Many of the goods on the average family's must-have list changes with each generation. Some products are deemed necessary because they make life easier, like a dishwasher that takes over when all that's left of dinner is a pile of dirty dishes. Modern devices like wireless Internet routers and DVRs that record all your favorite TV shows have become household necessities by enhancing and simplifying the technology we already depend on. Of course, no matter how up-to-date a list is, products like basic tools are always necessary. After all, how can you fix all those new gadgets without a screwdriver?
So, which items should be on every family's shopping list? Each household is different, but we've compiled a list of modern and classic goods that will help make sure you and your loved ones have everything you need -- all in one place.
Read the next page to find out which products every kitchen needs.
Every kitchen should be stocked with plenty of cookware, including pots, pans and cutlery. You'll also need at least one (preferably two) sets of cups and dishes. Appliances can help keep food fresh and make cooking a much simpler task. Consider the following kitchen tools and appliances for your household shopping list:
- Dinnerware: A meal isn't complete without having a set of dishes to serve it on -- including dinner and salad plates and soup bowls. Buy a few more servings of flatware than you have family members (in case you have guests or a spoon or two is dirty), and be sure to pick up plenty of mugs and glassware for coffee, tea, water and juice.
- Cookware: Pots and pans are needed for cooking, and items like cutting boards and a cutlery set will help with food prep in the kitchen.
- Bakeware: Every baker needs a set of mixing bowls, measuring spoons and measuring cups. A baking sheet is also a must-have kitchen item; it can be used to cook everything from vegetables to chocolate chip cookies.
- Kitchen utensils: To successfully cook a meal, it's important to have the right tools and utensils, like spatulas, whisks, tongs, spoons and ladles. A can opener will allow you to open cans quickly and safely, and a corkscrew is necessary whenever a bottle of wine is served with dinner.
- Dishwasher: While many kitchen appliances can make cooking and baking easier, a dishwasher will save you hours of work per week by washing and drying your dishes for you.
- Microwave: This common household appliance is essential for cooking food quickly, defrosting frozen meat and, yes, popping popcorn.
- Slow cooker: A slow cooker can make a meal in a single afternoon while you focus your attention elsewhere.
Linens and Laundry Care
Every family needs linens. Sheets, pillows and blankets are essential for a good night's sleep, and towels are kitchen and bathroom necessities. Of course, it's important to keep these items clean and sanitary, so it's critical to stock your laundry room with plenty of detergent and bleach. The following list includes linens and laundry care items that are essential for every household:
- Bed sheets: Every bed needs fitted and flat sheets, as well as pillows and pillowcases. During colder months, replace light bed linens with heavy blankets and comforters to keep family members warm. You may also want to consider a bed skirt to cover the space between your mattress and the floor.
- Kitchen linens: Have a set of towels handy in the kitchen to dry clean dishes and wipe up accidental spills. It's also nice to have a crisp tablecloth, placemats and cloth napkins if you entertain on a regular basis. Last but not least, don't forget to buy a pair of oven mitts to keep your hands protected when draining pasta and other boiling liquids and taking hot dishes out of the oven!
- Bath linens: Every shower and tub needs a shower curtain to give bathers privacy, and it's necessary to own plenty of bath towels, washcloths and hand towels. Make sure you have several for each family member. Also, place a mat outside the tub or shower to prevent slips and falls.
- Detergent: Laundry detergent and bleach will keep bed, kitchen and bath linens smelling fresh. You may want to even consider buying an iron and ironing board to keep bed sheets crisp and neat when they come out of the dryer.
Home Maintenance and Improvement
You don't have to be a Mr. (or Ms.) Fix-it to know that a household needs a basic tool set, including a hammer, nails and screwdriver. Of course, it's just as important to have a broom, mop and sponge to keep your home fresh, clean and free of harmful germs and bacteria. Stock your garage or hall closet with other seasonal tools, like a rake or lawn mower, to keep your yard and porch space neat and tidy. Want to live in the cleanest house on the block? This list of items will help:
- Mop: A mop and mop bucket will leave your hardwood, laminate and tiled floors clean and shiny, and by using water, soap or another disinfecting product, bacteria and germs will be kept at bay. You can also use an automatic or electric mop, such as the Swiffer WetJet or Shark Electric Steam Mop.
- Broom: A broom keeps floors free of dust bunnies, and when there's a smaller mess to clean up, a dust pan and brush will do the trick.
