Rental wish list

Remember, I share a post about things I’d like in my future home?  Well, now that I’m looking for a rental, some of these might be ‘for real’ soon enough.  Though I think the fireplace is highly unlikely in inner city Sydney apartments…

quirky apartment features

From top right: out of our price range, quirky and a building I almost bought in, sunshine, and a potential cross breeze

Here’s the list I drafted with the BF

  • sunshine: my dark loft is just too dark.  Sunshine makes me happy
  • train station proximity: we both prefer trains to buses, and my work is on a train line
  • 2 bed or 1 bed + study: the premise for moving from my place to our place is to gain some space (or a location I can escape the snoring!)
  • crazy: the bf’s way of saying x-factor or character.  Something that makes the place better than ordinary
  • car space: the bf’s car is lovely, and street side parking has already resulted in some damage
  • grocery adjacent: given how good I’ve got it now, I know I’m unlikely to enjoy such an easy walk to all the shops!
  • secure: my current neighbourhood isn’t known for it’s safety!  The bf wants to be sure we feel safe
  • storage: I’m used to a full height pantry AND a linen closet, and then a storage niche.  I’d like to be sure I can relocate all these items easily into a new place
  • big kitchen: we currently trip over one another when cooking in his U shaped kitchen, so it’d be great to have something more open
  • cross breeze: the bf’s rental had a great summer cross breeze, that beats any fan.  I don’t like the chances of finding the same again, but it’s something to be mindful of.  And I would love a bathroom with a window, but realise they are uncommon in inner city apartments
  • air conditioning: I think that snuck onto the list when I wasn’t looking. Tut tut.  And we’d talked about double fans (when we combine ‘stuff’)
  • easy to move in/out: yeah, no body loves moving, but this isn’t our ‘forever’ home.  If it’s easy to move into, it’s easy to bring groceries home…

The bold options are the non negotiables and a starting point.  The rest will act as a guide.  But, guiding as they may be, places go FAST in Sydney, so we might need to up our ante. I started looking on Monday morning, and when I called Tuesday morning, the place had two offers and they wouldn’t consider more applications, or show it again.  Talk about fast! They didn’t even list an inspection time online (which is usual).  Anyhow, I did ring her, offer to drink with her (it was in context) and otherwise befriend her – cause there’s no harm in building rapport!

This was going to be the end of the post, but then we looked at two properties (one is pictured above). Both are in warehouse conversions, but in neighbouring suburbs.  Both happened to be on the building’s top floor (3rd or 4th story, not super high) For my thought process, I’ll share these with you:

Daytime property viewing


  • lots of light, especially downstairs
  • good kitchen storage & gas cooktop!
  • a linen closet!
  • a block to the train (and opposite my close friend’s house)
  • 2 bathrooms
  • both bathrooms have windows (light + ventilation)
  • exposed wooden beams upstairs in the bedrooms and bathroom
  • beautiful wooden stairs and entry
  • vacant – could move in anytime
  • air conditioner in the bedroom
  • cross breeze possible downstairs
  • within our discussed budget


  • midget sized wardrobes – due to
  • sloping rooflines
  • small bedrooms
  • a bit of a walk to grocery store
  • no window coverings
  • no power, so couldn’t check light fittings (known to be bad in this building)

Evening property viewing


  • HUGE generally
  • new kitchen with drawers
  • new bathroom
  • more wardrobes than I could imagine ever needing
  • new wooden floors in living areas
  • warehouse conversion
  • close walk to a shopping centre
  • lovely leafy neighbourhood (I’ve always said ‘I want to live here’)


  • just ‘a bit too far’ to the train station
  • may be dark (we’ll go back for a daytime viewing)
  • priced a little higher than we budgeted (but not above what we could afford)
  • small bathroom
  • no dryer provided (yet)
  • difficult to access washing machine taps (just a one time bother)
  • carspace less safe
  • small bedroom windows

So which way will we go? Or will we abandon both and look at some more?  Either way, I’m sure to share photos of my new home in due course!  Oh, and pick which one you think I prefer…

I interrupt regular broadcasting…

… to bring you breaking news!

