I was inspired to write this blog having just read “Spark Joy – An illustrated master class on the art of organizing and tidying up” by Marie Kondo. Marie is a Japanese de-cluttering guru- inventor of the KonMari method (which has roots in feng-shui). It is a companion to her more in-depth book “The life changing magic of tidying up”.
I was intrigued because as a homeowner with a family, tidying up seems to be on the daily ‘to-do’ list and talking to our clients I believe this is a very common problem!! Also common is our clients motivation for renovating; to love their home and ‘bring joy’ to their surroundings.
The book’s opening statement “life truly begins only after you have put your house in order” is inspiring enough to read on!
Marie bares tidying-up down to – keeping things you love (that spark joy), deciding where to keep them and then putting them back in their place after use – sounds easy enough!
She advocates having a ‘tidying festival’ to weed out unnecessary items and clutter so you are left with a home filled with joyful possessions. She suggests sorting in order of clothes, books, papers, komono and lastly sentimental items. The kitchen comes under komono (miscellaneous items). Things can spark joy by their aesthetics or function.
Here’s some useful advice from the book on how to spark joy in the kitchen:
1) Have a kitchen in which you can enjoy cooking in. This means that it is also easy to clean, she states that ‘cleanliness is crucial- oil and moisture are enemies’.
2) Keep the counter clear from clutter and instead use storage where possible.
3) Tidy and then store by category – start with implements for eating, then cooking tools and finally food. Discard every unwanted item in the category before putting away again.
4) With dishware – take out the ‘special occasion’ set and use it or at least display it – don’t just put it back in boxes.
5) Be mindful of items that accumulate and only keep what you really need e.g. disposable cutlery, plastic bags (one client of hers had a record 241 bags!)
6) Be realistic about the amount of kitchen appliances/gadgets you really use – she likens them to children’s toys – fun in the beginning but the novelty wears off.
7) When storing, sort into categories of frequent and infrequent – put infrequent items at the back of cupboards or on top shelves.
8) Try and reduce bulk when storing too = take things out of boxes, use canister storage etc.
9) Check expiration dates on food, store food by category and keep the fridge about 30% empty- to access items and to use space for leftovers.
10) Once tidied she suggests to decorate the kitchen to increase the joy factor – add colour, wall art, textures, linens.
I found the book’s parting paragraph to be just as meaningful as the first sentence:
“Cherish (the things) that you decide to keep, just as you cherish yourself, so that everyday of your life will be filled with joy”