How to organize kitchen drawers and keep them mess-free

Easy expert tips to get your kitchen drawers back in order

An image of open kitchen drawers with a white casing and a gold accent handle, the top drawer has bamboo drawer dividers with cooking utensils in, and the bottom drawer has white crockery in it
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Knowing how to organize kitchen drawers is vital for ensuring you’re able to make the most of the space you have. 

To make the process as seamless as possible, we talked to organization experts who’ve shared their best tips for sorting out kitchen drawer contents, as well as how to keep them ordered going forward.

From how to choose what to get rid of, to the best products to pick to whip your kitchen drawers into order, our experts have covered all bases. 

Here’s how to organize kitchen drawers 

Believe it or not, with the right approach and a little help from our experts, organizing kitchen drawers can be a total cinch, the key being to declutter your kitchen drawers first. 

1. Start by emptying each drawer

A wooden kitchen drawer with silver and black cutlery and utensils in it

(Image credit: NEAT Method)

According to professional organizer, Amy Bloomer, the first step is to, “Empty out the contents of all drawers”, to help beat small kitchen clutter

To make the process easier, it’s worth setting up two boxes (these versatile cotton rope woven small baskets from Amazon come in 10 colors and are versatile for use all over the home), one for items you know you want to keep, and one for items that you need to go through. 

Amy Bloomer
Amy Bloomer

Amy Bloomer is a professional organizer who has an MA in Organizational Psychology from Columbia University. Amy has been in thousands of homes, helping families, professionals and retirees transform their space, and in turn, their lives. 

2. Decide what to get rid of

The next step is to think about what to part ways with. 

Professional organizer, Shantae Duckworth advises, “Discard duplicates, broken tools, or items that haven't been used in ages.”

When it comes to choosing what to get rid of, be brave and firm with yourself. Don’t hold onto items you no longer need, as they’ll only leave you needing to declutter your kitchen

Make sure to avoid kitchen decluttering mistakes that will hinder, not help sort things out.

Shantae Duckworth
Shantae Duckworth

Shantae Duckworth is a professional organizer and founder of Shantaeize Your Space in Seattle, Washington. She is a Member of National Association of Black Professional Organizers, and Member of Black Girls Who Organize Group. She is a public speaker and writer about organization as well. 

3. Categorize your items

Open kitchen drawers with pegged drawer organizer

(Image credit: Rational)

For easier organization, it’s worth taking the time to sort items into groups. 

Cleaning expert, Karina Toner says, “Group similar items together, creating categories based on function. This makes it easier to find and maintain order.

Shantae adds, “Categorize the remaining items into groups such as utensils, gadgets, or baking tools, and so on.” 

Karina Toner, Operations Manager, Spekless Cleaning
Karina Toner

Karina Toner is the Operations Manager at Washington D.C.-based Spekless Cleaning. 

4. Plan where to put things

Amy says, “After you have created categories and edited all items, create a system for putting things back into place based on where things are most conveniently placed. For example, store forks, knives, spoons, etc. in a drawer near the dishwasher to make it easy to put things away after they are clean.”

We love this expandable bamboo cutlery drawer utensil organizers from Amazon in coral, though it comes in eight other colours. An item like this will make keeping all your cutlery in check easy as pie. 

Shantae says, “Arrange frequently used items towards the front for easy access. Consider the layout of your kitchen and place items strategically based on their frequency of use. 

“Utilize smaller containers (like these compact, non-slip drawer organizers from Amazon) within the drawers for items like rubber bands or clips, preventing them from creating clutter. Labeling can further streamline the organization, making it clear where each item belongs.”

Karina says, “ Place frequently used items in easily accessible locations within the drawers. Reserve top-tier drawers for essentials and daily-use items. Designate drawers for specific purposes, such as a baking drawer or a utensil drawer. This streamlines the organization process.”

5. Implement the right storage solutions

Deep kitchen drawers stacked with white crockery

(Image credit: Tom Howley)

In order to keep your drawers neat and ordered going forward, it pays to add effective storage solutions. 

Amy says, “Use drawer organizers (such as this set of 5 flexible drawer organizers from Walmart will come in handy ), dividers, and grippy drawer liners (like this non-slip drawer liner from Amazon) to help keep items in place.”

Karina suggests, “Utilize adjustable or custom-fit drawer organizers to create dedicated spaces for different items. This prevents overcrowding and maintains a tidy look."

6. Label storage caddies

Karina says, “If using containers or bins, label them to keep your kitchen organized and ensure everyone in the household knows where items belong. This encourages consistency in maintaining the organization.”

You can either opt to buy a roll of labels (like these self-adhesive labels from Amazon) and use a marker pen to write on them, or you can invest in a label maker (like this handheld label maker from Target that comes highly rated by shoppers). 

Now that you’ve organized your drawers, schedule regular maintenance sessions to declutter and re-organize drawers. This prevents the accumulation of unnecessary items and helps keep your home clutter-free

Next, tackle how to organize kitchen shelves, before decluttering the pantry.

Beth Mahoney
Freelance journalist

Hi! I’m Beth Mahoney and I’m a former staff writer at Real Homes. I’ve been a journalist for the national press for the past six years, specializing in commerce and trends-related lifestyle articles, from product reviews and listicles to guides and features. With an eye for pretty things (think: quirky wall prints, scalloped edge furniture, and decadent-looking tableware) but a limited budget, I love nothing more than a bargain buy.