How to Organize Kitchen Drawers

We never seem to have enough space in our kitchen, probably because we love buying the latest gadget to save time. The trick is being able to find the gadget when you need it, instead of wasting time looking for it. These tips will help you create more space by organizing your kitchen drawers.

3 white kitchen organized drawers
Drawers make storing & finding things easier than shelves, especially when they're organized …

Measuring Your Kitchen Drawers

There are many different gadgets to help us organize drawers. To explore which ones you like, it's important to determine two things:

  • Measure your drawer dimensions – so the organizing gadgets are the right size when you get them. I'm stressing this because I know kitchen base cabinets are 24 inches deep but that isn't the same as the inside dimensions of the drawers.
Be careful because the drawers in your 18 inch wide cabinet aren't 18 inches. The outside dimensions of the drawer are roughly 14.5 inches and the inside measurement is about an inch less, allowing a half each for the side of the drawer.

Here's a table to help with getting the right measurements (I've included my drawer measurements to help you). Maybe you'll only organize one or two drawers to start but lots of the gadgets come in multi-packs so you want to be prepared when ordering them.

Cabinet Width Quantity Drawer Width Drawer Length Drawer Height Drawer Will Hold?
15 in base 1 10 3/8 in 19 3/4 in 2 3/4 in Small, frequently used tools (1 drawer); parts, warranties & instructions
18 in base 2 14 5/8 in 19 3/4 in 2 3/4 in Your typical “junk drawer”
36 in base 3 31 3/8 in 19 3/4 in 2 3/4 in Flatware (1 drawer) & small cooking gadgets like measuring spoons
36 in base 6 31 3/8 in 19 3/4 in 5 3/4 in Dishes, storage containers, all but largest pots & pans

Kitchen Drawers are Square But …

The biggest challenge in organizing kitchen drawers is the space lost putting round bowls, pots and pans into rectangular drawers. My question is whether round is simply a tradition we're not willing to let go of? or it's harder to cook (stir) food in square pots?

A google search showed quite a few square pots. What I found that I like even better is this Anolon square pot combo, with a lid that's also another pot.

Gadgets to Organize Your Kitchen Drawers?

When designing my new kitchen, I used lots of drawers in the base cabinets rather than nasty … down on your knees, crawl into your cabinets to find things you can't see, LOL. This gave me 12 kitchen drawers to organize. I love the drawers except I wish I'd made the bottom drawers deeper for pot lids.

  • Flatware/utensil organizers – come in many different materials from wood and bamboo, to plastic and metal. Most assume a standard depth so you can simply search for a drawer organizer you like that fits your drawer's width … and many expand to use every inch. I had to get more creative with my 36 inch drawers:
    • Flatware drawer – used the widest organizer I could find, with an extra divider on the left, between the silverware and pot holders.
    • Utensil drawer – used two IKEA organizers with open space between them. These are inexpensive and well made if you're on a tight budget.
  • Boxes – once made of wood and now bamboo, were the original organizing tool for kitchen drawers (mine go back to the 1990s). They offer maximum flexibility, moving from one drawer to another, from the kitchen to the bathroom, closets and more.
  • Drawer dividers – became important for me with 36 inch drawers. There are lots of different choices but most are made from bamboo. Your choices include:
    • Length – varies from short ones (17.1 in) to those that can stretch up to 22 inches. Plan ahead as drawer dividers can be used in kitchen, bathroom drawers (mine are 16 3/4 in) and even dressers that aren't as deep (mine are 15 7/8 in).
    • Height – also varies with most dividers 2 inches high. If you search you can find them up to 5 inches tall, which works better for taller drawers.
    • Colors – are now available with the dividers shown below come in natural bamboo or white, dark gray or black.
  • Peg board organizers – are fun because you can move the plates and bowls around, adding pegs to keep them in their place. You get enough pegs with the board so don't order extra ones like I did, as they take up drawer space … LOL.

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