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My KonMari Journey – Komono – Kitchen

This wasn’t strictly “the kitchen” because KonMari would strike me down dead for going room by room instead of category by category. But most of the stuff lived in the kitchen, so that was just the handiest name to put on it. It basically comprised of anything involved in making a meal, including the food and drink itself, along with kitchen cleaners, first aid, medication, and vitamins.

This category broke new ground for me because I had to get my husband involved. And, given that he works full-time and isn’t totally on board with the decluttering process, I decided that  <HOT TIP>  doing the method via picture message was the best way to proceed. So I sent him photos and he replied with what he wanted to keep. Easy peasy for the most part, though slightly more time-consuming, and I’m sure we avoided countless arguments as a result.

But back to the story…

You know when you open your (pre-KonMari) closet and think, “Let me just move these million items of clothing to see if I can find something to wear”. That was me with the fridge 2 weeks ago. I couldn’t find a decent meal for all the food that was crammed into the thing. So, before I knew what was happening, KonMari fever gripped me and I was grabbing fistfuls of food and piling them on the kitchen counters. And it didn’t make sense not to tackle the freezer then too.

KonMari. Kitchen. Food.
The food from the fridge took over all the kitchen counter space.

I don’t know how long it took me, but I can tell you I didn’t speak to my husband for several hours because of my frustration at him trying to turn the contents of our fridge into a game of Jenga. 😉 Still, I was pretty pleased with my efforts when it was all over and done with and, 3 weeks on, it’s still looking just as clean and organised.

KonMari. Kitchen. Fridge.
There used to be 2 drawers on the bottom but, in my enthusiasm, I broke 1. The dangers of decluttering!

Next, I tackled pots and pans because they were bulky and I knew that getting rid of just 1 would save a lot of space for us. (I should probably preface this by saying that I am a terrible cook so, as far as I was concerned, pretty much all cookware bar a saucepan and a roasting dish could go in the bin.) We bumped a few, and plan to replace a few. Instant space-saver right here, so I’d recommend starting with this sub-category if you’re in kitchen KonMari mode too.

KonMari. Kitchen. Pots and pans.

KonMari. Kitchen. Pots and pans.
My little helper came in handy. 😉

Tupperware and food storage was a small sub-category, thankfully. I re-homed them in the space above the fridge, rather than having them rattling around with our pots and pans, and it’s been a huge improvement. I’ve since ordered some Oxo Pop containers from Amazon so I can slowly replace all the mis-matched containers with uniform ones. (They’ve been on my wish list since this post from A Bowl Full Of Lemons. Swoon!)

KonMari. Kitchen. Tupperware. Food storage.

Next up was medication, first aid, and vitamins. My husband, daughter and I are incredibly lucky not to have any serious ailments or illnesses, so our medication supply was pretty minimal. Just some painkillers, antihistamines, and decongestants, really. Nonetheless, most of our supply was surplus to requirements, particularly when a lot of it had actually expired. Ugh. I dumped all that, as well as taking blister packs out of boxes and condensing all plasters into 1 box, so what used to take up 2 tubs now only takes up 1. Huzzah!

[Note that medications shouldn’t go in your regular bin or down the sink/toilet. Instead, bring them to your local pharmacy where they’ll happily dispose of them safely for you. And for free.]

KonMari. Kitchen. Medication. First Aid. Vitamins.
Between empty boxes and expired/unused stuff, this was what we got rid of.

KonMari. Kitchen. Medication. First Aid. Vitamins.

KonMari. Kitchen. Medication. First Aid. Vitamins.
On a side note, the tubs that washing tablets come in are great for storing small, fiddly bits. I regularly rinse them out and re-use them.

Utensils and crockery were also quick, but somewhat hampered by my husband’s love of mugs. He drinks tea or coffee every single day, and likes to have a large selection of mugs to choose from. (We started with 14, only 1 of which was mine. We ended with 11. Not exactly a personal best.) He also prefers “souvenir” mugs, so none of them match and most of them have loud prints. Still, some progress is better than none. Now all I have to do is stop him buying more!

KonMari. Kitchen. Crockery.

