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

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Tips for Organizing Kitchen Drawers

This month I'm going to be organizing my kitchen and as I do I will share tips to help you organize your kitchen.  Today I'm going to kick things off by showing you how I organize my utensil drawer and my junk drawer. 

Y'all love some good before and after pictures right?!  Here's my utensil drawer before I tackled it today.

I decluttered and organized this drawer about a year and a half ago.  Some sections are still fairly organized, but the back and right side compartments have become cluttered and chaotic.  It's frustrating when I'm trying to find an item in a hurry and have to move a bunch of other gadgets around first.  And I know there are lots of things I don't use taking up space in this prime piece of real estate in my small kitchen.

Kitchen Organizing Tips #1 & 2 - Use drawer dividers to organize contents & Measure Before You Buy

You can see in the picture above that I've got the bones of a good organizing system in this drawer already by having drawer dividers in place.  Those were a necessity in this drawer since it's so wide!

When we put in new kitchen cabinets a few years ago I bought these clear acrylic drawer organizers at Kitchen Stuff Plus.  I measured the drawer before I shopped but there were so many sizes and varieties of drawer organizers that I just ended up buying several different options and played around with them until I was happy with the layout.  Then I returned the organizers I didn't need.  It was an extra trip but it was worth it for me to be able to have that time to try them out in the drawer.

Here's a picture of what my junk drawer looked like before I tackled it today.

You can see I used the same clear acrylic drawer organizers in this drawer.  I used the same "trial-and-error" process for figuring out which organizers I wanted and what the best layout would be.

Kitchen Organizing Tip #3 - Determine the purpose of each drawer

My utensil drawer holds all our eating utensils as well as the gadgets we use regularly.  I have a crock on my counter for large cooking utensils that I use all the time (spoons, ladles, flippers, etc.), but I keep some of our less frequently used cooking and serving utensils in this drawer too.

The junk drawer is really an all-purpose drawer.  It holds my wax paper, foil, and plastic wraps because I don't really have anywhere else to keep them in my small kitchen.  Plus it holds battery chargers and rechargeable batteries, and several other chargers.  I also store envelopes and address labels for the occasional time we mail something.  And, we keep a few club cards in here.  This drawer had accumulated a bunch of other "stuff" though and I was ready to purge today.

Kitchen Organizing Tip #4 - Purge before organizing

You know how much I love decluttering!  I went to town on both these drawers today.  I got rid of lots of kitchen gadgets and utensils that we don't use very often or that we had duplicates of.

In the junk drawer I recycled several maps since we pretty much use the GPS or online maps now.  I also purged lots of address labels that had accumulated (you know all those ones that various charities send you?).  We had way more labels than we could ever use so I just kept a few small sheets and recycled the rest.

Here's my bin of items that came out of these two drawers that I will donate or Freecycle.

I rarely use most of these items or I already have enough of them and don't need so many duplicates.  For example, I had 3 wine savers.  I don't usually have more than one bottle open unless we're entertaining {and an open bottle doesn't last very long anyway!}, so why do I need 3 of these?  I kept one and purged the other two. 

I also know I can borrow a few of these gadgets when I need them (like a melon baller or a garlic press - we don't use either very often).  It doesn't make sense to me to keep items I rarely use when I have a very small kitchen.  My hope is to streamline everything in our kitchen to what we really need and use, so I can get more items off my counters and into my drawers and cupboards.

Here's my "throw away" pile.  Some of these items are broken or don't work and will go in the garbage.  Others will be recycled.

I also found a bunch of stuff that really didn't belong in our kitchen. 

When we used to only have a desk in the basement, I kept some office supplies in the kitchen.  But now we have a desk in the dining room, which is right next to the kitchen, so there's really no need to take up valuable kitchen space with office supplies when I can just walk a few steps further to find what I need. 

I also keep a box with cake decorating supplies up on the top shelf in one of my kitchen cabinets, but a few pieces found their way into one of the drawers, so I will put them back where they belong.  

And I found a few household items that would be better kept in our hall closet or in the basement storage room so I added them to this bin and put them all in their new homes when I finished organizing these 2 kitchen drawers.

Kitchen Organizing Tips #5 & 6 - Store Like With Like and Keep Items Where You Use Them

I'll cover both these tips as I reveal my newly organized utensil drawer and junk drawer.  Here's my utensil drawer.

I kept all the knives and eating utensils because we use those all the time.  But look how much less cluttered the sections on the right and at the back are now!   I was able to sort items better now that I had more space.

In the back left corner I have cooking utensils.  These are not ones I use regularly, so they don't belong in my crock on the counter.  But I use them enough that I want to keep them so I store them together at the back of this drawer.

In the back right corner I'm keeping mainly serving utensils, plus our rolling pin.  It just doesn't fit very well anywhere so the back of the drawer is a good spot for it :) 

At the very front on the right I have a large chip clip and some tape.  We use both of these frequently and they fit perfectly in the space in front of the drawer organizers.

I grouped baking items at the front of the right side organizer and stacked sandwich and fruit cutters at the back.  The divider just to the left of those items has all the rest of our kitchen gadgets that we use frequently.

Oh, and this is my favourite part of the organizing I did today!

See that little cup at the back with all the corn-on-the-cob holders in it?  I love that they are grouped together instead of strewn about the other drawer organizers.  And we only use them a few times a year in the summer, so keeping them at the back makes more sense than storing them in with the items we use every day.  And the cup fit perfectly in the empty space between the drawer organizers at the back of this drawer.  It's a win all around!

Everything in this drawer is grouped with other similar items so it's always easy to find what I need.  And this drawer is right between our stove and fridge and under the toaster and toaster oven and the counter that we use most often for food prep.  Each item in this drawer is right where it gets used.  {Mind you our kitchen is so small that pretty much everything is right where it gets used!}

Want to see the junk drawer, all decluttered and organized?

Look at all the empty space!  As I organize the rest of the kitchen I will have space to put other small items to help keep the kitchen less cluttered.

In this drawer I grouped batter chargers together and put the charged batteries in the small compartment on the left.  And I grouped all the other chargers by type so everything has a "home".  The 3 rolls are still on the right and there's space to add another roll when we have one.

I'm very happy I organized these two drawers today.  I'm in and out of both of these MULTIPLE times a day so it's great to be able to see everything and not have to rummage through stuff that doesn't belong or isn't used.

If you'd like more kitchen drawer decluttering ideas, here are a few posts you can check out!

You can also find 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.

Which area of your kitchen do you find the most overwhelming?  How do your organize your kitchen drawers?

Happy organizing!

I link up at these great parties - Check them out!