This is Part 4 of a Four-Part Series. Read Part 1, 2, and 3 here.
If I'm honest with myself, my previous KonMari sessions felt similar to running uphill: strenuous and without any immediate visible benefits. But when I got to our kitchen, I suddenly crested and caught a glimpse of what all my KonMari sessions meant. Instead of impatiently awaiting the finished product, I realized that the KonMari method is an ongoing process and lifestyle—which is exactly why it's successful. I needed to adopt the habits and mindset that would maintain an organized life and by the fourth session, I was ready to do so. Read on to see how I tackled the heart of our home and the revelations (and multiple bottles of Hot Wing Sauce) I uncovered along the way:
While KonMari addresses categories, rather than locations, I found that most of my 'Komono' (or miscellaneous items) were in the kitchen and bathroom. I began by removing everything from my kitchen cupboards, loosely grouping items by food category. The biggest different in kitchen kimono was finding out that the process is less about keeping and discarding, or whittling the quantity of items within categories down to a minimum number, and more about assessing what represents our kitchen life on three levels: how we cook, how we eat, and how we keep food.
The kitchen is an area where convenience often becomes the most compelling reason to keep something, like paper plates for ease of cleanup when Sloan has friends over for an afternoon snack. Tricia reminded me that it's important to keep items that are not only convenient but also spark joy, since the kitchen gets so much use. So instead of assigning myself the responsibility of being a cafeteria for up to 40 people with a hodgepodge collection of plates, I could focus on (and delight in!) utilizing my favorite collection of 12 place settings.
Starting with cutlery, which Marie Kondo calls the unrecognized "king of kitchen komono" because it gets such usage, designate a VIP drawer in your kitchen for your most-used and loved cutlery. This sets you up for daily joy because of ease of use and the fact that you're more likely to use nice placemats, napkins, or other komono that acts like jewelry for your dinner table. The same rule applies to tools or foods used to prepare meals. Make sure it's easy to put back, not just easy to get, and for ease of cleaning, make it easy to access. If there's a frying pan you use more than anything else, create a special place for it, either on top of a stack of pots, or on its own shelf or drawer.
One of the biggest challenges of food storage is not knowing what and how much you have of any given item. The number of times I've bought a bag of pasta while there were already five of them hiding at the back of my pantry is countless. Laying everything out is the first step to diagnosing the situation, but in order to remedy the problem, store things by category (so it's easier to find) or 'like with like' (canned goods, baking goods, etc.) and put as much as you can in containers that allow you to see what's inside.
Food storage is challenging because it so often creates undue stress—from a container bottom missing a lid to an incomplete or mismatched set of tupperware—which is why it's important to take inventory frequently to edit your storage collection. Other storage-related items like paper bags or plastic bags should either be discarded (don't fall for that "folly of prediction") or folded flat and placed in a box so nothing is spilling out of drawers or cabinets.
In setting up my kitchen to be an even more accessible, tidy, and clean area of the house, I realized that I was once again confronting myself and assessing who and where I am in life, which in and of itself, is a valuable, sometimes painful, but overall joyful process. People change, and I suspect that our kitchen and home won't look exactly the same in one year, let alone a decade, but figuring out what and where we need or want different belongings is the ongoing KonMari method that I've come to understand and prize.
If you live with someone, make sure to confirm if one or both of you is using a product or tool. A lot of times, you'll keep something because the other person assumes it's being used (surprise: it's not).
I like having more than enough supplies for baking on hand so I can spontaneously bake something extravagant. Convenience would say to discard any duplicates of sprinkles I have, but my inner baker says it brings great joy knowing I can decorate cupcakes for any occasion, any time.
The amount of times I said, "I'm really excited about this!" while KonMari'ing our kitchen was surprising. But functionality, which means ease of use and cleanliness, in a space that I use multiple times a day to serve myself, my family, and guests, is something I look forward to everyday now.
Thank you to Tricia Fidler of Heywood Park Collective for contributing her help and expertise to this post! I'd highly recommend her to anyone in Southern California looking to KonMari their own home. You can contact her here and follow her here.
P.S., This is Part 4 in a Four-Part Series on tidying with the KonMari Method. Hope you feel inspired to try KonMari yourself!