Kids and adults alike love niche, but arguably useless, kitchenware. It's all too easy to be tempted by that half-price espresso machine, or to be bullied into buying a popcorn maker in the discount store by a pleading little one.
Are strange shapes jamming your utensil drawer shut, and dusty appliances filling the cupboards? How do you and , but keep your kids interested in the kitchen? It may be time to have an honest (but child-friendly) declutter. Here’s how:
Assess your mess
It's a good time to think about whether all those odd items that are supposed to make your life easier are actually making it harder. Do you really need that boiled egg net, or would the pasta spoon do? That's one less utensil tangling with the cheese-grater. Take a look at Cleanipedia for tips on how to declutter this spring.
When it comes to buying kitchenware, for yourself or for the family, try to limit yourself to multi-function items – the costs should even out. For example, rather than buying a pod-based espresso machine, a filter coffee maker, and a milk separately, save your money and buy one decent coffee machine that does all three. Your kitchen counter and purse will thank you.
Keep things simple
When it comes to kids’ kitchen products and fads – if, for example, the TV adverts and peer pressure can't be avoided – make a point of spending a little more on a decent product that everyone can enjoy. Buying something too difficult to use will see it sitting in a cupboard for ten years until you finally declutter and send it to the car boot sale for the crowds to coo nostalgically over: “I had one of these, it never worked!”
Do your research
Of course, getting kids interested and involved in cooking and eating is very important, and a fun kitchen gadget can be a great way to get them started. Some appliances, such as dehydrators, are great for making healthy snacks, and interesting for small children to play around with too. Try dehydrating different fruits and vegetables. Products actually aimed at children need not be one-hit wonders either. The key is to research, and be realistic.
Mix things up
If your problem is a lack of interest, perhaps you'd like to try “Smoothie Sunday” - each week your little ones choose the fruit they want in their Sunday smoothie, and they get it for breakfast in the morning. Appliances like smoothie makers and juicers need to be integrated into your day to day routine to become worthwhile, so try making it a fun family tradition – and don't be afraid to let the kids experiment. The health benefits are a welcome side effect!
Seasonal appliances need not be a waste of money either. If your little ones really can't live without a slushie machine this summer, take the time to research what's on the market, and plan where it's going to be stored over winter. At the end of the day, a good-quality, kid-friendly kitchen gadget can provide years of fun and learning. Just make sure you declutter to provide cupboard space first, swapping your old gadgets for those shiny new ones. Always remember that someone else might sorely appreciate your unwanted popcorn machine – there's no reason for it to take up needed space in your kitchen, unused, when you could do another family a good turn by passing it on!