KonMari. Kitchen. Crockery.
Outta here (plus a mug Sam had upstairs)

Under-the-sink (or “cleaners and cleaning cloths” if you wanna get all “category” about it) took much longer than expected, not least of all because I had a toddler who loves to line them all up and then knock them down. I included extra cleaners and hand wash we had in the downstairs toilet. We had multiples of some cleaners which were half empty so I condensed them into one bottle [important not to do this with different cleaners], and I also got rid of the massive vase I was using to store dishwasher tablets and replaced it with an empty washing tablet tub. Did I mention how handy they are? 😉

KonMari. Kitchen. Cleaners. Under the sink.
Ugh. Very sorry I started.
KonMari. Kitchen. Cleaners. Under the sink.
I’ll be keeping an eye out for some clever cleaning containers.

While I was there, I cleaned out the pipe under the sink. Long story short: YUCK!

(Watch the video at the bottom of this post if you want to learn from my embarrassing mistake here. It starts from the 10:35 mark. As someone who considers themselves pretty clued-in and competent around the house, this was a laughable low point.)

KonMari. Kitchen. Cleaners. Under the sink.
Don’t assume that, because your pipes get a splash of water every day and you don’t put food down them, they’re not utterly shame-worthy.

Bakeware and cookbooks shouldn’t even really be a sub-category in my house because my toddler probably has better cooking and baking skills than I. Also, since I gave up sweet treats 6 months ago, I’m unlikely to be whipping up cookies or cakes anytime soon. But, again, my husband has convinced himself he’ll use the bakeware, so I’ll just have to patiently play the waiting game until Father Time proves me right. 😉

Surprisingly, all the cookbooks are mine. I got them as not-so-subtle gifts over the years. I kept 4 because, for Scout’s sake, I have grand plans of learning to cook.

KonMari. Kitchen. Bakeware. Cookbooks.

KonMari. Kitchen. Bakeware. Cookbooks.
I got rid of these books, plus the pink plastic spoons in the glass mixing bowl. Not pictured: the other glass mixing bowl I got rid of.

Then I finished all the rest one Friday because I had a limited and fast-approaching time slot on Saturday for when I could record the video. If “ugh” were an adjective, it would sum up that day. It was long and tiring and I was mighty glad when it was done. I tackled small kitchen appliances (as well as a large casserole dish that we store inside our slow cooker), spices and seasonings, and then finally food and drink.

Again, I have crap cooking skills so the appliances aren’t really used by me, except for the toaster. But my husband uses them so most of them stayed, bar 1 hand mixer (we had 2) and the smoothie maker I bought years ago (it did get a lot of use over the years, but none recently and, besides, my husband has a Nutri-Ninja I can use if the smoothie mood suddenly re-strikes).

KonMari. Kitchen. Small appliances. Slow cooker. Smoothie maker.
Wasn’t even worth taking an ‘after’ photo.

Up next were seasonings, spices, syrups, sauces, oils, etc. Again, 99% of them are used solely by my husband. And, sadly about 50% of them are expired. But he still wanted to keep them because apparently he doesn’t understand how expiry dates work. 😛 I mean, who needs 22 bottles of expired Tabasco sauce?! Apparently, we do. *sigh*

KonMari. Kitchen. Spreads. Seasoning. Spices. Oils. Sauces. Syrups.
Out of 24 (expired) bottles of Tabasco sauce, he only let me throw out the 2 open ones.

And finally… FINALLY… was (non-refrigerated and -frozen) food and drink. If I hadn’t been sticking to a strict recording schedule, I would definitely have left these for another day because I was SO fed up. Thankfully, my husband made great strides here and got rid of a lot of unhealthy snacks and drinks.

KonMari. Kitchen. Food.
Biggest difference of the day right here. (And yes, we have more food, but I thought pics of pasta would be pretty pointless.)
KonMari. Kitchen. Drinks.
All my husband’s (I mainly drink water), and some of the difference you see is down to me putting the boxes of teabags into the new container I recently bought.

