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Hello! I'm Suzannah, a serious DIYer. Follow along with my DIY fixer upper house renovations, sewing and crafty projects, real food recipes, and de-stressing goals.
I co-host the Your Home Story podcast and believe you can love your home just the way it is, AND have the power to design and make big changes to make it better.
I'm also the author of DIY Wardrobe Makeovers!
New mom to baby Otto born April 2018!

Our unique kitchen essentials!

I have been wanting to share these tips since pre-kitchen reno!! I've been into cooking since high school and over time I've developed a handful of what I consider essential tools and tricks for using a kitchen. Check out this list, these may be new to you!!

10 unique kitchen essentials





  1. A small nontoxic nonstick skillet. Nonstick pans get scratched up so easily! And when they do you're supposed to throw them out. We've gone through so many of the black ones, I recently upgraded to a ceramic one like this and it's just magical! Jason, Otto, and I each eat eggs in the morning at different times and this one is SO easy to wash in between. Basically nothing sticks to it (we use a little butter first) but anything that does pops off as soon as you put water on it when it's hot. Incredible! We only use rubber tools on it, no metal, but it has been holding up super well too and has no scratches.
  2. The only bag clips that work. You need the clamp-style ones! The clothespin-shaped ones only keep stuff from coming out; they don't keep air from coming in and most food gets stale faster than you can eat it! We have these colorful ones from IKEA but I found these tasteful grey/white ones. Put them on chip bags, cereal bags, frozen food, cut veggies... such a good upgrade!!
  3. Scissors in every drawer. Every drawer!! This is a rule I grew up with (my parents totally had the right idea!). Now we keep sturdy ones that can cut meat, Otto's food, etc. in three drawers and regular paper scissors in three others so there's always a pair handy when opening a package or cooking. We have enough that we can put them in the dishwasher when dirty and still be able to find some next time you need them. I don't know how people live without scissors around... I hate poorly torn plastic packaging, stuff spills out, you can't close the bag as easily again... life is chaos without tools like scissors.
  4. Non-ugly, non-broken cooking tools. Until very recently I had these neon colored, chipped rubber spatulas with warped wood handles and was still using them. Why?!!? We upgraded to a set like this and cooking has been so much more enjoyable!!
  5. Onion cutting board. If you've ever eaten cantaloupe that was cut on the same cutting board as onions and garlic, you know this problem. I'm very sensitive to smell and taste so I can always tell! Use a small, distinctive cutting board (I love acacia wood ones like this and these) and let everyone in the house know it's only for onions and garlic (or things they don't mind tasting like same). This is preferable to Sharpie-ing "ONION" on a cheap bamboo cutting board like I did for years.
  6. A pretty colander. Put it on your open shelves, in a corner on your counter, in a cabinet with glass doors... they're an essential piece of cooking equipment that can double as decor if you upgrade from a plastic one. This one comes in so many colors! (but you know I love white).
  7. The blender of all blenders. We got a Vitamix yeeears ago, a refurbished version of a basic model, and it's never failed us. I think we have 3 pitchers for it but we always just use the shorter plastic one. It's the perfect size for smoothies, blended buttery coffee, and even blended soups. I've made smoothies at other people's houses a few times since switching to one of these and let me tell you, other brands of blenders do not compare. They are nothing to the Vitamix. It's so powerful and fast at making perfectly blended smoothies!! I make this protein smoothie a lot and am thankful for the Vitamix every time. And the pitcher is so easy to clean, you can put soap and water in it and blend for a few seconds!
  8. Multi-size stretch lids. Plastic wrap is such a pain compared to these reusable, multi-size stretch lids. They're so great to put over bowls, drinking glasses, baking dishes, etc. and you just pop them in the dishwasher when done. A genius invention!! I've used the beeswax wrap too but I think these are much easier for standard round containers. 
  9. Upgraded dish brushes. We threw out our plastic IKEA dish brushes and switched to wood or bamboo handle ones and have never looked back. I don't want more plastic in my life in genera, but these sit out on the counter, for goodness' sake! We did a whole kitchen renovation, no way I'd want to put bright green plastic out the counter in such a pretty setting! But even pre-kitchen reno, I was converted. These brushes are beautiful and functional. Feels so fancy but it's not an upgrade in terms of cost, just design!
  10. Big crocks. We have three of these of different sizes in our kitchen and they are so great. We use them for 1) utensil crock-sized one for holding the dish brushes and steel wool, 2) compost/kitchen scraps, 3) thin film plastic recycling. We collect plastic produce bags, those blue/white Amazon bubble mailers, etc. in a bag inside a HUGE ceramic vase on the counter and I take them to Home Depot or Target or whatever when it gets full for recycling. If we had a big recycling cabinet we'd put them in a plastic trash can there, but we don't, so we keep a big, beautiful vase out all the time. I love to keep my counters clear but too clear is boring, so I love large, washable, functional storage like a ceramic crock here and there. Of course you can also put your new pretty wooden spoons/spatulas in one by the stove, or some kind of snack or packet that doesn't need to be enclosed. I encourage you to think of ways to store functional, less pretty things in beautiful ways like this! I linked some fave LARGE crocks below and in the collage. 
Are these new to you?? Hope you're feeling inspired!

P.S. For links, sources, budget, DIY tutorials, and more for our kitchen reno click here.

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