Complicated Cookie Cutters

This article is about organizing cookie cutters. No, that’s not quite right. It’s about organizing memories. Wait…it’s more about storing good intentions. Hmmm. It’s complicated.

Complicated Cookie Cutters-An Organizing Story

Just a reminder, we are nearing the end of the 21 Day Organizing Countdown Series with my friends David and Sophia. These quick video tips will help with your sanity and style this season. The $700 travel giveaway is just a fun bonus, our gift to you. Register for free now before it ends and we pick a winner. Now back to our topic…

Like you, I own a batch of cookie cutters. (Maybe it’s not cookie cutters for you. It might be candy molds. Or muffin cups.  Or tea strainers. Or craft supplies. Think of your collection as you keep reading.)

Eleven. I own eleven cookie cutters and two biscuit cutters (boring round circles). Two of the cookie cutters are fish-shaped, but they are legit; I used to make cat treats in the shape of fish, back when I had nothing better to do.

I bought and was gifted most of my cookie cutters over twenty years ago, some over thirty years ago. Yes, I was into baking in high school. By the time I had my children, I was in my late thirties, and we baked together a few times, then I found out one of my children had sugar sensitivities, later diagnosed with true food allergies. I stopped baking for fun about ten years ago.

Like you, there was never any real reason to get rid of my cookie cutters in the years they sat unused. They don’t take up much space. I usually only think of them during the holidays. What if I got rid of them and needed them again someday?

Someday finally arrived. My other daughter begged me to make Christmas cookies. Christmas cookie baking is up over 3,000% during the #2020 pandemic. (I made that number up, but just like sourdough baking earlier this year, we all have more time for cookie baking right now.) I pulled out the cookie cutter shapes and whipped up a batch of sugar cookies with my little girl, who won’t be little much longer.

*Cookie Cutter Organizing*

As a professional organizer, should I have organized those cookie cutters out of my life years ago?

You might have heard the rule, “If you haven’t used it in the last year, get rid of it.” Well, I haven’t used them for several years, but no one was harmed by keeping these.

Should I have donated them so someone else could have used them?

Maybe. It’s definitely better to donate things with a useful life, like coats that are being moth-eaten in the backs of so many closets around the country and the world. Plenty of people are going without a warm coat this winter, and donating the one you’ve grown out of or is no longer your style can make a real difference o another human. Cookie cutters? Probably not as life-changing.

Was I right to keep them because I did actually need them this year?

Need is a strong term. If I had parted ways with these cookie cutters long ago, today I would have easily replaced them for little cost, while enjoying more space in my home for the past years. Or more likely, we would have simply chosen another cookie, one that we didn’t need a mold for. In fact, we made candy cane cookies. Snickerdoodles have long been a favorite of mine. And, well, brownies are perfectly fine and easy enough to scoop out of a baking dish. Truly, my life would not be worse without these cookie cutters in my cabinets.

If I hadn’t bought these basic cookie cutter shapes back then or hadn’t kept these, I surely would have upgraded to more specific, unique, quirky, and meaningful shapes over the years. When I started collecting these decades ago, we had neither the variety that you see in cookie cutters today, nor did we have the internet with which to find and buy them!

If you thought I was going to tell you that you must downsize your cookie-cutter collection, you’ve come to the wrong professional organizer. Please keep your collection if:

  • You have plenty of room INSIDE your house to store your cookie cutters.
  • You can put your hands on them in 5-minutes or less.
  • You are conflicted or hopeful that you will use them again…someday.

On the other hand, please feel free to downsize your collection if:

  • You don’t have any room inside your home, or you have so many that you’ve moved some to a garage or outside storage area.
  • You have so many that you feel overwhelmed thinking about them or looking at them in storage.
  • You don’t like to bake at all, and probably never will.

Simply being in an in-between stage of your life (like I was for the decade when I didn’t bake cookies with a daughter who couldn’t eat them) is not in itself a reason to purge or feel bad about not purging your collection.

One last word on downsizing. If you aren’t using them, and your set of well-used cookie cutters is meaningful to younger family members or friends, consider passing your collection down to them while you still can impart your sentiment and personal stories along with the gift. (Remember, this might be a collection of other things for you, but the idea is the same.) This is tricky, because I don’t mean to say that you should try to dream up a reason why someone else should want your things, but if there was already a shared connection or interest, gift those things now, while you are still here to tell why you are gifting them.

Now I’m curious, how many of my readers pulled out their cookie cutters this year for the first time in recent history? Are you feeling a complicated connection with your set, be it large or small?Please leave a comment.




This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Susan

    I use my cookie cutters to make and decorate sugar cookies every year. They are mostly passed down from my mom and my husband’s mom, although I’ve added a few over the years. For me they’re a connection to loved ones who have passed away and to my sisters, nieces, nephews and now granddaughter’s who love baking with them every year. I do have the room to store them, thankfully, and they don’t take up much space.

  2. Pat in SNJ

    I not only have my cookie cutters, I have over 100 salt & flour cookies we made in the 70’s, painted and carefully saved in my attic,, LOL. When the kids were little we hung them all around the living room on a chain near the ceiling. Today I have replaced that collection with my Nativity collection (over 150) All over the living room, dining room, hall and a few other spots. I think I am sort of an addictive type personality, LOL! I have 3 other major collections…amber depression glass, cross stitch patterns and 44.000 plus research articles on breastfeeding, oh and over 1000 BF books…..another LOL..Looks awful when I write it all down,

  3. Barbara Wendel

    I have lots from 60 years ago. I baked with my girls, and now the grandkids. The little boys want dinosaur and construction vehicles. The 3 yr old boy only eats frosting and sprinkles. I miss baking now because I’m t2d and sugar is a nono. Although I still love baking and do it to give away. Thursday I’m making sticky buns with the real baker 12 year old granddaughter, Allison. She inherited the baking gene. Your essay was a great read.

  4. sayitrahshay

    I have been on an organizing/downsizing tear and came across some baking equipment that I have been “meaning” to use but have not because *waves vaguely.* I love the idea of giving myself permission to keep the collections I love while also giving myself permission to let go of thigs I have just because. I’m also going to dig out those cookie cutters and make some ninja shaped cookie people this week.

    1. Darla

      What a coincidence! I have been feeling a ninja-shaped cookie hole in my life. I’ll be expecting some in my mail soon. LOL

  5. Bernita Mcclure

    I will b making cookies this week with them. My 97 yr old mom is no longer able to make gingerbread men to send to the grand and great grandkids so I will b picking up the tradition that has lapsed for 3 yrs now. We r separate of course due to covid or I would have had her try to help me decorate them!

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