Tips for Organizing Deep Kitchen Drawers | From Overwhelmed to Organized: Tips for Organizing Deep Kitchen Drawers

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Tips for Organizing Deep Kitchen Drawers

This month I'm organizing my kitchen and as I do I'm sharing tips to help you organize your kitchen.  Today I'm showing you how to organize pots and pans and utilize the space in deep drawers. 

I have two deep drawers in my kitchen, between the oven and the fridge (underneath my utensils and gadgets drawer).  Here are pictures of these two drawers before I organized them this week.

Yikes!  What a mess!

What's not in this picture are several other fry pans that were drying on the counter.  I don't know if you can see or not, but there are stacks of baking pans pans in the middle and in the bottom right.  Not to mention all those dish rags overflowing their bin.

I use these both these drawers to store most of my pots and pans, some of my bakeware, and my dish towels and dish cloths.  It may seem strange to store dish cloths and rags in pots and pans drawers but I have very limited drawer space in my kitchen so this is the best place for them. 

I have some other pots and pans in another cupboard and in the drawer under the oven.  You'll see them in future posts.

I also store our good cookie sheets (the ones we use for baking) in a drawer in our breakfast nook (like I said... limited kitchen drawer space!).  It sounds a little crazy to have kitchen items spread out in so many places, but because our kitchen is so small, everything is still only a few steps away.  And usually we put cookie dough on the cookie sheets on our table anyway, so they're actually being stored where we use them.

As I organize my kitchen this month, my goal will be to store like things together more. If you have more drawer and cupboard space than I do, you can create zones in your kitchen for items you commonly use together. 

Kitchen Organizing Tips

Here are the kitchen organizing tips I've shared so far in this series:
  1. Use drawer dividers
  2. Measure before you buy
  3. Determine the purpose of each drawer
  4. Purge before organizing
  5. Store like with like
  6. Keep items where you use them

Steps 1 and 2 don't really apply for these two deep drawers, but I thought about my purpose for them and I purged a lot.  Here is my donate / Freecycle / garbage pile:

I don't know why I was hanging on to so many old dish towels and dish rags.  We use about 4-5 of each per week and I need a few extras to use while the rest are in the laundry (or the laundry basket waiting to be folded and put away - oops did I say that out loud?!).  But I had WAY more than I needed in these drawers.  So I purged a bunch.

I don't need 5 cutting boards so I kept the 3 I use most and purged these 2.  And I rarely use the other items in the picture so out they go!

Kitchen Organizing Tip #7 - Store items you don't regularly use in "out-of-the-way" spots

We only use a few of our pots and pans most of the time, but I was keeping other ones that we use once in awhile in these drawers.  They were taking up prime real estate in my small kitchen, which just doesn't make sense.  {I use them often enough that I don't want to purge them - just not often enough to take up space in my small kitchen.}

So I decided to relocate several items to the basement.  We have a small kitchen down there (we used to rent out the basement as a small apartment before we had kids) and I can just run down the stairs to grab these pots and pans when I need them. 

Here's my "relocate" pile:

The mixing bowls and baking pans and Graty fall into the same category as the pots and pans - used enough that I don't want to purge them, but not enough to take up space in my small kitchen.

Those rags are going to join my other cleaning rags, rather than being mixed in with the dish rags. {Not sure how that happened!}

And I purged my dish rags and dish towels enough that I don't need these large bins so I'll find another use for them in my house.  I wasn't using them as stacking bins anyway since the drawers weren't deep enough for this large size.  But small stacking bins are a great use of vertical space in a deep drawer!

I also relocated a few new dish towels and dish rags (not pictured) to my dining room buffet.  I will use them when we have guests over so it makes more sense to store them with other entertaining items than in our day-to-day drawers.

If your kitchen is larger, or you don't have storage somewhere else in the house that you can use (or you're worried you won't use them if they are not actually in your kitchen), here are a few other places to store kitchen items you don't use regularly:
  • top shelves in upper cabinets
  • the cabinet above the fridge
  • at the back of lower cabinets
  • in that hard-to-reach corner of corner cabinets
You get the idea!

So are you ready to see what my drawers look like now?   Here's drawer #1.

So much better!  Less clutter, which makes it easy to see everything.  And no more stacked dishes that have to be moved to get the one I need.

In this drawer I put most of the pots and pans I need for cooking.  And all my dish rags and dish cloths fit neatly in one small clear bin.  I "filed" them so I can see them all of them at once and we don't just keep using the ones on the top.

I was even able to store the 2 pots we do use a lot (those 2 brown ones in the corners) in this drawer now.  They used to be in the cupboard above the microwave, which is very high for me.  And these pots are heavy, so it always annoyed me to get them down and put them away.  At one point they were in this drawer but the drawer often jumped off the track because of the weight so we moved the heaviest culprits out.  Now that I've purged and relocated items from this drawer I can put these back in!

Here's drawer #2.

I have so much more space in this drawer now!  In this drawer I have the rest of my cooking pans, a few cutting boards, and all my baking pans (other than the cookie sheets I mentioned that are in our breakfast nook).

I love the less cluttered feel of this drawer.  Makes me smile each time I open it, which is so much better than a groan!  And it's easier to get everything in and out without having to move other items around. 

Kitchen Organizing Tip #8 - Maximize the vertical space in deep drawers

I bought the baking sheets rack quite awhile ago (similar to this one) and wasn't able to make it work in any of our cupboards so it's been stored for a few years.  I don't think it ever occurred to me to try it in a drawer.  Until now!

I wasn't sure if the drawers would be tall enough to have pans stand vertically on the rack, but many of them were.  No more rummaging through the drawer and having to lift up pans to get at the ones underneath!

And everything is right where we use it since the counter above these drawers is our main food prep counter.

I still have my fry pans stacked.  It works OK for us this way and they don't take up a lot of horizontal space. {I tried them vertically, but the large ones didn't fit and I didn't want to split them up and have some flat and some vertical}.  I should tell you, I really felt like I should purge a few fry pans, but honestly, we use all 5 of these regularly because they are different sizes and depths. 

Here's another view of this drawer so you can see the vertical space better.

Here are some other ways you can maximize the vertical space in your deep drawers:
  • Small stacking bins
  • Pegs or drawer dividers to hold stacks of dishes in place
  • Small plastic bins with lids (stacked on top of each other)

I love how this decluttering and organizing project turned out!  The use of this space is more functional now and it's more enjoyable to spend time in a less cluttered kitchen.

You can find more kitchen organizing ideas on my Kitchen Organizing board on Pinterest. 

Stay tuned throughout the month as I show you the rest of my kitchen and continue sharing tips to help you organize yours.

Where do you store your less-used kitchen items?  How do you maximize the vertical space in your deep drawers?  

Happy organizing!

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