Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of Japanese author and organization guru, Marie Kondo and her oft-repeated refrain to recognize the things that “spark joy” in your home. The KonMari Method – likened to a state of mind – has taken the world by storm, as people purge their closets and reorganize their cupboards in an effort to keep only the items that matter most. So, how do you apply the method to the kitchen? Here are 12 ways that will have your kitchen feeling brand new.
Published March 15, 2019, Updated October 29, 2019
Eliminate “Word Pollution”
According to Ivanka Siolkowsky, Canada’s only Certified Master of the KonMari Method, eliminating “word pollution” when it comes time to clean out your kitchen pantry is a great place to start on your organization journey. Decanting dry goods, such as rice and grains, into glass jars will help reduce the amount of visual clutter – you’ll also find it easier to find ingredients needed for a recipe.
Declutter by Category
Kondo often tackles her clients’ homes by category (books, shoes, bedroom drawers, etc.), as opposed to one specific room. But that doesn’t mean you can’t zero in on your chaotic kitchen and make it the No. 1 priority, while still applying the KonMari Method. To start, divide all kitchen possessions into three category piles: implements for eating, cooking utensils and appliances. It might take awhile, but go ahead and filter through each item to choose which to keep and which to discard. You might find you have more disposable objects than you first thought.
Remove All Visual Clutter From Countertops
Out of sight, out of mind, right? Ensuring that all munchies (think: cookies, bread and chips) are carefully stored in their allotted cupboards means you’ll be less likely to nosh at all hours of the day and night. Not only will it quell those snacking habits, but living in a tidy space will also improve your self-esteem.
Get Rid of Cookbooks and Appliances You Never Use
The time has come to finally get rid of that old metal spatula, melon baller and random second toaster you have for some unknown reason. If you don’t use it – if you forgot you even had it in the first place – then it’s time for you to part ways. The same goes for those cookbooks you’ve been stacking on your countertop that you quit leafing through a long time ago. As for the ones that “spark joy”? Put them on display.
Stack Everything Vertically – Even in the Fridge
Kondo makes no secret of her preference for vertical organization. Pick up any one of her books or watch an episode of her Netflix series, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, to witness it in action. And we’re not just talking bedroom drawers and closets, either. Marie takes it one step further and recommends vertically stacking items in the fridge as well. For example, she stands carrots and celery upright in jars and drink holders. Her reasoning is simple: it allows for a quick inventory of items – and the more visible everything is, the more likely you are to eat them before they expire.
Cut Down on Dishes
have shown that we eat less frequently off smaller plates and tend to drink out of larger glasses, so with that in mind it’s time to purge your dishware. “Make the dishes you love the ones you use every day,” Kondo writes in Spark Joy. Those fancy dishes you’ve been saving in case the Queen visits? If they’re just collecting dust and taking up space, it’s time to head to the nearest donation bin.
Soap Should Be in Simple Pump Bottles
In an effort to declutter and reduce the “noise of labels”, Kondo recommends decanting household products, especially those in the kitchen that tend to congregate around the sink. Buy inexpensive pump bottles to house all your dish and hand soaps.
Keep Ease of Cleaning in Mind
You’re more likely to spend time in a room that is orderly. Keep cooking surfaces and countertops clear and store everything in cupboards or on shelves (remember: stack it vertically). If you have a tiny or narrow kitchen and don’t have the option of more storage space, store essential items (toaster, coffee machine) on the counter, as far as possible from oil or water splash areas.
Eliminate Paper Towel
Anyone who follows Kondo’s sage advice know that she doesn’t tolerate the accumulation of paper – be it unopened bills and receipts stashed in miscellaneous drawers or rolls of paper towel in the kitchen. Instead, use the KonMari folding method to roll dishtowels and cloth napkins neatly into drawers and eliminate paper towels entirely.
Keep Your Fridge 30 Per Cent Empty
A fully stocked fridge may allow for a certain sense of satisfaction, but more often than not it just leads to excess waste and expired items. To avoid this, Kondo recommends keeping your fridge 30 per cent empty, allowing for you to see all its contents while leaving extra room for leftovers. Consider placement: most frequently eaten items should be right up front and easiest to locate.
Avoid Buying Food and Products in Bulk
This may go against your budget-conscious instincts (what about that Costco membership?!), but Kondo points out that bulk items often take up far too much space – and is at risk of going bad before you even get around to eating it. She recommends labelling spices and other condiments without hard expiration dates so you’ll remember when they were purchased. After a year has passed, it’s time to toss them out.
Don’t Forget to Ask: Does it Spark Joy?
You didn’t think we’d go through a whole bunch of Marie Kondo organization tips without touching on her most famous bit of advice, did you? Simply put, toss out or donate anything that no longer serves a purpose in your home. To add a sweet personal touch to your kitchen that is guaranteed to spark joy, hang a framed photo near the sink so you have a little inspiration as you wash the dishes and tidy up.