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Silverware Drawer Organization

As Published At Organize My Drawer
Silverware Drawer Organization

One of the more unnecessarily-cluttered drawers in most folks’ homes is the one where they store silverware. It’s actually super-easy to keep this particular storage space organized — as long as you follow a few simple rules.

Everyday Vs. Special Occasion

Lots of folks have multiple sets of cutlery — the stuff they use day-in/day-out, then the stuff they save for holidays and celebrations. But there’s no reason to overload your silverware drawer, trying to fit it all in one location. Get a second organizer for special occasion pieces — if you don’t have a free drawer, stash your tray in the china cabinet or wherever you keep your fancy-schmancy dishes. (You may even need a third or fourth divider, if you also have separate silverware for holidays like Passover and Christmas.)

Extra Place Settings

You may have the silverware to feed 24 people at once, but how often does that actually happen? Most days, you’re probably using four to eight place settings — and the rest are just cluttering up your storage. Figure out how many forks/knives/spoons you really truly use on a regular basis and keep that many in your cutlery drawer — then enlist an extra organizing tray to store the rest elsewhere. (“Elsewhere” could mean a less-accessible cabinet, your china closet, or wherever you keep entertaining supplies.)

Going Beyond Silverware

These days, folks own a bewildering variety of eating “accessories” (beyond just your normal fork-knife-spoon combo). I’m talking chopsticks, corn stabbers, shrimp forks, fondue skewers, lobster picks, grapefruit spoons, crab crackers, straws, sporks, trongs — you name it, someone’s selling it! But you’ll find no judgement here. Eat however you like — just make sure that whatever you use, you’ve included an appropriately-shaped-and-sized section for storing it all in your drawer organizing system.

Corralling Kiddie Clutter

I have yet to meet a parent who’s not frustrated by child-sized silverware cluttering up their main cutlery area. The complaints are numerous — miniature eating utensils don’t fit in a standard tray, kids can’t reach the drawer (which gets in the way of teaching them to set their own places at the table), and Billy might get ahold of a grown-up utensil that could hurt him. Why not put everything for your tots in its own organizer, then store that where they can easily reach it — in a lower cabinet or on a bottom shelf?


Plastic picnic ware can be a godsend for outdoor dining, as well as those times when you’re eating away from home (and don’t want your good silverware left behind in a school cafeteria or break room at work). But it doesn’t have to live in your main drawer. Set up a separate organizer for plastic cutlery, loose paper napkins, even disposable chopsticks and condiment packages (if you tend to hang onto those) — then store it all where you keep the picnic basket and lunch coolers, for easy packing.

Prioritizing Cutlery

It might sound weird to suggest that some of your eating utensils are higher up on the food chain (pun!) than others — but when it comes to organizing your silverware drawer, it’s true. The front sections should be for stuff you use all the time – your everyday knives, forks, spoons, and whatnot. Weird specialty items, extra place settings, and larger serving pieces (that you want to keep in the main drawer rather than segregating out) do better toward the back — in harder-to-reach sections of your organizer.

Banishing Junk Drawer Items

The biggest silverware complaint I hear from clients is that they don’t have enough room for all their cutlery. But 99% of the time (when I show up for a consultation), it turns out they have plenty of room — if they’d ONLY store eating utensils in that drawer, and nothing else! It’s the twist ties and ketchup packets and extra napkins (not to mention ink pens and scissors and the occasional screwdriver) that get in the way. If these items are truly important, move ‘em to more appropriate storage. If not, let ‘em go.

The Take-Out/Delivery Dilemma

How much of your silverware drawer is taken up by paper-covered chopsticks, plastic-wrapped forks, and single-serving condiment packs? Convenience foods come with a ridiculous number of “extras” — which you always swear you’re going to use (but are more likely to end up as kitchen clutter). Do yourself a favor and either ask the restaurant to NOT put all that nonsense in with your order, toss it straight in the trash/recycle as soon as you finish your meal – or create a separate storage area for disposables.

Tiny Kitchens

If you live in an itty-bitty apartment, a home with an older kitchen, or even an RV (like me) with nowhere near enough drawer space for everything you own, don’t despair! Your silverware can still be just as beautifully organized as anyone else’s — all it takes is a series of drawer trays in a cabinet or on a shelf in a nearby pantry/closet. All it takes is a freestanding cabinet shelving unit that holds each tray individually, for easy access — just slide out the one you need, and slide it right back again when you’re done.

How Dishwashing Relates To Organization

How you load the dishwasher can either support your drawer organizing efforts or hinder them. When clean-up time comes around, load like items together — each into its own section of the silverware basket, in categories that match how you’ve set up your cutlery drawer. (So dinner forks separate from soup spoons separate from butter knives — or however you’ve got it.) Then, you can pull a whole batch out at once and drop it into the right slot in your drawer without a lot of time-wasting sorting. Genius!

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Ramona Creel is an award-winning 15-year veteran organizer and member of the National Association Of Professional Organizers. As well as having birthed “The A-To-Z Of Getting Organized,” Ramona is also the author of “The Professional Organizer’s Bible: A Slightly Irreverent And Completely Unorthodox Guide For Turning Clutter Into A Career”—and the creator of more than 200 “quick-start” business tools and templates for use by productivity professionals. She writes seven different blogs, has worked with hundreds of clients, and has delivered scores of presentations on getting organized. Ramona resides on the roads of America as a full-time RVer—living and working in a 29-foot Airstream. Learn more at and

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