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How to De-Clutter and Organise Your Kitchen the Marie Kondo Way

by Lottie Huckle

published on 18 January 2016

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Ever looked around your kitchen and sighed with despair at the clutter? Felt overwhelmed by the gadgets and gizmos you’ve bought and never used? Growled in frustration at the lack of space preventing you from enjoying cooking? Never fear! Japanese home organisation guru Marie Kondo is here with 10 top tips, from her latest book Spark Joy, that will help you transform your kitchen into a room you will LOVE to hang out in. It’s time to KonMari your kitchen and start cooking with joy…

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Over to you, Marie.

  1. It is impossible to enjoy cooking in a dirty kitchen. When planning storage, aim for ease of cleaning. Keep work surfaces clear and try to store all ingredients and utensils in cupboards or on shelves. Wipe down all surfaces every time you cook to remove traces of oil and water.
  2. Use your under-sink cupboard to store washing up liquid and sponges, making use of plastic storage containers to maximise space. Wipe down your sink after every use to avoid water stains.
  3. To organise your kitchen successfully, you must start by decluttering. Do this by category, not location. Divide your kitchen possessions ‘komono’ into three categories: implements for eating; cooking utensils and food. Gather everything within the same category in one place so that you can see it all and choose which items to keep and which to discard. Discard any that don’t give you JOY.
  4. Make the dishes you love the ones you use every day. Don’t keep cupboards full of crockery or glassware that you save for ‘special occasions’. Unpack and use your best crockery and you’ll soon discover how good it feels to eat from beautiful dishes every day.
  5. Make the most of cupboard space by stacking dishes one on top of the other or use storage goods that add extra shelf space to your cupboards.
  6. If you lack drawer space in your kitchen, store your cutlery upright in tubes in your dish cupboard. If you store cutlery and small kitchen utensils in drawers, use dividers or shallow boxes to organise them.
  7. Place mats, tea mats, coasters and other decorative items may not be essential, but they greatly enrich mealtime. Store them attractively and use them every day. Fold tea towels and place mats and store upright.
  8. Do you have small cooking appliances that you bought when they were a fad and have tired of or haven’t used for years? It is time to thank them for the role they have played in your life, and bid them farewell. Seldom-used, but still important, items should be stored on a top shelf or at the back of a cupboard. It won’t matter if they require a little effort to remove when needed.
  9. You are likely to find that you have far more disposable plates, cups and cutlery than you need, and even more plastic bags. Only keep as many as you genuinely need and chuck the rest.
  10. Don’t feel that you need to aim for simplicity in the kitchen. The kitchen is the one place in the home where even when we have weeded out and discarded those things we no longer need, there still seems to be a lot left. What matters is the ability to see where everything is stored. If you have achieved this, then even if your storage space seems a bit full, you can still be proud of your kitchen. What I hope you will aim for is a kitchen where you will feel happy just cooking, one that expresses your own unique brand of joy.

Marie Kondo expands on the points above, along with others including food storage, kitchen decorations and mealtimes, to continue to guide you to spark joy in your kitchen in her new books, Spark Joy: An Illustrated Guide to the Japanese Art of Tidying by Marie Kondo.

Note: Marie Kondo advises that you should apply her KonMari tidying method to the rest of your home before attempting the kitchen. Develop a sense of what brings you joy by sorting out your clothes, books and papers first.

Spark Joy: An Illustrated Guide to the Japanese Art of Tidying by Marie Kondo is out now.


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