My cutlery and cookware collection was chaotic — but these 7 expert tips helped me organize my kitchen drawers

Kitchen heaven 🍴

Open white kitchen drawers
(Image credit: Getty)

Sure, things might've looked calm and collected. But if I hadn't attempted to organize my kitchen drawers, I swear to God my cutlery and kitchenware would jumping out in rebellious force like an R-rated version of Beauty and the Beast. Be my guest — abso-lutely not!

So, mission accepted — I called on some experts to share their very best tips and ideas to organize kitchen drawers so I could waltz around my cook space all smug and satisfied.

I can finally say that with their professional help (and my favorite drawer organizers and dividers), I found beauty on the inside with tips to tidy away mess and clutter. At last, everything has a rightful place and can be easily accessed at all times.

The pros explain how to organize kitchen drawers

As my fave room to host a house party in, the kitchen is filled with an abundance of ingredients, Tupperware, and cooking essentials. With so much going on, the space requires organizational ninja skills to dish out anything from dreamy brunches to speedy Uber Eats dinners.

Do you even know what’s lurking at the back of that overstuffed deep kitchen drawer? It’s amazing just how much unnecessary stuff I'd accrued and stashed in my kitchen drawers over time. "Out of sight out of mind" might work in some scenarios, but absolutely not here! Making the most of your space with savvy kitchen storage ideas for the bits that you want to keep hidden away is a start, but there are more clever methods to try too for a total transformation.

Professional organizer, Jessica Litman, The Organized Mama, notes how decluttering is just as important as correctly storing and organizing items in your kitchen drawers. "I am not your typical organizer because I don't think you need that many products to keep drawers organized," says Litman.

1. Decide what to keep on show and what to hide away

Firstly, have a proper scan through the drawers and prioritize what you want to keep, what you want to keep hidden away, and what you want to have on display. 

Think about task zone efficiency — for instance, cooking utensils and knives should be kept in the main prep space, within easy access. In a nutshell, make your drawers work for you based on how you use your space (everyone has a different "method to the madness" system).

2. Group like with like

"What I suggest is to start by decluttering your items first. Then group them together," Litman says.

"The two rules for organizing anything are to group ‘like with like,’ and to assign one home for each item," professional organizer, Sarah Dunn, aka Get it Dunn, advises. "So in the kitchen, for example, you'll want to group all measuring cups together, all wooden spoons together, all bar tools together. Then assign one home for each of those things and stick to it."

3. Invest in quality kitchen storage that fits

"If you find that drawer dividers would help keep your drawer organized, then measure and find things that fit your products. I love using bamboo organizers for kitchens because they last much longer," suggests Litman.

4. Dedicate drawers to specific uses

"At my house, we have a drawer dedicated to specific products or uses such as a spice drawer, a pots and pans drawer, a plates and bowls drawer, and so on," explains Litman. This way there is less confusion when you come to tidying the space and simply putting things away on a daily basis.

"For a spice drawer, I recommend using an expandable drawer organizer since those products can be moved around so much. If you store pots and pans in a drawer, stack them and use a lid holder to keep the lids together."

Dunn adds, "My recommendation for best organizing kitchen drawers is to invest in bamboo drawer dividers. They're beautiful and sustainable but plastic separators also on Amazon work too!"

5. Make hard to reach areas functional with pull-out drawers

Rustling around for that particular pan at the back of the cupboard shouldn’t turn into an impromptu hot yoga class! 

Instead, utilize every nook and organize your pantry with pull-out drawers that do the hard work for you. They're seriously going to make baking those last-minute chocolate chip cookies so much easier.

6. Variety is the spice of (drawer) life

Tired of rooting around in the cupboard for that ever-elusive spice? Get the tastebud sensations in marching order with some easy peasy spice rack ideas

Dedicate a drawer for spice jars and invest in a ready-made, expandable tiered tray to transform your everyday cooking! 

If you're feeling creative, why not try making a DIY spice jar organizer yourself?

7. Dedicate one drawer to linens for grab and go ease

Neatly fold kitchen towels and keep them alongside napkins and tablecloths in a dedicated linen drawer. These don't have to be mixed with any other kitchen drawer items. 

Woven basket drawers add rustic texture in a grand-millennial scheme, whilst softening a mass of hard rental cabinetry. 

But, for a modern industrial nod, wire basket drawers have the same effect, adding contrast and interest. 

How do I organize my kitchen drawers once and for all?

For easier access to your belongings, try separating things out into permanent areas so everything has a home.

"Separate drawers into zones," Isabelle Emond, real estate broker and owner, RE/MAX Ocean Surf and Sun advises "Washing, prepping, cooking, and baking are common tasks in the kitchen. There are various tools required to execute each activity — group all of the items you use for each of those separate tasks together for efficiency and time-saving."

You may want to separate all your ingredients by food type for easier prep time.

"When arranging pantry drawers, this entails categorizing food types, such as cooking, baking, and snacks. Sort necessities. Remove everything from each drawer and lay everything on your countertop. Determine which items are required and which are not," says Emond.

Even storing cutlery can become easier when sorting by size and shape.

"Long utensils such as spatulas, serving spoons and tongs should be stored diagonally to make better use of drawer space," explains Emond. "Storing long objects diagonally guarantees that they fit into the drawer and reduces the need for you to dig out what you need every time."

What should go in kitchen drawers?

Kitchen cupboards and drawers are the biggest resources for essential storage. Break the cycle of chucking anything and everything into them in a haphazard fashion, and organize kitchen cabinets into wholesome retreats for on-hand ingredients or kitchenalia. 

"Kitchen drawers can easily become messy if it is not organized well," Kelly Dorval, digital marketing manager of property management group, CLV Group, comments.

"One drawer should be dedicated to organizing cutlery using utensil organizers," explains Dorval. "Be sure to store knives in a knife holder and kitchen utensils in organizers to prevent any injuries from sharp edges. Another drawer can be used to store other kitchen needs like cutting boards and collapsible strainers."

Christina Chrysostomou
Former acting head ecommerce editor

Hi, I'm the former acting head ecommerce editor at Real Homes. Prior to working for the Future plc family, I've worked on a number of consumer events including the Ideal Home Show, Grand Designs Live, and Good Homes Magazine. With a first class degree from Keele University, and a plethora of experience in digital marketing, editorial, and social media, I have an eye for what should be in your shopping basket and have gone through the internal customer advisor accreditation process.