Thrift Store Unitaskers

by Katy on June 6, 2016 · 33 comments

The following is a reprint of a previously published post. Enjoy!

Like speciality items? You know, like bowls with the word “Salsa” painted on them. Bowls that could not possibly hold cereal or even some tortilla chips.

Nah, I didn’t think so. I’m kind of fond of household items that serve a number of purposes, and I’ve observed that thrift store donators seem to feel the same way. Because there sure are a lot of odd single use or Unitaskers items that clutter up the Goodwill shelves. For example:

This bowl is for popcorn. Popcorn only. Nothing else!

Chicken soup? Lentil soup? No, TOMATO SOUP ONLY!

Finally, I no longer have to be stumped as to where to keep my melted butter and corn on the cob. (My doctor recommended that I ingest a daily cup of melted butter. At least he said he was a doctor.)

Not one, but two pans dedicated exclusively to the incredibly difficult art of boiling up some pasta. Finally! Now. . . what will I use to cook soup?

You know what I hate about my multi-purpose vegetable peeler? It doesn’t take up enough space, has too few finicky parts and is too easy to keep clean. However can I solve this dilemma?!

Please people, stop buying this crap! Take the pledge — No more unitaskers! Please.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Elizabeth June 6, 2016 at 1:24 pm

Bravo to this post. Agree, agree, agree.


4TruLady June 6, 2016 at 1:58 pm

I don’t like Uni-Taskers either–however,…my Mother in law gave me a microwave rice cooker that is absolutely fantastic! Perfect rice in 13 minutes, every time.


Ann June 6, 2016 at 2:16 pm

Actually, I think you could take the melted butter pitcher and corn on the cob dish one step further by pouring said melted butter over the corn on the cob, creating a delicious, butter corn on the cub in a buttery bath.


Katy June 6, 2016 at 5:18 pm

That’s my favorite kind of bath!


Bee June 6, 2016 at 2:55 pm

This is making me re-think my kitchen. Fortunately, there are not too many unitaskers except the toaster.


LisaC June 6, 2016 at 2:57 pm

I agree! Its usually gifts that I end up with that are multitaskers. I keep them for a little while, then sell or donate them.

The one exception is my awesome avocado knife. My son gave it to me. It won’t cut me (a regular knife did once, in an unfortunate guacamole making accident), but it will cut an avocado, and it has a hole with sharp things that grasp the pit and you can pop it out easily.


Christa June 6, 2016 at 6:07 pm

I have a small kitchen so everything has to serve many purposes. But as a good Southern women I do have a deviled egg plate. Don’t judge!!


Jennifer June 7, 2016 at 4:05 am

Of course! I have one too, it was my great great grand grandmother’s. Antique, heavy and I love it.


4TruLady June 7, 2016 at 5:30 am

I have always wanted a nice, large deviled egg plate! I guess I’m not so completely anti-unitasker as I thought,….


JD June 7, 2016 at 6:20 am

There can’t be “dinner on the grounds” without at least one deviled egg plate in attendance! No judgment here.


Mary June 7, 2016 at 7:31 am

I also love my heavy antique deviled egg plate and make deviled eggs for every potluck that I attend. People depend on my deviled eggs. I read the Bed, Bath and Beyond catalogs for amusement. Talk about uni-taskers!


Bee June 7, 2016 at 9:59 am

Yes, a deviled egg plate and a really nice cake plate are a must in the South.


lee June 7, 2016 at 11:25 am

Welll…if you’re feeling creative, a deviled egg plate can be used as a serving tray for other things, as well! Mine is round, with an indented circle in the middle that is just the perfect size for a small bowl, so I have used it before to serve strawberries with melted chocolate, chopped veggies with sour cream dip, and so on. But I agree. Even if all it served was deviled eggs, I would still have it. =)


Deenie June 7, 2016 at 12:52 pm

Hahaha, Midwesterners have the deviled egg plate, too!


Ruby June 7, 2016 at 1:12 pm

I also have a deviled egg plate. Mine is shaped like a chicken and hangs on the kitchen wall when not in use. 🙂

And I do have both a toaster and a rice cooker, but my family considers toast one of the food groups and the rice cooker also goes a grand job of cooking quinoa, so they’re allowed.


Laura June 8, 2016 at 12:08 am

I had never heard of devilled egg plates! Now I want one…


Shannon June 8, 2016 at 6:06 am

New Yorker here. I have 2! 🙂 One was my husband’s grandmothers’s. It’s a beautiful leaded glass and the other was given to me by a friend who shares my love of deviled eggs! 🙂


Diane C June 6, 2016 at 6:24 pm

Um, DH came complete with a gizmo that looks kinda like that Rotato, only for apples. I love that damn thing! So much easier to eat an apple a day. I’m lazy like that, don’t want to cut that apple up and I’ve lost the thrill of eating them out of hand. Don’t worry, I eat the peels too, but one long string is stupidly fun to eat.
Yup, you’ve busted me for the (selective, but still) Unitasker that I am. But hey, it came with the husband, I didn’t pay for it, lol! You could even say I kept it out of a thrift shop, except that I Estate Saled all the duplicates when we combined households, so it wouldn’t have ended up anyway.
Oops, I thought I also love my pyrex covered butter dish. Garage saled of, course.


Rosa June 6, 2016 at 9:19 pm

An apple corer-peeler makes drying apple rings and canning applesauce so much easier. Second as a tool, if you’re stuck doing it all yourself, but first because they are so fun to use someone will almost always volunteer to help. If mine were broken, I would replace it. I don’t usually peel potatos but when we are having guests who expect peel-free mashed potatos, I use the corer peeler for that, too. It’s so much faster and less annoying!

