The coronavirus pandemic didn’t just force us to stay home—it also forced us into the kitchen, whether we liked it or not. And we don’t know about you, but our kitchen drawers are starting to look less gourmet and more like the dollar aisle at Target: a chaotic swirl of spatulas, whisks, serving spoons, tongs, and more.
While it can be sometimes fun to dig around and see what you come up with, it’s not very efficient for cooking. If you’re as sick of the chaos as we are, then we bet you’re ready to take action—to rethink your space, declutter, and get organized.
That’s why we’re launching a new series with tips from the pros on how to bring order to every space in your home. In our latest installment of “Decluttering for Dummies,” we focus on corralling your kitchen clutter and organizing those overflowing utensil drawers. Here are six tricks of the trade to get your space organized in no time.
1. Purge your utensil collection (and have no mercy)
Start by emptying all your kitchen utensils—big and small—onto a workable surface. Then, begin sorting through them and ditch any redundant, broken, or otherwise unusable items.
Another way to go about your kitchen utensil purge is by using this trick from professional organizer Amy Bloomer of Let Your Space Bloom.
“We have this simple rule that makes sense for most clients. For example, if my client cooks frequently and she hasn’t used a utensil in a year, then we donate it,” says Bloomer. “For clients who don’t cook that often, I’ll use a two-year rule instead.”
Take a good look at your collection of utensils, and ask yourself how likely you are to use them anytime soon. If the answer is “not very,” add them to your donation pile.
“Nonprofit organizations are always in need of kitchen utensils and small appliances as well,” she adds.
Your unwanted utensils might just be able to help someone in need.
2. Store sharp items safely
Before you get into the nitty-gritty of organizing your utensils, make sure your sharp objects are carefully stored. A good rule of thumb is to put away knives with the point facing in and handle facing out.
If you have really sharp knives, consider buying blade protectors. Not only will these help keep your knives in good working condition, but they’ll also prevent accidents when reaching in drawers.
3. Create kitchen ‘kits’
“I love creating ‘kits’ or ‘zones’ with all of the items needed to accomplish a task,” says Sarah Giller Nelson of Less Is More. “Avid bakers will love having measuring cups, icing tips, off-set spatulas, and other baking tools contained in one bin, drawer, or cabinet so they don’t have to waste time opening every drawer in the kitchen looking for the right product.”
To create a kit, Nelson recommends brainstorming whatever you would need to get a task done, and then figuring out how to best store all of those items together. Maybe this means purchasing drawer organizers, clear plastic bins, or even some cute countertop storage. Just make sure you have the space for these kits before getting too invested in this organization method.
4. Organize utensils by size
“The size of the items is a good starting point,” says Esther Konz of Uncluttered Simplicity. “For example, utensils like ladles, slotted spoons, spatulas, and sauce spoons are all larger and can be stored together, either by hanging them on a kitchen wall—which saves precious real estate space in your kitchen—placing them in a jar on the countertop, or storing them in a special divider in your kitchen drawer.”
The same can be done with small items. For instance, you can keep smaller spoons, measuring cups, and tea infusers together.
5. Organize utensils by usage
Focus on keeping your most used items at hand, like in a utensil holder on a countertop. Keep things you use less often in drawer organizers, and consider storing rarely used items (like utensils used only on special occasions) in other spaces—like those impossibly high cabinet spaces.
Having everything you use most within sight will help when cooking, and you’ll be glad to have the extra space not eaten up by things you need only once a year.
6. Use your walls
“When drawer space is limited, I recommend that clients store any metal ‘go to’ utensils on a magnetic wall strip,” says Bloomer. Think: cooking knives or serving spoons.
You can also invest in a set of hooks to hang your most used large utensil on vacant wall space.
For other items, consider arranging them by category in a set of large Mason jars. Always a classic look, these jars will keep things accessible while still looking organized, and eliminating the need to rummage through your kitchen drawers ever again.