I’ll soon have one more person living in my place 😀

The BF’s lease is up in two short weeks (sort of caught him by surprise), so he plans to move to my place to buy us some time while we hunt for the ideal rental.  We both think it’d be best to have ‘our’ place, rather than ‘my’ place, cause let’s face it, I know I can be a little particular!  There’s so much to organise, in the next two weeks, and then looking forward from there, I thought I’d share my list with y’all

The next two weeks

  1. Get spare cardboard boxes from work/fruit & vege shop for the BF to pack
  2. Make space in my wardrobe for his clothing
  3. List all BF’s bigger ‘stuff’ (furniture etc) with measurements
  4. Make space in my house for his furniture (and a plan for what’ll be at mine in the short-term)
  5. Speak to my parents about temporarily storing some of the BF’s furniture
  6. Go to open for inspections – see the places, but review the leasing agents…
  7. Make inquiries with agents about renting my place, and the likely rent
  8. Make a budget – rent I’ll receive, bills for my house, bills for a new place, rent I can pay out, savings goals
  9. Work out suitable rent/cost sharing between me and BF in the interim period Half of what my neighbours pay
  10. Speak to my cousin about borrowing his trailer for move day 1 Find a car with a toe bar first!
  11. Collect details on utilities etc for BF to cancel/change his address
  12. Book cleaner to do ‘final clean’ at BF’s place (then I’ll likely want to stay there!) Saturday/move out day
  13. Book in accountant (for tax) and discuss best $ options with house/loan etc
  14. Bore readers with inventory posts 🙂
  15. Share my new rental ‘wish list’ with readers, and my ‘what I (inadvertently) love about my current place’

After finding a new place

  1. Procure even more boxes
  2. Start packing up my house
  3. Patch holes and paint (ie Lack hanging shelves, maybe hanging birdcages?)
  4. Switch-a-roo washing machines (? Leave bf’s at my place, and take mine to new place, perhaps)
  5. Set up new utilities
  6. Advise all of change of address (yikes, but I’m good at it now!)

I’m sure there’s more for this list – so suggest away! And ask questions too, cause that’ll prompt my brain!

Is my house an Ikea showroom?

I really hope not!!

But then I thought, what is from Ikea?

So another photo essay it is.

PS none of the links are affiliate, but to help you should you want to source anything.  I’ve tried to link to Australia’s Ikea, as a more factual reference to the prices.

    • Bed – Malm Queen Bed in Dark brown, which I don’t think is a colour they still do
I think my bedhead isn't totally centred on the wall, oh well.

Ikea Malm bed with Malm hacked bedhead

Ikea Kasset blue

Storage underneath and my perfect bedside height

    • Box for elevating the fan (stolen from the parent’s house!) – the cute Hol – I love that lattice pattern and it’s stood up to many years of service!
Ikea Hol

I love the lattice pattern, and it’s strudily built!

    • Bedroom curtains – Vivan for the sheers (not shown below), and Sanela is a red velvet (which is out of stock, and the tops of mine are different to this new model), all on the awesome Kvartal triple track system
Ikea Sanela Red

More colourful than a hotel room.

    • Smalls storage – Skubb boxes, but bought years ago to fit in a wardrobe hanger thing
ikea skubb

On the floor of my wardrobe live my ‘smalls’

    • Lighting – the kitchen has discontinued and the living room has the PS Maskros
Ikea light fitting

Ikea’s flowery light fitting

      • Kitchen table – I bought this second hand from the old tenant, but it’s a Sanfrid table top and Adils legs (I think?)
The perfect table to compliment my stainless steel benchtops

The perfect table to compliment my stainless steel benchtops

    • Semi-armchairs – found in a thrift store, so I forgot they were Ikea’s Nils
Doesn't everyone have one of these?

Doesn’t everyone have one of these lamps?


The other chair

    • Salvaged trolley – from the kerb! But the real deal is the Bekvam
    • Magnetic notice board – sort of like the Spontan, but different
Bekvam trolley found on the roadside

The trolley was a kerbside find! The noticeboard was not

    • Lamp in the dining area
A thrift store find, but from Ikea orginially

A thrift store find, but from Ikea orginially

    • Lamp in the living area – I swear everyone has one of these, Dudero, it’s $15!! (Maybe it’s the cool name? Shown in the Nils chair photo above)
    • Second hand entertainment cabinet – the Besta, didn’t realise he was Ikea til someone told me (can be seen in the lighting picture above)
    • Side tables/stools – love the double duty Marius, and the limited edition teal colour of them
Ikea marius stool

Stool or side table, it works double duty for only $6!

