How to organize kitchen drawers: 10 expert tips to restore order to messy storage

Knowing how to organize kitchen drawers with efficiency is the key to a well-functioning space that enriches your cooking experience

Kitchen with two low level drawers opening and showing how to organize kitchen drawers using wooden dividers
(Image credit: Herringbone Kitchens)

Learning how to organize kitchen drawers like a pro is essential to maintaining a space that makes day-to-day life around the kitchen a little easier.

As with any tasks needed to organize a kitchen efficiently, sorting out drawers requires methodical steps to declutter and make the storage space work more effectively for you and your household. 

We've sourced the best advice and tips for how to organize kitchen drawers from decluttering experts and kitchen designers, who share their professional guidance below on how to organize yours drawers for a better functioning space to cook and entertain friends and family.

How to organize kitchen drawers: 10 smart storage ideas

"Organised kitchen drawers are one of the joys of everyday life," says  Willaim Durrant, owner of Herringbone Kitchens (opens in new tab). "Being able to easily put away your cutlery, organize kitchen pots and pans, and even pantry essentials, is something that can bring calm to a hectic life and also speeds things up in the kitchen when it comes to the daily family cook out!"

"With bespoke drawers you can maximize on kitchen storage for all your essentials, making sure everything has its own place, tucked away, creating an uncluttered kitchen and leaving plenty of worktop space," says Rebecca Nokes, Head of Design & Brand Creative at John Lewis of Hungerford (opens in new tab). "Kitchen drawers provide space for ingredients, utensils, and other kitchen must-haves – all the better for being organized."

1. Streamline the contents of your drawer to free up valuable space

How to organize a kitchen drawer with wooden spoons, cooking utensils and scissors

(Image credit: Getty Images | Image Source)

Decluttering is the best place to start when getting drawers in order, especially when organizing a small kitchen where every inch of space counts. "Declutter first! Before you start trying to organize your drawers and cupboards, thin out everything you don't need, " advises APDO’s Lisa Pantling (opens in new tab), Founder of Clutter Free Living (opens in new tab). "You only need one of most kitchen essentials such as mashers, slotted spoons, etc."

"If you’re struggling to know what to keep and what to throw away, ask yourself if you use something often and if the answer is no, consider throwing it away," advises Darren Watts, Design Director at Wren Kitchens (opens in new tab). "Especially items that are broken or have missing parts."

Use this rule to streamline the contents of every single drawer, from utensils and linens to your pots and pan and Tupperware drawers.

2. Reposition your most-used drawers

Blue kitchen with white marble countertops with organized kitchen drawers below the hob

(Image credit: Future | Lizzie Orme)

In addition to decluttering, it's a good idea to rethink or plan the layout of your kitchen to suit how you use the space on a daily basis.

Melissa Klink, Creative Director at Harvey Jones (opens in new tab), explains, "Look at your layout and think about where things are located. For example, it makes sense to keep pots and pans by the hob, but why not store them in large, deep drawers rather than a cupboard?"

"Think about what you use frequently and which appliances or crockery have only been utilized a handful of times. Store these accordingly – keep cutlery and frequently-used utensils in a drawer that is easy to access, and keep the items that you need less regularly out of sight.”

3. Use drawer dividers to organize cutlery and utensils

Green kitchen with open drawer showing dividers used to organize kitchen drawers

(Image credit: John Lewis of Hungerford)

Organize your top draw to store cutlery and utensils so everything is in its right place and easily accessible when you need it. If you don't have the space for both you can easily separate cutlery and utensils into two drawers, but the same principle applies to using drawer dividers to retain order.

Drawer inserts range from single separators to cutlery drawer trays that transform the kitchen design you already have in place.

"A kitchen drawer divider is perfect for separating utensils, and you can keep them hidden away in your drawers, ensuring that your kitchen space is kept both tidy and organized," suggests Darren. "Choose a divider that has many different sizes and lengths, this will mean you can separate cutlery as well as other kitchen equipment such as spatulas and whisks."

"Top tip - don't keep your potato masher in a drawer unless you have very deep drawers," adds Darren."There is nothing more frustrating than your drawer getting stuck every time you open it!" Instead, keep awkwardly shaped kitchen utensils in a mason jar or ceramic pot on the side for an organized kitchen counter

4. Separate plates within drawers

Inside organized kitchen drawers with plate and bowl separators

(Image credit: John Lewis of Hungerford)

Kitchen drawers aren't just for cutlery and utensils, with the right organization tools in place drawers can also provide the ideal storage for stacked plates. 

Having plates in lower, pull-out drawers eliminates the need to lift plates out of a higher cupboard. "Using pan drawers for your plates and bowls is so much easier to access than high-up cupboards and easier when you are emptying the dishwasher too!" explains Lisa.

"Deep drawers are a great choice for storing pots and pans or stacking plates," agrees Rebecca. "If you are storing plates in drawers, investing in wooden pegs is a great way to stop plates sliding around, you can position these to fit the size of your items."

