CHARLES GRAHAM - Swamped with junk

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IF ever we had to move house we would need two vans: one for everything in all in the rooms and another for the contents of the attic.

Unfeasibly large amounts of grown-out-of toys and books, bags of children’s clothes and bedding we’ve never got round to sorting out; miscellaneous hand-me-downs of varying use and practicality, Christmas decorations; and all sorts of other rubbish which may or (probably) may not be of some use again one day make for a lot of stuff.

And amidst this bewildering hoard are quite a few gadgets, some we bought, others bought for us (all with good intentions) which really are wasting space. And these dusty relics were called to mind again this week with the publication of a list of Britain’s most useless household objects.

And while the table-topping bread-maker and fondue set are, miraculously, absent from the Graham garret, there are plenty of other items I can tick off.

For instance I know of a keep fit video lurking in a corner somewhere, so too a machine (a gift, I hasten to add) which massages your feet.

I was surprised not to see the George Foreman grill on the list. Ours has only been used once, and other folk we know who own up to having one have similar experiences.

There are several other bulky kitchen utensils which have barely been removed from their packaging, some of which were given at our wedding almost two decades ago.

This is partly due to a lack of space in the kitchen so once relegated to the loft there is less of a spontaneous incentive to get it out.

The one exception is the Paul Rankin slow cooker which is kept within easy reach from the ladder and gets used impressively regularly.

But what the redundancy of most contraptions boils down to (if you’ll pardon the pun) is that most folk don’t really need them unless they are cookery-obsessed.

A few pans for boiling veg, a couple of containers or trays for the oven, a basic set of food preparation cutlery items (knives, whisk, peeler and can-opener), a cooker and a microwave, and you’re just about set up for life.

I’m told that there’s something therapeutic in making your own bread (and perhaps your own pasta too - another popular discard) but when you can get these foods often better made and little cheaper in the shops, even more therapeutic would be to leave the kitchen and put your feet up with a book or watch the telly!

This should serve as a handy warning to any relatives wondering what (not) to get us for Christmas.