While reconfiguring the house plans, Sam asked for a complete list of appliances. For some people this is easy, but for me it's been a chore. I've purchased so many rotten appliances in my life — dishwashers that can only clean pre-washed dishes for example — that I'm ultra-wary of every advertising claim. And there are so many choices that it's mind boggling.

To get started I went to a couple of my favorite online appliance stores. But today I found out one has a great tool, if you're in the open market for an appliance and don't know where to start.

First, go to AJ Madison. Then choose the type of appliance you are looking for, such as refrigerators. Click on the link to that section.

Next choose a general category to search. I'm looking for a side-by-side, so I click on that.

Now, look at the array of search options you have! You can narrow your search by a huge number of choices. For example, I'm looking for a built in with an external water dispenser. So I select those two options. Now my search has gone down from hundreds of selections, to just 21!

Last, I will scan down this much smaller list, and put a check mark on those that interest me. When I've finished checking my selections, I just click the “Compare” link on any of those I selected. Viola! I now have a side-by-side feature comparison of all the refrigerators I am considering.

It still took a number of hours, but the process of determining all my appliance choices was made so much easier by going to a vendor who has a great selection of appliances and a very flexible search and comparison tool.