The kitchen is one of the most frequently utilized spaces in a home and can serve a multitude of purposes. Depending on the time of day, the space may serve as family dinner headquarters, a major meal prep station, or snack central, and the list certainly doesn’t end there. It’s also quite easy for a kitchen to develop clutter—chipped dishware, unused plastic containers, and the ubiquitous “junk drawer” are among the usual suspects—but there are plenty of less obvious items you may have on hand that are really doing more harm than good. Whether you’re preparing to move homes, are planning a renovation, or are just aiming to take better inventory of your kitchen area, you’ll want to take note of the seven types of items that experts say you can pass up for good.
“You can live without a pizza oven,” Mark Manardo, principal designer for Perlmutter-Freiwald said in an email. “They tend to be expensive and rarely get used. As a novelty, we’re ready to see this trend go.” Plus, let’s face it: You know you opt for delivery 90 percent of the time anyway!
Stephanie Purzycki, co-founder of The Finish, agreed. “Most people also don't need 15 small kitchen appliances—they tend to just clutter up the countertops and decrease the functionality of the kitchen instead of increase it,” she said in an email. So which pieces in particular can you go ahead and donate? “Appliances that don't get used on a daily basis, like air fryers, ice cream makers, speciality blenders or toaster ovens, are bulky and take up precious storage space,” Purzycki explained. “Instead, look for multi-purpose items, like a multicooker, or evaluate if you have another appliance that can serve the same purpose.”
Single-function items can also go, noted Jenny Albertini, a master-level certified KonMari consultant and founder of Declutter DC. “When I help people declutter their kitchens, the donation bins are always filled up with items that provide only one function, like an avocado slicer, a strawberry stem remover, or a citrus juice sprayer, for instance,” she said in an email. “All of these tasks can be completed with a simple knife, so why keep extra gadgets around to use 'just in case' or so infrequently that they are forgotten at the back of a drawer?”
Don’t let these items take up the majority of your kitchen budget, urged Christopher Peacock, founder & CEO of cabinetry brand Christopher Peacock. “Whilst these things are of course important, good cabinetry, hardware and appliances are the workhorse items that get used every day,” he explained in an email. “There are no shortcuts, so if you have a limited budget, as most people do, spend the money on the items that need to stand the test of time.”
Too Many Extras
As Mary Maydan, founder and principal of Maydan Architects pointed out in an email, “There are so many things in our kitchens that we can live without. It is often very tempting to shove things inside a kitchen drawer and not think about them.” To prevent falling into this trap, Maydan urged people to “think carefully about any accessory or dish before buying it.” Yes, this may mean passing up on that adorable vintage mug set if you already have too many drinking vessels. “Stackable containers and pots save space and are a lot easier to keep organized, whereas mismatched dishes can make the kitchen disorganized and cluttered,” Maydan added. “Even when they are on sale, it might not be a great idea to buy them.”
Designer Isabel Ladd noted that kitchen hardware should be truly special. “I am over the basic pulls and covet pulls and knobs that look and feel like jewelry; hardware adorned with stones or in materials like malachite, rose quartz, and jade,” she said in an email. That’s right: Even kitchens should receive the royal treatment!
Say goodbye to standard fixtures and take the opportunity to think outside the box. For Ladd, this means parting with the hanging pendants that often are installed above a kitchen island. “I am really ready to see them replaced with lights that you expect to see in other rooms of the house,” she explained. “For instance, take a statement light you expect to see over a dining room table or a foyer and move that into the kitchen for some pizazz!”
What you see in photos online may not be the right match for your lifestyle. “I love the look of open kitchen shelves when they’re perfectly styled on Instagram, but as a mom the trend gives me some anxiety,” Purzycki said. “I need as much closed storage as I can get to stash away sippy cups, kids plates, and more.” This is particularly important if you’re working with a small kitchen and need to corral various items in a clutter-free manner. Added Purzycki, “Open shelves can add a lot of style to a space if you treat them as a spot to display decor, but they don't add a ton of function if you’re looking for storage space.”
As stunning as some styles may be, such pieces don’t always hold up well in busy kitchens. “I think a kitchen is sleeker and cleaner without them,” Cara Fox, owner and lead designer of The Fox Group, noted in an email.