- Toilet brush: Purchase a toilet brush that's made to clean hard-to-reach areas inside the bowl, and be sure to wear rubber gloves to protect your hands and arms from bacteria in the toilet, as well as the harsh cleaning products.
- Vacuum: This indispensible tool will rid your carpet and rugs of dirt and dust, and a handheld vacuum will help you clean obscure and out-of-the-way places, such as between your car's seats.
- Claw hammer and nails: Every household needs a claw hammer -- they come in handy when something breaks or needs to be fixed. Be sure to have plenty of nails in various sizes to ensure that you're ready for any project.
- Screwdrivers: Screws are in almost every wall, object and piece of furniture you own, so a flat head screwdriver, Phillips head screwdriver or all-in-one screwdriver are all great tools to have.
- Multi-tool: A multi-tool is an essential gadget for most homeowners because of its many uses. It's like large Swiss Army knife for grown-ups, and it contains multiple blades of various shapes and sizes that are joined in the center by a pair of pliers. It can substitute as a kitchen knife, wrench and even a bottle opener!
- Lawn mower: Any homeowner with a yard to manicure will need a lawn mower to keep grass neat and short. Tools like shovels, garden hoses and hoes also make yard maintenance easier.
- Ladder: To complete difficult outdoor tasks that are hard to reach -- such as cleaning the gutters -- purchase a ladder (and make sure you have a friend or family member hold it steady on the ground while you work).
Some of these items encourage family fun and togetherness while others are unquestionable necessities that belong in every home -- like a first aid kit, for example. This list of miscellaneous goods is more diverse the other lists in this article, but most of these items are no less essential:
- DVR and DVD player: Many families enjoy spending time together around the television, whether they're watching the nightly news or cheering on their favorite sports team. Pop in your favorite DVD to unwind after a long day of work, or settle in to a recliner and watch a TV show that's been recorded on your DVR.
- Camera and video camera: Having a camera or video camera will help you document daily activities in the lives of your family members, whether you're on vacation or at the local community center watching your daughter's ballet recital.
- Games: Board games and video games can provide your family with hours of entertainment, and they can keep restless children occupied indoors on a rainy day.
- Computer with Internet access: Owning a home computer with Internet access is an important modern-day item every family should have. Add a home printer to print children's homework assignments and documents you'd like to keep a hard copy of.
- Office supplies: No matter how electronically up-to-date your home may be, every family needs a supply of paper, pens, pencils, markers, paper clips and at least one stapler. If you have small children, it's probably a good idea to have a stockade of art supplies like crayons, finger paints and craft paper handy for sudden moments of creative inspiration.
- Bicycles: Bicycles offer an environmentally friendly way to explore your town or city, and riding them will not only burn off some extra calories, but keep you healthy, too.
- Sports equipment: Does your family enjoy playing sports? Consider installing a basketball goal in the driveway, and have a baseball and a couple of mitts lying around for impromptu games of catch in the backyard.
- First aid kit: Finally, don't forget a first aid kit that includes hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol, antibacterial ointment, bandages and gauze -- you never know when a family member might take a tumble and need some quick patching up!
- American Red Cross. "Get a Kit." (Nov. 28, 2011) http://www.redcross.org/portal/site/en/menuitem.53fabf6cc033f17a2b1ecfbf43181aa0/?vgnextoid=537b218c37752210VgnVCM10000089f0870aRCRD&currPage=e507d7aada352210VgnVCM10000089f0870aRCRD
- Baldwin, Roberto. "The Ten Tools You Need To Fix All The Broken Stuff in Your Home." Gizmodo. Nov. 21, 2011. (Nov. 28, 2011) http://gizmodo.com/5861561/the-ten-tools-you-need-to-fix-all-the-broken-stuff-in-your-home
- Choi, Charles Q. "World's Oldest bedding Discovered in Cave." LiveScience. Dec. 08, 2011. (Dec. 08, 2011) http://www.livescience.com/17375-oldest-mattresses-early-humans.html
- Knot, the. "The Ultimate Registry Checklist." (Nov. 28, 2011)http://wedding.theknot.com/online-wedding-registry/wedding-registry-checklist.aspx?MsdVisit=1
- Trover, Sarah Rae. "Declutter and Purge Your Kitchen to the Necessities, the Checklist." Lifehacker. Oct. 22, 2009. (Nov. 29, 2011)http://lifehacker.com/5387890/declutter-and-purge-your-kitchen-to-the-necessities-the- checklist