What Not to Buy for Your Kitchen

What Not To Buy For Your Kitchen

People! We don’t need tons of stuff. It clutters our kitchens and makes cooking complicated. I like a sparsely outfitted kitchen with plenty of space to move around in. I want to open drawers that are half empty and 100% organized.

The Secret? Less is More!

This is the secret to kitchen success, and it makes cooking easy, fast, and fun! Below are my favorite kitchen tools, all multi-purpose, if they land a coveted spot in my line-up. You don’t need more than this.

Instead of a toaster use a cast iron skillet

Fun fact? I’ve never owned a toaster. I set up my first toasterless home over 30 years ago. Each subsequent place has been the same. Why? Toasters take up space, contributing to a cluttered kitchen. More important, a toaster is a scary hiding places for crumbs of gluten. One piece of bread makes a danger zone for me and my older son who also has Celiac Disease. Finally, toasters are expensive, instead I use a cast iron skillet.

What Not to Buy for Your Kitchen

Instead of a stand mixer use a food processor

True confession! I haven’t ever owned a stand mixer. Where do people keep those things? It’s like an aircraft carrier in the kitchen. My favorite kitchen appliance, an all time multi-tasker, and WAY cheaper, is a food processor. I use it to mix cookie dough, and cake batter, latkes, coleslaw, pesto, and much more. My immersion blender is stowed away in a drawer for when I want to make whipped cream.

What Not to Buy for Your Kitchen

Instead of a dehydrator use the oven

Guys, if stand mixers are an expensive way to clutter your kitchen, then skipping out on a dehydrator is a no-brainer. Use the oven with the light on and the temperature off. Dehydrating is like placing something in the sun, you want it to get crisp and dry out. Your oven does a dang good job of this. Mine has worked for this since I started seriously cooking during my Ayurveda and Yoga Teacher’s Training back in 1993.

What Not to Buy for Your Kitchen

Instead of a French press use a tea strainer

I’m a total grinch when it comes to the French press. Instead, I make coffee and herbal tea in a mason jar with a tea strainer. Nothing fancy but it gets the job done.

Instead of a crockpot use an instant pot

I bought my Instant Pot a few years ago and never looked back. It de-cluttered my kitchen replacing my slow cooker, pressure cooker, yogurt maker and more!

What Not to Buy for Your Kitchen

Instead of a coffee grinder use a Vitamix

While we’re on the topic of coffee, let’s talk about coffee grinders. They’re very cute…little Vitamixes. Anything a coffee grinder can do, a Vitamix can do better. And the Vitamix does far more than grind coffee!

What Not to Buy for Your Kitchen

Instead of plastic use glass jars

Glass mason jars are perfect for making coffee, storing food, and pencils, and flowers, and everything else you can think of. Glass doesn’t leach like plastic and is far safer when it comes into contact with food. But enough of that, to learn more about the benefits of using glass check out my article called, Why Glass?

What Not to Buy for Your Kitchen

Instead of paper towels use dish towels

While I do keep paper towels in my kitchen they’re hidden away. Instead I keep reusable kitchen towels in easy reach. If something breaks or is messy to clean up I’ll use paper towels, but for everyday wiping up the counter? Kitchen towels. I ran an environmental consulting company in the early 1990s and conservation is near and dear to my heart. I started using kitchen towels and hiding the paper towels a few decades ago. Reusable kitchen towels are a win-win for the environment and your pocket book.

What Not to Buy for Your Kitchen

Instead of bag clips reuse rubber bands

I confess, I totally have bag clip envy. Those little do dads are just the cutest thing! But do I really need one to seal a bag of pork rinds? Actually, no. A rubber band will get the job done.

What Not to Buy for Your Kitchen

Instead of plastic spray bottles do this

We are spending money to throw things away. It’s that simple. I’ve been making my own non-toxic cleaning sprays in the same plastic bottles for decades in order to avoid buying and throwing away single use plastic bottles. I also don’t want to bring toxic scented products like Windex into my home. If you don’t want to make your own cleaning products, use Branch Basics to save plastic and money!!!

