitchen favorite. It's easy to clean and trims the amount of fat needed when cooking and baking. Unfortunately, the Teflon coating that keeps food from sticking can emit fumes when heated above 500°F. Scratched nonstick may release gasses at a lower heating temperature. Not only can the fumes cause issues for people, but it's also highly toxic to birds—though according to chemistry professor and food science Robert L. Wolke, Ph.D, in an interview with Good Housekeeping, the odds of breathing enough of those gases to be harmful are very low.


    Stainless steel cookware is a reliable alternative to nonstick cookware. It's durable, dishwasher safe, and there are plenty of low-cost options. To prevent food from sticking, use a nonstick cooking spray, olive oil, or your cooking oil of choice.

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    Specialty Glassware

    specialty glassware

    The Spruce / Dana Zimmerman

    You drink a lot of different things like juice, water and wine. But do you need a special glass for each beverage? No. Multipurpose options can be used to consume all types of liquid refreshments. 


    If you think you can't enjoy your vino without the proper stemware, consider buying a set of break-resistant stemless wineglasses. They too can be used to sip a broad range of beverages.

  • 06 of 08

    Appliances You Never Use

    keurig coffee maker stowed away

    The Spruce / Dana Zimmerman

    If you rarely use an appliance or common kitchen "staple"—whether it be a teakettle, waffle iron or rice cooker—consider donating it to a thrift store. These cumbersome, single-use appliances take up a lot of counter and cabinet space, and aren't worth keeping on hand if they are only used a few times a year.

  • 07 of 08

    Pop-Up Toaster

    choosing a toaster oven over a pop-up toaster

    The Spruce / Dana Zimmerman

    A toaster is one of those kitchen must-haves. However, a toaster oven will give you more bang for your buck compared to a conventional pop-up model. Sure, the latter may seem like the best thing since sliced bread, but it can only toast it. A toaster oven can do that and more including warming leftovers, melting cheese and broiling burgers. And unlike pop-up toasters, mice can't climb inside them to snack on breadcrumbs—unless you leave the oven door open.

  • 08 of 08

    Old Kitchen Sponges

    kitchen sponge

    The Spruce / Dana Zimmerman

    Kitchen sponges that have been in use for a while are havens for germs and bacteria. The problem is, sponges retain moisture that promotes bacteria growth. And while you can wash them, they're difficult to sanitize. Replacing sponges often or washing dishes with clean rags and brushes can solve the issue, though. Keep in mind, rags must be frequently laundered.

Article Sources
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  1. Sajid M, Ilyas M. PTFE-coated non-stick cookware and toxicity concerns: a perspective. Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2017;24(30):23436-23440

  2. Cardinale, Massimiliano, et al. Microbiome Analysis and Confocal Microscopy of Used Kitchen Sponges Reveal Massive Colonization by Acinetobacter, Moraxella and Chryseobacterium Species. Scientific Reports, vol. 7, no. 1, 2017, doi:10.1038/s41598-017-06055-9