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Ten years ago, when I still newly married and living in Toronto, Canada, I used to love to visit this houseware’s store called Cayne’s. I used the excuse that I needed something specific but I really didn’t need a reason to go there because I would always find something there I needed or could use at home anyways.

I drove 45 minutes from my home to buy this specific item of the utmost importance to my life although I don’t remember what it was. I would never leave that store without a cartload of things that I didn’t come for and I would usually forget the thing that I did. No matter, since it was probably something boring anyways, a peeler, dish-drainer, strainer…

At the store there was this woman shopper who was obviously engaged to be married, and was going through the store with the saleswoman who was “helping” her make a list for her registry. You know, the usual household necessities like pots & pans, fondue sets, glasses, cutlery…FONDUE SETS!

3-in-1 30 pc. fondue set

3-in-1 30 pc. fondue set

Did you hear me?? What is this woman? Martha Stewart? Julia Child? For goodness sake! Who makes fondue?

She fell for it hook, line and sinker. She registered for the fondue set.

I was thinking about this woman this past week when I was privileged to see my cousin’s daughter get married. She is young and just starting out on her path in life with a wonderful guy whom she has known for years. They are a sweet couple. So excited, idealistic and energetic. There is such beauty in seeing young people dancing enthusiastically at their wedding.

But just like at many other points in my life, I am purely practical. I am no fun! When they bring out the fried chicken pieces at the buffet reception all I can do is stare in awe at people loading up their plates and say, “Yuck! Do you know how fattening those things are?” Party Pooper you say? That’s me!

At this wedding my highly practical mind began its designated purpose in life. I start thinking about the proper organization that goes into setting up your first home. Whether a person has just gotten married, moved out on their own, moved to another city, or just started out their life anew, there is the need for stuff! Lots and lots of stuff. Stuff that makes day-to-day life bearable and maybe even enjoyable (gulp, did I say that?)

I would love to meet the woman from the housewares store today. I want to ask her how she felt about her registry. Was there anything that she wished she had bought? That she was sorry she wasted the money on? What were the items that she decided to donate to the “poor” many years ago? Did she ever use the football shaped chip bowl or the glasses set that included all shapes and sizes most of which are only useful to someone who is a professional bartender or who has kidney damage and needs to drink 1.5 litres of water at every sitting.

I most likely won’t meet that woman so I will have to rely on my own judgment and personal experience. I have compiled a list of the important items a person should prioritize when setting up their home. These items you will use on a daily basis and unless you have a family tradition to make spring rolls every week under duress, this list should suffice. To all you newlyweds out there, newly divorced, just moved to a new city, just left home et. al, this if for you! And to all of you people who are pondering whether to keep the vacuum cleaner or the electric volcano light, this one’s for you too!


  • Dishes- cutlery, glasses (water, wine, old fashioned), mugs, plates, bowls
  • Baking Utensils- cookie sheets, baking sheets, mixing bowls, measuring cups and spoons, spatula
  • Cooking Utensils- Colander, cutting board, knife set, ladle, serving spoons, pots and pans,
  • Much Needed- bottle opener, can opener, oven mitts, pot holders, peeler, wooden spoon
  • Small appliances- blender, coffee maker, hand mixer, toaster, microwave, kettle
  • Kitchen Furniture- Chairs, kitchen table, garbage can
  • Miscellaneous- dish towels, dish drying rack, plaastic food storage containers, paper towel holder, salt and pepper shakers, sponges, tableclothes, placemats


  • Scale, bath rug, shower curtain with liner or plastic, and shower rings, toilet brush, towels, towel bar or ring, trash can, toilet plunger, soap dish or dispenser, toilet paper and holder, shower head with bar and caddy

Living Room

  • Storage- Bookshelf, CD storage, DVD/VHS storage, magazine rack, TV stand, wall hooks for hats and coats
  • Seating Area- Coffee table, couch, rug, floor lamp
  • Office area- Desk, desk lamp, office chair

Important Odds and Ends

  • First Aid- Band aids, anti-biotic ointment, antiseptic, thermometer, acetaminophen, ibuprofen
  • Safety- Carbon Monoxide Detector, flashlight, smoke detector, fire extinguisher
  • Tools/Hardware- batteries, light bulbs, drill, extension cords, hammer, screwdriver set, level, measuring tape, pliers, step ladder, wrench and surge protector on your more important plugs and appliances
  • Cleaning Supplies- broom, dustpan, mop and bucket, rags, vacuum, cleaning supplies, rubber gloves
  • Laundry Room- drying rack, iron, ironing board, clothes hampers and laundry baskets.


  • Headboard or bed frame, mattress, boxspring, nightstand, bedside lamp
  • Bed Sheets, pillowcases, comforter, duvet cover, mattress pad, pillows
  • Alarm clock, hangers, fan, full length mirror, clothes cabinet or clothes storage