How to 'Kondo' Your Kitchen

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You've applied Marie Kondo's method to your closet and bookshelf. Now it's time to tackle your kitchen. The goal? Organization that spurs better meal choices while sparking joy, of course.

The Japanese organizer's practical tips have made her KonMari Method hugely successful—spawning two bestselling books and a Netflix series.

Apply Kondo's tips to food choices, and healthy eating awaits. We asked Sarah Sagullo, a Registered Dietitian and Health Coach with Memorial Hermann, for help with this. Here's her healthy spin.

Pantry
THE MARIE KONDO WAY: Empty your pantry to see what you have. Kondo estimates 30 percent of the conctents will have expired, so pitch anything past its prime. If you haven't used something in six months to a year, you're not likely to start now. Once you've purged, restock by grouping similar items together, with the oldest items toward the front.

An organized pantry starts with a plan.

THE HEALTHY SPIN: An organized pantry starts with a plan.

"'I'm going to eat better' is a good place to start, but it is not a concrete plan," Sagullo says. Define your goals and outline the tactics that will help you achieve them. So you might vow, "I'm going to eat better. I'll do that by preparing and eating five servings of veggies daily."

Once you have a plan, set yourself up for success. Consider — and allot — meal preparation time, and put the menu and prep time on your calendar. Be realistic about the time you need. And don't forget to spark culinary joy, as Kondo might say, by finding appealing recipes that are doable in the time you have.

THE MARIE KONDO WAY: You'll use what you see. Organize accordingly.

THE HEALTHY SPIN: Food retailers often place temptations at eye level and healthier items up high or down low. At your house, do the reverse. Keep healthy snacks &mdash like foods lower in added sugar, sodium or saturated fat — in a place where you and your family easily can grab them.

Make tidying up and honing possessions a family affair.

THE MARIE KONDO WAY: Make tidying up and honing possessions a family affair.

THE HEALTHY SPIN: Shopping also should be a family event. Wunderlist and other "grocery" phone apps enable you to create to-do lists and allocate tasks to individual family members. Everyone can collaborate on the shopping list &mdash and menu. "It can be hard to be creative if one person is always in charge of recipes. If you involve kids in the process, you not only teach them how to make healthy choices but also make them more willing participants," adds Sagullo.

Pots and Pans
THE MARIE KONDO WAY: Do you really need four sets of dishes? Have you used your paella pan or spiralizer in the past year? Pare your goods to what you’ll use and those that “spark your joy.”

THE HEALTHY SPIN: Keep the tools that help you cook healthy meals. And when it comes to food, purchase and restock foods that help “spark joy” for your health.

“We tend to build meals around meat and other protein, but they should play a supporting role,” says Sagullo. “ As you plan, shop and cook, build your meal around plant-based foods such as vegetables, fruit, whole grains and legumes.”

She advises shopping the perimeter of grocery stores, where fresh produce, dairy and meats are. “The inside aisles are where you’ll find chips, cookies and packaged foods—eat those sparingly.” Ideal carb choices include sweet potatoes, brown rice, quinoa, navy or black beans, whole wheat pasta and bread. Canned vegetables and beans make for healthy pantry staples. Pro tip: rinsing canned items may slash the sodium.

THE MARIE KONDO WAY: Go vertical. You can buy stackable racks with slots for five frying pans that make it easy to grab the one you need. Lids can be placed upside down in the pan.

THE HEALTHY SPIN: Store pots and pans you use more often somewhere easy to reach. The less time you spend hunting for cookware, the more time you can spend cooking.

Fridge and Freezer
THE MARIE KONDO WAY: Group by food category in your fridge and freezer, devoting separate shelves to fruits, vegetables and entrees. Also use transparent, stackable, air-tight containers that make sliced-up fruit and veggies visible, with expiration dates noted.

THE HEALTHY SPIN: Don’t hide veggies in the crisper drawer. Instead, place them at eye level. “You’ll be more likely to eat healthy foods if you can see and know where to find them,” Sagullo says. Keep counters clear, other than a basket of fruit. “Having a sense of order encourages you to have control and make good choices,” adds Sagullo.

THE MARIE KONDO WAY: Choose a plan that works for you.

THE HEALTHY SPIN: “Whatever way you decide to organize, stick to it,” Sagullo says. “If pretty containers make you happy, use them. If organizing cereal boxes from tallest to shortest makes you happy, do that.”

Cutlery and Cooking Utensils
THE MARIE KONDO WAY: Divided trays help you keep all items of a kind together. Organizers with tiers or pull-out drawers make it even easier to reach what you need. Bottle openers, whisks and other cooking utensils should be separated. The same goes for ties, rubber bands and scissors in your “junk” drawer. Kondo separates linen napkins and cotton cleansing towels, folding and grouping them by color within small crates.

THE HEALTHY SPIN: Consider using stair-step organizers, as they make spices easy to find. These can make meals more appealing, and are a good way to use less salt when cooking.

For more Marie Kondo tips, go to: https://konmari.com.

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