    • Floating shelves in the entry way – those little Lack’s
Entry way with floating shelves

Entry way with floating shelves

    • Bathroom bin – love the shiny Rundel (til it’s not of course!)
Ikea Rundel bin

So shiny and easy to use!

    • Kitchen bin – so cheap at $3, you can’t go past Fniss (just why did I buy the white one?)
Ikea bin

Kitchen bin – with no wet waste, being unlidded doesn’t matter.

    • Stationary storage set of nine drawers
Covered drawers

Stationary etc drawers

    • Blue platters
A thrift shop find, and I love them true

A thrift shop find, and I love them true

    • Bedroom lamp shades (Jara)
Metallic bulb lamp base

Just the shade is from Ikea

What do you think? Do I have more than the average (keeping in mind, I was a ‘poor student’ until 2009)?

I’m pretty happy with the smattering of things I have, but I do wonder at what cost to societies and the environment where these things might have been made.

Food memories from boarding school (& eating out summary)

Firstly, I thought I would check in with my June eating out spend – a pre cursor to July’s challenge not to eat out at all.  There’s a few ways to look at the stats – what I would have paid, should I have ‘split’ everything to my share/their share.  In this case, based on a 30 day month, I spent 6.28% of my usual take home pay (I didn’t factor in the recent additional overtime etc).  If I’d paid for every meal, I’d be up for 12.54% (which would include a dinner for family five!) – without that family dinner, it’d be 8.08%.  Well under my earlier predictions  – I remember blogging about my grocery spend in February, where I predicted I spent 12-16% on eating out – and I wasn’t wrong in the first two weeks.

The first week, I came at 12.54% (this was when I was away for a weekend).
The second was 12.14% – a very modest improvement.
Weeks 3 came in at 8.11% &
Week 4 was about 7.2% (because I did these on Sunday morning, then got coffees, and then some sushi.  D’oh!)

Eating out expenses as a percentage of take home pay

Eating out expenses as a percentage of take home pay

Weeks 1 and 4 are truncated as my week’s are done running from Wed to Tue based on pay cycles.  It just makes sense to me).  This compares to the 4% I usually spend on groceries (a six month average, and a break down on what I buy is here).

What do I think of my spending?  It’s up to 3 times my grocery spend.  But in a real dollar terms, I see it and think ‘well that’s not *that* much’.  In any case, it’ll be a healthy bump to my savings each week until the end of July.

Here’s a split by meal type:

Eating out spend by category

Eating out spend by category

As for July, I have been invited to a birthday dinner, and RSVP’d yes.  I think it’s $95 a head.  So that will happen, but otherwise, the take out coffees, dinners and lunches, all nixed.  And being the morning of Day 1 – already challenges, as my meal preparation on Sunday night wasn’t completed.  There may be some very bland rice cracker or Cruskits in my lunchtime future, as I couldn’t find any of the spreads, other than honey, which I’m trying to avoid til the end of July.

Now to talk about the days when eating out would have been luxury!  My memories of boarding school food, but first some background

I spent 7 years in boarding school, when I was 10-13, and again from 14-17 (so I had a year off in between).  My parents started by moving to Vanuatu, a small pacific island, and my dad’s employer paid for my schooling.  When my parents returned to Brisbane, I was devastated to be a day girl   So when they moved to Wollongong (a town 1 hr from Sydney), I was asked if I wanted to stay in Brisbane, or go to school in Wollongong or Sydney.  Wollongong didn’t offer an Anglican all girls school, so it’s likely I would have had to go to a school in Sydney.  A 2 hr daily commute is rough on a teenager, so it’s possible I may have been a boarder in Sydney.  But sometimes the devil you know is better than anything!  So I went back into boarding school in Brisbane, and was there til graduation!

Boarding school wasn’t a punishment, for me or almost all the other 180 girls.  We loved the camaraderie, and the opportunities – you can play so many sports, and there’s no car pooling in most cases.  That being said, some boarding school stereotypes are definitely true! The food was… not ideal!  In the 7 years I was in the boarding house, they had a few moments of ‘tarting up’ the food – it was all laid out like it was a photo shoot.  For Melbourne Cup (a horse race that stops the nation) they put out a spread with non alcoholic wine, even.  It was stolen.  It was a coup.  Anyhow, these times of improved conditions seldom lasted.

