Calling All Knitters: The Question of Gauge

Let me get right my dilema …

I used to be like this:

source

but I’m not like that anymore.  However, although swatching and gauge checking are now my best friends, I’m not sure if I should use them for every project.   What I want to know is do you all swatch for small items?  Like hats, socks, mittens?

You can answer me in the comments or through the poll below.  Thanks bunches.