Simple Ways to Organize Kitchen Drawers for Maximum Efficiency

Organize Kitchen Drawers - Cutlery

I love finding new ways to organize so that I can find exactly what I need, when I need it. The simplest method I’ve found to organize kitchen drawers for maximum efficiency requires just three steps: 1) Declutter. 2) Create Stations. 3) Arrange the Drawers.

Easy, yet there’s some thought required. I’ll elaborate on each step below — keep reading for ideas and inspiration!

Saving time in the kitchen (and in general) is a big deal for me. I have a teenage son who is very active in sports and school activities and I spend hours in the car every day.

My kid is always hungry, too. So, I’m constantly whipping up snacks and meals for him to eat on the go, and I don’t have time to hunt for utensils in messy drawers. I’m sure you don’t, either.

Here’s how I keep my kitchen drawers tidy so I can spend my precious time cooking, not looking! (First, be sure to PIN THIS IMAGE to save the article for future reference.)

Simple Ways to Organize Kitchen Drawers

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Step One: Declutter the Drawer

Before we can organize, we have to declutter. It’s impossible to organize any space when there’s too much stuff to fit inside of it. I can’t stress this enough! Here’s the best way I’ve found to declutter:

  • Take everything out of the drawer (or drawers, if you’re doing this all at once).
  • Sort and group like items together. Forks and knives, spatulas, measuring spoons, etc.
  • Place anything that’s broken or missing pieces in a pile to throw away.
  • Duplicates: do you really need three turkey basters? Or five slotted spoons? (Unless you’re a caterer, the answer is NO.) Pare down to what you actually use and donate the rest.

Step Two: Create Stations

You can save a lot of time in the kitchen by creating “stations” or areas where you keep specific items for specific purposes. I organize kitchen drawers to reduce the number of steps I have to take from one area of the kitchen to another.

For instance: I keep all silverware that we use at the table in a drawer near the plates and bowls. When it’s time to set the table, it’s easy to grab three plates, forks, and knives because they’re all in the same area of the kitchen.

Kitchen Drawer Station Ideas

Organize Kitchen Drawers - Plastic Wrap Station

For inspiration, here are some potential ideas for kitchen drawer stations for the most commonly used items:

  • Daily silverware (forks, knives, spoons…whatever your family uses on a regular basis). Place this station near the plates and bowls.
  • Serving pieces (the large forks, spoons, tongs you typically use when you have a dinner party). Place this station near the daily silverware, or in the same drawer if you have room.
  • Cooking utensils (spatulas, slotted spoons, ladles, etc.). I keep mine on the counter next to the stove, but they can also be stored in a drawer nearby.
  • Spices. A spice drawer should be next to the stove.
  • Baking. I keep all measuring cups, spoons, can opener, beaters for the mixer, etc. in one drawer of my kitchen island, since I do most of my baking prep on the island. I store my mixer, cake and cupcake tins, and bread pans in the island cabinets as well.
  • Tupperware and plastic wrap. If you’re lucky enough to have deep kitchen drawers, they’re great for storing Tupperware. (I have to keep mine in the pantry, which is annoying.) Plastic wrap, aluminum foil, sandwich bags, parchment paper, etc. can all go in one station together.

Ready to organize your kitchen drawers now? Great! I promise, it’s worth the effort. In the next section, I’ll provide ideas on how to arrange each of these stations — read on!

Step Three: Arrange the Drawers

This is the fun part! (For me, anyway.) I always start with a clean, empty drawer.

Next, I recommend that you line the drawers with grip liner like this:

The reason I use grip liner is it does a really nice job of keeping things from sliding around when I open and close the drawers. If your grip liner doesn’t stay in place, you can try a little double-stick tape to adhere it.

After the drawers are lined, take measurements of both the drawers and the items you plan to store. This is essential for finding (or making) drawer organizers that maximize the space.

My Favorite Organizers for Kitchen Drawers

Daily Silverware Station

For the daily silverware station, a divided cutlery tray is a must. I recommend an expandable version that adjusts to fit different sized drawers, like this one:

I didn’t have an expandable tray when I organized my kitchen drawer, so I bought simple mesh drawer organizers to fit in the space beside it. Here’s my silverware drawer:

Organize Kitchen Drawers - Cutlery

You’ll see I have multiple sizes of spoons and forks, which I pair in the same tray slot to save room. Larger serving pieces fit in the longer slots and organizers, and less-used items like the “fancy” butter knife and sugar spoon that we save for company go in the small slot above the spoons and forks. My steak knives are laid flat to help avoid dull blades.

Cooking Utensils Station

The divided cutlery tray I mentioned above works well for utensils, too…and I also love a stackable organizing solution that makes it easy to see and access spatulas, whisks, slotted spoons and more:

Spice Drawer

If you’re lucky enough to have space for a spice drawer near your stove, I envy you! Depending on the width and depth of your drawer, there are a few options for keeping the spices neat and organized. My favorite is this large, 4-tier bamboo spice rack (NOTE: your drawer must be at least four inches deep):

Another great option is an expandable spice rack like this one, which can be adjusted from 8″ wide to 14.5″ wide:

Not all drawers are sized equally! Here’s a truly customizable option that you can cut to fit any space (and it works in shallow drawers):

Baking Tools Drawer

I don’t have a ton of kitchen drawers. My baking tools (measuring cups and spoons, beaters, etc.) share space with other kitchen tools like can openers, slicers, peelers, etc.

This drawer isn’t perfect; it has to fit a lot of items I use on a regular basis. (Remember, the key to organizing is creating a system that works for you!) So, I grouped like items together as best I could, and used a bamboo divider and mesh trays as you can see from this picture:

Organize kitchen drawers: baking and cooking tools

I separated my tools into sections like measuring cups and spoons, peelers, openers, scoops, beaters, etc. So, even though it’s filled to the brim, I know where everything is.

Tupperware and Plastic Wrap

As I mentioned, I don’t have drawers deep enough to store Tupperware. I do, however, have a plastic wrap station:

This works for me because I can easily access my food storage bags, FoodSaver heat sealed bags, foil and plastic wrap in one place. This drawer is next to my very full baking/cooking drawer, so I keep my rolling pin here as well. My grip liner really helps keep everything from sliding around!

For deep drawers, here’s a great storage idea for Tupperware containers and lids:

Deep drawers are also nice for storing pots, pans and lids. Check out some ideas in 15 Ways to Organize Pots and Pans in the Kitchen.

Other Ways to Organize Kitchen Drawers

If you have extra drawers in the kitchen, celebrate! Consider using them to organize coffee and tea in a handy coffee pod organizer tray:

Or use an extra kitchen drawer and a cutlery tray to organize phone and iPad charging cables, portable chargers, and other electronic items:

Organize Cables and Chargers in a Cutlery Tray

Another idea: use a spare drawer for barbecue tools, stored in clear stackable containers:

Don’t want (or have) a knife block on the countertop? Store large knives with an in-drawer knife mat:

Finally, you can use extra drawer space to store placemats and napkins, hot pads, oven mitts and trivets, clean dish towels and other kitchen fabrics.

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