Adults spend over 400 hours per year in the kitchen. That’s a long time! Between cooking meals, cleaning, and hanging out, it’s clear that the kitchen is an important space. 

It can be difficult to keep such a well-used space organized. Are your kitchen island drawers tidy, or are they getting to be a bit of a mess? Don’t worry, it happens to everyone.

Organizing kitchen drawers can be a hassle, but we’re here to offer some tips that can make it easier. Read on to learn more. 

1. Declutter First

Decluttering is almost the first step when it comes to creating an organized space, whether it’s a closet, a cabinet, a drawer, or an entire room. Your kitchen drawers are no exception to this. If you want tidy and manageable kitchen organization, you’re going to have to get rid of a few things.

Before organizing, go through your drawers and remove items you no longer use or need. This creates space for items you use often.

We recommend having several boxes to put things in to start the organization process. We’ll talk more about sorting through your belongings next, but when you’re decluttering, you want boxes for items you’re keeping, items you’re throwing away, and items you’re donating. 

Throw away any items that are no longer in good condition unless they hold some type of sentimental value to you. For example, that spoon that’s been bent or warped beyond repair? It’s time to let it go. 

Donate things you have doubles of. Someone else can use them. 

Once you’ve decluttered, you may find yourself surprised at how much drawer storage you have to work with. 

2. Sort by Category

Now it’s time to sort through your belongings. This is going to be easier post-decluttering. Again, you’re going to want several boxes to make this process smoother.

Group similar items together, such as utensils, baking tools, or cutting boards. This makes it easier to find what you need. If something doesn’t seem to fit into any category, set it aside and find space for it later.

This will also help you determine how much of each thing you have. This makes it easier to group categories by drawer size.

3. Use Drawer Dividers

Drawer dividers or utensil trays help keep items separated and prevent them from mixing together. This can protect items from getting chipped or scratched. 

Not all drawers need dividers, but they can help with organization. 

Smaller and shallower drawers can use simple dividers (or even DIY drawer dividers). In larger drawers, you may be able to use larger dividers that normally go into cabinets to better take advantage of the available vertical space.

We’ll talk more about vertical space later on.

Make sure that you’re consistent with putting objects back where they belong with the drawer dividers. This may take some getting used to. 

4. Keep Frequently Used Items Convenient

Before you start putting things away, consider your standard kitchen workflow. What are you always reaching for? What can go months without ever leaving the drawer?

Place your most-used utensils and tools in the top drawers for easy access during cooking. This way you don’t have to go digging or disrupt your flow while you’re making meals. 

These may include utensils, pot holders, can openers, or anything else that you always find yourself needing on a regular basis.

5. Move Less Used Items Elsewhere

Now that you know your workflow, what things don’t get as much use when you’re in the kitchen? You may need them for special meals or activities, but they aren’t things that you’re always reaching for. 

Reserve lower drawers for those less-important items. These often include specialty baking tools or seasonal items. They’re still convenient enough, but they’re out of the way until you need them. 

6. Consider Drawer Depth

Adjust drawer organization based on the depth of your kitchen island drawers. Deeper drawers can accommodate larger items or stacks of items (like plates).

Many kitchen drawers are fairly shallow, so people have that in mind when they’re planning how to organize them. If you have a deeper drawer, you can organize it more like a cabinet. You don’t have to stick with small and flat items if you’re willing to get creative. 

Shallower drawers are for utensils and small items. Deeper drawers have more potential. 

7. Consider Vertical Storage

Speaking of potential with deeper kitchen drawers, take advantage of your vertical space. Consider vertical storage when it’s convenient to do so. This isn’t an option for everyone, but it may work for you. 

You can use small removable shelves (available in home and office supply stores) to give yourself more space within each drawer. This is great for separating items so you have access to all of them. 

Make sure you’re still able to reach in and grab everything, but if so, this is a serious space-saver and organization hack. 

8. Use Clear Containers

Do you keep items in containers in your drawers? Use clear containers instead! Remove your items from their original packaging (as long as it’s safe to do so) and place them in clear glass or plastic containers. 


This will keep them more visible. You’ll be able to see what everything is without having to open the container. 

If you use containers that come with a set, they’ll also be able to sit nicely against each other. This will save you a lot of space and it will make your kitchen island drawers look far neater. 

9. Use Labels

Labels are your best friend when it comes to organization in a small space like a drawer. If you struggle with keeping your drawers tidy and organized, use labels.

You can get a label maker or simply use tape and a marker to create your own labels. 

Label each container to make it easier to grab something at a glance. In your drawers with drawer dividers, label each section. This will make it much quicker and easier to put things away in their appropriate places later on.

This is an extra helpful tip if you have children at home. Labels can help kids get used to staying organized. If they’re starting to help out in the kitchen, labels will make life easier for the whole family.

It’s also excellent if you ever have guests or house-sitters. There will be no confusion about where things go!

10. Consider Drawer Liners

Consider using non-slip drawer liners to prevent items from sliding around when you open and close the drawers. This is excellent for drawers full of smaller items such as utensils or the infamous “junk drawers.” 

Drawer liners are also excellent for keeping drawers in good condition. Luxury kitchens have luxury drawers, and luxury drawers need an extra layer of protection.

You won’t have to worry about any of your kitchen items chipping, scuffing, or otherwise marking up your drawers when you protect them with drawer liners. 

11. Regular Upkeep

So you have your kitchen island drawers organized and tidy. Now you’re done, right? Not necessarily.

Some people are excellent at staying organized, but many of us struggle with that. This is especially true in the kitchen. You’re in there cooking and moving things around every day, sometimes several times per day.

Labels and drawer dividers help, but only to a certain extent. Regular upkeep will help you stay on track. 

Set aside time every so often to reevaluate and reorganize your drawers as needed. This prevents clutter from building up. Ideally, you’d take a quick look at your drawers every time you clean your kitchen.

When you get a new kitchen item, try to get rid of one. In a well-organized space, every item has a place. A new item can throw that off. 

If the new item is replacing an old one, it’s time to let the old one go.

You should also go through and get rid of things you’re no longer using. If you haven’t used something in over a year and it isn’t a specialty item, it might be time to get rid of it so you can stay organized.

Keep Your Kitchen Island Drawers Tidy

Organizing your kitchen island drawers might seem troublesome while you’re doing it, but it will make your life easier in the long run. You’ll have a far easier time preparing meals and cleaning up when you’re done. 

A bit of upfront work and regular upkeep can make a huge difference when it comes to having a tidy space!

Are you trying to upgrade your kitchen? At German Kitchens, we’re the luxury kitchen experts. Visit one of our showrooms to start planning your dream kitchen today.

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