5. Utilize deep drawers for pan stoarge

deep kitchen drawers for pots and pans

(Image credit: Future)

"Drawers provide easier access and save you from having to rummage around in the back of a cabinet," says Darren. 

"Drawers for pots and pans can go anywhere," says William, "in the lower cabinets on the main run or in the island. They are easy to pull out for when you're emptying the dishwasher and need to put the clean pots and pans away."

Lisa also suggests organizing kitchen drawers and utilizing their storage potential to help with your kitchen cabinet organization too, "use pan drawers for bulky items including appliances such as blenders and slow cookers, these are a pain to get out of cupboards when you have to empty out other items so that you can access them."

6. Incorporate a knife block for safe storage

how to organize kitchen cutlery drawers

(Image credit: Herringbone Kitchens)

Keep your best chef knives preserved and stored safely in kitchen drawers with the simple addition of a knife block. "This is a game-changer, a neat and tidy cutlery drawer with space for safely putting away your large knives too makes all the difference to how you use your kitchen," says William. 

Simply adapt the draw nearest to your hob to accommodate an in-drawer knife block and you free up countertops for your best coffee machine or best blender to be the pride of place instead. 

7. Assign a drawer for miscellaneous items

kitchen drawer with eletrical tapes, scissors and other miscellaneous items

(Image credit: Getty Images)

A key to organizing a small space is to have a place for everything - even random items. Always set aside at least one drawer in your kitchen for items that don't belong anywhere else in the home to avoid unwanted clutter building up on the side.

"Allocate your miscellaneous items such as batteries and scissors to their own specific drawer, especially if they are not used frequently. This will help avoid clutter while keeping the items organized and accessible," advises Darren.

8. Keep linens folded away in a drawer

Grey kitchen with three open drawers to show how to organize kitchen drawers for pans, linens and cutlery

(Image credit: Wren Kitchens)

Bring order to your kitchen linens by neatly folding them away inside an allotted kitchen drawer. "Keep those towels and cloths folded and organized to keep your drawers looking orderly," says Lisa. 

Neatly stacking folded linens is a great way to keep order, rather than having to store tea towels, napkins, and even tablecloths in a bundle under the kitchen sink or in the laundry room where they are not immediately to hand.

9. Add a concealed power supply

green kitchen with drawer open to show how to organize kitchen drawers with power points for charging devices

(Image credit: Tom Howley)

Integrating a power supply within kitchen drawers is becoming an increasingly popular kitchen design trend, as our kitchen increasingly becomes more of an entertaining space where tech plays a vital role.

Save your countertops from the added clutter of phones, iPads, and more by concealing your charging points inside a kitchen drawer. "Charging drawers are great for keeping all your phone and laptop chargers and cables tidied away," explains Rebecca. 

"Bespoke charging drawers are becoming increasingly popular in multifunctional kitchens" explains Tom Howley, founder of Tom Howley Kitchens (opens in new tab). "This helps to keep all your charging cables organized in one place, while also hiding the offending items from view when neatly tucked into a drawer."

You can choose from multiple plug points and USB sockets to cater to your individual needs. Call in a qualified electrician who will be able to advise on the best options to create your charging drawer. Be sure to place the drawer close to where you usually keep your phone, devices, and electric kitchen appliances. 

10. Neatly organize spices

green kitchen with spice draw to demonstrate how to organize kitchen drawers in the style of a pantry

(Image credit: Tom Howley)

Don't have space for a walk-in pantry? That doesn't mean you can't have the ethos of a well-organized pantry within your own spice drawer. You can organize your spice collection inside a kitchen drawer easily with a little help from a handy drawer accessory that stacks spice jars to keep your cooking ingredients neat and tidy, ready to use at all times.

"Being able to neatly and safely store pantry essentials that you don't want on display is wonderful. Drawers also offer up a great bit of storage for cereals, pasta, baking goods, etc," explains William.

How do you store things in kitchen drawers?

"Internal drawer fittings are a popular option for those looking to be more organized in the kitchen," says Josie Medved, Design Manager at Symphony Group (opens in new tab). "Perfect for cutlery, utensils, plates, crockery and more, using discreet storage that can swiftly be hidden from view and easily accessed allows for a stress-free kitchen that is also easier to clean."

"When designing a kitchen, it is important that internal cupboards and drawer fittings are suited to the homeowner's needs exactly. It is worth looking at accessories that can be added inside the cupboard such as pull-down or pull-out storage options that can help maximize storage and ensure accessibility for all members of the family."

"Drawers are essential when planning storage in a small kitchen as they often offer maximum use of space," explains Tom. "They can be tailored to your exact specifications, allowing easy access to kitchen essentials rather than delving into the back of bulging kitchen cupboards."

"Choose deep drawers for pots and pans, clever pull-out designs which reveal two drawers in one, bespoke internal organizers, knife blocks, and even intelligent charging drawers for all your tech needs."