Recently, we talked about how to organize your kitchen cabinets. While I talked about the whole process of organizing cabinets, I went through my own kitchen and reworked my own cabinets. I noticed in the process that there was a lot more to do in my kitchen organization adventure if I was going to practice what I preach. One of those things that got added to my to-do list instantly was to organize my cutlery drawers.
I have two cutlery drawers. One is clearly for forks, knives, and spoons because it has smaller cutouts in the built-in drawer organizer. The other one is more open and it’s for things like mixing spoons, ladles, straws, chopsticks, knives, spatulas, and so on. This seems pretty simple to keep organized, and for me it is, but for my significant other, it’s easy to get confused. We also run into the problem that the more open drawer tends to get over-stuffed while the other drawer stays fairly empty. Something had to change.
Here are the steps I went through for the cutlery drawer chapter of my kitchen organization journey.
Are you sick of this word yet? I keep bringing it up because often times, the root of our organization problems are with simply having too much stuff. There’s a point that comes where you simply can’t out-organize a surplus of items. And when it comes to utilities like in the kitchen with things like spatulas, mixing spoons, fruit & vegetable peelers, and the like, it’s hard to think of something as needing to be thrown away when it clearly has a use.
I’m not saying you should throw away things you need, or you use. However, the idea behinddecluttering in the kitchen is behind surplus. I have three mixing spoons and 4 spatulas, for example. Will there ever be a time where I need to use all 4 spatulas at once? Doubtful. So, it’s fair then to part ways with at least two of them. Keeping things “just in case” is not a good idea in general if you want to be good at kitchen organization or have a neat, organized home at all.
So, part ways with things that you don’t actually need that quantity of. Take stock of what you have and what you think you’ll really need. Don’t keep things “just in case” if you haven’t used them in the past year. I have two whole frosting tip kits with bags and I haven’t used them since I got them a few years ago. They have to go!
Separate your items based on type. We all have flat utensils, cooking utensils, preparation utensils, and then a miscellaneous array of items that take up residence in our utensil drawers. This will be a great time to take stock of what you have and see if there’s more for you to weed out during the declutter phase.
The flat utensils will be anything that you eat with. That includes forks, butter knives, and spoons. That’s pretty standard. The cooking utensils are things that you actively use while cooking. So, that’ll be your spatulas, your ladles, and so on. Then we have the preparation utensils. That covers things like whisks, peelers, mixing spoons, meat tenderizers, and that kind of stuff. The miscellaneous type of items in our utensil drawers are usually the best place to start with looking to declutter.
In my drawers, I had a lot of miscellaneous stuff. This was stuff that didn’t quite fit with the other categories of items. I had single-use chopsticks, individually wrapped plastic forks, plastic straws (disposable and re-usable), and a bunch of stuff like that. Normally I’d say to just use these things and get rid of them, but they’ve been sitting there since I moved into this apartment. So, clearly, they weren’t going to be put to use anytime soon. Into the garbage they go!
The last step here is to put everything back in its rightful place. It’s a lot easier to fit everything where it goes when there’s less of it. That makes sense for everything regarding kitchen organization. Our kitchens just become havens for collecting too much stuff. It makes it hard to use the kitchen for its intended purpose of food preparation and cooking.
I didn’t rearrange anything for this. Everything already had its designated place based on the built-in drawer organizers that my kitchen drawers have. However, I did add a little extra something this time. I labeled every slot for what it’s intended recipient is. I have “forks”, “knives”, “spoons”, and “straws” in the smaller drawer. In the bigger drawer I have “cooking utensils” and “prep utensils”. Now I just have to teach the other members of my house the difference between cooking utensils and preparation utensils, and we’ll be good! This will help make sure that these drawers stay organized, as everything will be put back in the right place.
When Kitchen Organization Isn’t So Simple
I’m lucky that my home was built with an ultra-modern kitchen in mind. The thing about modernism is that it’s based around utility. As such, I have a designated spice rack in one cabinet, two drawers with built-in organizers for utensils, a drying rack for dishes, and other modern utility features that makes keeping my kitchen clean and tidy an easier task. It also makes kitchen organization a cinch. But not every kitchen is like mine, and I feel like we need to touch upon that a bit before we close this week’s blog off and enjoy our weekends.
I believe that every kitchen should employ some modern utility into it. Frankly, I don’t feel that true organization is possible without using at least some of the options that are now available widely for kitchen organization. Here are some things that you can incorporate into your kitchen cheaply. They’ll help make your kitchen organization a lot easier and a lot more practical.
This one’s a no-brainer. Nobody wants an open-concept utility drawer where you have to fish around for a spoon in the dark when you want a midnight bowl of cereal! It’s easier to know where the spoons are, grab one, and be on your way. Right?
Drawer organizers aren’t just cheap and easy to find, but they’re also super simple to make yourself. There are plenty of resources online for making your own drawer organizers for the kitchen utensil drawers in your home. Or you can just buy one. Whichever style fits better for you is totally fine!
Knife blocks changed my kitchen game completely. Before I splurged on a nice knife block, I would have to go on a scavenger hunt for the right knife all over the kitchen. I’d check the utensil drawer, the dishwasher, the drying rack, the cabinets, the sink… everywhere. But I swear, the knives love to play hide and seek in my house. Knife blocks made it super easy to find the knife I need at the moment in an instant. They also look really nice on the counter.
If a traditional knife block isn’t your style, there are also magnetic strips you can install on the backdrop of your kitchen. The knives will stick to the magnetic strips and be on display. This is very industrial-chef chic. Both options work great!
Last but not least here, I want to pay an honorable mention to countertop storage options for kitchen utensils. I don’t personally have this in my kitchen but growing up both my mom and my grandmother did this. It’s something I’ve always wanted to incorporate into my own kitchen. But my cooking and prep utensils don’t match, so I don’t think it’d look quite as nice. My birthday is coming up though… hmmm…
Countertop storage is a way to store those pesky large and long cooking and prep utensils that don’t quite fit right in a drawer. It’s perfect for things like soup ladles, whisks, and tenderizers. When done right, it also looks really nice. I recommend doing this with matching utensils for best aesthetic results. But if looks aren’t what you prioritize, that’s fine. Because this option is also extremely practical and makes cooking that much easier and quicker. I love this option and I think you will too!