Are you a hoarder?

March 14, 2022
Paul Rifkin

Do you really need it?

The past week has been a life-changing experience for myself and many others affected by the floods. Living in a small village of only a few hundred, many of us know each other by name or face. It’s a real community.

Neighbours have banded together to support and help each other. Sometimes it’s just for a chat and a listen; we all need this at times. The support from volunteers, the Rural Fire Service and the army has been a game changer for clearing the mess.

The most depressing sight is that of piles of damaged possessions stacked high outside every house. Many people have lost everything they owned. I consider myself as one of the lucky ones. We only lost half of our ‘stuff’. Most of it was the result of four decades of collecting but in reality, it simply was hoarding.

I felt attached to every piece of ‘stuff’. When I was carrying things out to the kerb, the history of that piece came back – why and where I purchased it, and why I needed to keep dragging it around from house to house.

Yes, I realise that this is a personal story but how does this relate to the operation of your club?

The truth is most clubs are chronic hoarders. They have this need to hang onto every relic of the past.

I visit dozens of clubs over the course of a year of consulting. While I am looking at how to improve the catering operation, I am also seeing what cost-effective quick fixes can be achieved right then. Often that forgotten stainless steel bench or shelf is a perfect solution!

Always I ask the question, “Where are the old things stored?” and, sure enough, I am directed to a storeroom, a container or a series of containers and, many times, there is a whole kitchen sitting idle, full of aged and broken equipment.

What I find is an assortment of fryers, ovens, stoves, battered pots and pans, benches, shelving, equipment and piles of tables, chairs and decades of free promo gear.

With storage being in short supply at the majority of clubs, perhaps a rethink is required?

Obsolete kitchens could be functional storage areas, conference rooms or staff areas and training rooms.

Equipment, if still functional, could be donated to smaller and less financial clubs in regional areas.

Either way, it is important to clear the mess and remove the unnecessary extra storage spaces, limiting opportunities for vermin.

Apply the same principle to operational kitchens!

I often see expired appliances taking up valuable kitchen space, collecting grease and inhibiting effective cleaning. These include woks, ovens, fryers and stove tops too old to repair.

If it hasn’t been used in the last 12 months, you don’t need it!

The majority of kitchens have a shortage of preparation space, with chefs juggling for positions to complete daily prep.

Remove these obsolete pieces and replace them with effective equipment or bench spaces.

I hope this will prompt your club to review its approach to storage.

chefpaulrifkin consulting / Club Mentoring and Fine Tuning Specialist /


Chef Paul RifKin

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