Tuesday, March 13

Gadget Proliferation

I was amused to read in the paper recently a missive from a design consultant about the process of renovating her kitchen. She joked about bargaining with her husband for an expensive fridge and coaxing the secrets of high society kitchens out of her contractor. (The whole article is here if you have a minute.)

What struck me the most, however, was the end:
Civilian kitchens changed forever in the early '90s... every four-star kitchen renovation (and house that expects to sell for asking price) has required restaurant-grade equipment from Viking, Wolf, Gaggenau, Sub-Zero, Bosch and Miele... But really, aside from shiny stainless veneers and digital displays, we haven't come that far in the kitchen over the last 60 years. You still have to know how to cook
The sad irony, of course, is that most people don't actually have to know how to cook at all. Between pre-packaged meals and an endless supply of takeout options 24/7, not being able to cook for oneself has long been considered perfectly acceptable. The wave of single-use mini appliances flooding the market over the last five years has only exacerbated this trend.

America's kitchens are cluttered beyond functionality with gadgets, gizmos, accessories and pre-packaged imitation food-like product.

It's Spring Cleaning season - is there something in your kitchen that needs to be spring cleaned straight into the garbage or the 'donate' box?
 Take a good look at your kitchen. Does it provide an environment that fosters your best goals or is it enabling your worst habits?

Here are a few easy ways you can remodel your this spring to help it help you (no contractors or fancy appliance dealers necessary)!

1. Hide the snacks/ junk. Researchers have proven that making something more or less accessible by as little as 20 seconds radically changes how often we use/ do it. So put the stuff you want to eat more of (fruits and veggies) in a pretty bowl on the counter and put the stuff you want to eat less of (those expensive, calorie-heavy snacks) on the top shelf of the pantry. This works for gadgets too - try putting your microwave somewhere less easily accessible (on top of the fridge maybe) or making space on a counter for the bread maker you wished you used more often.

2. Toss the crazy gizmos. A good bottle of Finger Lakes wine is a highly appreciated treasure around here, and toys for wine lovers abound. But simple really is best. One good carafe, a couple basic (but sturdy) wine openers and a handful of pretty glasses are all we need. No clutter, no fuss, no extra space and expense.

3. Clear the clutter. It's easy to feel guilty when getting rid of things, especially items that were gifts or expensive to buy. But holding on to items you just don't use can be wasteful and stressful. Life is fluid. What worked for you before may not be right for this season and that's okay.

4. Get stuff you really like. We all take better care of things we love than things we view apathetically, dislike, or resent. So only buy (and only keep) things you love or absolutely need. You, your space and your budget will all be happier!

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