The Allrecipes Kitchen Organization Challenge Day 5: Utensil Storage Solutions

An overflowing cooking utensil collection is all too easy to amass, but with a few pro pointers, it can be nearly as easy to organize.

Allrecipes Kitchen Organization Challenge Utensils

I'm willing to bet that almost every single one of us has more cooking utensils than we could ever possibly need. If you enjoy cooking, as many of us in the Allrecipes community very much do, it's almost inevitable. Of course you buy things for yourself, but then you've probably acquired a fair amount of silicone spatulas, tongs, wooden spoons, and the like via gifts from well-meaning family and friends. My personal utensil collection is dispersed over four drawers and a countertop utensil crock… so trust me when I say, today's challenge is one I've already blocked out time on my calendar to conquer in my own kitchen.

If you've been following along this week, you've probably noticed that there's a common thread running through nearly every solution for organizationally troubled areas of the kitchen that we've covered: clearing away the excess. Yep, it's a tough thread, my friends. It is all too easy to acquire tools, Tupperware, cookware, and just random stuff that we don't really use or don't actually need in our kitchens. However, it is remarkably difficult to acknowledge and purge the unnecessary items.

At least, it is without a little bit of encouragement and guidance, and that's what this challenge is all about — placing the power to create the functional, beautiful kitchen of your dreams into your hands. It's important to remember, just because you don't currently have the kitchen cabinets you'd like (or the kitchen cabinet space you'd like, for that matter) and the farmhouse sink you've always wanted doesn't mean you can't have a kitchen that makes you feel joyful and proud every time you step into it. Right here, right now, today.

With that said, let's tackle the utensils, shall we?

Brittani Allen — the CEO and founder of Atlanta-based home organization firm, Pinch of Help — has a list of cut-and-dry tips for wrangling and reorganizing your kitchen utensil collection. Following her advice does demand a certain level of honesty and discipline with oneself, but the results are guaranteed. After all, this home organization queen is a champion for sustainable solutions, and any sustainable solution requires cutting down to the root of the problem, right?

Brittani's Tips for Achieving Savvier Utensil Storage

Time Required: 20-40 minutes
Helpful Tools:

#1 Empty, Analyze, and Purge

First things first: Empty your utensil drawer(s) and lay all of the contents out. "Identify the items you reach for regularly and set those aside — then, discard any duplicates and any [utensils] that are burned, splintered, or have seen better days," Brittani says. She notes that for a lot of folks, this review-and-purge process presents a good opportunity to buy a new, high-quality set of utensils.

Chef'n 7-Piece Tool Set And Crock

Chef'n 7-Piece Tool Set And Crock
Crate and Barrel

#2 Divide and Conquer

Once you've narrowed things down to your A-team cooking utensils, it's time to put them away. A handful of the items Brittani turns to in order to create an organized utensil drawer — as in, a drawer that offers immediate visibility and access to whichever tool a client needs — are highlighted below. Selecting drawer dividers/organizers that suit your drawer space is really all you need to do. "Drawer dividers are the perfect solution for almost all utensil drawers," Brittani says. "Make sure you measure your drawer's height as they come in different sizes."

#3 Maintain Control with Mindful Purchases

As noted above, Brittani and the Pinch of Help team focus on practical, sustainable organization solutions, and a large part of maintaining an organized utensil drawer (or any tidied space) for the long haul is keeping certain anti-clutter principles in mind when it comes to bringing in new items.

"Before purchasing a new utensil, consider if anything in your current utensil drawer can accomplish the job of the new utensil you're looking to buy... if not, and it's something you truly need, find the best version (read reviews!) and add it to your collection," Brittani says. "If you have something similar, but don't like the functionality of the current one, get rid of that one before adding the new one."

As you practice this type of considerate approach to buying, and enjoy the neatly displayed tools in your kitchen, you'll actively develop a knack for cutting out the clutter. Before you know it, you'll find that a more streamlined mindset comes quite naturally.

Brittani's Product Picks:

Bamboo Drawer Organizers (2 per pkg)

The Container Store Drawer Divider
The Container Store

Bamboo Deep Drawer Organizers (2 per pkg)

Bamboo Deep Drawer Organizers
The Container Store

Marie Kondo Bamboo Drawer Dividers (set of 2)

Marie Kondo Bamboo Drawer Dividers
The Container Store

2-3/8" Expandable Drawer Dividers (2 per pkg)

2-3/8" Expandable Drawer Dividers
The Container Store

4" Expandable Drawer Dividers (2 per pkg)

4" Expandable Drawer Dividers
The Container Store

Expandable Acacia Utensil Tray

Expandable Acacia Utensil Tray
The Container Store

Expand-a-Drawer Utensil Trays

Expand-a-Drawer Utensil Trays
The Container Store

At the end of the day, I think what we're coming to see is that when it comes to whipping the kitchen into organizational shape, less is absolutely more. A more organized, and ultimately useful, utensil set-up comes down to realistically homing in on the essentials and fearlessly losing the rest. There's no doubt about this, it's not always easy to let go of items you're not entirely sure about (I mean, what if you actually need that fifth spatula some day?), it just takes a little bit of mindful reinforcement. But you can do it; by this point in the week, you're practically a professional!

Organized Utensil Drawer
Brittani Allen/Pinch of Help

Brittani reiterates, "In general, only buy and keep your favorites — this advice is great for just about every space of your home, by the way. It's what you will constantly reach for anyway, so remove the excess clutter that makes these items harder to find. Having fewer, better utensils that are neatly organized is far better than having a drawer full of cluttered utensils you don't love to use."

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