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Kitchen Utensil Drawer Organization

As Published At Organize My Drawer
Kitchen Utensil Drawer Organization

Even the most organized kitchen can be taken down by a cluttered collection of cooking utensils. Weirdly-shaped, some rarely used at all (while others see action every day of the week), and inclined to breed when you’re not paying attention — here are a few suggestions for keeping these little boogers under control.

Countertop Clutter

How much of your countertop is taken up by containers full of utensils? (Especially, utensils you rarely use?) Knife blocks, jars of spoons, racks of spatulas and graters and whisks — all eating up your valuable horizontal food-prep space. (No wonder you always order take out!) Let’s move that junk out of the way, store it conveniently-nearby-but-just-out-of-sight in a drawer or cabinet, and free your counters up to serve their intended purpose. You’re a lot more likely to cook when you’ve got adequate elbow room!

How Many Of Each Do You Need?

Cooking paraphernalia tends to breed like rabbits when you’re not paying attention. You may start out with a single set of measuring spoons — but a year later when you clean out your utensil drawer, you’ll find at least five! Ask yourself how many of each item you really use and need. How does this one differ from that one (if it does at all)? Which items have you never even touched? What one is your favorite? Which are so old and nasty that they can go straight in the trash? I’ll bet you can do some cleaning out!

Food Prep Vs. Cooking

Putting a meal together is a two-step process. First, there’s the initial “food prep” (chopping, peeling, slicing, dicing, beating, mixing, juicing, etc.) — and then, there’s heating (baking, boiling, frying, broiling, whatever). It’s likely that you perform these tasks in entirely different locations, and that you use completely different equipment for each. So why on earth are you trying to cram every utensil you own into a single drawer?? One storage area for food prep and another for cooking makes a lot more sense.

Location, Location, Location

One of the basic principles of organizing is that things should be kept nearest the point where they’re used — so it goes without saying that you’ll want your utensil storage to align geographically with the appropriate matching kitchen activity. As you’re setting up your different drawers and trays, think about where you would normally use each item. At the stove? On the island? Near a particular appliance? Along a certain stretch of countertop? Whatever your answer, that’s where that utensil needs to live.

Think About Everything You Use To Cook

Organizing your cooking supplies isn’t just about stacking mixing cups, sorting slotted spoons, and aligning paring knives (if at all). You also have to create storage for the many non-edible-yet-vital “extras” that can make or break a recipe. I’m talking about toothpicks, cupcake liners, bamboo skewers, pastry bags (if you ice), lollipop sticks (if you candy-make), twine (if you truss turkeys), and the like. Make sure you’ve included room for these in your utensil drawers, along with your mainstream equipment.

Lose The Knife Block

While knife blocks are decorative, they’re far from the most efficient use of your space. Large, clunky, taking up far more room than the knives themselves — you might be better off just storing your cutting implements in a drawer. If you lay them all facing the same direction (handles together) within a single segment of your organizer, there should be no danger of anyone hurting themselves, trying to dig a knife out of the mix. But if you’re overly concerned, you can always sheathe your blades before storing.

Serving Utensils

Some folks like to keep serving utensils with the silverware it matches. If you have enough drawer space, go for it — if not, consider moving your serving pieces to ye olde cooking utensil drawer. Store these items near the stove or countertop where you get meals ready for the table – then all you have to do is pull a dish out of the oven, pop a serving spoon or fork into the bowl, and feed your family. Another convenient option is to stash a tray of serving utensils in the dining room for easy access.

Baking Equipment

“Baking” is a whole ‘nother experience from “cooking,” one that often requires radically different equipment not really used anywhere else in your kitchen — torches, dough scrapers, pastry crimpers, pie crust edging, decorating tips, cookie cutters, rolling pins, and god knows what all else. And you only do it every so often — so why would you mix baking paraphernalia in with everyday cooking tools?? Better off devoting a separate organizer to these specialty supplies, near where you roll and flour and knead.

Grilling Supplies

The same goes for all those utensils that accompany your backyard grill — things like heavy-duty tongs, oversized metal spatulas, a basting brush, meat thermometer, and that long poky two-pronged fork. Instead of allowing them to take up valuable real estate (cluttering and overcrowding your main utensil drawer), either set up a storage tray near your grill to hold these implements — or at the very least, keep them in an organizer in the house that you can easily tote back and forth as a unit.

Specialty Utensils

When I visit a Williams-Sonoma, I’m forever amazed at the variety and diversity of kitchen paraphernalia available for sale out there! I can’t even identify half the stuff in their catalog — all manner of slicers and dicers and peelers, squeezers and graters and strainers, stuff for canning and reducing and sushi-making and spiralizing. But I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — there’s no judgement here. Just make sure that whatever you use has an appropriately-shaped-and-sized home in your drawer organizing system.

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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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