I’m a big fan of the pasta pot with colander insert, too, especially for big-batch cooking – you can leave the hot water in the pot, dump out what you were boiling or blanching, and have already-boiling water for the next batch. Saves time and energy.


4TruLady June 7, 2016 at 5:32 am

LOL! You made my morning, especially with the “stupidly fun to eat” remark!!


Diane C June 6, 2016 at 6:33 pm

That last part was going to read: Oops, I thought of another unitasker I love. My Pyrex covered glass butter dish. Garage saled, of course.

We’re hauling free* furniture home in DH’s truck. We hit a bump, and my finger landed on the “Submit” button..

*Free furniture story – we just bought a house that we’re fixing up (ourselves) to be a rental. The previous owners left behind a desk that’s better than what we have at home, so we loaded it up and we’re hauling it seven hours home. So tecynically not free, but it didn’t cost extra, riiiiight?


Diane C June 6, 2016 at 6:34 pm

Arrrrgh, more bumps. Sorry.


Sarah June 6, 2016 at 7:04 pm

We eat a *lot* of fresh sweet corn in the summer and those corn dishes are the best to keep loading up the corn with butter. And corn without butter is just not right…


Sheila June 6, 2016 at 8:43 pm

Well I don’t have one of those apple peeler thingys, but last time I made an apple cobbler my hand was cramping up so by by the time I was done peeling, coring and slicing those apples I was wishing I had something like that. Just kidding. Sort of.


Rosa June 6, 2016 at 9:21 pm

They are great. Really, really great. The only issue I ever have with mine is that really uneven apples (like if there’s damage on one side so the core isn’t centered) don’t work with it. But that’s OK – we make rings with the symmetrical apples and crisp with the weird ones.


meg June 7, 2016 at 2:16 am

Unitaskers are only wasteful is you don’t use them, I think. I “gasp” have a bread machine and use it all the time. My bread just is better in it and I don’t have to heat up the oven in the summer.


Sarah June 7, 2016 at 4:40 am

My friend has a tomato soup bowl just like that; it’s part of a set each with a different soup recipe on the front. They’re the perfect size and shape for warn soups and chili. Of course, their family doesn’t deserve them for a single dish. I just had a bit of nostalgia remembering those bowls.


Sarah June 7, 2016 at 4:41 am

*reserve. They do deserve…stupid phone.


Mrs. Picky Pincher June 7, 2016 at 5:10 am

Hahaha, the potato peeler really got me! For a long time we were guilty of unitaskers just in our own home. We moved into a much smaller apartment this year and had to parse down a lot of stuff. I have to say, I don’t miss it! Think before you consume!


JD June 7, 2016 at 6:17 am

Unless I had KP duty at Fort Bragg, I doubt I would need a potato peeler like that monster machine. My little veggie peeler does that just fine, when I even bother to peel them, that is. But in my home area, where people have apple orchards or apple trees in the yard, many private homes use apple peelers as a necessity. I love to laugh at uni-taskers, but some DO make sense for some people. For instance, a pea-sheller. Go shell three bushels of acre peas by hand, and you can’t even bend your fingers anymore. My sister-in-law bought an electric sheller and we all used it for years. My turkey platter — we buy farm raised turkeys, which can reach 30 pounds, and they take a huge platter to hold them for carving. Actually, I could use that platter for everyday meals too, but it takes half the table and my normally-sized meat dishes would look mighty pathetic on it. A real nut-cracker — granted, you can use it for more than one type of nuts, so maybe it’s not a complete uni-tasker, but when the pecans are thick on the ground, nothing else will do but a good, reliable nut-cracker.
However, the uni-taskers like the banana and hotdog slicers, onion and tomato keepers, and eggshell crackers — what a waste of space, money and resources! I love when Katy finds the good ones like she did here. And I notice that I see a lot of uni-taskers donated and yard saled, as well.


Vickie June 7, 2016 at 6:19 am

Hahaha!! I must automatically avoid those items.
I don’t think I have anything in my kitchen that’s not multi-purpose. I use my whisk to crush crackers, in a measuring cup, for meatloaf, my potato masher is great for making guacamole and some of my soup bowls have handles, but we’ve used them for everything.
That potato peeler reminds me of a video I saw with a guy using a drill to do the same thing. LOL!!


Kim in Los Alamitos June 7, 2016 at 8:51 am

When you marry a man who’s nickname is ‘the gadget guy’, you have to make room in cupboards and drawers for these unique items. Two of the worst offenders, a
shrimp de-vainer and a microwave some-mores maker. After a few years of non-use, they made their way into the donate bag.
You know its bad when they bring home gadgets for the gadgets – yes, catalog companys really love my hubby. But so do I.


Marcia June 7, 2016 at 2:47 pm

Ok, I have a couple. A toaster, which does do bagels and English muffins. A pizzelle iron–don’t know how you could make pizzelles without one. A waffle iron–used to have one with interchangable sandwich grill/waffle iron, but the present one is smaller, just right for 2 people, but a unitasker. In fact my kitchen is so full of multi-tasking items that I have noted a couple wooden spoons whose handles grew shorter when my husband needed a piece of dowel that diameter.
Nothing is sacred around here.

I also have a bread machine but I use it for bread, rolls, pizza dough, hm bagels,
and I make about 98% of our breads, so I do find it useful. It’s my 3rd one and I’ve been making almost all our bread for at least 20 years.


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