How to Unclutter Your Kitchen

…because my wife made me read Marie Kondo – The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying

Those of you who have been with us from the beginning know that in my family we have a problem: I like and want to try out absolutely every gadget there is, and my wife… wants me to stop. She wants me to stop not only because we spend a lot of money on these gadgets but because our kitchen is becoming more and more cluttered, and I have actually began taking up grocery space with my gadgets.

cluttered kitchenWell, I am happy to report that after I read Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying, I started to have a new appreciation for clean, uncluttered spaces. However, before we go anywhere else let me tell you that I do not condone in any way the more fanciful pretentions of the book. I do not think there is a magic in tidying up and my life did not get any better just because now we have room to store more than a couple of pounds of potatoes.

So, how did we go about it?

First of all let me say that this is mostly about how I applied some of the principles in Marie Kondo’s book, and if you have read it, you may have actually taken more from the book than I do. I am known for my spontaneous bursts of ADD and I actually listened to the audiobook instead of reading it, so I am sure I missed some things. But, for better or worse, here is what I did.

20161006_135441Start Small

There is a strong modern tendency to go very big with whatever you do from the very start. It is probably because Alpha personalities usually also have the energy to write and promote their life affirming books. However, I am not a Alpha personality and I am proud of it. Before I put my step down I need to know that my other foot is firmly planted on the ground, and I need to clearly see where my other foot will go. Incidentally, that is why I can only slowly crawl down darkened stairways where I cannot see the next step. But, coming back to my cluttered kitchen experiment, I started to look at appliances that did the same thing only in different ways. For example, we used to have 3 mixers, one with an attached bowl that we would use to bake bread, one hand held one with 2 feet for whipping cream and a single foot one, also known as a blender, although I do not agree with the title. Obviously, 2 of the 3 mixers had to go so I put them in a box and kept looking at tools that we no longer needed.

Give Yourself Plenty of Rewards

Coming back to my 3 mixers example I can tell you that there were certain accessories that I had wanted for years for the stand alone mixer but because we had the other 2 we never bought them. So I quickly compromised, sold the 2 mixers on Craigslist and bought the accessories I had always wanted. I decluttered a lot of the kitchen, got something I always wanted and, in fact, actually came away with a profit. The best thing was that from that moment on I wasn’t looking at my precious kitchen gadgets as things that were still good but I was throwing away. Instead they became the means through which I could get better and cooler stuff. And if you would take a look in your kitchen right now I bet there are a lot of things you could do without but choose to keep. For example almost all of my friends own one of those wood supports with 5 to 7 knives stuck in it. In actuality, they have probably never used the bread knife, mostly because they have an electric knife, the butcher knife is no longer sharp so they no longer use it, and the smaller kitchen knives can easily be replaced by serving knives. And, in accordance with the rules I had set for myself, if I can get rid of a big enough something I can get a smaller one. So I got rid of the support and several other older knives and bought myself a new butcher knife just to keep the celebration going.

Find the Hidden Storage Space

c74f6cf555a6f57f576e5eee2c10cc98In my house, as you go to the bathroom, you pass through a small, dark hallway. When I started to clean my kitchen I quickly realized that there were gadgets I owned that we hardly ever used but that I simply did not want to give up. So I started to look for some storage space. I am willing to bet that every house has some storage space that the owner does not know of. In my case, it was the space above the doorway, up to the ceiling in the hallway leading to the bathroom. I am not particularly tall, neither are my friends, and I know of only one fellow that visits me regularly and that has to bend his head to fit through the door. So I drove a couple of parallel support studs into the walls and built a sturdy roof with a small trap door. There I was able to hide a lot of my gadgets that I almost never use, like the slow roasting electric oven, and for the first week my wife did not even notice the change. Afterwards, when she complained I just put a string of LED lights down the floor of the hallway so it is better lit now, and your attention is distracted from the low roof. Ironically, my really tall friend did not seem to appreciate my subterfuge as he hit his forehead twice on my storage space.

So, did I learn Marie Kondo’s lesson? I would love to hear what you think on Twitter or Facebook – links can be found to the right of this article. Personally I am convinced that I did not even respect the spirit of her book, let alone the letter, but my kitchen is a much better place to be in right now, my wife is happier to cook there, and I got to keep my most precious gadgets and even bough a few new ones.

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