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15 Things in Your Kitchen You Should Get Rid of by Age 30

It's time to retire those mismatched plastic plates. You deserve better.

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Glasses of white wine seen during a friendly party of a celebration.Yulia Grigoryeva/Shutterstock

Mismatched wine glasses

Your 20s are about experimenting with beers, wines, hard liquor and wine coolers. You’re not quite ready to commit to a drink of choice, so you collect drinking glasses to accommodate them all. But then you end up with a cabinet filled with two stemmed wine glasses, one stemless glass and somehow a whiskey tumbler that you’re pretty sure isn’t even yours. By your 30s, you’re confidently hosting wine tasting parties, and you should have a high-quality set of matching wine glasses ($26) you can rely on.

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Cutting board over towel on wooden kitchen table.Evgeny Karandaev/Shutterstock

Your old roommate’s cutting board

As you get used to making your own meals and learning the difference between a shallot and a scallion, you start to use your cutting board more frequently. But chances are, when you started cutting produce, you were chopping limes and cutting sandwiches on whatever surface you could find—and potentially inheriting the shared cutting board you had with your college roommates. It’s time to invest in a cutting board that can withstand your best knives and toughest vegetables, like a heavy-duty bamboo cutting board ($20).

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Bowl of popcorn with popcorn machine on a kitchen bench. Robyn Mackenzie/Shutterstock

The popcorn maker you used once

There’s no shame in eating a bowl of popcorn or cereal for dinner in your 20s. In fact, we’d be shocked if your early-20s diet didn’t include these staples. But if you haven’t touched that popcorn maker—or any other one-use gadget—once you hit your 30s, then it’s time to donate it to someone who would use it. In it’s place, opt for a multi-use appliance, like an Instant Pot ($80).

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Young woman cutting with knife sweet potato into wedges, peels on wood table, sliced carrots, kitchen interior, close upOlinda/Shutterstock

Cheap knives

High-quality knives are expensive, but there’s a reason: they’re significantly more effective than those cheap blades you can get for under $20. Once you try cutting a sweet potato with a blade that bends, you learn how important good blades are—we recommend a name brand set, like the J.A. Henckels knife block ($345).

 

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Taste of Home

Rusted or warped skillets

Nonstick skillets require a great deal of TLC. You need to invest in a high-quality skillet from the onset, and you need to make sure you’re washing and storing it properly—two important caveats that mean nothing to a 20-year-old who needs a skillet to make scrambled eggs. By the time you hit 30, you should toss out those $10 skillets and follow the proper rules to buying a nonstick skillet. Our favorite is the Calphalon 2-piece nonstick frying pan set ($45).

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Vintage silverware on a plate over dark grey slate,stone or concrete background.Liliya Kandrashevich/Shutterstock

Nonmatching utensils thrown in a drawer

The apartments you hold in your 20s may feel like they have swinging doors. You may change roommates a few times and with each new parting, you inherit more silverware, leaving you with a set of mismatched forks and knives that serve their purpose, but don’t look cohesive (or, frankly, too polished). By the time you hit your 30s, you should have a set of matching silverware ($20) for six people that can withstand the dishwasher and look presentable at your next dinner party.

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senior woman baking homemade chocolate cake,using a mixer and milk. baking chocolate/stracciatella cake in a glass jar.Dirk Ott/Shutterstock

An old mixer

When you first experimented with baking at your own apartment, you likely picked up a cheap hand mixer or inherited your mom’s old mixer when she upgraded. Now that you’ve hit your 30s, it’s time for you to pick up the best stand mixer on the market. When we tested, we favored the KitchenAid Artisan 5-quart stand mixer ($380), which is a must-have for any home baker.

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Cat and Dog Salt and pepper shakersMark R Coons/Shutterstock

Novelty salt and pepper shakers

This actually stands for anything novelty in your kitchen, from that coffee mug shaped like a doughnut to the shot glass from spring break 2006. If it doesn’t spark happiness, it’s time to get rid of it. A salt and pepper shaker that can’t actually hold any salt and pepper is such a 20s staple, but as soon as you start actually cooking, you need to invest in salt and pepper grinders ($17) that work well.

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Spice Jar StackHari Kiran Chereddi/Shutterstock

Old spices you can’t identify

There’s nothing quite as frightening as finding a container of garlic salt you purchased back when Bush was in office. Spices last a long time, but they don’t last forever—do a full purge of your old spices and invest in a customizable spice rack ($30) you can fill with spices you know you’ll actually use on a regular basis. And start experimenting with making your own seasonings.

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Dirty white frying pan and a plastic spatulaMatija Zupan/Shutterstock

Plastic gadgets you definitely melted

We’ve all burned a plastic kitchen gadget at some point in our lives, but only in your 20s do you grab that warped spatula, run it under cold water and think, “This is fine.” Well in your 30s, you deserve better. A new plastic spatula costs as little as $8, so you can pick one up with no buyer’s remorse.

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PlatesHann Leon Stock/Shutterstock

Mom’s old plates

There is a huge distinction here—if mom gifted you vintage china that’s been in your family for generations, you should be proudly displaying that in a china cabinet by your 30s. If mom gave you a mishmash of old plates from your childhood, including your favorite plastic plate with Tony the Tiger, it’s time to send those off to Goodwill. Instead, pick up your own set of dinnerware ($40) complete with matching plates, bowls and salad plates.

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Close-up Of A Dishwasher With Adhesive Notes Showing Broken TextAndrey_Popov/Shutterstock

That broken appliance

You know the one. Maybe it’s the dishwasher you claim you don’t even need, or the microwave that now doubles as storage—whatever it is, you need functional appliances so you make these classic recipes you should master in your 30s.

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colorful and texture from the row of plastic cupBejim/Shutterstock

Plastic drinkware

Drinking from the plastic cup you got from the movie theater as a 22-year-old? Genius way to save money. Drinking from that same cup as a 32-year-old? You can do better. Invest in glass tumblers ($45) and feel like the fancy thirty-something that you are.

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plastic packets of sauce served with Chinese food at American Chinese restaurantsBrian Yarvin/Shutterstock

Drawer of soy sauce packets

Living on late-night Chinese food is a staple of your 20s. Collecting soy sauce packets is just plain smart when you’re still learning how to cook on your own, but as you get older, that drawer full of soy sauce and ketchup packets starts to feel like a space waster—ditch the old packets and if you still need soy sauce, just buy your own bottle ($8). 

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Wine bottle and applesAleksey Boyko/Shutterstock

Empty wine and beer bottles

Heads up for whoever needs to hear this: Empty wine and liquor bottles are not kitchen decor. What seemed quirky in your 20s becomes an indicator of hoarding in your 30s. Stop displaying your empties and start displaying your full wine bottles with a functional piece of home decor that doubles as storage, like this rustic wall-mounted wine rack ($65).

Kate Ellsworth
Kate is an avid baker, knitter and writer. Her passions include Star Wars, stress baking and—of course—chocolate. When she's not chasing her partner around the house asking him to try her latest recipe, Kate is probably knitting (another) sweater.

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