For many years, my in-laws owned a charcoal grill tucked away in one of the back corners of the garage. I had never seen them cook on it since I entered the scene. One day, I innocently asked if I could use it to make dinner for all of us. They hesitated and exchanged a long, silent glance before reluctantly saying okay.
I took out the grill, which was old by its style but looked brand new as if never lit. I grilled swordfish, which was great and enjoyed by all, especially my father-in-law. He repeatedly told me it was a favorite of his.
After dinner, I used the requisite grill brush to clean the grates. Still, before returning the grill to the garage, my father-in-law removed them and handed them to my mother-in-law for a deep clean before he disposed of the coals and started spit-shining the entire grill base and cover.
Inside at the sink, my mother-in-law complained bitterly as she scoured and scrubbed the grates, saying, “This is why we never use the grill because it’s such a pain to clean!”
Boom. That explained everything. Returning the grill to its just-purchased state was essential to them. For them, grilling wasn’t worth the effort, even with the rave reviews I’d received for the swordfish. It was a chore, not a treat. Dinner was delicious but not worth the effort.
It can be the same with our kitchens. Things that are too much work can have consequences:
- Choosing not to cook because something is hard to clean (like a grill) can lead people to seek easier and less healthy options— take out, frozen dinners, or dining out
- Needing to take everything out of a cabinet or drawer to find something— skip looking for it and either move on to something more convenient or buy a duplicate
- Moving things out of sight— banishing them to a closet, basement, or garage (like a grill) where they will likely rarely/never get used and eventually die
- Lugging around heavy, cumbersome small appliances twice, taking out and putting away that when located out of the work zone— how much do I want homemade cookies tonight? On second thought, that might be an added benefit to a waistline
I get it. We’re all busy. Our time is valuable. When things are convenient, accessible, and easy to use and maintain, we’re more likely to use them and use them often.
When you’re considering bringing something new into your kitchen or home, ask:
- What will I use it for?
- Where and how will I store it?
- How do I use it?
- Do I already own something similar?
- Does it do more than one thing?
- Is it easy to use, clean, and maintain?
- How often will this be used?
- Is it durable?
- Will it make me want to cook more often?
Keeping all of these things in mind will cut waste, save money, and ensure you have what you need. You want to enjoy your purchase, so you look forward to using it every chance.
If it’s worth the “cost” and your time, go for it.
Have you purchased an item for your kitchen that you would hesitate to buy again because it’s too difficult to use or clean?