And I decided, after 6 long months, that it was probably time to let go of all the chocolate I’d been hoarding. I popped the below pic on Facebook with a note saying that if anyone was having a party, or just generally didn’t have diabetes, these were going free to a good home. They were snapped up.

KonMari. Kitchen. Chocolate.
Yes, I had a lot. Yes, it was an addiction.

And that was that. Some of the stuff was put back…

KonMari. Kitchen. Food. Cupboard.
Extras on the top shelf.

KonMari. Kitchen. Food. Cupboard.

… and some of it is still sitting on my kitchen counters and floor, waiting to be re-homed in a more convenient location.

Umm... To be continued, I guess.
Umm… To be continued, I guess.

For a small kitchen and family, the fact we could dump two large black sacks of stuff, as well as several small bags for donation, is pretty shocking. And if it weren’t for my hoarding husband, that number would at least double. 😉

Here’s the accompanying video (now with slightly fancier editing skills) if you want to hear the story straight from the horse’s homemaker’s mouth. (It took me about 2 days to edit it so please be gentle!)

Or check out my post on tackling toiletries: The KonMari Method — Toiletries

There are some other areas in our kitchen that I’m hoping to get through next, like the junk cupboard (yes, it’s not just a drawer). Once I clear those out, and once the the Oxo containers arrive, I can start putting everything away again and can finally re-claim the kitchen. Apparently, my husband has a lot of baking he wants to do. 😉

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Who’s for flapjacks?



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26 Responses

  1. Not sure if you want to go this far, but Marie Kondo’s second book (“Magic Cleaning 2”) has been translated into German. With a PDF copy, you can get Google translate to convert the entire document into reasonably decipherable English. I mention this because, in this second book, there is an entire chapter devoted to tidying and organizing the kitchen. It seems like at least the organizing portion might still be relevant for you at this point. There’s a bit too much to post as a comment but few key points are 1) never start your decluttering festival with the kitchen, 2) a practical kitchen depends not so much on order, but more on how easy it is to keep clean, 3) with this in mind, never keep items on the counters around your sink or stove where splashes of water or food/grease will make it harder to keep things clean. Other than that, it’s keep everything together by category (her main ones are just eating utensils, cooking utensils, and food) and put the less frequently used items in the less accessible cupboards.


    1. I’ve been waiting patiently for it to be translated into English — I had no idea it was already translated into German! Thanks for the heads up. And thank you for the brief summary. So far, it looks like I’ve been doing most of those things anyway, but I am going to move the knife block from beside the hob because it does get covered in grease. I think my kitchen will be a work in progress for a while. Can’t wait to read the second book. Thanks so much for your incredibly helpful comment, Sean. 😀 Are you following the method too?

      1. I’ve been following the method for about a month now and I’ve been very pleased with the results. The kitchen counters have remained clear and tidy for over two weeks. They used to revert to chaos in less than a day….

        1. Been there! Mine have only officially been clear since yesterday, so time will tell! But all previous categories are still organised, and they’ve been done a while. So there’s hope for me yet! =)

  2. Fascinating! I just found your blog and I’m really enjoying this series on how you are applying the KonMari Method. A colleague told me about the book yesterday and I read it last night and was hooked! I haven’t started yet, but I did find her categories for Komono a little vague, and a quick look around on the Interwebs seemed to show that a lot of people tackle the clothes, books and paper categories but then go ominously silent when they get to everything else. So I’m really interested to see how you break things up into categories and I love your before and after photos. So inspiring!

    1. Thank you so much! It does get a little tricky but I just go with whatever area is annoying me most. 😉 She has 3 other books, 1 of which is currently being translated into English, and I believe that they include a more in-depth look at the ‘komono’ category. But if you’re really stuck, there’s a good checklist here: Hope that helps! If you decide to start, don’t forget to keep us updated. Are you on Instagram? I’ll follow along for pics. =)

      1. I’m too shy to show all my crap to the world on Instagram (but I on there – @misspiroska) but I’ve started KonMari-ing my stuff and it’s pretty addictive! Also I’m stunned at the amount of stuff I have and didn’t know about. I owned 77 skirts!! I got rid of 25 skirts, 32 tops, 6 belts, and 4 evening bags. Next up are dresses, coats/jackets and shoes. (I skipped ahead and did books and CDs because clothes were taking me so long, and I got rid of 180 books and magazines and 46 CDs and now my bookshelf is so tidy and neat!)
        Her other books sound interesting, I hope they are all translated into English soon. Thanks for the link to the checklist.

