Article by Saundra Latham for Cheapism©
© Marc Dufresne/istockphoto
Kitchens are the heart of the home, and it shows in the amount of stuff that piles up. If you’re dealing with crammed cabinets, overstuffed drawers, and countertops covered in who knows what, it might be time for an old-fashioned purge. Here are several places to start, from the gadgets you never needed in the first place to old-fashioned wastes of money.
Single-Use Kitchen Gadgets
Do you have a banana slicer? How about a tuna press or an egg separator? Chances are you have a drawer full of overly specific gadgets that never see the light of day. If you haven’t used it in months, you can send it on its merry way guilt-free.
That Stack of Takeout Menus
They’re torn, they’re stained, and some of them may even list prices from the Clinton years. Trust us — you won’t miss them, especially with a little thing we like to call the internet.
Unlike your old pan, old sponges can pose a much more distinct health threat. That’s because they’re a breeding ground for potentially harmful bacteria like e. coli — so much so that trying to clean them doesn’t help all that much, scientists have found. Instead, experts recommend replacing sponges every week or so.
We all have things in our pantry that are past their prime, but spices are a particularly common culprit. Years-old spices won’t harm you, but they do become much less potent (experts say they’re probably tossable once they no longer smell like much of anything). And let’s face it: If you haven’t used marjoram in five years, you’re probably not going to start anytime soon.
Half of Your Coffee Mugs
Even the most enthusiastic coffee drinker doesn’t need more than a week’s worth of mugs. So reach into the back of the cabinet and purge the ones that are just gathering dust. Feel bad just throwing ’em out? Repurpose them as pen cups, candles, or other fun projects.
Multivitamins and Supplements
Got a kitchen drawer full of these? You can probably safely toss them, and save a ton of cash in the process if you quit buying them. While there are some exceptions, especially in the case of folic acid for pregnant women, experts have long said vitamins and supplements don’t do much, if anything, for our health. A much better bet, researchers with Johns Hopkins say: Eating a balanced diet with plenty of produce, grains, low-fat dairy, and protein.
Old, Dusty Cookbooks
If you haven’t cracked a cookbook since you discovered Allrecipes and high-speed internet, it’s time to liberate your bookshelf. You’re not going to be the next Ina Garten, and — breathe deeply say it with us — that’s perfectly okay.
Think twice before you spray away the last remnants of that burnt-popcorn smell, or the lingering odor of meat gone bad. You might just be triggering a headache or breathing issues, and you’re sure not doing your wallet any good. A can of air freshener or constant scented-oil refills are much pricier than opening the window, or leaving out a bowl of coffee grounds or baking soda.
The Plastic Bag Filled With Plastic Bags
Admit it: You have a bag of bags lurking somewhere in your kitchen. Unless they’re getting regular use for pet cleanup or some other task, focus on bulking up your stash of reusable bags instead. They’re better for the environment, and they lie flat for easier storage.
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