Do you hate to cook? Do you turn your nose when entering your kitchen and hurry out the door once your microwave beeps, signaling your frozen burrito is ready? And if we’re really being honest, have you forgotten the last time you changed out your sponge or scrubbed the stove free of pasta-sauce splatters? It sounds like you have a messy kitchen. Marie Kondo, the New York Times bestselling author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up sympathizes. That’s why she developed a system, which is called the KonMari Method, that allows anyone, even the seemingly hopelessly messy, can take on successfully.
If you’re curious about her unique purging technique, read about my experience of using the KonMari Method in my kitchen. After you’ve trashed all the dishware, cooking tools, and pantry items that don’t “spark joy” — aka make you happy when you see, touch, and use them — it’s time to take on these daily habits of people with clean kitchens to keep your own space neat without intense effort.
Keep Everything Off the Kitchen Counter
I know, this one seems like a tough one, yet your blender, sugar bowl, coffee maker, and other knickknacky things not only take up space on your counter, but they also actually make it impossible to clean. They gather dust and oily muck on and around them, and you ignore it. The person with a clean kitchen wipes down all appliances, etc. with a warm, damp sponge before storing the items in shelves or cabinets. Yes, even those things they use every day.
Wipe the Stove, Sink, and Counter With Each Use
Marie Kondo says, “Tidying your kitchen means wiping away any water or oil.” If there’s nothing on your stove, sink, or counter, it suddenly becomes really easy to run a sponge over these areas every day to clean up any splashes or spills. Ta-da! No crumbs or mysterious stains to be seen.
Keep Dish Soap and Sponges Under the Sink
Having tried this out myself, I can attest to its effectiveness. After washing dishes, simply squeeze out the sponge and keep it in a wire sponge holder under the sink along with your soap and rubber gloves. It’s a surprising trick to keep your kitchen looking neat and inviting.
Store the Trash Can Under the Sink
There’s something off-putting about having a trash can in the middle of the kitchen, even one with a sleek stainless steel design. Storing your trash can under the sink keeps it out of sight and out of mind. I also love taking the trash out more frequently so my kitchen never smells.
Wash and Dry Dishes Immediately
If you have a drying rack in your kitchen, get rid of it! It makes it all too easy to pile on the dishes without ever putting them away, plus the wet drippings pool and grow all sorts of gnarly things. Instead, do as the tidy person does and wash and dry the dishes immediately after a meal.
Keep About 30 Percent of Your Fridge Empty
Ever wonder where you are going to put your leftovers or newly bought groceries? If you always have a few clear spots in your fridge, it makes it easy to find a designated spot for new things.
Give Each Thing a Definite Home (Away From the Stove)
Though it’s tempting to want to stash kitchen tools, spices, oils, etc. near the kitchen stove for easy access, this is a recipe for disaster. As things cook, the oil often splatters onto these items. In addition, the heat can drastically reduce the storage life of spices and oils, rendering them stale and rancid. Instead, store everything away from the stove. Before cooking, pull out all the equipment and food stuff you may need, and put each thing away, item by item, after its use. This makes cleanup way easier.