        1. Following you on Instagram now. =) Well done on the decluttering progress! Sounds like you’re making great strides. I believe her second book is currently being translated into English and is due for release at the end of December. So not too long to wait! Did you hear she had a little baby girl last month? I wonder if/how much her life will change now, and if she’ll write another book about trying to live a minimalist life with a baby in tow. I could sure use a book like that! 😉 Do you think you’ll follow the method pretty closely or will you loosely apply its principles to your life?

          1. I’m pretty sure her next book after the baby will be all like: OMG, forget everything I said! Who has time for being tidy, life’s too short! 😉

            Nah, just kidding. I feel inspired by your kitchen! Thanks!

          2. I’ve thought the same thing many times! Actually, I read somewhere recently that she’s currently due her second baby! I’d definitely love to read a “KonMari with a Baby” book!

  3. I move house in a week. As in all stuff be gone by then. So not sure I have time to Kon Mari it all before then! Too much deciding. I might try to do clothes (tomorrow) & just move the rest. Although a load of boxes (x10, of crap) has gone into hiding at a friend’s house!

    1. One step at a time will get you there. Even if you only do some of your clothes before the move, it’s one less box you have to pack. One less box you have to drag with you. One less box to unpack. Then consider doing the rest as you’re unpacking. As you’re taking things out of their boxes, ask whether they spark joy. Whether you love them enough to bother finding a new place for them. Whether they’re worth putting away, organising, cleaning, etc.

      It will take a while so don’t feel you need to rush through everything. It’s a process. =)

      Best of luck with the move!

  4. I’m late to the party, but have to share my tip for not wasting so much food. It wasn’t just the fact I wasting so much money, but there was also the incredible guilt of throwing out food when so many people are going hungry these days.

    Anyway, the solution turned out to be tedious but simple: I plan the menu for the week, taking into consideration existing stockpiles (stuff I have in the freezer, boxes of pasta, etc.) and what’s on offer in the stores. Then I actually go through each recipe and make a shopping list, adding a realistic number of snacks (one piece of fruit per day, no matter what’s on sale; if I can’t eat that many mangoes before they go off, it’s not a deal).

    1. Yes, I’ve just started meal planning after dabbling in it a bit last year. It’s still very much a work in progress, but I’m getting there! =) Is there a specific app or anything you use, or is it good ol’ fashioned pen and paper? I just type up notes in a plain document on my laptop.

      1. I find that old-fashioned pen and paper work best for me. I write down my list and then afterwards I put coloured dots next to the items, indicating what section of the store they’re in (for example, green for produce).

        I should mention that I’m not one of these people who carries around a smartphone (unless it’s part of my job and I HATE THAT because there’s this expectation of instant and constant access). I have a small ‘dumb’ phone that’s a decade old, and is on a pay-as-you-go plan because only gets used for emergency calls or when I’m meeting up with someone (in case one of us gets confused about location or is running late). As a result, I pay less in one year in cell phone costs than most people pay in a month (while complaining about how broke they are, WTF).

        1. Ha ha. My phone and laptop are basically extensions of my body at this stage. But yeah, technology has its disadvantages, and I still use pen and paper if I really need to get clear on something, and for journaling. I like the idea of colour-coding the items. =) I write my list in the order they are in the store.

