Difficult downsizing decisions

As I was packing up the kitchen for our big move, I came across a slicer that went in the cabinet a year ago and has not been touched since. Clearly I don’t need it. Or do I?

When I put the slicer in the eBay pile, my husband asked why I was getting rid of it.

“I haven’t used it since before we moved in. Why should I keep it?”

He pointed out that the new apartment will have a much larger, more usable kitchen so it won’t get buried in the depths of an unusable cabinet. Plus, I’ve recently discovered jicama, which requires peeling and slicing. Using the slicer will make Sunday afternoon preparations for weekly lunches a lot easier on me.

I agreed to pack the slicer and bring it to the new apartment with the stipulation that it must be used in the next 3 months. If it goes unused, it gets eBayed. Now I just need to put a sticker on it with a date in September so I know when the three months are up and get rid of it…unless it becomes my new favorite kitchen tool.

26 Comments for “Difficult downsizing decisions”

  1. posted by Springpeeper on

    Ebay it and just use a (multitasking) knife.

  2. posted by Catherine on

    If you don’t want it, I’ll buy it! I have an old, plastic V-slicer which really needs to be replaced but nice ones are so expensive.

    We use ours all the time. I used it last night to slice orange slices for a chicken dish I made. Plus jicama… Love jicama. I also use it to make sweet potato chips, or any kind of chip, for that matter. This is one unitasker I would never want to be without.

  3. posted by Jasi on

    Even a fabulous slicer disk on my (recently departed) monster processor doesn’t produce neat slices. I am debating replacing my monster with a smaller processor and a mandoline. Even though it’s two objects replacing one, I think the quality of slices, safety and easy of use, clean up and storage might make up for the addition.

  4. posted by Marc on

    If you are in the process of a move you may want to consider making “questionable” boxes rather than just a sticker. When we recently completed our move we placed a number of itmes in boxes and decided not to unpack them with the assertation that if we didn’t need them in 6 months we would get rid of them.

    Which reminds me…time to unload thoes boxes at a charity the time limit is up.

  5. posted by young c-m on

    Yes, it’s a unitasker, but I love my slicer as well. I largely use it to slice apples for apple pie, and potatoes, to put into soups. Hmm, maybe I’ll make a pie this weekend…

  6. posted by Meghan on

    I make this one recipe – Eggplant Rollatini – where you have to slice eggplant really thin lengthwise. It’s impossible to do with a knife. If you have the space, I say keep it. Even if you only use it a few times a year, it just makes certain things so much easier!

  7. posted by Heather on

    I use mine to slice apples for homemade apple chips. Granted it does sit in my cabinet for most of the year, but there is no other way I’d be able to get those perfect thin slices!

  8. posted by HMR on

    I recently pulled a “three month” rule on two items that multiply in my home when I am sleeping – shoes and bags. I placed a sticky note on or in every bag and every pair of shoes in my house, dated 06/15. If I use the item I remove the sticky note. Any items that are still “tagged” on 09/15 get the old heave-ho.

    It was quite a relief to take the decision making process out of my own hands. Now instead of arguing about how I might need such-and-such pair of shoes, I can prove it to myself (or not) with very little effort or stress.

  9. posted by Eric F. on

    Hi, love the website, really straight-to-the-point and easy to read.

    Isn’t your decision process dictating the outcome? From the reading of the article, it seems that the decision to ebay it is already taken: you put it in the ebay pile, your husband removed it and convinced you, you put it in the keeper pile and put a sticker on it so that in september, you will get rid of it.

    The planning is made for an end decision : if I don’t use it by X date, i’ll discard it. Remember that the way we plan things (getting rid of it by the day X UNLESS I use it) generaly gives the outcome.

    This planning process is geared toward getting rid of the item. How about a different plan? How about I will use it on this, this and that jicana on those specific date and evaluate the outcome if it’s better to keep it. That way, the planning process forces an evaluation in the new environment.


  10. posted by Elaine on

    ah, my fiance and I had an argument over this very device. He asked whatever happened to my hating gadgets and unitaskers?

    I don’t care if it’s a unitasker. At least once a week I think to myself while doing some food prep, damn, I wish I had a mandoline. I am putting it on our gift registry whether he likes it or not.

  11. posted by Erin Doland on

    My apologies to everyone (and especially Teri!), but I accidentally posted this article under my name instead of Teri’s. ACK!!! Everything is up and correct now, but oops! Teri definitely gets credit for this one!

  12. posted by Mer on

    Hang on to it and definitely try to make sweet potato chips with it. Yum!

    Your husband has a point. With more space, it might be easier to get to and you might actually use it. Of course you should put a sticker on it and get rid of it if you don’t use it in 3 months. That’s very reasonable.

