“The space in which we live should be for the person we are becoming now, not for the person we were in the past,” said Marie Kondo in her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up ($10).
While you focus each day on steps to eat and cook healthier foods, why don’t you also take equal steps to organize a kitchen that aligns with the better version of yourself that you’re becoming? The end result will be a calmer, less cluttered, friendlier space you’ll want to use more often, for cooking and entertaining. Here’s how to do it:
DIVIDE TO CONQUER
Divide your counter into two sections, items you use every week and ones you don’t. Put the ones you don’t on a nearby table; we’ll get back to them in a sec. For the ones you use every day, group like items together.
CLEAN OUT THE UTENSIL DRAWER
Go through it and toss anything that’s worn out (we’re looking at you, splintery wooden spoon and cracked silicone spatula). Pull out anything you don’t use at least weekly and put it on the table. Clean out the container and put the in-good-shape, oft-used items back in. Throw out anything that rarely gets used.
SPOON MEASURING SPOONS
Do you use measuring spoons a lot? Take them off their rings and put them in a small mug on the counter, next to the utensil holder. No more sifting through drawers to hunt them down, and no more washing a whole ring of spoons after just using the ¼-tsp measure.
ORGANIZE YOUR GRAB-AND-GO FOODS
Keep snacks, cereal or other foods on your counter? Stash the less-optimal items (ahem, 100-calorie packs of pretzels) in a drawer or the pantry; instead, place a bowl of in-season fruit where you can see it. Why? What you see is what you eat. In one study, researchers at Cornell found that people with healthy items on their counters weighed up to 20 pounds less than others who kept cereal and soda there.
SORT YOUR APPLIANCES
What do you use every week? Toaster? Blender? Coffee maker? If there are any appliances living on your counter that you don’t use at least once a week, stash them somewhere else.
PURGE THE BOTTLES NEXT TO THE STOVE
If you have oils that have been there for more than six months, toss them. After that, at best their taste can alter unpleasantly and at worst, they can go rancid. Go through the other bottles (vinegars, hot sauce, etc.) and take out anything you don’t use weekly. If you haven’t used an item in more than two months, toss it. Place anything you’re going to keep on a tray or a large cake stand. This corrals them into one spot, keeps you from placing more and more items on the counter, and makes cleaning up a snap.
CLEAR THE COUNTER
These have been camped out on your kitchen counter and you don’t even use them once per week. For each item, ask yourself if you love it and if it’s truly useful to you. Are you keeping it because it might come in handy one day? If you can’t remember the last time you used it, if it was a gift you don’t adore, and/or if you bought it for a specific recipe and don’t have another use for it, toss it or give it away. Instead of thinking of it as wasteful, know that the item has served its purpose and now it’s time to let it go.
CLEAN AND DISINFECT
Take a moment to wipe down the counter before putting back what you’re keeping. Then take another to appreciate your clean, organized, uncluttered space. Now, don’t you feel like cooking something delicious and healthy?