I love clutter shows. I’ve mentioned watching Clean Sweep before. There’s another show that I like on HGTV – it doesn’t intend to be about clutter, but it often ends up there. It’s called Secrets that Sell. A mother-daughter real estate team goes to a house that has been on the market too long, goes through the house, and tells the people why they think the house hasn’t sold. Sometimes the walls are painted a weird color; sometimes they’ve set the price too high, sometimes the furniture is poorly arranged, and sometimes – there’s too much clutter. It seems that the kitchen is often where there’s too much clutter. Family photos and kids’ drawings on the fridge, dirty dishes in the sink, bills and mail piled up on the island, and too much stuff on the work surfaces. The real estate ladies always tell the owners of the house to only have one appliance on the countertop; usually, the owners pick the coffeemaker. Everything else has to go.
I thought about all that when I read this post yesterday at Choosing Voluntary Simplicity, about small appliances. A reader asked the author what small appliances she had, so she listed them – the ones she uses all the time, the ones she uses infrequently, and the ones she doesn’t use or doesn’t own. It’s interesting to compare lists. Here are the ones I use all the time:
- Toaster oven – cooking for one person, almost everything can go into the toaster oven rather than the big oven. I also use it for toast (duh). I’ve had it forever; it’s kind of rusty around the door opening, it’s not very big, and it doesn’t have a broiler. But it still works, so I’ll hang on to it a while longer. It is on my countertop and it stays there.
- Microwave – it’s on the other end of the countertop. I use it for reheating, of course, and often for baking potatoes.
- Waffle iron – I love waffles. I’ve always used mixes in the past, but I’m going to start making them from scratch when I finish using the mix. I think I’ll have to go to the health food store for buckwheat flour; the grocery store doesn’t have it. When I’m not using it, it’s in a cabinet.
Appliances that I own, but don’t use very often:
- Crock pot – I should use it more often. It’s so convenient. When my solar oven comes, though, I may not use the crock pot as much as I do now. I’ll have to assess that. The crock pot lives on an open shelf that I have against an unused wall in the kitchen.
- George Foreman grill – friends gave this to me for my birthday a couple of years ago, and I love the way it cooks. I don’t buy fish that often, so I don’t use the grill that often. I can and should grill vegetables on it, though. It lives in a cabinet like the waffle iron does.
- Blender – I almost never use this. I should make myself milkshakes with frozen yogurt. Maybe I’ll start doing that. 🙂
- Hand mixer – I think the only thing I use this for is cake mixes, and I hardly ever make cakes. I’ve had this forever, and it still works fine – and doesn’t take up much space on the Lazy Susan under my countertop.
Appliances that I don’t own, that Choosing Voluntary Simplicity uses often:
- Food processor – I used to have one, and it took so much time to clean that it was too much of a nuisance to use. I sold it at a yard sale, and now I chop and grate by hand.
- Stand mixer – I mix by hand too. I never had one of these.
- Electric skillet – I never saw the point of these; why not just use a regular skillet on the burner?
- Bread machine – I used to have one of these too, and used it a good bit, but I couldn’t eat all the bread before it went bad, and the loaves were hard to cut. It was one of the older models. I donated it to church for their rummage sale.
Appliances that I don’t have, that Choosing Voluntary Simplicity doesn’t have (or doesn’t use) either:
- Electric can opener – I have a manual one; it works the same when the power’s out. Why have one that doesn’t work part of the time?
- Rice cooker – these are tempting, because I love rice, but it seems kind of frivolous when rice on the stovetop works fine for me.
- Electric knife – I’d probably slice a finger off.
- Toaster – I use the toaster oven.
- Coffee maker – I don’t drink coffee.
Other appliances, mentioned in the other blog list as used infrequently:
- Popcorn popper – I used to have one of these and used it a lot, all through college, but I eventually got rid of it. To me, air-popped popcorn tastes like styrofoam. I pop mine on the stovetop in oil. The salt actually sticks that way.
- Ice cream machine – my parents always had one, and homemade ice cream is fabulous, but for me it’s too much trouble. Publix Premium brand is pretty darn good, and there’s always Ben and Jerry’s.
- Stick blender – I’ve never seen a use for one in my recipe repertoire.
So, my countertop clutter isn’t too bad; one microwave and one toaster oven. I have plenty of work space, since there’s no one else crowding me. When the kitchen is cleaned up, it looks pretty good (for a built-in-1948 kitchen, that is). I think it would pass muster with the Secrets that Sell ladies – maybe!