Kitchn Love Letters

As a Pro Cook, I Swear by This Surprising $20 Tool That Makes Cooking and Cleaning So Much Easier

published Apr 16, 2024
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Credit: Lula Poggi

I am a huge dolly fan. No, I’m not talking about the wildly talented singer Dolly Parton (though I do love her). I’m talking about the humble but helpful caster dolly — a flat platform on four wheels.

While they’re most often used by movers to transport heavy items, I use dollies daily in my home kitchen. In fact, I have two of the same model. Why, oh why, would I write a love letter to such a humdrum contraption — especially one that doesn’t traditionally live in a kitchen? Let me explain.

I like to take furnishings from other rooms of the house and dedicate them to the kitchen if it makes sense, works well, and saves me some money. For instance, I bought a garage workbench to use as my kitchen counter because it’s super long (80 inches!), rock-solid stable, adjustable in height, and costs a fraction of what kitchen outfitters charge for a similar-quality counter. I mounted clear bath organizers on my kitchen walls to hold my myriad pasta-making tools because they let me see everything clearly and have drainage holes for excess flour to fall away from my tools as they sit. And don’t even get me started on how many rulers and paintbrushes I’ve stolen from my daughter’s arts and crafts supply cabinet to reassign to my pastry toolbox.

In my kitchen, both my reach-in freezer chest and my trash can sit atop dollies underneath the floating kitchen island. I like to rearrange my space frequently, depending on what projects I’m working on, or just fluctuating aesthetic whims. Because most appliances are heavy and bulky, the dollies make them effortless to roll around to my heart’s content. 

I also do a deep daily clean of the kitchen floor — just like you do in a restaurant kitchen at the close of each shift. The best way to clean a floor is to move everything out of the way and really get in there with your broom or mop. The dolly makes this easy, even with incredibly heavy appliances, like my freezer. 

And have you ever looked under your trash can? How about behind it? I’ve looked under and around more rubbish bins than I can count in my 15 years of professional cooking. Too many times, I’ve uncovered a sticky ring of who-knows-what coated in dust particles of you-don’t-want-to-know-what. When you keep your trash can on a caster dolly, this mysterious buildup doesn’t happen. It’s much easier to pull the whole trash can out, thoroughly clean the floor underneath, and pick up all that debris that almost made it into the bin (but landed on the floor instead) when the can isn’t rooted in place. And if you like to prep in different areas of your kitchen, you can just roll the trash to wherever you are (instead of running back and forth to a stationary trash receptacle).

If you decide to get your appliances rolling, look for dollies with appropriately wide bases and a high weight capacity. I opted for a design with a 19 1/2″x14 1/2″ platform and it can hold up for 200 pounds. Make sure your dolly has at least two swivel caster wheels so you can move around and turn 360 degrees with ease. 

To date, I’ve purchased two of the exact same dolly — I liked the first one so much that I bought a matching one about a year later. It’s been such a smart investment in my kitchen, and I’m finding new uses for it every day.

Buy: MaxWorks 80854 Polypropylene Dolly, 200-lb Capacity, $19.54