Kitchen drawer reorganization

Is there anything more annoying than trying and failing to get your cake spatula to fit into the utensil drawer? Well, yeah…there probably is. Like having to wait more than THREE WEEKS for your sizable tax return (::grumble grumble::) – But that pesky over-filled drawer is still up there on my list of pet peeves.

Our kitchen is, for whatever reason, cursed with the skinniest drawers in the world. They are full-depth, but the width is only about a splayed-hand’s-worth (as you’ll see, literally, in a moment). We couldn’t even fit a standard size silverware organizer in the drawer to nicely separate our knives from forks and forks from spoons. To compensate, we’ve had to put them into plastic boxes meant for pens and pencils – Not ideal, if you ask me. The rest of the kitchen utensil drawers (think garlic press,  spatulas, measuring spoons, etc.) were stuffed willy nilly into the only other two available drawers right next to the oven.

Oh, and would you like to see what I mean by a “splayed-hand’s-worth” of room? Behold the proof:

We needed to come up with a solution and fast. With our wedding right around the corner and the possibility of an influx of kitchen supplies, we needed to be sure that our space could handle it – And as it was, it couldn’t. I had no clue what we could do, though, besides heavily purging. Maybe we could live without the cake spatula? ::dejected sigh::

But then John came to the rescue with another of his brilliant ideas.

You see, we have two massive drawers inside our kitchen island. Like probably THREE-splayed-hand’s-worth. Each. At the moment, they were being used for our laughably large supply of junk – Anything from a label maker and rolls of assorted tape, to an address book and batteries.

I suppose it hadn’t occurred to us to use these drawers for kitchen utensils because they are about three whole steps away from the oven/fridge work area. I’ll sacrifice a tiny bit of convenience in order to have some semblance of order though…Thus, John and I decided to switch the contents of the two big junk drawers with that of the three skinny utensil drawers.

The first step of the transfer was to take everything out of the drawers. While they were empty, I went ahead and brushed out all of the crumbs (P.S. how is it that drawers get so crumby? It’s not as though we eat over them!). I also took the opportunity to lay down some fresh cabinet liner paper – I use a vinyl patterned version that I’ve used and reused throughout three different homes.

We decided to use one of the big drawers for the small utensils and the silverware (still in their pencil cases, but hope to replace those after the wedding with something a little classier), and the other big drawer was filled up with the larger, long-handled utensils. It has actually worked out really well to have the utensils in the island drawers – Apparently I do a lot more prep work on that counter top than I realized, and it’s nice to be able to grab something quickly when I need it. And the big square footage means that I don’t have to paw through everything to find what I need or practically empty out the drawer to get to something on the bottom.

They might not look super organized and beautiful, but for practicality’s sake, it’s awesome.

As for the other drawers, we did our best to purge or redistribute things from our junk drawers (which always seem to exponentially grow over time). What was left got separated into the three skinny drawers – One for office things (stamps, batteries, notepads, address book, label maker, etc.), one for random honest-to-goodness junk (gum, tape, chalk, sewing kit, spare change, etc.) and the last one is all John (iPod cables and earbuds, checkbook, old Blackberry phone, business cards, CDs, etc.).

It’s taking us a bit of time to get used to things. I probably reach for the old silverware drawer about five times a day only to remember that it has moved…But, once we get the hang of things, I’m sure the practicality will be a huge stress-relief.

So tell me, what sorts of random things do you have in your junk drawer? We’ve all got ’em – What do you hide in there? Pet stuff? Flashlights? Photos? Hidden stash of candy? Spill the beans!

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