20 Household Items Most People Have That They Don’t Really Need: A Readers’ Survey

Hip Diggs recently did a Facebook survey to discover that we all have things we think we need but don’t. The responses were interesting: everything from government to motorized bathroom scrubbers. Based on the survey, I put together a list of 20 household items most people have that they don’t really need.

kitchen-630790_1280 20 Household Items You Don't Need

Before I get to the list, I’d like to thank everyone who participated in the survey. I also need to point out that there’s absolutely no scientific method used here, just a few dozen random responses. There was enough agreement however, to create this list.

I’d also like to point out a few items that did not make it onto the 20 Household Items list, either because they were not actually household items, they were too obscure, or there was not enough consensus:

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to the list of 20 household items most people have that they don’t really need. Curiously, the majority of the responses were centered around the kitchen. I’ve discussed ways to simplify your kitchen in the post: 7 Habits To Keep Your Kitchen Clutter-Free

20 Household Items You Don’t Really Need

  1. Microwave oven: This was the most mentioned item in the discussion. I haven’t owned a microwave for almost 10 years. My food tastes better and it’s more healthy. 
  2. Dishwasher: This was the second most agreed upon item. I bought a house that came with a broken dishwasher. I recently replaced it for future home resale. However, I have to say that it saves me time and it uses far less water than washing dishes by hand.
  3. Trash compactor: What’s the point? I just use my foot. I’ve never owned one of these contraptions.
  4. Electric mixer: I thought they made spoons for that? Again, I’ve never owned an electric mixer. I could see the point if you do a lot of baking.
  5. Garbage disposal: My house came with one and it works. I use it, but soon I plan to do more composting for my garden.
  6. Sandwich maker: You know, one of those electric grill things for making grilled cheese sandwiches. I don’t own one. I just use a frying pan. Duh?
  7. Extra dishes: My mom used to have the regular dishes and the “good dishes.” We never used the good dishes.
  8. Napkin rings: Silly. Just plain silly. Don’t own any. Never will.
  9. Garlic Press: I bought one at a two-for-one kitchen utensil sale. I’ve used it twice, along with the potato masher.
  10. Paper towels: I’m guilty as charged.
  11. Plastic bags: Okay, I’m trying to get into the habit of carrying those reusable grocery bags. I need to put it on my New Year’s resolution list. Wait. I don’t do resolutions.
  12. Television: Most of those surveyed said “extra” televisions weren’t needed. We don’t want to give up TV completely. I’ve probably gone without TV more than with TV throughout my life. I currently own one, but it’s not a big-screen TV. Check out my post: 5 Reasons To Turn Off Your TV Screen.
  13. Lawnmower: Stop growing lawns and plant gardens instead. I’m taking a little bit of my lawn out each year. 
  14. Lawn fertilizer: See #13
  15. Snowblower: This especially makes sense if you live in Texas, Florida, or California.
  16. Clothes dryer: I’ve got one. One of my goals for 2015 was to air dry my clothes. I decided that wasn’t going to happen with a kid.
  17. Excess clothing: Some minimalists only keep one or two sets of clothing. I think five sets of clothing is more reasonable. I admit to having a bit more than that. I think less, but higher quality is best. I explain in this post: My Best Clothing Purchase Ever.
  18. Excess shoes: See #17
  19. More than one car: I only owned one car for years. I drive a VW Golf TDI. It gets 50mpg. Recently, I bought a little old pickup to use for landscaping, gardening, and hauling stuff to the dump. So maybe I’m not a true minimalist. I’m not ashamed. I live simple.
  20. A big house: I agree. I think we should all live in shoeboxes. Okay, small houses.

What Do You Have That You Don’t Need?

This list of 20 household items most people have that they don’t really need was Hip Diggs’ first reader survey. I hope to do some more reader surveys in the future. It was fun, engaging, and it helps to build the community.

In the meantime, I hope you get rid of some stuff you want but don’t need. If you want to learn more about Hip Diggs, my free ebooks, and the monthly newsletter, get started here:

Join Hip Diggs

Simple / Facebook / Twitter / RSS


  1. Good list. I stopped using my dishwasher, and I won’t have a built-in microwave when I move to a smaller house, so I might try living without it. I cook a lot, and the microwave is handy to help with that. Funny, I use my garlic press often–sometimes more than once a week. I’ve heard people mention slow cookers, but that’s another thing that I use often. To each our own, I guess! If we can let go of the things we don’t use, that leaves more room for the things that we do use!

    1. Hi Vicki, I use a slow cooker but not a microwave. I did replace the dishwasher in my house as much for resale value as anything else. I use it a couple times a week. I think “to each his own” is good as long as we’re thinking about our needs more than our wants.

