3 ways to avoid kitchen gadget impulse buys

Fryers & Steamers & Pans, oh my!

We live in a day in age where there is a brand new gadget and gizmo for everything (hello Shark Tank!)  One trip to Bed Bath and Beyond, and my husband wants a mango slicer, an air fryer, & a donut maker. 

Some products are inventive, some silly, some poorly made, and some worth their value.  The promise they all share: to simplify and improve our way of life.  But do they really?

Kitchen Drawer

Let's take it back 30 years or so.  My Italian grandmother who practically lived in her kitchen, used 1 knife, and her most valuable tool of all: her hands!  She didn't have a wine aerator for her wine, or a food processor to whip up dough, just an apron, & her mother's recipes for some good old fashioned roll up your sleeves cooking.  Not only did she manage, she was extremely kitchen savvy!  After all, she had to be, she had 6 children!

I'm not gonna lie.  I love my food processor.  But I USE it, and find it has significantly cut my time down in the kitchen.  Could I make dough without it?  Of course!  Do I really want to dirty my countertops with all that flour and egg though?  The answer is completely subjective, but the answer in my life is no (sorry gram!)  

So where is the middle ground?  Here's what I say: be mindful, and don't get sucked into the latest trends just because they're new and promise to change the rest of your life.  Trust me, 9 times out of 10, they won't.  I'll never forget my parents buying a juicer, using it for 3 months, then tossing it to the basement to make room for the newer trendy appliance: The George Foreman Grill.  

Here are 3 ways to avoid kitchen gadget impulse buys:

1. Carry a list when you head to the store

Lists save money, time, and maybe most important of all, prevent emotional purchases. I know everyone loves a little retail-therapy, but compulsive retail therapy leads to clutter and even worse, waste. Lists are little accountability reminders and promises to ourselves that we have control over what we need, and what we choose to bring into our home.

2. Envision where it will go

If we can visualize where it will go in our home, we’re really assessing if it’s both necessary, and worth the space it'll take up. No one envisions a brand new mixer in the back of a closet collecting dust, so if you’re having a hard time finding a place for it before you buy it, it may not be worth the investment.

3. Make sure it does at least 2 of these 3 things:

performs a new function, saves time, accommodates my family’s needs

You may be thinking “The donut maker is new! I don’t already have a donut maker!” (or maybe that’s just my husband hah!), but what we should be asking ourselves is, when I want a donut (yum), do I want to walk across the street and buy one, or do I want to prep, make, bake/fry them at home, clean the device’s every crevice, and then store it?

Your lifestyle will dictate which makes the most sense for you (ie: perhaps you want to make a healthier version for yourself or your kids, or you have food allergies and need to make them with certain ingredients, etc..) Whatever the case, it should always perform a function that helps improve your way of life, not hinder it.

When all else fails, repeat after me: Newer products do not mean better.  

We tend to think because it's sparkly and new, it's now "right", and the old is "wrong" or out of date. I’m not a culinary expert, but one thing I have learned from my time binge watching Barefoot Contessa, is that some of her pots and pans are nearly 40 years old, and the very best cast iron skillets are not the ones mint out of a box, but the ones that have been seasoned from generation to generation.