  13. posted by Katie on

    I consider a mandoline type slicer a must, but I use mine more. We should all be eating more salads, I think.

  14. posted by Tiffany on

    There’s a huge difference between a unitasker that makes your life easier (because it’s a task you need to do frequently) and a unitasker that just takes up space. Mandolines are great if you need a lot of slaw/thin slices, waffle irons are handy if your family’s tradition is waffles for Sunday brunch, and garlic crushers are good if you (like me) put garlic in everything.

    Also, homemade potato chips are made of win and awesome.

  15. posted by Martin on

    An alternative method to finding out if you ever use the gadget would be to set yourself a reminder in your reminder system of choice. For me, I prefer “I Want Sandy” because I genuinely find it the most uncluttered reminder system. I set the reminder by email and Sandy emails my reminder back to me at the right time. So in this case I’d probably take out my iPhone and type “remind me to eBay slicer if I haven’t used it in three months” as a new email to Sandy. Doesn’t require a new calendar (more clutter) or new software (more clutter).

    The reason I suggest this is that I could imagine that if you never use the slicer at all, it’ll sit peacefully undisturbed with its sticker for years, unless you are reminded of it.

  16. posted by Journeyer on

    That’s a great way to deal with “undecideds”. I usually stick them back in the cupboard and forget about them all over again.

    I use my slicer at least once a week. While there are other tools that do a similar job, it’s a real timesaver.

  17. posted by Bex! on

    I want to use our mandolin enough to feel very justified in having it. However, most of the time I think of using it, I decide it’s much simpler to use a knife, then to have to wash all those pieces, make space on the counter to sue it, etc. Still, I really want to like it.

  18. posted by mercurial scribe on

    I so need to do this. We’re moving in a few months and we definitely need to purge.

  19. posted by KateNonymous on

    I got a mandoline as a wedding present, and it’s still sitting on the shelf in its box. Just recently I thought about getting rid of it, but then I thought, “We’re going to move later this year, and wherever we wind up will include a bigger kitchen.” This reinforces my decision to keep it–I do think I’ll use it when I have a place to do so. If not, I can get rid of it then.

  20. posted by A.T.O. on

    I have this very same slicer/mandolin, and I love it! I just have to remember to make a point to actually use it – and once I remember to, I remember how much I LOVE it! It’s so perfect for summer (yellow) squash and zucchini… We also like to use it to make ultra-thin onion rings, and then we saute them to caramalize the onions, and boy they are TASTY!

    It doesn’t take up THAT much room, after all. 🙂

  21. posted by helix on

    I like my mandolin too. It gets used just barely enough to justify a place in the kitchen. It can’t be beat it when it comes to making very thin slices of fennel, carrots, and potatoes.

    Just remember to always use the safety holder thing. Using your bare hands to run veggies across the blade is dangerous (I speak from personal experience!).

  22. posted by Kevin (ReturnToManliness) on

    This is yet another good reason to move occasionally. My wife and I have been on the every 2 year plan since the new tax laws for real estate came into affect. Every time we move, we realize just how much stuff we gathered for no reason whatsoever. I didn’t think about putting the sticker on the item though.

    One thing we have done is prioritize our packing. We don’t unpack a box unless we need to. If it is still not unpacked after 6 months, the contents go under death watch and will most likely end up on ebay, craigslist, garage sale or thrift store…

  23. posted by verily on

    That sounds like a good idea, labeling it and giving it a deadline basically.

    It wouldn’t work in my situation, where the mandolin gets heavy use in the summer and next to no use the rest of the year. I use it for processing lots and lots of cucumbers/squash.

  24. posted by Geoff E on

    Ironically, I was just looking to buy one. I think that, like many tools, only a high quality one is useful. A good mandolin can slice some artful shapes, save you time, and is easy to clean. A bad one fails to cut, wobbles about, and then breaks.

    As to Kevin’s earlier post, we just moved and the kitchen is about to be blown away. So we only unpacked kitchen utensils as we needed them (since they will be repacked soon). It has been amazingly informative.

  25. posted by Alex Fayle on

    I loved reading this post – great job on the decision process! The trick now, as others have said, is to remember to review your space in three months…

  26. posted by Gretchen on

    As I have been engaging in some serious uncluttering, I have been facing similar decisions, but for a very different reason – I misplace things all of the time. So, I am forever facing the question of – Did I not use this because it’s not something that I would use or did I not use it because I couldn’t find it. I have been using the deadline approach and so far, it’s working well. If noting else, it takes the “sting” out of getting rid of something that you never used.

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