  2. Years ago when I was younger and more energetic I used a waffle iron, kitchen aide mixer, lots of cake and jello molds, electric knife, etc. I don’t cook that much anymore now that I am retired. We are raising our 6 year old grandson but he is very picky what he eats and my husband will eat just about anything so my food preparation is very simple. I got rid of all the above accoutrement, except I got a small beater to replace the huge heavy Kitchen Aide mixer. I use my slow cooker A LOT so that eliminated the need for some of my big heavy pots. I used to have “good silverware” and dishes in addition to the everyday stuff. I got rid of those too and use the everyday stuff exclusively. I had the same experience as you with the garlic press. It is just easier to chop it with one of my 4 prep knives (pitched the knife block). The one thing I will never part with is my Vita-Mix blender.

    1. I still like my knife block. It keeps the knives organized and easy to find. The slow cooker, too, it’s something I use fairly often. I don’t own a blender though. But no matter what, it seems we all have had things in our kitchens that we don’t really need. Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Lana,

  3. I have 10 items in the summer and 11 in the winter. My son doesn’t use his car in the winter when he’s at uni so we use it. Which is good because it’s too dangerous for my DH to bike to work in the winter (we live in Ottawa). We also have a boat and an atv but we are selling those because we sold our chalet and we want to buy some kayaks. If the microwave dies we won’t replace it. We do use the blender almost every day for smoothies and soups. I have an immersion blender that I use for small portions. I’ve pared down my wardrobe to my comfort level which means it all fits into my bedroom closet, although I switch summer and winter. (Minimalism in a winter climate requires a little leeway I think 🙂 )

    1. I think it’s great that you spend half the year without a car! I’ve been being to work myself quite often, but have a kid in Jr. High School and still need a car. I’ve lived without a microwave for more than 6 years now. It’s really simple once you get used to it.

  4. The only item on that list I have is a television but it’s only used in limited amounts for specific reasons. Most of the other items we don’t have mainly because of space and the cost not because I am a goody two shoe. 🙂 It would make our life so much easier more efficient if we had a second car.

  5. I just remembered we do have paper towels. Not having a washer and dryer in our place is kind of an invitation for that. Having dirty laundry/rags piled in our space is not my cup of tea. It’s a trade off. We don’t use them exclusively, of course, but it’s a convenience we earned for not being able to easily wash materials anytime we want.

  6. Laughing as I live in the country on 5 acres which includes a pecan grove. I mow…a lot…but also have raised bed gardens. I spend mega time in the kitchen and though I don’t use them often, I do use most of the kitchen items on a regular basis. That said, I do live in a small bungalow and am quite minimalist in decor, clothing, and such. I try to use reusable containers but admit to using paper towels (a product I eschewed for years but they are just so darn convenient over the rag box I used to use). And I will NOT give up Toilet Paper….Sorry uber minimalists. This is a great list which I believe shows the varying nature and needs of your readers and I always appreciate your honesty and perspective.

  7. So I own just over half of the list. I could easily part with 2-the garbage disposal and that darn garlic press. My grandma used hers daily, the garlic press that is. I bought one thinking I would too, but as it turns out I’m lazy. I guess it’s more out of nostalgia and the memories of that crispy, buttery, oh so garlicky toast made with my lovely Italian grandma (from stale bread, of course, because wasting food was clearly a sin) that has me holding on to an un-used object. And yet, I still never take the time to use it or even buy fresh garlic for that matter. The minced stuff in the jar doesn’t even compare, but its the truth of what I really use. Beyond that, the one thing I know I don’t NEED, but absolutely love is my diswasher. My kids still talk about the time ours broke and I literally kissed the front of the new one when it got installed. I’ve definitely made an effort to reduce the use of the microwave, but its not going anywhere anytime soon. I use fabric bags and while plastic does come in, it gets re-puposed/re-cycled. I’m starting to see that my dependance on many of these items will undoubtedly change as the children leave my nest. While I do try to focus on a happy heart regardless of the task. For me, a huge piece of minimalism is creating a slower, more intentionsl life. Some of these items simply help save time. Time saved on things that don’t necessarily bring me joy, allows me more time for moments and people that do. Ultimately I should probably work on minimalism with my words. This post took on a life of its own. Anyhow…thanks for the thought provoking articles, Dan. I always enjoy them. Not a typical commenter, but an avid reader of your work. Keep the good stuff coming.

    1. Thanks, Brandy. I agree about slowing down and living a more intentional life. I also own a dishwasher and love it, but I can actually see that when my daughter is off on her own, that washing the dishes by hand could be part of a slow routine. We’ll see.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *