Tidying up the kitchen was quite the project. As with many categories of items in our home, I donated A LOT of kitchen stuff last year. And still…a giant tub of stuff plus 3 smaller boxes full of stuff left the house when I was finished going through the kitchen this time. But I’m getting ahead of myself!
While I will tackle the kitchen with this one post, “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” divides kitchen items into sub-categories to make it a little less daunting. I did not do this category in one day, but over 2-3 days. Here is how KonMari categorizes:
- Dishes, Glasses, Silverware, Place Mats (and other table decor)
- Cooking and Baking Tools and Appliances
- Plastic and Paper Plates & Silverware, Food Storage
- Plastic Wrap, Foil, Bags, Paper Towels, etc
For some reason, I caught the urge to go through the middle three categories one night after dinner. And I did not take any “before” or “in progress” pictures. Mostly because I did not put everything in a pile for each sub-category in the kitchen (only for some). Shame on me, I know. But not only did I go through ALL of this stuff early last year, I also completely re-organized my most frustrating cabinets and several cabinets/drawers that were demolished and re-built late last year due to water damage. AND we donated all our old tupperware and bought one new set several months ago. Here are the “after” shots of the middle three categories.
On another day, I took out all my dishes and silverware and place mats (I have no table decor….no tablecloths or runners or chargers or cloth napkins or napkin rings or anything of that nature). Choosing discards was easy here. I tidied first for joy, and secondarily for volume. I got rid of things we weren’t using, things that didn’t bring joy, and things that we had way too much of. Same thing with glasses and silverware-although we kept a LOT of glasses. We are big wine lovers, and Husband has a lovely beer mug collection. Plus, pretty glasses bring me JOY! Below, “after” shots of these items.
Last but not least was food. Again, last year I did the lion’s share of pantry organizing. I bought a bunch of containers and threw out expired stuff and re-organized. But (probably not surprisingly) I still managed to fill an entire trash bag with old/expired stuff and containers that I was able to empty and consolidate. I thought I was proud of this last year, but now I REALLY love it. Baking items live on the top shelf, then cooking stuff, then snacks/bread/vitamins, and on the bottom shelf, liquor, pet items, spices and teas. On the floor we have paper towels and pet food.
This was A LOT of work when I think about how many times I went through everything. And I’ve already discarded a few more things since I took these photos. When I showed Husband my work, he pointed at an ice cream scoop and another utensil that looks just like an ice cream scoop (but it’s for putting batter into muffin tins). And that got me thinking more along minimalist lines as I looked at utensils again: Do I really need this? Do I have something that is a suitable substitute? In the case of the ice cream scoop, the answer was YES! Into the donation pile it went.
Now, in ALL our upper cabinets, the top shelf, and in some cases, the top TWO shelves are empty. There is NOTHING in the cabinets above our refrigerator. One of the reasons this makes me so joyful is because I am short and I cannot reach top shelves (or second to top shelves) without standing on something or whining for Husband to come help. The other is just that it’s really starting to feel like the gross excess is gone.
Freed up shelf space also has me re-thinking how much stuff I need to keep out on the counter. One of the goals here is to spend less time cleaning. And the less stuff I have to move off of a surface, the easier it is to clean. In fact, KonMari says that she spent YEARS researching and thinking about the optimal way to store things so that working in the kitchen is easy. In the end, she discovered that the biggest factor in keeping a kitchen tidy is how easy it is to clean, not to use. While it is of course beneficial to think about what things you use the most and choosing the right place to store each item, if the counter tops are cluttered, the kitchen will still look cluttered and be difficult to clean.
After I tidied in the kitchen, I was able to remove a few things off my counters but am considering moving more. In any case, here is the kitchen as it looks today.
I really love to cook, and I am so thankful that we have a beautiful place where I can do that. Thinking through storage and ease of cleaning only makes it that much more fun. By keeping only what I need and use regularly, cabinets and drawers are less stuffed. This means whatever I need is easily accessible. The joy!
I know I will continue to make small tweaks and further hone my definition of minimalism and “enough” even after I have officially gone through all categories. In fact, I am getting more and more excited to do that; I know I’d handle certain things differently now than I did when I first started. When I look back at those first few categories, I’m starting to notice things I decided to keep that haven’t been used or touched since. There is more to be done, and it is so freeing to let go and keep letting go.
Next up: Cleaning & Laundry Supplies and Miscellaneous Bathroom Items