Interior Design

Exclusive: Marie Kondo's 5 top tips for organizing a small kitchen

The master of organization sits down with H&G to share her small space secrets that will transform your kitchen – for good

Marie Kondo headshot
(Image credit: Mondadori Portfolio / Getty Images Contributor)

With the launch of Marie Kondo's new Netflix show Sparking Joy on the horizon, the undisputed queen of organization is inevitably on our minds. However, we confess, the upcoming series isn't the only thing that's making us feel excited about tidying up. 

Instead, we're in a KonMari frenzy after Marie sat down with Homes & Gardens to share her sought-after secrets for organizing a kitchen – they will revolutionize your tidying habits and spark joy throughout your home. 

Firstly, she revealed her kitchen ideas – and her practical solutions for getting the space right.

Marie Kondo's small kitchen secrets  

These exclusive KonMari tips will leave your kitchen running smoothly, whatever the size. Here, Marie shares her advice. 

1. Create a space that is easy to clean

Pictures of kitchens showing a geometric patterned backsplash, pale cabinetry and open shelving.

(Image credit: Future / Emma Lee)

'A kitchen that is easy to clean makes it more enjoyable to cook in. One simple way is to add liners to kitchen shelving – not only does it make it look cleaner, it also makes cleaning easier,' Marie says. When it comes to organizing kitchen drawers, she also suggests 'placing dividers in drawers' as this makes the tidying process easier. 

'Drawers will look more organized, and items will have a designated place to store after they've been used,' Marie adds. 

2. Perform a joy check 

Close up of dark gray shelving with a moody dark floral wallpaper behind.

(Image credit: Future / Katya de Grunwald)

Knowing if an item sparks joy is a pillar of KonMari teaching and the name of Marie's new show. But how can you bring this method into the heart of your home and make organizing kitchen cabinets easier, too? Marie explains what you need to know.

'Take a fresh look at the items you have in your kitchen. Do they spark joy? Dishes are an example of something that is used every day, so if they don't spark joy for you, be thankful for the purpose these dishes had in your life and let them go,' Marie begins.

'If you have special occasion plates you only use once or twice a year, taking up valuable space, try incorporating that into your daily life. If it's special and sparks joy, why only use it once a year? Treat your daily meal like a special occasion for a joy-sparking meal.'

3. Keep counters as clean and clear as possible 

Kitchen pictures featuring a dark gray-green room with bright red painted pantry and gingham blinds.

(Image credit: Future / Polly Wreford)

When it comes to organizing kitchen countertops, Marie suggests small kitchen ideas that leave them clean is one of the most important things to remember. 'It helps make the space feel larger and with more room to breathe,' she says.

'One easy way is to clear the area on counters or around the sink and stovetop, and place bottles and spices in the cupboard. When you have less items on the counter, it's much easier and faster to clean your kitchen too.'

4. Discard unused kitchen appliances

Pictures of kitchens showing a Japanese inspired scheme with distressed brick walls and open shelving.

(Image credit: Future / Damian Russell)

We're all a little guilty of letting unused appliances consume our drawers; however, Marie suggests it's time we let them go – whatever the size of your kitchen. 'If you have small appliances like a mixer or a bread maker that hasn't been used in over a year, it likely doesn't spark joy in your life anymore,' she says. 

Marie urges you to 'envision the kind of lifestyle you want in your kitchen' and 'take inventory of the appliances you'll need to create that vision.' 

Therefore, if you're holding onto something that doesn't have a purpose, Marie suggests that 'it's time to let it go with gratitude.'

5. Stock your fridge at 70 per cent capacity 

best kitchen appliances

(Image credit: Jan Baldwin)

Organizing a refrigerator doesn’t mean filling if completely, according to Marie. 'But why 70 per cent?', we hear you ask. 'By reserving a little extra space in your fridge, it will help you see all the contents in your fridge as well as allow for extra room to store leftovers,' Marie explains. It's the kitchen storage idea we'll showcase long into the future. 

Has Marie just revolutionized your small kitchen? Of course, we expected nothing less. We're forever in your debt, Ms. Kondo. 

Marc Lupo
Contributing Editor

Marc Lupo is an entertainment writer, producer, and host. In addition to contributing celebrity content to Homes & Gardens, Marc serves as a weekly co-host for iHeart Radio's 'Naughty but Nice' podcast. Throughout his career, Marc has conducted hundreds of interviews with celebrities including Helen Mirren and Hugh Jackman. A native New Yorker, Marc has covered some of entertainment's biggest events, including The Grammys, Met Gala, MTV’s Video Music Awards, VH1’s Trail Blazer Honors and Variety’s Women of Power luncheon.