Last Updated on June 29, 2022 by Rebecca Huff
Applying the Konmari method to my kitchen meant putting things away that I previously left out. I've always had my own organization ideas, but applying minimalism to my kitchen was a new idea.
Of all the rooms in my home, I spend the most waking hours in my kitchen. Whether you spend a lot of time in your kitchen or you're barely in there, it can help to have your space organized. Kitchen decluttering will help you keep things organized.
If you rarely use your kitchen this will probably be easier. Kondo admits that she doesn't cook regularly, and I believe that a kitchen that is not in constant use could be kept magazine perfect. Not using her kitchen often makes it easier for her to have kitchen gadgets put away.
For those of us who use our kitchen all the time and consider it the heart of the home, putting everything away might not be feasible. It's good to find a happy medium when it comes to decluttering a kitchen.
Ease of Cleaning vs. Ease of Use
Kondo suggests focusing on ease of cleaning over ease of use when it comes to tidying the kitchen area; noting that it's easier to clean the backsplash and counters if they are not obstructed by various kitchen appliances.
[Tweet “Kondo suggests focusing on ease of cleaning over ease of use when it comes to tidying the kitchen”]
To declutter, keep only the items you use and as Kondo suggests, those that spark joy. Some things are useful to have duplicates of if you cook a lot, like spatulas. Having two spatulas means that if you want to make a grilled cheese sandwich at lunch you'll have a backup since the one you used to flip pancakes that morning is in the dishwasher.
I decluttered my pantry, long before I read the book, and it has stayed organized because everything has a place. That's one of the things I do. Pantry organization is my thing; I've been known to reorganize my friend's pantries.
When it came time to kitchen decluttering, I was hung up on the thought of having everything cleared off my counters. I just couldn't imagine putting away my dish drainer, soap, brushes, a bottle of lotion, and all the appliances I use on a daily basis. It seemed like a lot of extra work.
I already stored my appliances in the cabinets underneath the kitchen counters. Each time I need to use my mixer, food processor, etc. I have to get it out; I was already used to that.
There's a lot of people in my family, and I cook every meal, snack, and dessert we eat each day. On top of that, I do a fair amount of recipe development. It seemed there are always dishes in a rotation of being cleaned.
I run my dishwasher about 2-3 times per day. Also, I kept a dish drainer and drying mat next to the sink that I didn't want to put up. I have told my husband that I want two dishwashers to keep up with my cooking hobby. One day I believe I'll have that dream kitchen!
One day I was showing my son what I wanted my kitchen to look like when he finished cleaning it. To make it look as clean as possible, I moved the dish drainer and drying mat into my pantry where I had an empty shelf. The shelf is only 5 or 6 steps from the sink. That looked nice, so I went ahead with putting the soap and brushes under the sink.
Once I stood back and looked around at my tidy kitchen, the difference was impressive. From now on, the dish drainer and drying mat were going to be put away after each use. It's not putting away the drainer that had kept me from doing it before, it was actually finishing the task that I'd been avoiding. Letting the dishes air dry turned into letting them sit there until I needed to wash more dishes. I hadn't realized how I'd been avoiding the completion of that task!
The thing is, my kitchen has been less cluttered since I started putting away the drainer. That's because now I am forcing myself to dry and put away the dishes instead of letting them air-dry until the next time I need to wash dishes. This is what it looks like, not always because there are so many people in my house and we all run off of different schedules.
However, I keep a scrub brush filled with detergent under the sink and everyone knows my rule…
If you eat at any time besides mealtime – wash your own dishes!Mom
An unexpected side effect of my Marie Kondo Kitchen is that I feel happier when I finish working in there. It's an accomplishment and makes me feel productive. When every dish is put back in its place, the dish drainer is on the pantry shelf, and my kitchen sparkles, I feel joy.
My kitchen turned out to be the easiest space to organize. Due to my being in the kitchen a lot, I already kept tools close to the area I would be using them. Pots and pans under the counters next to the stove, cooking utensils in drawers next to the stove. Knives are stored near the cutting board storage. Dishes arranged in cabinets above the dishwasher and so on.
There weren't many things I needed to declutter in my kitchen. Some of the things I ended up donating or tossing were a few extra knives, some chipped plates and bowls, some spices that were out of date, and a few coffee mugs. Must stop buying new mugs at coffee shops!
Try the KonMari App
Downloading the app can be useful for accountability when it comes to reaching the deadlines you set. The blog in-app is inspiring as well. The excerpt below comes from a post on the app and is what inspired me to declutter my countertops all the way.
“What are some tips for keeping the kitchen organized?“
1. Timing is especially important in the kitchen, as packaged, canned, and fresh foods all have different expiration dates. Be aware of what you already own before you shop for new groceries. Note which items need to be consumed first, and how you can incorporate different ingredients in a way that utilizes what you have and mitigates waste. By periodically taking stock of what you already own, you will keep from accumulating items that you will not use.
