What Do You Need In Your Kitchen?


Because I've been racing around just cleaning my house today (no time to organize anything!) I thought I'd re-post this and would love to hear your thoughts ~ leave a comment to share!



Do you really need fourteen mixing bowls in your kitchen. . . or could you survive with just three? Is it necessary to have 13 wooden spoons, or could just a few do the job? This is one of those questions I find myself constantly asking as muddle through my cupboards, and when a PPP reader asked for a list on the first day of our 25 Days to a More Organized You series, I thought it would be fun to throw together.


It's so easy to see another fancy kitchen gadget or cute utensil and think we need it, but eventually those items can take over our kitchen cupboards, and force us to lose all sense of organization. Gadgets can also get pretty pricey, so whenever possible I try to pass them by!  But, there are a few items I'd have a tough time living without, and they help cooking each night in our home become so much more manageable.


Here's a peek at what's on my must-have kitchen list, but it may look different than yours (especially depending on how frequently you cook, and how many you're feeding!) I'd love to hear your suggestions also . . . but here's a start at what I'd be lost without. . .


I'd really hate to live without:


These are so nice to have, but aren't necessities:

  • KitchenAid Mixer (really don't need, but goodness I do love mine!)
  • Food processor or hand chopper
  • 4 cup measuring cup (if you don't have a 4-cup measuring cup and have room for one, I highly recommend it . . . it really could be on my must-have list because I use it so much!)
  • Meat thermometer
  • Cast Iron Skillet
  • Large stockpot
  • Warming Tray (I don't have this but have always wanted one!) 🙂
  • Bread Maker
  • Blender
  • Electric Grill


Things I can easily live without:

  • Toaster Oven (my husband just told me he wants one ~ eek!)
  • Panini Press
  • Chocolate Fondue Pot (we bought one of these forever ago and absolutely didn't need it so we donated it a few years ago!)
  • Bagel slicer
  • Cake Pop Maker (these look cute, but there's no way my cupboards have room for one of those!)
This is far from a complete list, and I'm betting you have other items you'd absolutely love to have or think are way more than you need! So, what are your must have kitchen products?  Leave a comment HERE to share . . . it's always fun to hear your thoughts, and this is a great time to clear out those cupboards of any items you just aren't using!




Looking for more ways to get organized? See previous 25 Days to a More Organized You:


This post does contain affiliate links which helps support this site.  See my disclosure policy to learn more.

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  1. Two additional things that I personally would hate to live without in my kitchen: my garlic press and my steamer – which makes the best hard boiled eggs.

    • I had a steamer but gave it up because it took too much space, and we didn’t use it enough…. but I definitely need to add a garlic press to the list! 🙂

  2. It seems like a pricey gadget when you look at it (a little over 50.00) but PC’s Manual Food Processor is the best little chopper ever and easy to clean up (quick disclaimer I am not a PC consultant.). Another must have for me is a good dish towel. I will definitely splurge on one that absorbs well and make whatever I am drying shiny. Cheap terry dish towels are a pet peeve and I am not a high maintenance gal.

    • Beth, I so agree with you – a good dishtowel is a MUST! Cheap Terry may be your pet peeve, but mine is microfiber towels – yuck! I don’t know why, but I just hate the way some of them feel…(weird, I know).

      • I definitely love the Pampered Chef chopper too ~ it should be on the must have list! I bought on a Kitchenaid Chopper on Amazon and it was similar, but I don’t like it as well as my Pampered Chef one.

        I have had a HORRIBLE time finding really (really!) good dish towels and even more importantly dish cloths – I feel like we go through ours way too fast. If anyone has suggestions on a specific towel or dishcloth that they’ve used that works well (and doesn’t get stinky fast), I’d love to know which ones they are!

  3. I could not do without a handheld grater, a garlic press and flour sack towels. Also, canning jars. Not only do I preserve food with them, but they are handy in storing and transporting soups and other foods I take to friends.

    • I don’t grate things all that often, but you’re right, that should be on the list! And canning jars are great too – if you have a tiny kitchen they might be tough to keep, but I LOVE the ideaof using them to take food to people (so smart!)

  4. http://www.amazon.com/Bernardin-Mason-Jar-Caps-Standard/dp/B000FRUO0Y/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1358433008&sr=8-2&keywords=plastic+jar+lids

    For storing leftovers or shaking up some chocolate milk, or transporting soups, I like to use canning jars, too. But I can’t stand using the rings and lids for that. These plastic lids used to be available at Walmart, but now I can only find them on Amazon.

  5. Hi Laurie, I am the reader that asked for the list! Thank you so much! I appreciate your list and the other suggestions given by other readers. I am going to start eliminating things I don’t really need to make my kitchen less cluttered. I just ordered a bread maker online and it arrived yesterday. I am looking forward to using it but it is not small! Where do you store yours? Out on the counter or in a cabinet?

    • Hi Sheila ~ I’m so glad you said something! I put mine in a cupboard (I don’t have a “pantry” but I have really deep cupboards and I put it there). It’s just too big to leave out on the counter, but I hate all the work it takes to get it in and out. I’d love to re-do my cupboards so that it is easier to access (might need to add that to my to-do list!) 🙂

  6. I have to disagree with you on the toaster oven. That was one of the best purchases we ever made, we use it almost daily.

