A Tidy Kitchen is a Productive Kitchen

Is it cliché to admit that I learned the value of a tidy kitchen from Marie Kondo? The Netflix series “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo” has certainly generated a lot of buzz since it launched in January 2019.

I was introduced to the KonMari Method in 2014, when during a ten-hour drive we listened to the “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” audiobook. Immediately after that trip, I emptied out my closet and shed clothing that no longer “sparked joy” for me. Sadly, I petered out on KonMari.

Fast forward 5 years. I binge-watched “Tidying Up” in February, and felt deeply connected to every family Marie visited. I cried with them when they felt the “life changing magic” and I committed to my own tidying journey.

I naturally felt the biggest spark when I worked on our kitchen. I began with our pantry (and discovered 3 Reasons to Tidy Up Your Kitchen Pantry) and then moved on to the freezer. I found unlabeled and unidentifiable food items covered in frost that definitely did not spark joy. I learned to always label leftovers with the date and a description before you put them in the freezer.

In our fridge, I re-organized by food group and size. We find things much faster if we place shorter items in the front, taller in the back, and turn all the labels to face forward.

Next, I sorted through all of our drawers. Pots and pans; plastic storage; glasses and mugs; cutlery; cloth items (e.g. napkins, placements); and cleaning supplies. To keep this task from feeling overwhelming, focus on one drawer or segment each day for just 1 hour at a time. This kept me motivated and broke the process into a series of small accomplishments.

The results have been worth the effort. We still have “stuff” on our counters, but everything has a place. Our tidy kitchen is a calm, peaceful space that welcomes us on a cold morning to enjoy a steaming mug of coffee and invites us to cook and enjoy our meals as a family.


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