There comes a point in every young adult’s life when it’s finally time to ditch the cheap and well-worn cookware for something nicer. You’ve finally started using your kitchen to cook regularly instead of just using it as a place to house leftover pizza. You’ve begun to experiment with different recipes — maybe you’ve even found yourself enjoying cooking for other people or hosting dinner parties more and more. If all of this is true, then odds are you’ve also wondered if it’s time to invest in new pots and pans to make your life easier (and more aesthetically-pleasing, too). This can feel overwhelming. If you’ve reached this point in your life, then odds are you’ve also deduced that good cookware isn’t cheap. In fact, it can be a pretty solid investment — one you want to last for many, many years to come. All this is to say, it’s important to do research when investing in new cookware for your kitchen, home, and life. If that feels like a large task to undertake, fear not, for there are really only a handful of questions to ask you when shopping for your new kitchen gear. Here are seven of the most important ones. 1. How much space do you have in your kitchen? First, consider what kind of space you’re working with. Do you have tons of cabinet space, drawers, or shelves? Only one single cabinet? No counter space at all? Whatever your kitchen space is, assess that first. While it’s certainly tempting to buy all the things when you first get into upgrading your kitchen, if you don’t have room for an entire 16-piece cookware set and buy it anyway, you may end up with really nice pots and pans, but also a lot of clutter. And that’s never pleasant for anyone. 2. What are your most frequently cooked meals and how many people are you cooking for? Are you a master of pancakes? Stews? Stir-fries? All of the above? Take a second to really, honestly think about what you cook each and every day. And, no, that one single time you made a chicken pot pie doesn’t count. Again, be honest about what you cook most often — and how many people you’re cooking for. 3. What is your biggest pain point re: your current cookware? Why are you looking for new cookware? If you’re always scraping stuck-on food off of the bottom of your frying pans, it’s understandable why you might want new cookware. But maybe that’s the case for you. Buying new cookware might make sense for other reasons, too. Perhaps your pots and pans are too small for your current cooking habits. Maybe your family is growing and you need to make cooking large amounts as easy as possible. Hey, maybe you just want a prettier set of cookware to improve the overall look of your kitchen. Whatever the situation is, really assess why you’re looking to invest in new pieces. It’ll make choosing the right pieces that much easier. 4. How important is the cookware being easy to clean for you? Think about your current process when it comes to doing dishes. Do you dread it? Do you have to soak pots and pants for stuck-on food for hours, or overnight? Do you not have a dishwasher at all and do all the heavy duty cleaning yourself? As much as you might love cleaning, it’s possible you hate cleaning up the mess just as much. This means that considering cookware that is as easy and stress-free to clean as possible is probably a good idea. After all, less time cleaning means more time eating, and that’s pretty hard to argue with. 5. What is your budget? We know, we know. You were probably hoping to avoid this question. It’s not such a fun one, but it is incredibly important. How much are you willing to invest in a quality cookware set for your home? A little? A lot? Either way, be honest about how much you’re able to spend and don’t overcommit to something you’re not prepared for. This is also where it’s worth thinking about a gradual process for investing in cookware. Maybe instead of buying a full Set, you start with a single Fry Pan or Sauce Pan and then add on when you have more disposable income. Purchasing quality cookware doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing experience. Luckily, many brands now offer payment plans to make buying cookware more accessible. 6. Do you like heavy or light pans? This is all about personal preference, too. It’s also probably something you haven’t thought of yet. Some people prefer the feel of a heavier pan as the cook. Others want something lightweight and easy to move (this is especially good if you are going to be lifting it out of a cabinet that’s at a lower level). Assess how heavy your current pans are and then compare them against other options. 7. What color palette do you have in your home? Finally, a fun question! What kind of color palette are you looking to have in your kitchen? Odds are you have invested in the look of your home and kitchen, so why not do the same for your cookware? And in case you didn’t know: Pots and pants don’t have to be boring. Caraway offers shades of Perracotta, Cream, Sage, Navy, and Gray to make sure your cookware is as gorgeous as the rest of your home. An added benefit here? You can store them right on the counter instead of hiding them away. Pretty to look at, easy to reach, and entirely effective.