But then... if you don't have a decent knife, or know how to sharpen the one you have, some of the drawer fillers actually do a decent job. I'd love to have a decent mandolin -but they're pricey and a good knife does the job for me.
The sad thing is most of those "drawer fillers" add up. A standard 8 inch Wusthof chef's can be had for about $100 and will last a lifetime--and probably cheaper than the total cost of all those gizmos.
Once you have that, the only other knives you should spend on are a cleaver and maybe
, and they can be 2nd tier. The other miscellaneous cutlery (paring, steak, sandwich, breads, etc.) can be cheap stuff and probably purchased second-hand. In any case, if you're shop wisely you can get a full kitchen's worth of knives for under $200. With a little practice, you can eventually chuck all those other devices in the trash.
And nobody should EVER sharpen their own knives. Always have a professional do it, especially once you buy one of those first tier knives. But you should still buy the honing rod and sharpening stone from the manufacturer of your main knife.
One thing I hate is the language they sometimes use. For one, almost everyone calls honing rods "sharpening rods" which is just a total misnomer. And when you run a blade across a stone, you're really not "sharpening" it so much as giving it a finer hone.
A proper sharpening involves special tools that basically get rid of the old edge to create a new one.
A basic rule of thumb is use the honing rod once a week (twice if you're a heavy chopper) and the stone once a month and take it to the shop once a year. You should be able to find a good sharpener on Angie's List. Also, these days both honing rods and sharping rods come with guidelines for the appropriate edge angle--which is why I suggested on having the same manufacturer.
I forgot to include my one exception for fillet knifes: If you eat a lot of fish, they're obviously a must have. But the thing about about them is, because of they're shape and size, they're actually the best kitchen utility. This is especially true if you're an avid camper. They're specifically designed for an outdoor environment, and their sheaths usually come with special backpack attachments.
A good 8-inch fixed blade fillet can do just about everything.