What unitaskers are lurking in your cupboards?

On Unclutterer, we have a humorous feature every Wednesday that highlights a unitasker. A unitasker is an object that has only one purpose and has very low utility for the majority of people. So, although an item like a fire extinguisher only has one purpose, it is not a unitasker because it has extremely high utility (we call these items single-use objects). An item like the Corn Kerneler, however, is a unitasker since its utility is well below that of a knife you already own or even a corn stripper.

One thing about unitaskers, though, is that they often are the perfect solution for one person. If they didn’t meet someone’s very specific need, there wouldn’t be a market for the device at all. I know there are a handful of unitaskers in my kitchen that other people would laugh if they saw, and you probably have a few, too. Instead of being embarrassed about our unitaskers, I think we should flaunt them. Let’s have a laugh together about the fun and ridiculous items we have lovingly made space for in our kitchens:

The SodaStream:

My husband and I like the sensation of drinking soda pop, but don’t love all the calories. Carbonated water is a wonderful alternative for us, and with this device we don’t have to buy bottles of sparkling water at the store. I’m sure everyone who sees the SodaStream in our kitchen thinks we’re weird that we don’t just drink tap water. I’ll admit, it’s a little abnormal, but it works for us.

ClickHeat Baby Bottle Warmer:

We got this item as a gift when my son was three months old, and we never once used it on his baby bottles. However, the gel pack snaps open to be flat, and so we use it whenever we need a heating pad. If we pull a muscle or break our nose (like what happened to me a year ago when my son accidentally head-butted me), the baby bottle warmer is a reliable friend.

Pasta Maker:

First things first, the official name of this pasta maker is the “Marcato Atlas Wellness 150 Pasta Maker.” I love that “wellness” is part of the device’s name. Cracks me up every time I pull it out of the cabinet. Anyway, homemade pasta is a lengthy process, I only make it a few times a year, and this pasta maker takes up a good amount of cabinet space. It works great, but buying dried pasta from the grocery store is really easy to do. Thankfully, I’ve learned how to use the pasta maker for dumplings, so it comes out of the cupboard a few more times a year than it did in the past. Still, I could use my tortilla press for dumpling skins and just buy dried pasta from the store if I’m in the mood for pasta … but, alas, I continue to hold onto this device.

So what unitaskers lurk in your cupboards? Share your unitaskers with us in the comments.

10 comments posted

  1. Posted by Jean - 06/06/2011

    Ehhh… We owe an appleslicer, it is very unitasky but helps to split apples quickly. Handy for children or when making apple pie. Somewhere deep down the drawer is a device that removes the middle from al fruit like apple, pear, pineapple. My mother has always had one too, so I bought one myself but wevrarwly use it.
    Is the thing that divides the yellow in the egg from the white a unitasker too? No idea what you call it, it is small. Rarely used. It is handy, after all.

  2. Posted by Elle - 06/06/2011

    I don’t think you can call the bottle warmer a unitasker technically since you have found an alternative use for it; even if you’re not using it for it’s original purpose. ;)

  3. Posted by infmom - 06/06/2011

    I have a similar pasta machine, that I’ve had for over 20 years. I did actually make noodles with it, back in the day. Now I use it for kneading polymer clay, a task for which it was designed. :)

    My home “unitasker” is a can colander–a small perforated plastic gizmo that fits inside a can of tuna to make it much easier to drain all the water out. I admit to using it all the time, since I drain as much water out of the tuna cans as possible, and save the drained-off tuna water in a glass jar in the fridge, for making all kinds of giant-sniff-inducing cat edibles seem like big time treats. A few drops of tuna water and the pickiest feline will be chowing right down on stuff they wouldn’t give so much as a tail wave to before.

  4. Posted by Charlotte - 06/06/2011

    I love how you threw in that you own a “tortilla press”. I’m assuming it’s not a unitasker as you use it to press other things?

  5. Posted by Rue - 06/06/2011

    I have one of the thingies to slice the kernels off of corn on the cob. I hate eating corn ON the cob, it gets stringy and sticks in my teeth and yuck! And whenever I go to Spring Creek, where their corn is only on the cob, to try to cut them off the cob with a butter knife and end up flinging corn at my dining companions or drop the knife on the plate/table/floor.

  6. Posted by Senora H-B - 06/07/2011

    I have three ice cream scoops. Sometimes I’m ashamed. But then I get over it when we have lots of people over and we need them to scoop various flavors. Or when there aren’t enough dirty dishes to run the dishwasher and I’m too lazy to wash the other scoop. I do use the small one for cookie dough, but still…

    There’s also the 12-setting collection of china in my cabinets. We use it maybe once a month, but I love it.

  7. Posted by Erin Doland - 06/07/2011

    @Charlotte — Ha! You’re totally right. The tortilla press is also a unitasker!! :)

  8. Posted by Rebecca - 06/07/2011

    I have a metal meat tenderizer we never use for meat. The only thing it is used for is crushing my son’s nightly meds so i can mix them into yogurt for him. So much easier than using the back of a spoon.

    We also have a humidifier that gets dusted off two times a year the kids get nasty chest colds. A unitasker, yes, but a must for us.

  9. Posted by Michele - 06/10/2011

    I have the pasta maker as well, but I do make pasta (usually, ravioli) at least once a month.
    I have a ‘melon baller’ but I use it for several other things; scooping out the center of zucchini so I can chop it up and add it to the mixture for stuffed zukes, taking the seeds out neatly for cucumbers and melons (of course) and I have a scale- but I do use it for mail, packages, and weighing measurements for baking….so I guess it’s not really a unitasker. :)

  10. Posted by Wendy - 06/13/2011

    I have a citrus peeler – you know, the plastic thingy that cuts just far enough into the peel, and the other end has the flat blade to get under the peel? I have a melon baller, and several other garnishing tools – one to make carrot curls, another to waffle-cut vegetables, another to make zigzag cuts (e.g., in grapefruit, melons, etc.).

    I also have two ice cream scoops, and I only really use one for ice cream. The second one is crappy and plastic and no good at all for ice cream, but it absolutely ROCKS at scraping the crap out of the inside of a pumpkin, for Halloween. Easier to hold and sharper than a spoon or similar.

    Does my wine decanter count as a unitasker?

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