How-To: Organize Your Kitchen

Q. Hi Jordan!

We just moved and I finally have a giant drawer for all my cooking utensils…problem is I have no clue how to organize this mess! Any suggestions or ideas?



A. To me, having a well-organized kitchen is a major essential. And by “well-organized” I don’t mean “perfect”…I mean “rational.”

You know how they say that your kitchen should make so much sense that a total stranger could easily walk in and whip up a meal, no problem? I really think that’s true. Keep the things that you use the most easily accessible, tuck those items that you only use once or twice a year into high-up cabinets, and keep clutter at a minimum, and you’ll be good.

Here’s my kitchen drawer.

The left side contains a drawer organizer that I use to sort my silverware, and additional compartments that hold larger tools (basters, serving spoons, etc), corkscrews, and pens. I also pulled in my go-to solution of using mismatched teacups, sake cups, baby food jars, and salt bowls to store small items (bag clips, toothpicks, etc) that would otherwise disappear into a black hole.

On the right side, I store my plastic wrap, aluminum foil, and a handful of random things (tape, a screwdriver, scissors) that I always find myself needing. And a potholder that I would have chosen to hung on the wall were it a little less ratty and stained, but we’ll just ignore that part.

– Streamline the number of decorative items you keep out; I’m big on lovely soaps next to the sink, but instead of a whole mess of products I just leave out this pretty matched set and refill it with delicious-smelling lavender soap that I buy in bulk at TJ Maxx whenever it runs low.

– Store the dishes that you use most often on lower shelves, and put the special-occasion stuff up higher (or do what I do, and display your favorite pieces in a china cabinet in the dining room).

– Find creative places to hang things like aprons and oven mitts (but remember that they should still be easily accessible, in case you need them in a pinch).

– Cookbooks are gorgeous to display, but be careful not to store them too close to the stove (where they could end up on the receiving end of some grease spatters). I keep mine stacked in a frosted glass cabinet that lets the color show through while keeping them protected.

– Store things close to where they’ll be used (pots should go in the cabinet next to the stove, while Tupperware can go near the refrigerator).

– Pretty baskets keep open shelving looking neat and organized.

– I like to keep mixing spoons, spatulas, and other tools that I use all the time in a canister on the countertop; just make sure to weed out any duplicates so things don’t get too crowded and messy.

– Remember that it’s a kitchen, and kitchens are there to be cooked in, lived in, and loved. I’m not thrilled with the way this particular counter looks, all cluttered up with our enormous coffeemaker and ugly teapot, but you know what? I love coffee. And tea. And I use those particular appliances too often to be able to rationalize storing them anywhere else but right there where I need them. And that leads me to my final tip:

When all else fails, add a crystal skull and you should be good.

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