Look around you. Do the things that surround you spark joy? If not, it might be time tidy up while you’re sheltering-at-home. Marie Kondo is an expert organizer, helping the masses tidy up their material lives with both her bestselling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and her gone-viral Netflix series, Tidying Up With Marie Kondo. If you’re already vegan, then you have already mastered the art of tidying up your fridge and getting the animal products out (seriously, they spark joy for absolutely no one). But could other areas of your life use a bit of sprucing? Instead of binging The Office for the hundreth time (we’re not judging, we’ve been there), here is how to apply the KonMari Method™ to tidy up your vegan kitchen, closet, and digital space.
1. Essential Cookbooks
How many times have you actually made a recipe out of that free mini booklet you got at that vegan fair long ago? Our guess is not many, if at all. And yet, there it remains, stuffed among your cookbooks that are slowly toppling to one side, constantly defying the feeble bookend. You don’t need a library to make great vegan meals, especially with the internet. Choose to keep four to six cookbooks by authors you trust. All you need is one for entertaining (for when we can break bread with friends again), one for weeknight meals, one for baking, an all-purpose book with an extensive glossary, and two optional books: one that is aspirational and doubles as a coffee table book, and one on your favorite type of cuisine.
Our Picks: The Plant Power Way: Italia by Julie Piatt and Rich Roll (entertaining), The Vegan Stoner Cookbook by Graham I. Haynes and Sarah Conrique (weeknight), Chloe’s Vegan Desserts by Chloe Coscarelli (baking), Vegan Cuisine by Jean-Christian Jury (all-purpose), Plantlab by Matthew Kenney (aspirational), and Mississippi Vegan by Timothy Pakron (cuisine)
2. Essential Spices and Condiments
Do you cause an avalanche in your kitchen every time you open the spice cabinet? Are there jars upon jars of half-empty who-knows-what-condiment lining your refrigerator shelves? Dried ground spices don’t last forever; the longer they sit, the less flavor they imbibe. As for those condiments, there are some things even the bacteria-fighting temperatures of the fridge can’t save. Ignore that special artisanal sauce that’s calling your name during essential trips to Whole Foods and stick to the basics. You’ll save money and room in your valuable kitchen space. Don’t wait for them to go bad one by one; do it in one fell swoop. Otherwise, as Kondo says, “Tidy a little a day and you’ll be tidying forever.”
Our Picks (Spices): Salt, pepper, cayenne, turmeric, Italian spice blend, herbs de Provence, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, curry powder, chili powder
Our Picks (Condiments): Mustard, ketchup, barbecue sauce, miso paste, salsa, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice, tamari (or soy sauce), vegan ranch, nutritional yeast
3. Essential Kitchen Appliances
If you don’t have enough room on your countertop to comfortably arrange your cutting board or roll out a pie dough for all the stress baking you’re doing (us too!), it may be due to too many appliances. Sure, they can come in handy, but most home cooks don’t need an arsenal of kitchen power tools to create exceptional meals. Only those appliances that you use every day should be granted counter space. And while we’re not telling you to toss your dehydrator and ice cream-maker away, at least set them aside in storage. You may ask, “But what if I want to make kale cookies and cream ice cream next summer?” As Kondo remarks, “A fear of the future is not enough reason to keep extraneous possessions.”
Our Picks: High-speed blender, food processor, microwave, coffee machine or French press, steam basket, hand mixer (for bakers), and air-fryer
4. Essential Wardrobe
It’s safe to say that as a vegan, those leather shoes probably aren’t sparking any joy. Neither are those ugly cashmere sweaters your aunt always gives you for Christmas or the oversized shirts you’ve collected from your past volunteer efforts and/or high school sports days. Clothing can be sentimental, but Kondo can help you get through it. Take a deep breath and remember Kondo’s wise words: “We should be choosing what we want to keep, not what we want to get rid of.” Donate the animal items, and perhaps come to terms with the fact that you don’t need that school play t-shirt to remember that joyous time; you still have the memories, after all.
Our Picks: One to two pieces of pro-vegan apparel (t-shirt or sweatshirt), quality jeans, office-appropriate dress pants or a dress, blazer or suit jacket, casual street shoes you can run in, dressy shoes you can actually walk in, five tops that make you feel awesome, a vegan-friendly coat, cozy sweater, or hoodie
5. Essential Social Media
Scrolling, scrolling, scrolling … what was intended as a five-minute Instagram break has morphed into a twenty-minute plunge down the social media rabbit hole. It’s easy to get lost in the endless feed of COVID-19 coverage. And while it’s important to stay up to date on the global pandemic, this constant stream can take a toll on your brain and often leaves you more frazzled than when you first opened your news app. Time to tidy up! Delete any apps that bring you down and unfollow any accounts that no longer give you joy, and if that includes friends, so be it. As Kondo advises, “Keep only those things that speak to your heart. Then take the plunge and discard all the rest.” Skip the accounts and apps you tend to scroll right through, and keep the ones that provide useful information (such as food delivery, how you can help make a difference, or sales to support your favorite vegan businesses) and those that genuinely make you smile.
Our Picks: VegNews, restaurants you frequent (for deals and specials), companies you regularly purchase from (like your go-to grocer or your favorite clothing brand), and local groups and event spaces (for how you can continue supporting them from home).
Tanya Flink is a Digital Editor at VegNews as well as a writer and fitness enthusiast living in Orange County, CA.
Photo credit: Marie Kondo.