Transform the pain point’: the step kitchen drawer organizing rule professionals urge you to try

Kitchen drawers can easily become cluttered and disorganized, making it frustrating to find what you need. But with some simple tips and tricks, you can transform those messy drawers into a functional system that makes cooking and baking a breeze. Organizing professionals urge home cooks to try one key step to tackle this common kitchen pain point: categorize and group like items together in drawers.

Why Kitchen Drawer Organization is Important

Having an efficient and organized kitchen can make a huge difference in how you cook and feel in this space. Benefits of organized kitchen drawers include:

  • Saves time searching for ingredients or tools
  • Reduces stress and frustration when cooking
  • Allows you to see what you have at a glance
  • Prevents duplicated purchases of items you already have
  • Makes cooking and baking more enjoyable
  • Gives a sense of control and order

But it’s not always easy to keep our kitchens in perfect shape. It can often feel like kitchens easily fall prey to disarray. The main culprit? Kitchen drawers.

That’s because so many different types of items end up stuffed into our kitchen drawers: utensils, bakeware, gadgets, towels, food packaging and more. Without a system in place, drawers become cluttered catchalls where items get lost and forgotten.

The result? You waste time rummaging to find what you need, making your cooking experience much less pleasant.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. With one simple organizational rule, you can transform those jumbled drawers into something functional and hassle-free.

The Simple Key: Categorize Like Items Together

The number one rule professionals recommend to conquer messy kitchen drawers is this: Group like items together.

This means assigning each type of item – utensils, towels, food wrap etc. – their own dedicated space within a drawer.

“Having categories and compartments in your drawers instantly creates order,” says Katie Holdefehr, Professional Organizer and owner of First Impression Organizing in Phoenix, AZ. “It allows you to instinctively know where things go when you put them away, which saves huge time over the long run.”

By grouping similar objects together, your drawers transform from an endless abyss of random stuff into a neatly organized system designed for efficiency.

Types of Items to Categorize in Drawers

Wondering what kinds of items you should group together in your kitchen drawers? Here are some of the most common categories experts recommend:

Cooking Utensils

Group all your cooking utensils – spatulas, ladles, wooden spoons etc. – together in one or more drawers. You can group by utensil type or cooking task.

Baking Tools

Dedicate a drawer just for baking tools like whisks, pastry cutters, rolling pins and more.


Designate a drawer for dish towels, flour sack towels and other cleaning cloths. Roll or fold them neatly.

Food Storage

Keep food wraps, bags, containers and foil boxed up together in a designated spot.

Small Appliances

Store hand mixers, garlic presses and other gadgets together.

Serving Utensils

Spatulas, tongs, slotted spoons – keep these handy tools together.


While flatware can go in a block on your counter, storing extra pieces in a drawer is handy. Use dividers.

Pot Lids

Lids often get jumbled. Keep them organized with a lid rack or magnetic strip.

Measuring Cups and Spoons

Nested measuring sets stay tidy in their own dedicated spot. Use hooks or dividers.

Manuals and Warranties

Keep appliance manuals, warranties and receipts organized together in case you need them.

Get the idea? Any items you use together or have similarities should be stored together. This instantly brings order to chaos.

How to Categorize Drawer Contents

Once you’ve decided what will go together, it’s time to categorize. Use these tips to get started:

1. Take Everything Out

First, empty the drawer completely so you have a blank slate. Getting a full picture of the contents helps plan your categories.

2. Group Like Items

Pile all similar items together – utensils with utensils, food wrap with food wrap. See what categories emerge.

3. Assign a Category to Each Pile

Based on the piles, designate a category for each. Examples: baking tools, gadgets, towels, food storage lids.

4. Label Dividers

Get divider inserts or trays and label them for each category using masking tape and a marker.

5. Put Items Into Their Assigned Spots

Sort everything into its matching divider. Toss or donate anything you don’t need.

6. Return to the Drawer

Put the categorized dividers back into the drawer neatly. Feel the satisfaction of seeing everything in its place!

“Take a little time upfront to sort and divide, and you’re set up for success,” says Gina Hatton of The Pretty Penny Blog. “Maintaining organization will be so much easier.”

