Crap drawers: We all have them. That one kitchen drawer filled with take-out menus, scissors, rubber bands, important-looking plastic things that fell on the floor and the flotsam and jetsam of a busy life.
Once a year, we might try to organize them, but within a few weeks, they’re just as crappy as they were before.
SL had this problem, too; in fact all her kitchen drawers were a hideous mess. She was constantly frustrated because she couldn’t find anything.
Kill Your Clutter to the rescue! Kitchen drawers are one of our specialties. Here’s what I did for SL.
The first thing we did was empty all the drawers and sort like items into piles. The linens — napkins, place mats, tablecloths, hand towels, hot pads and aprons — were the largest pile. SL hadn’t realized she had six drawers stuffed with linens, most of which she seldom used.
The two drawers under the stove, valuable real estate when you’re cooking, were stuffed with linens, when they should have held cooking tools, ONE apron, a few hot pads and some dish towels.
The next-largest sort was long-handled cooking tools — spatulas, wood and metal spoons, whisks, pancake turners and tongs. Another pile was gadgets, like hand-held can openers, bottle openers, wine openers, pizza cutters, garlic presses and the like.
When we started picking over the piles, SL was shocked to find that she had multiple items of things she could never seem to find when she needed them. In addition to a bunch of other crap, here’s what we found:
- 6 Spatulas
- 3 Pancake turners
- 7 Wire whisks
- 13 Wooden spoons
- 2 rubber spatulas
- 4 Tongs
After sorting through the crap drawer, SL’s large collection of plastic wraps, the takeout menus, cocktail supplies and baking tools, we had all our piles, as well as areas for trash, recycling, donations and items to return to their rightful places. Then it was time to purge.
First we went through each pile and removed all but two of a given item. Unless you’re a professional chef (which SL was not!), you don’t really need 7 wire whisks. These extras we placed in the donations pile. Next we identified a number of items that were either trash or recycling, and then we went through the things that belonged elsewhere and put them away.
Finally we dealt with all those linens! We sorted them into five piles: pot holder, kitchen towels, place mats, tablecloths and cloth napkins. When SL saw the towering stack of place mats, she was prompted to donate most of them to charity, leaving only two sets of four mats, as well as a set of 12, which she stored in the linen closet with the matching tablecloths. She kept only two tablecloths in the kitchen, for outdoor use only. She relegated half her dish towels to the rag bag, and folded her environmentally friendly cloth napkins into a neat stack.
SL took a last pass through the remaining items and found a few more items to donate. I set the bags by the front door, so I could drop them off at Goodwill on my next trip. Then we were ready to clean.
At SL’s house, this step took only about 15 minutes: Despite her clutter, she’s a very clean person, as is reflected in the appearance of her kitchen. All we really had to do was wipe down the empty drawers and clean the front of the drawers.
Here’s the fun part!
We removed all the linens from the two drawers beneath the stove, two drawers by the door and two drawers beneath the kitchen counter. After our massive purge and relocation, we wound up needing only three drawers for linens, only one of which took up valuable under-stove real estate.
After relocating the wooden spoons to a container on the stove, we pared down SL’s implement collection to a reasonable number of item: 2 spatulas, 2 pancake turners, 3 wire whisks, 2 tongs, etc. The drawer on the right now holds all her implements, corralled in shallow plastic trays, and the drawer on the left contains potholders, kitchen cloths and one apron.
Cleaning the crap drawer was a delight: It was the most chaotic space in the kitchen, and we love us some chaos. We threw away trash and relocated items that belonged in other rooms, pared down on multiple items (she had 4 screwdrivers in her crap drawer). What was left fit nicely into a set of metal drawer inserts we’d picked up at a thrift store for $5. There was even a special place for the flashlight!
We added a bunch of wire storage baskets to the top drawer, which will keep all of SL’s gadgets organized. The second drawer holds the appliances and baking tools. The third drawer contains plastic bags, aluminum foil, plastic wrap and other rolls. The bottom drawer is one of SL’s three remaining linen drawers and holds only place mats, kitchen cloths and cloth napkins.
Once we’d organized these drawers, SL had a lot more room, and she can find things quickly — and the organizational system is so simple that she won’t have any problems putting things away.
We organized the last four drawers in a jiffy. Before, they’d held the plastic wraps, the crap drawer, and two drawers for linens. After, they contain a drawer for snacks, the beautiful new un-crap drawer and a drawer for outdoor eating supplies (linens, grilling tools). We had a leftover drawer, so we filled it with takeout menus and cocktail accessories, with plenty of room left over for expansion.
Once we sorted and organized the other drawers, the kitchen became a glorious place where SL could find everything she needs to function on a daily basis.
Now that SL’s kitchen drawers are organized, they are more spacious, and it’s easy for SL to find things and put them away when she’s done with them. She tells us that she’s so excited to use her new kitchen that she’s gotten back into gourmet cooking again!
Total time elapsed: 2 hours
If you’d like us to kill the clutter in your kitchen, please contact Tamar at firstname.lastname@example.org.