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9 Easy Tips to Tidy Your Kitchen with the KonMari Method

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If you are looking to reduce clutter, get organized, and improve the functionality of your home, you need the KonMari method of decluttering in your life! I am halfway through my own amazing decluttering journey, and today I want to share nine tips that will help you declutter your kitchen with the KonMari method the EASY way.

***WARNING! Side effects of decluttering may include excessive joy, an intense awareness of spaciousness, and a sudden desire to go completely minimalist!

A kitchen organized with the Konmari method

Why use the KonMari method to declutter your kitchen?

In my opinion, the greatest thing about the KonMari method is that it focuses on what to keep versus what to discard.

Instead of focusing on the getting rid of part, the KonMari method is all about mindfully choosing to keep things that spark joy.

By focusing on what to keep rather than on what to discard, the process becomes positive and empowering.

Additionally, for those of us who live with the day-to-day challenges that small homes bring, the KonMari method is ideal for reducing clutter and improving functionality.

My family lives in a 1,400 square foot townhome, spread out over three floors, and I can tell you every square INCH of our cabinets counts!

(Before that, we squeezed our family of four into a 900 square foot Chicago condo, so we know a thing or to about small space living!)

Considering that Marie Kondo comes from Tokyo, where kitchens are roughly the size of the average American bathroom, she definitely knows a thing or two about squeezing a lot of space out of a tiny place.

How to declutter your kitchen with the KonMari method

Here are the top nine tips for decluttering your kitchen with the KonMari Method! 

UPDATE: We extreme decluttered our home down to 8 suitcases and moved to Europe — here are all the mistakes we made, and what we learned in the process.

1. Clean your kitchen before you KonMari

Time to get KonMari’d (yes, it can be a verb!)

Although this isn’t a tip that Marie Kondo shares, I personally have found that it is better to start with a clean kitchen so that you don’t get distracted by the dirt, allowing you to focus on the clutter.

It’s like starting with a clean white canvas before painting a masterpiece!

Here is what my kitchen looked like before I started — cluttered, but clean!

KonMari before and after "before" shot

2. Have boxes ready to help sort your clutter

You can streamline the entire KonMari process by having boxes ready to collect the clutter as you discard it.

You can either choose between cardboard boxes or plastic storage bins, depending on what you have access to.

I like to use cardboard boxes for the items I plan on donating and plastic storage bins for items I plan on keeping to sell on Facebook Marketplace and eBay.

That way cardboard boxes can be dropped off hassle-free at donation centers and the storage bins can be closed and stored as I sell off items!

Label your boxes:

  • Donate
  • Sell
  • Trash/Recycle

Items that are in good condition and highly desirable (read: antique glasses, vintage Pyrex, anything high-end (think West Elm), etc) can be sold on eBay, Facebook Marketplace, or Craigslist — even if the condition is not perfect!

RELATED POST: 10 Things Marie Kondo Got WRONG – Agree or Disagree?

3. Remove everything and place it on the floor

Take all of the items out of your cabinets and place them on the floor or counter for sorting.

Depending on the size of the space you are working with you may end up with items scattered about here and there, and that is okay!

Everything should be taken out all at once!

Cabinets emptied during KonMari method

4. Don’t forget to KonMari food items

Items in your pantry and refrigerator are supposed to be sorted as well.

I did decide to save the fridge for another time, but all the dry food items, spices, and condiments were removed and placed on the floor or counter.

In fact, don’t forget anything by signing up to get your FREE KonMari Checklist! It’s five pages of pure decluttering joy.

5. Handle everything; recognize attachment versus joy

Here is where things start to get really exciting!

You need to hold every item in your hand and ask yourself, “Does this spark joy?”

If the answer is no, then adiós it shall go! Place the item in the proper box to be discarded.

Not sure what your joy might feel like?

Marie Kondo advises starting with an item that you feel very strongly about — an item that you know will be a definite yes!

Choose a kitchen item that you know is going to give you that sensation of joy and begin from there.

In my case, I began with some of my mother’s old places and pots.

This helped me tune into the feelings of “joy” while decluttering my kitchen!

By now I am guessing that your floor is looking pretty cluttered. AWESOME, in that case, you are #doingitright.

Here are all of the items that have been removed from my kitchen cabinets and placed on the floor.

Clutter from kitchen KonMari on the floor

Make sure you focus on joy versus attachment; attachment does not equal joy.

