Organizing Kitchen Drawers

A good place to start decluttering your kitchen is to get the kitchen drawers organized. They aren't often seen (assuming they can close!) but are usually responsible for the vast majority of our kitchen clutter.

Do you open your drawers and find a jumbled mess? When you open the silverware drawer are you faced with a tangled mess of silverware, napkins, and seemingly random objects?

Besides being able to hold our clutter and enabling further disorganization, having messy kitchen drawers can waste time as we scour through them in search of the one thing that we need. By being disorganized, the drawers also hide duplicates and make getting rid of kitchen clutter more difficult; if we cannot lay everything out and see what all we have we are more prone to keeping everything in the drawers and trying not to worry about it – but we can fix this quickly and easily!

First, there are a few general guidelines that will help you decide what to keep and what to get rid of or move to a new storage area. This is based on how long it has been since you used an item:

  • More than a year: Get rid of that clutter! If it has been more than a year there shouldn't be any reason to keep it.
  • Almost one year: You should probably look at getting rid of whatever it is – but you might want to keep it if it is used for holidays. These items can be safely moved out of the “active” part of your kitchen and stored somewhere more long term if only used annually.
  • 6 months: Again, you probably want to look at getting rid of these items unless there is some recurring date that happens a few times a year.
  • 1 month: These items need to be looked at for a decision to be made. Maybe they can be moved to a more long term storage area if they are in a “high traffic” drawer. Some of these items may also need to be discarded.
  • 1 day to 1 week: These items make up the most important part of your kitchen and should be placed in the drawers easiest to access and nearest to where they are used. These are the items like silverware, salt & pepper, mixers, etc.

Start with the drawer you use the most. For most of us this will be the silverware drawer. Follow these steps to get your silverware organized:

  • Empty out the drawer
  • Wipe out the inside so that you are starting with a clean drawer
  • Get a silverware holderto separate and keep utensils organized

    silverware holder

    silverware holder

  • If you do not have one or don't want to buy one, use a small box, strips of cardboard, or other method to make dividers that will keep your different utensils separated.
  • Decide where remaining items go: do you need to keep everything that was in the drawer? Can it go with other like items, or does it need to be donated or thrown away?

This simple act of organizing your silverware drawer can save you time and possible hand injuries; I've skewered my finger a few times on knives and forks in drawers – doing that a few times has made me a life long lover of silverware holders!

Tupperware / Plastic containers

Most of us use some sort of small to mid sized storage containers on a nearly daily basis. These might be used for packing lunches, storing leftovers, or pre-staging dinners. Put these containers in easy to access drawers or shelving units and stack them on themselves. What does this mean? It means to take like containers and nest them on top of like containers and to do the same with the lids. This will save you some space and get items that are similar grouped together.


If you don't have a spice rack, or don't want to take up room on your kitchen surfaces, you can store you spices in a drawer. There are racks you can make to help divide these up, but with most kitchens there is a wide variety of spice container sizes and it may be difficult to find the right one for you.

What would work better is to put the spices into the drawer the way you want them and then make, or find, long dividers to keep the spice containers in the configuration that you have them in. This could be done with strips of cardboard, sections of thin plastic, or some other similar material.

Openers / Skewers / Grill Tools

Putting different types of openers, skewers, and grilling equipment into a drawer can help rid your other drawers of sharp and pokey tools that might snag a hand while rummaging around. While this isn't meant to be a catch all drawer it can help to consolidate some of the lesser used items that can be a hazard. These items might include:

  • can opener
  • bottle opener
  • skewers for kabobs
  • tongs
  • spatulas
  • wine bottle opener
  • egg slicer
  • cheese grater

Odds And Ends Drawer

This may seem like it goes against the idea of getting rid of clutter, but I believe that every kitchen needs a drawer that can catch the odds and ends that are really useful but just don't fit into any other drawer. The trick is to make sure that this doesn't become an overflowing container that anything you can't make up your mind about goes into.

A good idea is to look at what is in the drawer as you go to put something in it and apply the time rule that was discussed above. If something hasn't been used in a long time do yourself a favor and toss it! Are there many duplicates in the drawer? Get rid of some of them! Keeping this drawer manageable will make it more handy and useful while preventing it from becoming a center for clutter.

For example, right now in my odds and ends drawer I have these things:

  • screwdriver
  • set of batteries for kitchen appliances
  • rubber bands and other items used to keep bags closed
  • a few pens and pencils
  • pad of paper
  • super glue

Keeping my drawer limited to things that are actually needed keeps them fairly organized and less of a hassle. When I'm in my kitchen I like to know where my supplies are and to be able to easily get to them without having to wade through piles of junk.

Take a few minutes to organize a drawer or two and see how much you like having less clutter in your kitchen!

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