What has pervaded are these memories:

– White bread + butter + sugar at the dinner table

– Orange halves + sugar (you think they’d learn to not put sugar on the tables, right?)

Photo shoot with readers in mind (or... making OJ for a sick BF)  Oh the synergies

Photo shoot with readers in mind (or… making OJ for a sick BF) Oh the synergies

– The best dessert ever: caramel tarts.  And running to afternoon tea the following day in the hope of leftovers

They looked *just* like this! source:

They looked *just* like this!

– Icecream bars, wrapped in papery/plastic on Fridays

– Blueberry muffins for breakfast

– Crumpets, English Muffins and raisin toast added to weekend breakfasts

Oh the added toasting variety!

Oh the added toasting variety!

– Bacon and eggs on chapel mornings (Thursday and Sunday)

– Beef stronganoff looking like dog food, namely PAL (remember I mentioned this in my food dislikes list?)

– Creamed rice always resulting in rumours of maggots (especially after numerous repeat servings!)

– Milo (chocolate malt milk powder) stuck to benchtops

– Never having access to a microwave

It’s always interesting to speak to other who went to boarding school.  One friend has struggled with eggs ever since.  What about you?  What are your food memories – particularly institutionalised food!

20 things about me (100th Post)

To mark the 100th post, I thought I’d let you know a little more about me… with a list of random facts.

1. I sleep with a teddy bear, Jessie, whom I’ve had since I was 1.  I’m 28 now.  She’s not doing so well.  But I love her (and now, I know the difference between her and she and he and him! Man did I struggle with gender pronouns when I was young)

2. I spent 7 years at boarding school in Brisbane, QLD, Australia whilst my parents lived in Vanuatu and Wollongong, NSW

3. I have a Cert III in Floristry, even though I work as an engineer.

4. I prefer trains to buses, but try to walk if it’s possible.

5. I’ve never drunk Coke in my life – well, not more than a sip.

6. Despite having typing lessons at 11 (in Vanuatu, no summer camps there!) I learnt more typing on MSN at 14!

7. I have 4 email addresses, I think…

8. I played both cello and trombone in school.  But not once since.  I don’t even really miss it.

9. I’m the eldest of three, with two brothers.

10. I didn’t get my full unrestricted drivers licence until I was 23 (and working in my career – seems like it took me less time to get a Bachelors degree!)

11. I’m liberal minded about almost anything, except illicit drugs.

12. I grew up wanting to be a pilot.  After I rejected the air force, and self funding, I thought I’d do forensic chemistry.  So… how’d I end up as an engineer?

13. I’ve never owned a car.  The one I share with my brother was inherited from my non-driving Grandma, and was ‘bought’ by my mother for $1.

14. I’m scared of swimming with fish. I’m not sure when I ‘got’ this fear, as I snorkeled up to age 12 in Vanuatu without any panic attacks, but since then… well…

School of fish - they are on the borderline of freaking me out!

School of fish – they are on the borderline of freaking me out!

15. In school, I played: netball, hockey, water polo, volleyball & ball games (ain’t that quaint?), I also swam and was in athletics in primary school.

16. I’ve visited 34 countries (more than one a year, on average)

17. Back to cars, I’ve never hired a car.  I used to think it was to avoid the under 25 surcharge, but I’m no longer under 25

18. For years, I thought they said ‘Thank Peter God’ not ‘Thanks be to God’ after the gospel in church (silly billy)

19. I love to sing along to the radio in the car – the louder the music the better really!

20. I’d never want to be famous – I can’t imagine anything worse than my photo on billboards and in magazines, and being interviewed and the like.  Maybe that’s why it took me a while to get on the blogging bandwagon.

Thanks to anyone who’s come across from Cassie’ blog Tales and Trenches, and should you be looking for a brownie recipe only, I’d like to suggest mine 😉

Why I’m not plastic free

I think about my trash more than any 28 year old probably should…  And then I share these weird and wonderful thoughts here.  😀

So I started thinking about what were ‘repeat’ offender in my trash and what changes I could be making, or need to plan to make.  And then there are plastic items that I won’t replace, as I already have them, but am mindful of.  Here’s what I have

