Kitchen gadgets and minimalisation

kitchen gadgets and minimalisation

Kitchen gadgets, on the whole, don’t excite me. As someone trying to live peacefully as a minimalist, I find gadgets complicate my life. Sometimes, Luddite might best describe me and my life-style. My relationship with phone, laptop and earphones tests my patience.

But every now and then a hankering after something that other people have owned for years gets me. Occasionally I submit to whim. Then become the proud owner of a gadget I hadn’t previously known I wanted.

Kitchen gadgets acquired recently

We’ve had a recent burst of purchasing kitchen gadgets.

Toasted sandwich maker

I’ve no idea why we haven’t had one before this. Or perhaps we did, and got rid of it during one of our house moves. In any case, a month or two ago, we became proud owners.

John really likes toasted sandwiches, and they’ve become his go-to lunch five days a week. Sometimes the delicious odours temp me, but so far I’ve stuck to my preferred wraps and thins. I’d quickly become addicted to toasted bread for lunch once I started.

Electric grill (for fat-free cooking)

John saw one of these at his daughter’s house and instantly fell in love with it. It’s a griller which slants down to a receptacle for catching oil and fat. It’s actually like a grown-up toasted sandwich maker with more space.

It’s fabulous for grilling vegetables. Lightly oiled and well seasoned slices of eggplant, zucchini, potato and sweet potato, mushroom, pumpkin and anything else that can be sliced becomes gourmet food. Great for eating hot or as a side or in a salad But the jury is out about whether we like it for cooking meat, fish or poultry. We need to experiment more.

Electric can opener

The purchase of this kitchen gadget was less impulsive.

Some months ago, we submitted to an age care assessment to see if we needed any help in the home. In our mid-eighties, I felt we should get into ‘the system’ so we would not have a year-long wait if we did need help. It seems we are already eligible for an hour’s cleaning once a fortnight.

The assesssor asked about our ability to carry out tasks of daily living. I mentioned that I sometimes have difficulty opening cans. Lo and behold, weeks later we found a battery operated can opener in our mail.

Problems became obvious immediately. My hands couldn’t hold the can and the opener at once, let alone press the required button at the same time. The machine refused to grip the top of the can. It’s whirring noises sounded instantly defeated and we abandonned it.

But once the seed was sown, I hankered after a proper electric can opener like my mother had, plugged into the mains and hanging on her kitchen wall. They’re not easy to find. But eventually one turned up. I’m now the proud owner of a machine that rips lids off tins in a way that can only be described as efficient (or perhaps slightly evil).

Storage of kitchen gadgets

These objects all needed a home in our apartment. When we moved here, we agreed we’d live as simply and as elegantly as we could. It’s hard to live like that and have clutter, even in cupboards.

We have an agreement that we can borrow from some other households (family) and they from us. Co-residents in this apartment block also often borrow from each other with a simple request on the community’s Facebook.

One way to deal with living without clutter is to make sure that if something comes in, something else must go. It’s easy once you get the hang of it! A couple of things we don’t use often were sent off to the local Buy Nothing, and the Christmas cake tin was banished to the storeage roon. Now everything sits neatly in its proper place, including the new.

What comes next?

A soup-maker! My friend SueW from Yorkshire and her blogging partner, CG from Canada chose ‘soup’ as their word challenge. Here’s a link to the challenge: Wednesday word challenge: soup. If you click, you can find the original blog and links to some very interesting and funny responses.

In her blog, Sue wrote about her wonderful soup-maker and how useful she finds it. My brother also sings the praises of this kitchen gadget. Now I think it will be my next acquisition. When I’m ready which may not be until next winter.

Incidentally, someone wrote they needed a recipe for pumpkin soup. Obviously not my sort of cook. I thought everyone in the whole world could make pumpkin soup, no recipe required.

Links to some of my blogs about minimalist living

Upsize, downsize, right decisions.