Did you know it’s incredibly easy for people to form attachments to mundane items?

In one study, people who handled coffee mugs for a longer period of time were willing to pay 60% more for those mugs later!

The more you handle an item, the more attached you become to it….that does not mean that it brings you joy!

Here is an example: I found myself overly attached to a bottle of olive oil — pretty odd, right?

This bottle of olive oil had been in my husband’s possession since I met him.

Every time we went and got large bottles of olive oil, we would refill this smaller bottle with it. I felt like I couldn’t part with it; it was like part of our family!

I was like Overly Attached Girlfriend…over a crusty old bottle of olive oil! Attachment is weird, guys!

I was able get rid of the bottle, btw. 😉

via GIPHY

6. Clean your cabinets once they are empty

When are you going to get another chance like this?

Take a moment and use a hand vacuum to sweep out your cabinets and wipe them down with a vinegar and water solution. Allow them to dry completely.

Rejoice at the cleanliness.

Cleaning empty cabinets with vacuum cleaner

7. How to organize items in your kitchen

Especially in small kitchens, kitchen organization can feel like a game of Tetris — everything has to have a place and fit just so in order to get an organized space.

If you have complete the first few KonMari steps correctly, you should have fewer items to return to your cabinets.

After getting rid of so many items, you need to completely rethink how they are arranged in your cabinets!

Just like a game of Tetris (and if you don’t know what I am talking about, that makes me feel really old).

I find the best method is to start with the items that you KNOW have only one place in your kitchen.

For example, my large All-Clad wok and skillet can only fit inside my oven; I put those back first, along with the hot pot and a few other things that can only fit on top of my cabinets.

Once you replace those items, reassess everything else. Don’t be afraid to move things around and experiment!

Related posts on how to organize your home:

8. Use vertical storage if necessary

Marie Kondo mentions this tip in her book and I totally agree; vertical storage is a MUST for an efficient kitchen.

Here is a picture of one of the two expandable storage shelves that I used in our cabinets. It lifts up a pie plate and some utensils and gives me just a bit more space on the bottom.

Don’t you feel happier just looking at this?

I know I do.

(Notice how I used the metal pan and the blue bundt cake pan to help organize some accessories…more on that in the next tip!)

Kitchen shelved organized with KonMari Method

9. Use what you already have to corral clutter

One thing I loooove about Marie Kondo is that she makes decluttering accessible to everyone.

She emphasizes that you don’t need fancy containers to have neat and tidy cabinets. In fact, she encourages you to use boxes and things you have just laying around!

(Although if you find fancy glass apothecary jars and jauntily labeled containers spark joy for you, I say go for it! I use a mixture of both. )

One problem I frequently encounter in my cabinets is what I call “the floating bag phenomenon”. Bags of sugar, bags of snacks, bags of flour, so many bags just floating around, being pushed here and there.

My solution? Shoeboxes!

This also happens to be one of Kondo’s favorite organization tools, btw. 🙂

I gathered a few shoeboxes, which I then used to store the bags neatly, arranged front to back from smallest to largest.

Instantly my cabinets felt more organized! Even better — I didn’t need to spend an extra dime!

Using boxes to organize kitchen

Now you are ready to declutter your kitchen KonMari-style!

I hope that you enjoyed this tutorial of how to declutter your kitchen with the KonMari method.

Please leave me a comment in the comment section below if you have any questions…or if you have a funny story about something silly you found yourself attached to!

* Update: you can read all my other posts on the KonMari method, including:

Pin it for later!

A kitchen decluttered with the KonMari Method

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14 Comments

  1. I bought the book, I read it, I started, and then I fell off the wagon … but, my kitchen badly needs the Kon Mari treatment, and this post has given me a nudge to get started. Thanks!

  2. This is so inspiring, but I would be completely overwhelmed trying to do my entire kitchen. Maybe I can try this method one drawer/shelf at a time 🙂

  3. One can never have enough information on decluttering. It is interesting how as I get older I realize that I just spend more time trying to figure out what to do with all of that fun stuff that I accumulated through the years! Thank you for sharing at To Grandma’s House We Go.

    1. I feel like the older I get, the less “fun” stuff is…I just want more time spent with my family! Of course, I buy silly stuff that makes me happy still (like a squirrel plate I found at Goodwill X) )

  4. I have been a decluttering fiend this summer. I get on a roll and it feels so good to do. Thanks for sharing on To Grandma’s House We Go!

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