Things I could improve/substitute

  • razors: when the disposable type run out (and I do use them for many many more times than usual), I’ll look for a metal handled replacement.  Even something that you only change the blades in would be an improvement
  • floss: silk thread is the best alternative, so I need to purchase some soon.  See, it’ll either be unwrapped (and is that hygenic?) or it’ll be plastic wrapped.  you can’t win can you!  I’ll update you on this in coming weeks – I’ve only tried it once
  • toothbrushes: when my supply of plasticy French toothbrushes die, I will look into more natural alternatives, most likely bamboo.
  • cotton buds: The World Without Us was graphic enough to let me know those little plastic tubes are no good, so I’ll buy more from GoBamboo when I find a stockist in this city
  • tampons: for the few men, I won’t go into details, but I could do without individually wrapped items.
  • blister packs from tablets: not sure i”ll ever find a work around here!
  • bandaids: again, is there a recyclable/low waste option
  • straws: rarely I’ll buy a drink with one. I should ask for them without straws, or buy a metal or glass straw
  • cutlery: I have a bamboo set, perhaps they should be in the handbag at all times (given you saw what’s in my handbag)
  • sushi trays: I need to BYO my plate or similar I think…  Possible – yes? Probable – no!  Still, as I tick things off this list, it might seem easier.
  • dish sponges: I prefer sponges, and I know you can buy compostable ones from cellulose.  Surely there’s a supplier closer than this one in Canada?
  • sticky tape: there’s paper tape? I need to find out more and get me some!  Although it’s main use is gift wrapping which isn’t that often

Things I can’t seem to get around

  • jars: and the need to put a plastic seal around the rim.  Do they not trust the brilliance of the pop top seal?

Compromises I make

  • Yoghurt and sour cream pots: these come in reusable containers.  I know ideally food + plastic don’t work, but I’m just not at the ‘make my own’ stage.  And at least I pick the options where I have a container I can reuse over and over, rather than just recycling
  • Zip Lock bags: Firstly, i don’t buy them.  I buy frozen berries and the like, that come in them.  Then I reuse them.  It’s just so easy to buy bulk flours like this than with a huge (heavy) jar
  • Pump packs: Like liquid soaps, this is the easiest dispensing method.  I just buy them like this, and then refill when I need.  Of course the refills are usually also in a recyclable plastic bottle

Longer(-ish) lifespan plastics

  • Coat hangers: I could have decided to fill my closet with plastic.  I could have gone wood/metal and maybe that’s an option for the future.  But I like the consistency I have now.
  • Fan: It was a gift, I would have otherwise sourced a more metal based fan
  • TV/DVD/Radio: Can you buy these items non plastic? How would you make a remote control?  In the meantime, I’ll live with these luxuries
  • Blender/food processor/hand blender: I just can’t seem to find plastic free options, but two outta three were ‘freecycle’ finds rather than new purchases
  • Pantry storage containers: I make the (potentially faulty) assumption that i’m not heating the plastics I store flours and other bulk items in, therefore it’s ok?

Waste Wednesday weigh in(s)

Last week, I came in at 254g (compared to other weeks, this is about double, but there’s a reason).


Eww – look, a dead sponge, gnocchi packaging, butter wrappers, bandaids and tea bags

This week 113g (367-254g) <- man is plastic light though!

Gnocchi trays (more!), corn chips packet, lindt ball wrapper.  Healthy? nope

Gnocchi trays (more!), corn chips packet, lindt ball wrapper. Healthy? nope

So that big weight week?  Here’s why:

The tale of a broken candle holder.  (only the waxy glass pieces were trash, the rest I recycled)

The tale of a broken candle holder. (only the waxy glass pieces were trash, the rest I recycled)

All cause I moved the coffee table to clean – sigh!

Great plastic references:

What’s in your cupboard? (My Kitchen Inventory)

By a tiny majority, inventory posts were the ‘winner’ category in my recent poll (not too late if you haven’t completed it!).  Lucky, cause you’re about to get a whole week of them!  Get excited.  See what’s in those cupboards and drawers…  And feel free to ask where something is, or why something is where it is!

One day, I’ll publish my house’s inventory. But it would be one L-O-N-G post, and so I’ve broken it down, and I’ll share snippets over time. Then, in the end, you’ll have the whole picture.

Today, let’s look inside my kitchen cupboards – scroll to the bottom if you want to orient yourself with my kitchen in a photo, but you could just let me draw a little sketch for you:

Galley kitchen in a loft apartment

Sketch of the kitchen, with today’s cupboards shaded

The reason there aren’t more cupboard to the right is due to the kitchen and cabinetry being built into/under the stairs. It’s an effective use of otherwise dead space!