    • Really Joanne? I just can’t imagine (of course, I have a hard time with things that clutter up my countertops!) He would love one… and I definitely think we all have different things that we use regularly. Thanks so much for sharing! 🙂

      • I have the toaster oven that mounts under my cabinet, so it doesn’t clutter up counter top and use it daily!! You will be surprised how much you use it 🙂
        I LOVE your helpful tips and site!!

    • We also use or toaster oven all the time. i use it to toast cheese on bagels, bake many items (i use it more often than our regular oven), such as reheating a slice of pizza, other leftovers etc. love my toaster oven and it is definitely on my must have list.

      • I’m thinking I’ll have to re-think the toaster thing – thanks so much for sharing! 🙂

        • When our traditional toaster quit working, we replaced it with a toaster oven. It does take a bit more room, but does so much more. I think if you had both a toaster and a toaster oven, that might seem like too much. And I do agree that a regular toaster is “better” for little ones to use. I still get a little uneasy about my middle-schooler using the toaster oven on his own (afraid of burns).

          • I’ve never had a toaster oven, but I know lots of folks love theirs! I think it would be great for quick things you might normally microwave to make them a little crisper. Thanks for sharing Jennifer!

  7. I feel like I NEED my Kitchen Aid mixer, although I admit a hand mixer would suffice. I don’t have a hand mixer, so maybe it’s ok to say I do need my Kitchen Aid!

  8. Joni Curry says

    Mine is a surprise even to me; but I couldn't do without my dehydrator. I bought is years ago at a thrift store to try banana chips, I couldn't be without it now. If it breaks I'm running out to pay full price if I have too. I love you list; it makes you think and take inventory, there are something's I'm putting out to goodwill ask we speak.

    • I’ve never thought about a food dehydrator … thanks so much for sharing Joni (I love the banana chips idea ~ I’m wondering what other things we could use it for!)

    • If you are thinking of cleaning out your cupboards or utensil drawers and thinking of donating items, how about checking with your Middle School or High School Home and Family Life classes. I am pretty sure they could use a lot of these items in the classroom. Specially with so many budget cuts. Just an idea.

      I also have a toaster oven and use regularly. It saves a lot in the winter by not using the gas oven, specially for smaller items.

  9. How can you live without a bagel slicer?

    • I never even dreamed of getting one of those, but you’re right, I just might need one! 🙂

    • Bread knife? Works for me. Bagel slicer would be a great convenience since I eat them almost every day, but it just takes up more room. I already have way more than I need and need to clean out. Love the list Laurie. So much of these items such as the kitchen-aid mixer I needed at some time (I have had mine since my son was in grade school (26 now) and back then I used all the time and love it always but don’t really need it like I used to. Recently purchased a hand mixer, but not sure I can give up the kitchen aid yet. I also now live off the grid so it makes it easier to give up all the many gadgets I used to need but have found I can do without. (Bread maker, etc.). Still having a hard time giving them up though.

  10. We use our cast iron skillet every day. It takes a little while to get used to using but we love cooking with it.

  11. I could almost not even need a hand mixer. The only reason I got it and the only thing I use it for is to make my homemade ice cream just because I can’t wisk it fast enough to make the ice cream freeze properly. I learned the old school way and still hand mix everything willingly. I actually hate the idea of ever getting a mixer. 😛

  12. My waffle maker is a necessity. Every morning for breakfast I make a waffle (or two) in it 🙂

    Other essentials are:

    – Any measuring cup and spoon (for real, any is fine…I’m pretty comfortable with measurements that as long as I have something to relate to I’m good)
    – My pizza stones and pizza cutter
    – One good knife
    – One good skillet
    – One good cake pan.

    That’s not to say I don’t have a lot more, because I do. My wish list includes one item: A Kitchen-Aid Mixer. I haven’t been able to invest in that one yet, but I sure would like one!

    • I think you’re right about a waffle iron! We don’t make them every morning, but at least once a week 🙂 Love the rest of your list too ~ and hopefully you’ll get that Kitchenaid Mixer one day (definitely my all time favorite appliance right next to my crockpot!)

  13. I love my toaster oven I use it everyday.

  14. I work in insurance… Number 2 cause of house fires is toaster ovens! Sorry to be a debbie downer 🙁

  15. Seanna Yeager says

    Steamer basket and food scale.

  16. I think your list sounds about right…but I couldn’t live without my rice cooker. My husband lived in the Phillipines, so he could live on rice. We eat tons of Thai, Chinese, Indian, Mexican…if it has rice, we love it!!! I cook cilantro-lime rice and tandoori rice in it, even. And it can be used to steam veggies or even cook pasta if needed. And with a delay timer and a crockpot, I can have dinner ready by breakfast!

  17. Angel Moore says

    Someone mentioned good dish towels. My favorite (not particularly pretty) are the white towels that come in a 12 pack from Sally Beauty Supply. They are absorbant, good texture and just the right size. My favorite dish cloths are some simple ones I crocheted from cotton yarn. I have prettier towels and cloths but I always tend to grab those more humble ones instead.

  18. I’ve been debating on keeping my cookie press/shooter. I’ve had it for years in hopes of making spritz at Christmas but never have. Also, how many wine glasses does one really need? I feel like I have way too many taking up space in my kitchen cabinets. Some other things I’m considering getting rid of: chip & dip bowls, serving platters, and a springform pan.

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