A true mark of adulthood is when a neat and aesthetic looking kitchen brings you more joy than the thought of a night out on the town. Kitchens are quite the rage if we’re being honest; from minimalist designs of contemporary homes to the mind-blowing functionality of Japanese-style kitchens, there’s so much to be done with them. Having a healthy kitchen goes beyond the looks, as this is literally one space that does better the more organized it is. It takes away some of the drudgery of daily meal prep, and can help you save loads of time with its efficiency. Here’s our easy breezy guide – how to organize your kitchen: steps to a beautiful and healthy kitchen. The title says it all, so read on.

Step 1: The Evacuation

That’s right. This isn’t a fire-drill. Empty out everything in the kitchen from every cabinet. Of course, do it one at a time: tackle the pantry first, or the drawers or cabinets. Removing everything all at once will simply lead to a breakdown. Take it from us – the last thing your family needs to see is you standing in between a mound of plates, glasses and tupperware, looking all frazzled.

Step 2: The Marie-Kondo

“Keep only those things that speak to the heart, and discard items that no longer spark joy.” Marie Kondo has certainly taken the world by storm with her system of decluttering, and we recommend you use it to purge your kitchen of unnecessary items. Go through everything you take out, whether they’re dining ware or tupperware, and sort them into piles. One pile will be everything you retain, another will be sent for recycling and the third is the stuff you will donate.

Things that are broken and stained beyond repair can be kept in the junk pile, after which you can call junk removers to send them off to a new life via recycling. Things that are unused for a long time and used too rarely (like your mother-in-law’s tacky dinnerware gift) can be donated. Things that you use daily and for special occasions are to be retained. Be ruthless, lest the voice of Marie Kondo haunt you in your sleep.

Step 3: The Deep Clean

Grab a pair of gloves and your best cleaners, and attack those cabinets with ferocity. Doing a deep clean of your empty cabinets and drawers is a big part of having a beautiful kitchen. We suggest putting on something like ‘Eye of the Tiger’ to hype you up as you scrub your kitchen clean.

Step 4: Zoning Out

We don’t mean this literally, of course. Now that your cabinets, drawers and shelves are sparkly clean, assess your space in the kitchen. Designate ‘zones’ to every storage space and shelf according to where it is and what it can hold. We’ve chalked it out for you so you get an idea of what to do:

Everyday Items: Plates, bowls, glasses and cutlery that get used on a daily basis need to be someplace easily accessible, ideally around the dishwasher so unloading is a breeze.

Cooking Utensils: Cookers, saucepans, spatulas spoons and all other utensils used to prepare food should be near the cooking range.

Baking utensils: All your special baking trays, pans, measuring spoons, cookie cutters and so on ought to go in one designated space, with their accessibility depending on how often you bake.

Pantry items: All bottles of spices and sauces, dry goods, and certain kitchen appliances can all go into the pantry. You can always subdivide the shelves of the pantry according to their contents, and some pantries are actually big enough to hold a microwave.

Food storage: All your Tupperware, saran wrap, tin foil wrap and ziploc bags can go into one designated drawer.

Coffee and tea: Coffee beans and tea leaves, mugs, sugar packets, filters and all related items can go to the Coffee/Tea station. Keep this around your coffeemaker if you have one.

Special items: Things that are of special value that you only remove on big occasions are all to be kept in a place that doesn’t have to be as accessible as the others.

Follow the same principle for your fridge: assess everything, designate zones to each shelf and tidy away.

Step 5: The Storage

Now that it’s actually time to put everything back where it belongs, amp up your storage game. Sets of different sized glass storage jars are easily available at any superstore. Buying these helps maintain uniformity, which is visually pleasing, and also helps you identify what the jars hold as compared to opaque plastic. Plus, not using plastic makes your kitchen eco-friendly! Packets of sauce and hot cocoa can all go into envelopes or small containers that you can label.

Step 6: Container Containment

Tackling those boxes of tupperware and their loose lids is daunting, but rewarding. When putting them into your designated ‘food storage’ zone, don’t just dump them in helter skelter. Instead, take the time out to match lids to their boxes. You’re bound to find several lids that apparently have no box to go with them; put these aside to be recycled. Go a step further and organise your storage containers by size – storage bins should work just fine for this. Alternatively, put the small ones into smaller bins like a shoebox.

Step 7: Every Last Inch

Your kitchen doesn’t have to be big to hold everything you need, you just need to utilize the space you have smartly. Utilize vertical and wall space to make your kitchen more organized and efficient. Hooks underneath cabinets can hold mugs, as can stemware racks for wine glasses near the bar. Use adhesive hooks to hold up towels and aprons. Wall racks are perfect to place plates or pans – whatever you desire. Consider installing pull-out units to hold things, maybe under the sink where you can store garbage bags, dishwashing soap etc.

Step 8: The Aesthetics

Now that everything is properly organized, buy your kitchen some treats. Get yourself a nice spice rack, ideally one that matches with your kitchen layout. Hook yourself up with sets of drawer dividers and organizers to have neatly organized drawers that match. While you’re at it, also get your hands on a magnetic strip to hold a mini-clipboard and a pen, and place a cork board up against a door for recipes and cute notes. The sky’s the limit, just make sure you don’t go overboard and end up cluttering your kitchen with unnecessary items. Marie Kondo won’t approve, and neither will that credit card bill.

Step 9: Color By Number

Having everything look completely in sync is difficult unless you’re completely renovating. An easy way to do this is with colors – warm and cool colors are the two broadest categories you can divide it up in. This way, not everything has to be the same color, as long as they’re all in the same color category. Maybe get a small indoor potted plant or succulent to liven things up, and match the shades of the drapes with the apron and towels. And bam, you have yourself an aesthetic kitchen.

Step 10: Consistency Is Key

Remember, the reason you took the time out to do this was to keep it organized. The ‘keeping part’ is all up to you. Have a look at the kitchen a week after the big ‘remodel’ we’ve chalked out. Re-organize everything that has been scattered, and re-work places of things that aren’t working. Take the time to wipe down shelves and re-stock every few weeks so your kitchen can continue to glow.

Finally, don’t go hard on yourself if your kitchen doesn’t look as fancy as those model kitchens online. Keeping it clean and organized is all that matters.

See alsoFirst Step To Baking: Stock Your Kitchen The Right Way|How To Clean & Organize a Commercial Fridge