Everything but the kitchen sink

Example in use: “I told her I was going to travel light for our weekend away. Just a couple of changes of clothes in a trolley. When she turned up with two huge suitcases, it looked like she’d packed everything but the kitchen sink!”

Meaning: Almost everything is included. It’s often used in a negative way suggesting that too much has been included.

Possible German equivalent: Alles, was nicht niet- und nagelfest ist

Possible origin: Another idiom whose origins appear to be unclear but it is possible that it was first used in the US as the expression “everything but the stove”. In those days, people didn’t have many possessions and the stove in the kitchen would have been too big to move from one location to another. So they would pack and take everything else.

However, it appears in the modern form, “everything but the kitchen sink” during WWII to suggest a heavy bombardment which felt like the other side was firing everything they had available to them – except the kitchen sink. It seems to have entered everyday use in this form during the late 1940s.

Kitchen / ˈkɪtʃ.ən

Welcome again to our weekly series that hopes to go behind the scenes of some rather typical English expressions.