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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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.
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).
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).
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).
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).
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.
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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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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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.
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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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.
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.
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.
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).
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).