Designate a handy cupboard for appliances. Don’t store your small appliances on the counter. Maybe I’m overly sensitive about this issue, but I’m dealing with PTSD here guys. When I was a kid, there was an ever growing mold of small appliances taking over the counters of our kitchen. Food processor, toaster, wheat grinder, pasta maker, bread maker, food dehydrator, microwave, blender, a mysterious and ancient device I think was some sort of cheese incubator. The list goes on. To this day, seeing a bunch of appliances out on the counters looks parasitic to me. Only pretty things get to be out on the counter. The end.

Plants in the window. The kitchen is a great place to keep plants. They add so much beauty, warmth, and cheer, and they are easy to maintain in the kitchen, because of the convenient proximity to the sink. You could even grow herbs if you wanted. (Wasn’t that a domestic addition at the end there?)

Buy dishes in white. Especially if you have kids. We break a dish every day it seems. (I say this is because I have kids, but usually I’m the breaker.) Anyway, trying to keep a set together is impossible, so I decided long ago to just buy white dishes. We have remnants from many a different style, and they all look great together, united by palette if not design.

Keep a corral on the table. I use a pretty vintage tin tray for this purpose. It seems there’s always a cluster of things you need on the table:  napkins, salt and pepper, utensils, a vase of flowers (if you’re lucky), a pitcher, cups, whatever! If you keep everything on the tray it is all easily scooped up for cleaning or clearing. It looks uber charming too, which perhaps I should have mentioned first.

Keep a kettle on the stove. Keeping a (pretty) kettle on the stove is the first in a chain reaction of lovely events. First, you have a pretty kettle out that makes your kitchen look so homey you want to die. Second, making hot drinks is as easy a snap. Third, with easy hot drink access, you are more inclined to make yourself some hot drink, which is an act of self indulgence and self-soothing that will improve your life for the better. And all you have to do is put the pot out! Do it. Do it now!

Keep your fridge clear. If you read my Home Office tips, you know that there is an alternative to the fridge as kid art gallery. Keeping your fridge clear of all magnets or ads, or pictures of princesses eating hot dogs with their tiger friends is a simple yet kind thing you can do for yourself that will make your whole kitchen feel 33% cleaner.

Indulge in something really nice. Treat yourself to something outrageously beautiful from a store you love. This is easy to do in the kitchen, because often there are little kitchen things that don’t cost an arm and a leg. If you keep this habit up, slowly you grow a collection of beautiful things, and everyone wins.

Have what you need, no more. Don’t own more dishes than you need. You will have less to keep clean, and less to store. This is not effortless, I know. You will regularly have to weed out what you don’t need, because stuff multiplies like rabbits if left to its own devices. But it will be worth the effort when you can close your cupboards.

Empty the dishwasher every morning. This also means filling it up as you use dishes, and running it every night. This commitment has changed my domestic life. This simple consistent act snowballs into a lot of other good choices. Yes, I never have a sink-full of dishes, but I also find myself sweeping and wiping down counters regularly, tidying regularly, making my bed regu–okay, not that one yet, but a lot of good stuff.

Try cloth out. Instead of relying on paper towels and napkins, give cloth alternatives a try. This is a design tip because cloth napkins are beautiful and displaying them gives your kitchen Anthropologie-like appeal. It is a preachy save-the-earth tip because you will eliminate so much waste by making the switch. Yes, you will have to wash more laundry (about one load a week in kitchen laundry) but the money and resources you save make the inconvenience worth it. I’m kidding. Feeling smug and condescending make the inconvenience worth it.