2. Even though the kitchen may serve the same basic function for everyone as a place to cook and eat, there are still many ways that you can individualize your space to reflect your passions and prioritize your most-used items. For instance, if you enjoy baking, store your mixer and trays in an easily accessible place and display your favorite cake decorating books or images on the topic on a picture rail for easy reference. Arranging your space so that frequently used tools are stored in intuitive and beautiful ways will encourage you to do more of what you love.
3. Try to keep your countertop clear, especially near the sink and stove. You want to be able to easily wipe down the area around your sink after it gets wet, and this will become a hassle if you have to pick up many small items. Additionally, you do not want your kitchenware and products to be coated in grease by sitting close to your stove. The minimal extra effort of storing items in drawers and cabinets after each use will be well worth it once you experience the calmness of a clear and clean countertop.
Kitchen Decluttering, Organizing, or Cleaning
Of the three, I like cleaning the best. Yes, organizing is very satisfying but it doesn't last. Cleaning barely lasts a few hours in my house! Decluttering, on the other hand, that's permanent.
Organization and decluttering are two entirely different tasks. They can go together like peanut butter and jelly, but they are not the same thing. Decluttering is permanent, once you give it away it's gone, you don't have to do it again. Organizing has to be repeated because someone comes along and moves things around.
With decluttering you are also consciously freeing up space in your home (and your mind) which leads to a sense of calm. I've never donated a box of stuff and wished I had it back. Additionally, because of decluttering, I tend to think about it longer when making a purchase. Where am I going to put this? Do I truly need this? How could I continue getting by without this?
Additional kitchen tidying tips:
- Marie Kondo suggests pulling everything out at one time before deciding what to keep and what to discard. That's just too much for me, so I did not do my kitchen all at one time. Do what works for you. Baby steps work for me.
- Break the rules if that makes you happy. I'm not going to put away my coffee grinder or my coffee pot. No, nope, no way. I am certainly keeping those on my counter because the last thing I want to do when I'm ready for caffeine is drag out the coffee pot and grinder.
- Keeping the counters clear makes working in the kitchen much easier because you have more space to work. It also declutters your mind so it's more enjoyable to work in the kitchen.
- Cleanliness is actually a form of self-care; clutter contributes to anxiety and a feeling of overwhelm.
- Have a place for things; it's not a big deal to get an appliance out of a cabinet as long as you know where it's at.
- Don't feel like you have to get rid of stuff from your kitchen! If you use it, keep it but if it's been collecting dust for five years and you never use it, consider donating it. The goal is to make your kitchen a place that “sparks joy” right?
- Speaking of joy, also make the place where you eat a place that sparks joy. If you are eating on a table cluttered with bills, vitamin bottles, and other “stuff” you will most likely not be eating with a sense of calm and peace. Eating in a stressful environment can cause digestive problems. Flowers, placemats, real plates and silverware on the table at meal times can help you to slow down and enjoy eating.
Healthy Kitchen Challenge
Want a step-by-step guide to help you makeover the health of your kitchen? Grab the free guide “healthy kitchen challenge” as my personal gift to you. It is just one of the many free guides from the members-only section. If you're not a member, go ahead and join for free. You'll be prompted to create your own personal password and get instant access to all the free guides on this site.
One of my favorite tools for organizing my drawers is a Bamboo Divider, I have three of these and they are wonderful! I also use jars and OXO containers in my pantry which you can see in my (old) pantry post. Most of my recommendations can be found on Amazon.
Marie Kondo's book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up can be found on Amazon or you can read the summary for free on kindle unlimited, which is what I recommend. Alternatively, consider borrowing it from the library. Ironically, I just donated mine in my last decluttering haul. The follow-up book Spark Joy is illustrated and I think it's more useful than the first book. If you're ready to become a minimalist or like me, you just want to dream about it, read Goodbye Things.
Moving, springtime or at each new year are times when we feel like pulling things out of our kitchen cabinets, wiping down the shelves, and organizing our kitchen tools as we add them back. It is such a satisfying feeling to have a tidy kitchen!
Happy kitchen decluttering!
Since this post was originally published back in 2018, Marie Kondo's Netflix show aired. People are filmed tidying up with Marie Kondo as she shares her organizing tips and helps them find storage solutions for the kitchen items they use every day. Konmari kitchens don't have to have a minimalist feel, remember that the method is not based on minimalism, it's based on keeping only what sparks joy. You might have a million things that spark joy! Kondo would recommend you keep them in storage containers rather than on your surfaces. In addition, Kondo's methods of organizing small kitchens and other small spaces have exploded on Tiktok.
In addition, I also organize my fridge. My husband one day jokingly said we need a second fridge for the sauces I make. That is true because on any given day I may have 4-5 hot sauces in the fridge. In addition, I make my own condiments, including a Korean Fusion favorite called Ko-Rican sauce. He did end up buying a second fridge for me and it is so useful and tidy. My son says that's so bougie but it is what it is, he eats well and I love spending time in my kitchen!