Creative Drawer Organizing Ideas

Beyond basic dividers, there are lots of clever products designed to help organize kitchen drawers:

  • Sliding trays: Contain items while allowing you to access what’s in the back. Great for food storage.
  • Tiered Dividers: Create multiple levels for small items like spices.
  • Utensil Organizers: Customized slots for kitchen tools.
  • Cutlery Trays: Keep forks, spoons and knives tidy.
  • Knife Block: Store knives safely.
  • Spice Racks: Corral spice jars neatly in a drawer.
  • Condiment Organizers: Keep small condiment bottles and jars upright.
  • Under-drawer Storage: Bins and baskets maximize vertical space underneath.
  • Door Organizers: Store foil, bags and wraps conveniently on drawer fronts.

Look for solutions designed specifically for your drawer size and shape for a custom fit. The offerings are virtually endless!

“Don’t feel limited by your current drawer setup – there are plenty of brilliant products out there to help you organize, no matter the size or configuration of your drawers,” says Becky Rapinchuk, cleaning expert and author of Clean Mama’s Guide to a Healthy Home. “A little creativity goes a long way.”

Top Tips for Maintaining Drawer Organization

The hard work doesn’t stop once you’ve organized your drawers. Maintenance is key for keeping kitchen drawers orderly over time.

Try these pro tips:

  • Put things back immediately: Return items to their assigned spots after using to avoid clutter buildup.
  • Check dividers fit: Readjust them if things are getting messy again.
  • Clean regularly: Wipe down drawers to keep them free of crumbs and sticky spills.
  • Purge unused items: Don’t let junk accumulate. Toss or donate unused stuff.
  • Avoid “dump zones”: The drawer tops get messy fast. Return items to their proper places.
  • Repurpose as needed: Reevaluate your categories occasionally and adjust as your needs change.
  • Edit ruthlessly: If you’re not using something, get rid of it.

With a little effort upfront and vigilance going forward, your kitchen drawers can stay neatly organized for good!

Over to You: Assess Your Drawers

Now it’s time to tackle those messy kitchen drawers! Follow this process to categorize:

1. Clear everything out: Take a drawer and empty it completely so you have a blank canvas.

2. Sort items into piles: Group like things together – tools, towels, food storage etc.

3. Name the groups: Determine categories based on your piles. Assign a category to each.

4. Get divider/trays: Buy organizers like trays and dividers that fit your drawer best. Label them.

5. Put items with their groups: Sort everything into its matching category tray or divider.

6. Populate your organized drawer: Arrange dividers neatly and admire your organized drawer!

The categorized drawer makes finding what you need a breeze. No more rummaging endlessly for the right tool or ingredient. Just go right to the spot – thanks to groups and dividers tailored to your needs.

Transform those pain point drawers from chaotic junk drawers into a functional storage system for cooking necessities. All it takes is that one simple step of grouping like items together. Use your categories to create dedicated homes for everything.

You’ve got this! It may feel daunting, but truly it just takes that first step of clearing everything out to start fresh. Then build up your organized drawer by categorizing thoughtfully. You’ll gain back so much time and reduce daily kitchen headaches. Just imagine how satisfying it will feel to open a drawer and have exactly what you need right at your fingertips. So go ahead: give your drawers a makeover and transform the kitchen pain point today!

Frequently Asked Questions About Organizing Kitchen Drawers

What are the benefits of organizing kitchen drawers?

Organizing kitchen drawers provides many benefits, including saving time looking for items, reducing duplication of purchases, decreasing cooking frustration, and giving a sense of control and order.

How should utensils be organized in a drawer?

Group utensils together in categories, such as cooking utensils, baking utensils, and serving utensils. Use drawer dividers or trays to keep types of utensils separated. Store them handles up for easy access.

What’s the best way to organize pans and lids?

Use pan organizers or a lid rack to keep pans and lids upright and organized. Store them together since lids often get separated from pans in drawers.

How do you keep food storage containers organized?

Use sliding drawer trays and tiered dividers to neatly corral food containers while maximizing drawer space. Group all food wraps and bags into one area.

What should you not put in a kitchen drawer?

Avoid storing heavy pots and pans, knives, or appliances in kitchen drawers. These items are heavy and can damage the drawer glides. Use cabinets or counters instead.


A disorganized kitchen drawer becomes a dreaded black hole where essential cooking items get lost in the abyss. But you can transform this pain point using one simple professional organizer trick: categorize like items together.

Dedicate each drawer to a specific category of items like utensils, towels or food storage. Use dividers and organizers to contain the groups neatly. This creates order from chaos so you can instantly find what you need.

Make a commitment to maintaining your organizational system and editing ruthlessly. Take back your kitchen drawers today – you’ve got this!