First, I’ll be showing you the two stacked cupboard to the right of the fridges.  The first selection of pictures are for a set of two cupboards, with two shelves in each.  The top shelf houses the microwave, then under it is baking tins.  In the second cupboard is saucepans on top, and miscellaneous on the bottom.

Microwave, with baking dishes underneath

Microwave, with baking dishes underneath

Bottom shelf / upper cupboard:

10 items

IN the baking cupboard, there is: 2 cookie sheets, a dozen patty cakes pan, a brownie pan, a square cake tin, and smaller round cake tin, a loaf tin, a small 'cookie sheet' (for nuts etc), two lidded Pyrex dishes

IN the baking cupboard, there is: 2 cookie sheets, a dozen patty cakes pan, a brownie pan, a square cake tin, and smaller round cake tin, a loaf tin, a small ‘cookie sheet’ (for nuts etc), two lidded Pyrex dishes

Top shelf of lower cupboard:

6 items – see this post for the bigger frying pan’s lid

Saucepan cupboard - not how I usually store things, but so you can see everything

Saucepan cupboard – not how I usually store things, but so you can see everything

Really how I stack them, cause this suits the use more (the little flying pan and lid are not 'hiding')

Really how I stack them, cause this suits the use more (the little flying pan and lid are ‘hiding’)

Bottom shelf of lower cupboard:

4 items

Cupboard below the pots and pans - colander and bowl, ceramic jug, pyrex jug mainly for stock), seldom used pie dish

Cupboard below the pots and pans – colander and bowl, ceramic jug, pyrex jug (mainly for stock), seldom used pie dish

Thin edge of the wedge cupboard (Catch all!)

The cupboard under the ‘thin edge’ of the wedge under the stairs is a little multipurpose. It holds my wired appliances with lower rotations, such as

  • the food processor,
  • the hand food processor/whizz stick and
  • the blender

Of those three items, two were 100% free from freecycle – I’m sort of proud of that! I also store my grandma’s old china – not for sentimental reasons, but for big parties etc. I’d prefer stockpile china than use single use.

I also store ‘excess’ bathroom products such as hand wash, perfume & facewash (the last two were gifts). The cardboard box holds all my plastic tupperware (mainly former yoghurt pots and take away containers). Whilst I’m mostly anti plastic, it can be useful to ‘gift’ things in reused plastics. It’s also good for small quantities of leftovers.

A overview of 'everything else' cupboard under the stairs

A overview of ‘everything else’ cupboard under the stairs

Let me break that down some more with some snapshots of ‘areas’:

Top Shelf:

OK I give up counting here, where I get to the catch all!

The food processor is out so you can see to the back.  There's the excess toliteries to the left, and then some serving platters under the food processor attachements

The food processor is out so you can see to the back. There’s the excess toliteries to the left, and then some serving platters under the food processor attachements

The blender jug is also out for simplicity - but there's some excess beer (for guests) and the blender's base.

The blender jug is also out for simplicity – but there’s some excess beer (for guests) and the blender’s base.

26 ceramic plates
5 stick blender attachments
3 items to the blender

Stick blender storage

Party plates, and the newest addition, the stick blender (with all the attachments, which I didn’t need… :()

Cheap tupperware storage solution

Reusing a paper box makes for a ‘pull out drawer’ to store my plastic containers. Mainly reusing store bought goods containers, which are great if you can’t ‘bring’ something home with you. Oh and my mandolin slicer (I’m lazy!)

Where, you ask, are all the eating things? Bowls? Well, they are all on my open shelves, which are pretty self explanatory:

(73 items on shelves, not incl pen jar 7 contents.  7 items in hanging rail)

Everything within arm's reach and in regular use here

Everything within arm’s reach and in regular use here

If I was more minimal, I’d not have a mandolin slicer. Or a blender + food processor + stick blender. And I’d probably just not entertain and do away with additional plates. And beer, well I don’t need it, so it shan’t cross the threshold. But compromising is part of life.  And I like how the ‘tools’ make things easier than doing it by hand – I seriously get a sore wrist from grating and I can’t imagine slicing as finely as the mandolin, even after my knife skills course!

Is this a lot of stuff, or a little?  What can’t you imagine doing without, and what would you toss if you took over my kitchen?