I Used a Desk Organizer to Arrange My Friend’s Chaotic Kitchen Drawers


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I’m no pro organizer, but working as an editor at a handful of lifestyle publications, I’ve picked up a few tricks of the trade by watching and talking to the experts. So when Jenny, one of my friends who I’ve known for a few years, mentioned her cluttered kitchen drawers, I sprang into action (and did what friends do!) and helped her out.

In fact, one drawer, she said, was dedicated to hold a disorganized pile of takeout chopsticks, straws, and plastic utensils. The other drawer was brimming with a mishmash of kitchen tools, such as a couple of hand juicers, zesters, a can opener, peelers, tongs, and bottle openers. It seemed whatever you could think of was hiding in this drawer! What Jenny needed was dividers to corral her growing stash of kitchen gadgets.

After describing the problem, I told Jenny an organizing system might seriously whip her kitchen drawer chaos into shape, so I picked up two convenient organizers from The Home Edit line to see if they could help.

The cult-favorite brand, which has its own show on Netflix, recently unveiled a new, affordable line at Walmart, and the name-brand products are said to be a fraction of the cost compared to other retailers. I decided to give them a try.

To create a customized system, I settled on two specific organizers: Home Edit’s simple utensil set (which has six individual compartments), and a cute six-piece organizer with various containers tailored to fit a desk drawer. Yes, it wasn’t exactly for kitchen use, but I saw potential. “Every product has a place,” the brand assured me right on the label.

See, even though the desk bins are designed to house colorful pens and binder clips, I figured they were just the right length and width to mix and match to create a versatile drawer system for Jenny’s kitchen tools.

Of course, the first thing my friend and I did was clean out the two side-by-side drawers. That meant not only emptying it, but also wiping out the crumbs and dusty corners and seams.

It was a difficult task, but Jenny went through and also tried to decide which items to keep and which items to part with. Over the years, it was clear she’s amassed quite a collection of tools and several duplicates. In her pile, we even found some items she had never opened! Together, we started categorizing her tools to take a mental inventory of what she had.

Our plan was to create division and order by using the organizing systems between the two drawers, eliminating the takeout drawer completely and instead using the space to allow her tools to breathe. Once she saw the system come together, Jenny also grabbed tools from other kitchen drawers so everything was all together in one place.

Once we did that, we had a clear space to figure out the configuration of the drawer organizers. It took a bit of playing around, but by mixing and matching, we were able to come up with a perfect solution that fit her drawer exactly, leaving just a small margin along the side for her long meat tongs and a couple of knives.

For the second drawer, we again configured the bins to fit the space and used the remaining pieces to customize cubbies for each of her tools. Like a jigsaw puzzle, we nested her items together and organized like items with like so that Jenny had a better system to find things when she needed it. Now, for example, there are clear boundaries with a separate area for her measuring spoons and a space dedicated solely to her juicers.

Creating the division was essential. Without having to rummage through the drawer, Jenny is now able to quickly find what she needs. Plus, the boundaries also help to make it easier for her to put things away — because everything has a home!

Of course, I checked back in with Jenny weeks later once it was all done. And guess what? She tells me it’s been easier to maintain the drawers because tools can’t shift around. “It’s much easier to find stuff,” she explained, adding that now she can visibly see all of her tools. Best part? It still looks good, even after weeks have gone by.

The amazing thing was that everything fit exactly as if it were customized for her drawers. It’s having the freedom to mix and match that allowed us to put everything in its place. It just goes to show that you don’t need to feel limited to using only “kitchen”-designated items to organize your space — even office supplies or DIY cardboard boxes will do!

Do you have a good kitchen drawer system set up? Tell us your ideas and product suggestions in the comments below.

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