  5. The kitchen was a tough one. My husband and I both dislike cooking generally speaking but we both cook out of necessity. In the past he was the primary cook but I have been doing more lately. Anyhow he is more opinionated on the kitchen and is very quick to notice changes so he had to be consulted extensively. I do clean out expired food though and I only ask for his opinion on spices that have expired. When he first moved in we unpacked very quickly and he said not to worry too much because we could move things once we had a better idea of how we would use the space. That didn’t happen because he was so happy with how I arranged it the first time around and every change since has required a lot of explaining. We use the space a little differently, we cook differently. Also I clean it mostly so I have to consider ease of cleaning. One issue we have is that we hate eating the same food everyday and we eat foods from all over the world. We spend more money on groceries than anything else and we have A LOT of spices and sauces and specialty ingredients. We have a shelf that is just various kinds of seaweeds. We have probably 10 kg of rice at all times. We have sushi rice, Jasmine rice, red rice, brown rice, sometimes black rice. Spices are a problem for another reason as well, storage. I can’t find the spices when I need them because he likes them just in the cabinet in no particular order (he has a plan to build something to make it easier when he remodels the kitchen that I am totally on board with but that is several years away). Also we have a lot of tea. We have at least 20 different varieties I think

    tea top, coffee bottom (I don’t drink coffee)

    We do drink tea granted and I love, love how many of them smell like Cherry Blossom tea and Genmaicha especially. With all that tea we have lots of Japanese mugs which could be displayed as art because our mugs are the most beautiful items we own. It is a shame not to display them honestly. My husband also likes to have tons of glasses but they are not actually needed because like you I drink from a water bottle (my husband drinks out of whatever I drink out of so we don’t even have our own separate container). He also has 2 different sets of dishes/side plates/bowls with 10 in each category. You would think we hosted massive dinner parties but we don’t because we are both extremely introverted. He says it is because we are clumsy. I have to give him this one because I have no depth perception and am constantly knocking things. We both have an obsession with beautiful bowls. We don’t have very many pots and pans really only what we need. Spatulas and the like we have 2 large containers worth. I am not sure why we need so many but he is. I think for him it represents independence as a concept or something. He does bake quite a lot. He bakes for others as well. Whenever there is some sort family event or school event with food he cooks a ton and gets totally stressed out. We have quite a few cookbooks some we use a lot some it was more curiosity. So the kitchen is tough but it is well-organized now except the spices! I don’t keep cleaning supplies in the kitchen just the stuff for the stove top and the dishwasher. I have a cabinet in the utility room and I use those hanging pockets that are made for shoes it works great

    I have a very similar medicine situation but I did that with toiletries because it is in the bathroom. Hubs likes everything in reach all the time.

    1. The shoe organiser is great! As with the papers you mentioned in another post, it sounds like you’re making good progress in the kitchen. I suppose the reality is that when we live with others, some sacrifices have to be made in terms of how things are stored. But it sounds like, apart from the spices, everything is working pretty well for you. =)

  6. Great post! I’d never heard of this method before. I’ll be giving it a try! Also, what kind of chair is your daughter sitting in in the last photo?

    1. Thank you! Best of luck with it. Let me know if you have any questions (though I think I’ve covered everything at this point, ha ha). The chair is from Baby Bjorn and we absolutely loved it.

  7. I know this is so, so old, but hopefully you’ll see it and can offer some help. My husband sees getting rid of almost ANYTHING as an affront to his personhood – in only slightly exaggerating. We’ve had a few good conversations about it and it seems he feels like the things around him validate his existence. I can’t keep things clean, and these things he loves so much get ruined, yet he thinks I’m a “neatfreak” and obsess over cleaning. I’ve explained that my mental health is affected by the smothering clutter but he counters it with the idea that his mental health needs these things around him so we are always at a standstill. I’ve worked with him to come up with simple systems to keep his things put away and he just doesn’t keep up with it and has everything at arm’s reach. Any videos or blogs or thoughts addressing something like this? The blog here is the closest I’ve found. Thank you for any ideas you might have, I love your videos.

    1. Hi Tess. My husband is similar so I can relate to your struggle. I recently read a book called “The Clutter Connection” and it really opened my eyes as to WHY my husband is like that. I was able to see things from his point of view, and it also suggested strategies that may work. I actually reviewed the book recently because I found it so good, if you’d like to take a look:

      It’s also helped me to designate clear areas in our home where my husband and I can decorate as we please. He has his own office where he can keep all his stuff, and I have mine. It makes it easier to keep communal areas a little tidier when we each have our own spaces to store our things.

      I hope that helps!

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