When did Marie Kondo become a verb? I would say that it happened when her book became the basis of a Netflix series. Before then, she was just the author of that book about folding your clothes and throwing things away if they didn’t “spark joy.” I was an early adopter to the KonMari method (yes, that is the official name) after reading Kondo’s book a couple of years ago. While I didn’t Kondo the entire house it one fell swoop (seriously, I would need to take a leave of absence from my job to do it according to the Kondo specifications), I did do my own clothing – and later, the family books. I will tell you that my sock drawer, my workout clothing drawer and my pajama drawer are still in tip-top shape. Once you Kondo, you will never go back.
Getting the family to buy into this method was a different story. I have teenagers, remember. The whole idea of folding anything goes against their nature. They hid my book on me. They even hid my label-maker (gasp!) So, tidying up the shared spaces in our home was going to take some buy-in from my husband and my kids.
So what drove me to finally Marie Kondo the kitchen? Well, there were a few driving forces. First of all, we have limited space and our cupboards, where we store food, were getting very messy. My dietary issues were really to blame. I now snack on a lot of different nuts – which means that we had little bags of a lot of different nuts – and that was one big sloppy mess. And that was all that my 15 year-old-son (Primary Eater of Cheez Its) could see when he opened the cupboard. He complained that we had no snacks that he liked (because he couldn’t see them behind all my bags of nuts) – and none of us really had any idea of what was in the cupboard or what needed to be replenished. But the biggest impetus for finally getting my act together in the kitchen? My husband and I were heading out for vacation for six days and my mother was moving in. Enough said. So, I followed a lot of organization experts on Instagram and got very inspired. I ordered some containers from Target.com. I demanded my label maker back. And I went to town.
I found that by taking it one shelf at a time, organizing the kitchen cupboards really was a manageable task. I ordered some of these small $4 containers from Target, a few medium sized containers for $6, and large containers (for cereal) for $8. I supplemented with catch-all containers from The Container Store. Was it an expense? Yes. But the containers definitely keep food fresher longer than if they were in their original container. The biggest benefit, though, is being able to see what you have. You immediately know what needs replenishing. I also found that by having everything visible, my son (Mr. Cheez It) started branching out more. I loved the day that I found him opening up the raisin container to snack on those.
Marie Kondo advises that you sort by category (not by area) – however, I find that it really is a mix of both. Even when I watched the Netflix program, I found that at some point, Marie sent her clients to the kitchen or garage to sort & clean. (I could only watch one of those, by the way. When I realized that I was spending my evening watching people cleaning their garage, I thought I had hit a new low in middle age or suburban life – maybe both). I really like The Container Store for their quick tutorials in how to tackle a problem area – like under the kitchen sink. These guys truly have figured out some of the best solutions for organizing some annoying spots. Follow their suggestions and you can do it quickly.
So, should you Marie Kondo your kitchen? My answer is a resounding “yes.” Even if you start with a small drawer, one shelf, or just the door of your refrigerator. You will be amazed at what does not spark joy (or what is out of date) and how much lighter you feel when you unload it from your home. Also, you only have a few more weeks that you will have any inkling to embark on such an activity. When the truly nice weather sets in for good, you won’t be Marie Kondo’ing until January 2020. So, do it now.
What Do I Do With My Stuff That No Longer Sparks Joy?
Great Question! For food that is still in date, consider donating to the Mansfield Food Pantry. Donations are accepted on Saturdays between 3 – 4 pm. More information is available here.
For clothing and other household items, church thrift shops are a good option. My mother volunteers at her church thrift shop and she tells me that they are getting inundated with donations due to the Marie Kondo effect, so it’s good to check and see what is accepted. Another forum that I have discovered is the Buy Nothing Project. There’s Buy Nothing Mansfield or you can find your local neighborhood forum on Facebook. When I cleaned out musical toys, for example, last fall, I posted them in my neighborhood’s Buy Nothing Project, put them out on the sidewalk, posted a curb alert, and they were picked up by a local parent who could use them – all in seven minutes.