How to organize kitchen utensils - tips from professional organziers

From expanders to deep dividers, our experts know how to organize kitchen utensils and maximize your storage

Top view storage organization plate dishes in wooden drawer at modern minimalistic kitchen in Nordic style. Placing crockery in cupboard use Konmari keeping method. General cleaning, tidying up
(Image credit: Getty / Kostikova)

Nobody likes a ladle-heavy traffic jam, so our experts have delved into how to organize kitchen utensils well. 

Maybe you’ve just moved and nothing fits like it used to, or perhaps you're short on drawer space and you’re trying to figure out how to organize utensils on your countertop without creating clutter. From expanding dividers to deep dividers, we’ve looked into it.

If your utensil battles are real, our experts have shared their best tips on ladel, knives, and other utensil organization, including where to shop for the best small kitchen organizers

How to organize kitchen utensils

First, declutter and condense

Start by removing everything from your kitchen drawers and containers. 

Sometimes you may find you have too many mismatched utensils and they’re not fitting right. "Streamlining the same kind of silverware instead of a bunch of mismatched sets is imperative," says Courtney Kowalske of Organized Acourtingly. "Everything just fits a lot better and makes room for other important utensils."

She says to take note of what's already taking up space in your drawer and donate or dump the extras. "A couple of spoons and spatulas are fine, but you don’t need four turkey basters and five spaghetti serving spoons."

If you’ve had your utensils for a long time and they’ve seen better days, it may be time to invest in something new. "I upgraded my cookware and was able to get rid of so many old plastic and metal spatulas and spoons — so I keep my wooden ones in a canister on my counter," says Gigi Mermaid of Fearless Mermaid.

Pick expandable dividers

If your drawers aren’t a standard size, expandable dividers may be the answer. They will adjust to the length or width of your drawer, allowing you to create multiple sections for organizing your utensils. 

Shop more drawer organizer recommendations in our edit for your kitchen and your bedroom.

Say yes to storage bins

More and more kitchens have deep drawers built into their design, but what’s the best way to make them functional? "Deep utensil drawers can be tricky without the right product," says Stacy Chia, founder and director of A Mindful Method, a luxury interior organizing company out of Seattle, Washington. "We usually choose between expandable clear or bamboo dividers and deep drawer bins, whichever makes the most sense for what you are storing."

Use every inch of space with hanging organizers

Smaller kitchens aren’t always equipped with a lot of drawer storage and countertops can quickly become cluttered when there’s not a lot of space. This can make it hard to find a home for utensils.

What’s the solution? "If you’re tired of countertop utensil holders that collect water and residue, there are a lot of alternative hanging options to explore," says Alyssa Young of Yamazaki Home, whose products, according to the website, are "designed to make life at home simpler, tidier, and better."

Young also notes that creativity is key. "If you are lacking drawer space and have a lot of bulky utensils, you can create storage out of thin air with an under-shelf hanging hook," she says. "Ours attach to your cabinets to provide flexible hanging storage wherever you need it."

Put it on a peg rack

Another great idea, especially if your space has a more modern farmhouse kitchen or vintage vibe, is a peg rack. "If you’re short on space or just want a classic cozy feel in your kitchen, add a peg rack," says Wendy Walker, founder of Little House Simple Living. "It’s a great way to display handmade wooden utensils and measuring spoons."

For a modern alternative, how about a colored acrylic pegboard?

Cut down on clutter with a knife organizer

Organized knives in drawer

(Image credit: Mariah Hilsenbrand)

Finding safe and practical storage for your knives is essential. While there are countertop storage options, they're not ideal if you don’t have a ton of space. 

"I like to keep my counters as clear as possible so I added a knife organizer to my utensil drawer," says Mariah Hilsenbrand of Worcester Run. "I only keep the utensils I use most often in this drawer to keep it uncluttered."

What you could also do is invest in some wall-mounted knife holders — that way you're freeing up your drawers.

Store your least used utensils in the pantry

Many of us have utensils that we don’t use every day, but we do need them on occasion. "Anything I don’t use on a weekly basis I store in another organizer in the back of my pantry," says Hilsenbrand. "I still have those items when I need them, but they’re out of the way for daily cooking."

It makes total sense to incorporate these items into your pantry storage instead, whether that's a totally separate space to your kitchen or a dedicated cupboard, adjacent to your cooking area in an open-plan design. 

Use pitchers and vases

Cute and easy on the budget if you pick them up from thrift stores or flea markets, pitchers, pots, and even vases make great utensil storage containers that will add design interest and flair to your space.

"If I do store utensils on my counter, I try to blend them into my decor," says Hilsenbrand. "For example, I placed all my wooden items and my whisks in large white vases. I love finding ways to make my home both stylish and functional."

Think crocks and metal tins

Using crocks and vintage metal tins to store your utensils on your counter is both practical and beautiful! "I like to use cute crocks to store my utensils on the counter because I don’t have much drawer space," says Charity Gentry of Mornings on Macedonia. "It’s both pretty and functional which is what I strive to have for my decor."

Walker agrees and adds, "Antiques like crocks and vintage metal cups are a great way to store kitchen utensils; use different sizes and colors for a variety of items."

Rehome disposible utensils

Organized kitchen utensils with Home Edit containers

(Image credit: Penina Sanik)

We are a generation on the go and sometimes using disposable utensils is just more practical. Not to mention that I sometimes get them with my Uber Eats delivery.

But sifting through the cardboard box of assorted plastic utensils to find that elusive fork can get frustrating. We store our real utensils in a drawer, why not disposables, too?

"My favorite way to store plasticware in a drawer is by using narrow pantry bins from The Home Edit," says Penina Sanik, founder of Organize by Nina

Worst case scenario: Consider custom drawer organizers

Kitchen drawers come in different shapes and sizes which can create an organizational nightmare when you’re trying to find a space for everything. But, we've saved this option until last as getting anything made to measure can be a bit spendy.

"Through experience, we have discovered that customizing your own utensil drawer utilizing different-size drawer organizers is the most space efficient," says Chia. "We generally steer clear of any pre-set utensil drawer organizers as they don’t allow us to create the most optimal system for each unique kitchen."

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.

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