Monday, November 19, 2012

Organizing Kitchen Drawers



Like many first time home owners, we moved in and dumped our stuff wherever it would fit! Now, two years into living in our first home, we have slowly, but surely come to realize that our kitchen drawer organization does not make much sense. You may recall this blog is also about my creating efficiency around the house, and our kitchen was simply not that, to say the least!

For starter, we placed all our utensils in one of two drawers that offered built in dividers. The previous owners had these two drawers on either side of the stove. While this may have made sense to them, it had started to feel inadequate for us to go fetch forks and knives on the opposite side of the kitchen where plates and glasses are located, thus forcing us to make several trips in order to set the table up. Further, having these two drawers full of knives and utensils, we were left with no designated space for cooking utensils such as spatulas, large spoons  and what not...They were stored in two large crocks on top of the counter near the stove.

So, with my thinking cap on, I took on the task to reorganize every drawer in the kitchen, including the junk drawer, in a way that made sense to us! You may recall, this is what the kitchen looked like when we first moved in...nice space (when empty) but add two years of disorganization and clutter...And well, let's just say it was simply too much!




In this blog, I am going to show you how I organized the two drawers on either side of the stove, the two near the dining room and the four drawers on the left side of the sink.

I am going to start with the hardest part: the four drawers by the sink.

The challenge:

These drawers are nearest to our prepping area (the counter/bar). Before my organization project, all the cutting knives were stashed on the right side of the stove, so when chopping veggies or cutting meat, we constantly had to twist around to reach for a knife.  Remember that this was one of the two drawers with built in dividers. Lo and behold, the dividers could be removed (we're a tad slow in our home)!..Easy fix then, move all the knives to the prepping area.
Another challenge was to find a way to organize the oodles of tupperware and mismatched lids we know all too well can often get out of hand in any home! 

First, I emptied all four drawers...Yes, I had managed to fit all of that in them! If you think this is scary, wait until you see the junk drawers!




The goal here was to reunite all the working plastic and glass containers with their rightful lid and trash the extras...there was plenty of that! Things that did not or would not belong to these drawers were reorganized and or relocated. Here are my four drawers, empty and clean! The bottom one is rather deep, this is where the containers will go!




Top drawer: Cutting and prepping knives only. This is next to the prepping area and chopping anything will no longer require additional effort, the knives are right next to the counter! I also placed a drawer liner at the bottom to keep the knives from moving around.


Drawer one — prepping knives and sharpening tools

On to the second drawer: right underneath the knives, I placed all the tools we use most often such as the cheese graters, the can opener or the ice cream scoop. Because I did not have a built in divider for this drawer, I went to the dollar store and purchased small plastic trays. I used one for the measuring cups and reused an orphan tupperware for bigger items. Again, I placed a liner at the bottom to keep them from rolling around.


kitchen tools we use almost daily are in drawer #2

In the third drawer, I placed all the glass containers and their lids. We do not have a lot of them, but I decided to keep them separate from their plastic counterparts.




Each is kept with its own lid but the round ones have their lids stashed in the back and tucked inside another orphaned tupperware.

I like glass containers, I find them to be easier to clean and they also last longer. On the down side, they do break, hence the reason why we do not have a lot of them. This one is my favorite, I bought it in a Korean Supermarket near Fort Lee, NJ. 




The fourth and deeper drawer was the biggest challenge because I needed to find a way to separate lids from containers without having lids all over the place and eventually fall behind the drawer (that did happen quite a lot). My solution was to create a wooden divider to separate containers and lids. Armed with a measuring tape and a saw, Scott used an old wooden shelf we had laying around and created the perfect divider for me!


build a wooden divider to separate lids from
containers within a drawer




On to the junk drawer(s)!

The challenge:

We have two — yes, two junk drawers! Why? Because of their location at the far end of the counter and their lack of dividers, we pretty much had not a clue as to what to do with these two drawers so menus, pencils, flashlights and what not ended up in there. Trying to find a rubber band was a chore!

Here are my junk drawers — don't judge ;-)


What a waste of space!


So the right side drawer is the one nearest to the dining room and is right underneath the cabinet where plates and bowls are located. It made sense to move the last divider to that drawer and place all our utensils there. When setting the table, we could grab a stack of plates, place the forks, knives and spoon on top et voila!
I have decided to keep the left drawer as a junk drawer because everyone needs a junk drawer, however, some serious de-cluttering was needed first!


I started with making three stacks of stuff removed from the two drawers:

One stack for menus, to be relocated to my Home Management Binder (more on this binder in a later blog); One stack of items I wanted to keep in the junk drawer and one stack of items that needed to be relocated because they either did not belong to this part of the kitchen or the kitchen all together!


Separate all the menus (left) and everything you need to keep inside the
Junk drawer.

Make a third stack of all items that need to be relocated somewhere else
in the kitchen or do not belong here at all.

Here are the two drawers, cleaned and prepped with new liners and trays from the dollar store. I also placed the built in divider where it belongs!

Use plastic trays from the dollar store to
contain and organize small items inside the junk
drawer.

Here are my everyday utensils...Neatly organized and exactly where they belong!




And the only junk drawer we will ever need!





So what's in my junk drawer?

  • 2 pairs of scissors (tray #1) and a clothespin 
  • Nail file, nail clipper, crazy glue, kleenex and a flexible measuring tape (tray #2)
  • Assorted pens, pencils, sharpies and post-it notes (tray #3)
  • Small containers with paper clips or rubber bands (Tray #4) so that they can be found right away and all our potato chip/snack bag clips in assorted sizes (these are from IKEA)
  • In the back I have a lint remover (the roll-on sticky kind), two flash lights, one roll of quick stick tape and a zipploc bag with an emergency candle and some birthday candles.

I found these little plastic containers with lid at the dollar store as well, I think they were 10 for $1. They are just perfect for small items like rubber bands or paper clips.





That's it! I cannot think of anything else we would need inside a junk drawer.

I now have two empty drawers on either side of the stove...Perfect for wooden spoons and other large cooking utensils!






The best part of this organization project is that I have completely cleared the left side of the stove since all the wooden spoons and spatulas are inside the drawers now. I can use this area for serving or cooking...And, it looks clean and neat as the first thing you get to see when walking into the kitchen!





Aside from cutting the wooden divider, this project was very easy to do and did not take much time at all. I am hoping I have provided you with a few good ideas as to how to reorganize your kitchen drawers. Comments are always welcome and remember to join us on Facebook!

Thank you for reading and sharing my blog!

Sophia, NJ.

6 comments:

  1. You must seriously have the most organized kitchen in America!! Impressive....I too buy small plastic containers to keep in my drawers and in some cabinets for spices, medicines,etc........your posts have been very inspirational!

    ReplyDelete
  2. By following your ideas for organising the kitchen especially I just realised how much junk I have in all my drawers that has accumulated over the years I seem to have acquired so many of the same utensils, some in plastic and stainless steel

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great job! Can you tell me what is the interior width of your Tupperware drawer?
    I'm glad you addressed this. I've seen countless organizational tips for just about every kitchen tool and/or category, however, there are few images/ideas on organizing Tupperware and microwaveable containers and tops.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great job! and thank you for the inspiration! I actually have FOUR junk drawers in (kitchen with desk area)! time to get to work!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm about to tackle this much-dreaded task! Thanks for the inspiration. :)

    ReplyDelete
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I welcome your feedback and comments. If you have a question or a specific request, do not hesitate, I am here to help! Thanks, S.

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