What Not to Buy for Your Kitchen

Instead of dryer sheets use dryer balls

The other day a friend walked in the house. I asked if she had been burning a scented candle. No, her clothes were “fresh” from dryer sheets. Unfortunately, with a compromised blood brain barrier things literally smell fifty times stronger to me than the average human. Some days this is torture. But I digress. Protect your sense of smell, reduce waste, and save money with these reusable wool dryer balls.

Buy Less and Give More

The holidays are a great time to clean out the clutter and giveaway what you don’t use. Instead of buying a friend more stuff, give someone the gift of your time. You can bake together, organize together, do something fun! Offer to support a friend with an activity that will be a bonding experience to make their life easier. Right now is the time to buy less and give more.

Buy My Books!

paleo cooking from elana's pantryGluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook

Thank you, thank you for the delightful and informative website! You are a blessing!


54 responses to “What Not to Buy for Your Kitchen”

  1. I agree with all the kitchen tools we could do without, but I find a food processor a lot more time consuming to clean than a stand mixer. I do love my cast iron pots and use them all the time, but never thought to use them for toast. Good point. I also have an expensive dehydrator, which I have not used for a long time, because I know one can just use their oven. Been thinking I should get rid of it, a big space user. Thanks for your info.

    • Arleen, agree, though I love my food processor because it can make pesto and such in addition to batters and dough. Glad you found this helpful and thanks for being on this easy cooking path with me :-)

  2. You forgot something… Instant Pot instead of Slow Cooker, Pressure Cooker, Electric Steamers, Yogurt Makers, etc. etc. Talk about decluttering!

  3. I am a recovering kitchen gadget-aholic and agree wholeheartedly with your thinking and ideas. Kitchen knives alone can replace many a gadget. FYI– Branch Basics now sells beautiful glass bottles!

  4. Loved your idea about using the oven light as a dehydrator. Do you know if the “dehydrate” time is the same as if you were using a stand-alone dehydrator? Thank you, and thank you for the delightful and informative Web site! You are a blessing to those of us who follow you!

    • Susan, thanks for your question! I haven’t ever used a stand alone dehydrator so not sure how the time would compare. I’m so glad we’re on this healthy eating path together :-)

  5. Elana’s Pantry is literally the BEST keto community anywhere. I read it everyday, and I’m also so grateful

  6. I am so glad that you wrote this column today, since I’ve been thinking about getting a food processor…I’m 76 years old and never owned one! I use more and more recipes now that call for a food processor, and so glad to know that I can get it on Amazon for less than $100 and free shipping. Merry Christmas to you and thank you!

    • RuthAnn, you’re welcome! I love my food processor and use it for so many things. It’s truly my favorite multi-tasker in the kitchn. Merry Christmas :-)

  7. As much as I agree with everything you’ve said, I still take my lunch in plastic containers. I take public transit, and must carry my bag (with shoes, lunch, 2 phones, etc.) a couple blocks. Glass just weighs too much to add to that.

    I never heard of making toast in a frying pan, but good to know if I’m visiting a gluten-filled home! I use my toaster oven frequently, and that allows me to leave the big oven off.

    • Susan, that’s a great point about your lunch –I totally agree and would do the same. Practicality over perfectionism :-)

  8. You are so right…. Also I’m on a mission to stop friends and relatives using disposable wipes that are adding to landfill and pollution too. I’m fed up with celebrities endorsing makeup remover wipes and sheet masks in the beauty industry. Working as an educator I teach beauty therapy and I constantly explain that wipes just move the dirt around. Use cloths and throw them in washing machine for goodness sake !!!!!

    • Evie, yes! Wipes are the worst. And I think a good coating of jojoba oil on my face is better than any mask :-)

  9. Hi Elana,
    I am so glad to discover that we both consider useless appliances in the kitchen. I am 75years old and I can tell you that I never had either of these :
    a toaster — a simple non stick pan does the job
    a stand mixer — my little food processor is fine
    dehydrator — never thought of it
    dishwasher — I have 2 hands, and so have I to whip cream
    dryer — the garden does it
    never used paper towels (my children never had “pampers” either! Vinegar is a good cleaner and essential oils are perfect for any “smell” and disinfectant.
    I do not use any plastic boxes…always glass…and so on. You see you are not the only one not
    to waste .

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