We’ve been fixing up the kitchen a bit, and as part of the project, I’ve been examining the contents of our cabinets. For the most part, most of the things behind the doors and in the drawers are pretty basic – clear glasses, white serving pieces, plain silverware, the occasional outdated coupon.

In digging through, however, I’ve also been reminded of two rules I’ve tried to adhere to through the years while slowly adding to our kitchen inventory. No. 1: Don’t buy things we have no place to store or display. And No. 2: Don’t buy sets of things that if one element breaks or mysteriously vanishes, the rest of the set is pretty much shot.

That said, I have followed rule No. 1 and passed up a good deal on such items as a good-looking 5-gallon beverage dispenser with spigot that might come in handy for serving lemonade at gatherings. There simply is no place to store the jug in our kitchen, and I already have to stash the slow-cooker, large platters and 30-cup coffee urn in a storage cabinet in the basement.

Then again, I’m not saying I always listen to myself. Let’s turn to rule No. 2. We have a set of four white ceramic bowls each measuring about 2½ inches in diameter with bases that are somewhat narrower. This enables them to fit snugly into the designated openings in the wrought-iron base that came with the set. We use the bowls for condiments, sauces and such – and we use them quite a lot.

But every time I pull out the set, I am very careful with those bowls. If I drop one and it shatters all over the kitchen floor, the set is now incomplete. There will be three remaining bowls and one lonely opening in the base.

Where will the sweet pickle relish go?

Sure, I might be able to find a similar replacement bowl that can fill in. “Why does that one bowl look so odd?” I can already hear my mother asking.

Or I could switch out the three remaining bowls and find four new ones that fit the openings. That just sounds like too much work.

The same risk comes with a set of three ceramic canisters with slippery-when-wet lids. And, quite frankly, a set of novelty salt and pepper shakers purchased in an off-the-beaten-path shop in New England also is on shaky grounds.

For some reason, all this reminds me how I was once told to always buy two pairs of identical socks, not just one. That way I would still have a complete pair – plus a spare – if one sock disappeared as socks have a way of doing.

The same goes for children’s mittens. Buy at least two of the same pair because you know how mittens tend to wander. But who wants to talk about mittens this time of year?

In the meantime, I’ll keep handling my little white bowls with kid gloves.