Ten unexpected results of minimalisation

Six reasons why apartment life could be better than retirement living

Copyright, Maureen Helen 2022
Maureen Helen

Join the Conversation


  1. Love this Maureen. My husband and I are just entering our 70s but have decided now’s the time to donshe to an apartment. I am exercised about living a minimalist life but I knw it has to be done to support the next stage of our lives. I have always been anti-kitchen gadgets. Who wants their benches cluttered, and if the gadgets are away will I be bothered to get them out. My kids laugh at me, and particularly at my refusal to buy a rice-cooker! A rice-cooker! So easy to cook on the stove.

    However a toasted sandwich maker has been popping into my mind recently. They are small and make healthy light meals (though I too mostly eat crusketts.)

    Also, however, we have lashed out on a multi-purpose cooker. It’s huge BUT here’s the story. We have bought also bought a small bolthole apartment in Melbourne where both our kids and grandchildren live. We plan to visit often now both my parents have died. This apartment has the worst kitchen ever in terms of space to store food, implements etc. This apartment is 6 years old and its cook top and oven have NEVER been used. We are going to leave it that way. We have bought a stovetop cover, and the cooker sits on that. With that and the microwave for which we had to buy a separate stand as there was no place for one in the kitchen except the limited bench, we think we can effliciently prepare meals when we are not eating out. Wish me luck!

    1. I started to answer this, but had a visitor. Love hearing about your plans, Sue. Moving to an apartment is a big decision, but I am delighted that we did it. We moved from a big suburban house with plenty of space, a garden, maintenance and more housework than we needed. We now live under four kilometres of Perth in Subiaco in an apartment I love. I’ve written a couple of blogs about our move, downsizing, etc. You can read them if interested if you google my name and apartment.

      Basically I love living in a place where I can walk to everything I need, in a community of like minded people. We are the oldest on our floor, but there is a pregnant woman opposite, a newborn down the corridor, school aged children, teenagers and everything in between. There is plenty of social life, a pool and garden where we can entertain as well as a roof-garden and a community vegetable patch. Downsizing was a challenge, but once we decided we needed to do it, it became easy.

      Your apartment in Melbourne sounds fascinating. I can’t imagine a kitchen where cooking could be so difficult. I imagine you live in Australia, but have no idea where and don’t want to leave this page and find out! I will be interested to follow your journey to a different form of living. Best wishes, Maureen

    1. No, Sue. All comments on this post went into limbo and have just surfaced. Apologies.

  2. Maureen, the best gadget for me, opens bottles, and I have another bigger one for cans. I have arthritis in my hands, and thus opening these things is a trial. My service provider obtained these for me. I also now have a shopping buggy that fits in the boot of my car.

    1. Hi, Miriam. My can opener opened exactly three cans before it gave up the ghost. I myust take it back to the Good Guys and get a replacement. Opening cans is almost a no-go zone for me because of my poor arthritic hands. I also have a shopping buggy in the boot of my car which I use to bring groceries and everything else from the basement car park to our apartment. Don’t think I could manage without it.

  3. Great Maureen. good food for though and the griller sounded good especially for veg. You’ve been on my list to a call and catch up with and will do soon. Its been busy but it is high time I called you dear Maureen. Look forward to a good chat when we both are free to talk…x Trish

    1. Hi, Trish, I just found a whole bunch of replies to this blog. Yes we must catch up soon. I’ve been busy too, but am now raring to go again. Looking forward to seeing you soon. Mx

  4. It’s the perfect lunch, a bowl of soup, chunky or smooth and a piece of bread on the side. Don’t wait for winter, it’s good any time of year.

    Might be worth keeping a regular eye on store prices online, in my experience the cost of these gadgets tend to go up and down during the year, it’s the store’s attempts to draw us in by special offers.

    Thank you for joining in with our challenge, Maureen.

    1. Always my pleasure to join the challenge, Sue. I just have to catch your and CG’s posts in time for them to be relevant.

      Yes, I make soup all year around and really like it for lunch. I must say my recent oral surgery has made soup a bit of a ritual every day, and I confess to having dunked my bread in the soup to make it soft, like a meal for an old woman. I’m just starting to enjoy biting and chewing again. Funny how we take so many thinks for granted until we don’t. Good tip to wait until my ideal soup maker is on sale. Till then, I’ll just go on doing what I always do. I guess I enjoy making soup, anyway.

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