Cleaning

How I'm Sparking Joy & Tidying Up My Kitchen

January  6, 2016

It will come as a surprise to nobody who knows me that my kitchen is more post-explosion than tight ship (creativity begets mess, my mom always told me). My roommate Justine, whose idea of cooking begins and ends with buttering a bagel, and I do a good job of keeping dishes moving through the sink, the counter wiped clean, and the cabinets...closed. Beyond those doors is a situation that would have Marie Kondo screaming.

This is not where I live. Photo by Mark Weinberg

That doesn't have to happen, however, because Marie Kondo's new book Spark Joy just hit shelves! Even if you didn't read her first, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, as I did not, you probably know the gist of the method: Tidy your belongings by type, rather than by room, and get rid of anything that doesn't spark joy.

Book 2, like any good sequel, answers the questions raised by the first. In it, Kondo delves into her much-chattered-about folding techniques and answers the questions that her clients commonly ask—such as, and I quote: "Just tell me how to store things in my kitchen!"

Which leads me here. My kitchen is in desperate need of tidying: Justine and I have so much unused stuff, very little storage space, and almost a complete lack of order—did I mention that after two years of cohabitating, we only recently got a trash can in the kitchen? I'm going to tackle our food containers, our dishes and flatware, our cookware, and our pantry.

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Top Comment:
“I started my kitchen using the KonMari method yesterday as well. I had a quick search online and I couldn't find many good blog posts focusing on using the method in the kitchen, so looking forward to this series! I started on our pantry first. We have a bit of challenge as it's tall, narrow but quite deep. It makes it a real hassle for reaching in and finding things. The way I've got around this is wooden baskets (for vinegars, sauces and oils) so they can be pulled out easily, and stackable plastic containers for flours, grains etc. I was a little surprised when I was clearing everything out to discover I had nine different types of vinegars! And many double ups too. Good luck! ”
— Sophia B.
Comment

Starting tomorrow, I'll tackle one part of my kitchen at a time, starting with the black hole that is my storage container cabinet, according to Kondo's ways. For the next few days after that, it will be new day, new drawer, until it's all tidied up!

Any tips for becoming a KonMari pro? Let me know in the comments!

15 Comments

AntoniaJames January 7, 2016
Please help me understand why there is a plant on the floor under the window in the showcase photo of the Food52 kitchen at the top. Don't you all trip over it when you walk through that narrow space to get behind the counter? I find that so puzzling. Do you keep the plant there because you do *not* want people to walk through there? Do tell! ;o)
 
Author Comment
Amanda S. January 7, 2016
Pencil cacti are happiest in a warm beam of sunlight—and it's more convenient to enter the kitchen through the big aisle by the fridge!
 
AntoniaJames January 7, 2016
Okay, thank you for the explanation. May I respectfully suggest that it might look a bit more polished - and the cactus would get even more sun -- if you sat it on a pretty stool or other stand? It rather looks like an after-thought, just sitting there sadly. ;o)
 
Burf January 6, 2016
I started small on New Years Day -- I KonMari-ed the heck out of our kitchen junk drawer. It was amazing how little joy inkless pens and dead batteries brought me!
 
Author Comment
Amanda S. January 6, 2016
The junk drawer has to the the scariest part of this whole process. Well done!
 
Patricia January 2, 2017
I recently bought a junk drawer organizer, cleaned out the drawer, threw tons of utter crap away....results are spectacular. I still pull out the drawer just to marvel!
 
laurenlocally January 6, 2016
Love love this. I KonMari-ed my whole house (but my kitchen).
 
Tamara January 7, 2016
Lauren, how big is your house and how long did it take? I am almost finished with the book and have just begun, however, not necessarily in the order Ms. Kondo suggests (with very good reason and once I get the study cleared out, I'll go back and do the rest in order). It is daunting!
 
Lynne C. January 6, 2016
You read my mind. After reading her first book last summer, I was inspired to create *categories* for attacking the uniquely American problem of kitchen clutter (detailed here: http://zesterdaily.com/people/conquer-your-kitchen-clutter-japanese-style). I'd love to know what you think.<br />I'll be curious to see her kitchen tips in the new book. Thanks!
 
AntoniaJames January 7, 2016
Lynne, thank you for the link to your post. Wonderful! Inspiring! (Also, although totally off topic, thank you the Genius reverse-sear recipe for roast beef, published here last year. I used it this Christmas on a top loin roast with great success. We found the article in Fine Cooking on the method particularly helpful.) Cheers. ;o)
 
Lynne C. January 20, 2016
{your comment just rescued from the SPAM folder today} You're most welcome, Antonia--for the decluttering tips and the reverse sear. Happy cleaning and cooking!
 
Sophia B. January 6, 2016
I started my kitchen using the KonMari method yesterday as well. I had a quick search online and I couldn't find many good blog posts focusing on using the method in the kitchen, so looking forward to this series! I started on our pantry first. We have a bit of challenge as it's tall, narrow but quite deep. It makes it a real hassle for reaching in and finding things. The way I've got around this is wooden baskets (for vinegars, sauces and oils) so they can be pulled out easily, and stackable plastic containers for flours, grains etc. I was a little surprised when I was clearing everything out to discover I had nine different types of vinegars! And many double ups too. Good luck!
 
Anita104 January 6, 2016
My original pantry was like that. Bed Bath and Beyond sells metal pull outs that are reasonably priced and fairly easy to install. I'm sure they're sold elsewhere. They were a life changer.
 
Kyla E. January 6, 2016
Agreed! I've only done my closet, using Goop (http://goop.com/the-illustrated-guide-to-the-kondo-mari-method/) as a reference. Will definitely tune into see how to apply it in the kitchen :)
 
Author Comment
Amanda S. January 6, 2016
How timely! My fingers are crossed that my kitchen feels bigger when it's all said and done.