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How to Organize Kitchen Utensils Without Drawers

I am a naturally tidy person, but even my utensil drawer could use some help. The often long, oddly-shaped, and highly variable nature of the items covered under the blanket of “kitchen utensils” makes keeping them in any kind of order tricky without some kind of divider or tray system in the drawer.

So, when a friend approached me needing solutions that didn’t involve drawers at all, I was stumped at first. But some dedicated research and thought led me to a number of good options.

Hang utensils on a kitchen peg board, magnetic strips, or utensil hanging racks. Make use of vertical cabinet space by storing utensils in organizers under hanging mugs, in desktop drawers, cutlery caddies, or repurposed dishwasher baskets. Use kitchen utensil holders on the counter or on floating shelves.

Desktop Drawers for Your Cabinets

In many situations, the secret to creating more space in an already overcrowded kitchen lies in recruiting unutilized vertical space.

Inside kitchen cabinetry, you will often find crowded shelves with empty airspace above the piles of plates or rows of mugs.

If you have a spare corner or can clear some space, placing some desktop drawers into your cupboard allows you to use the full height of the cabinet.

IRIS USA, Inc. CDD-X3 Compact Desktop 3-Drawer System, Medium-1 Pack (White)
IRIS USA, Inc. CDD-X3 Compact Desktop Drawer
Noble Designs Storage Drawers. Stackable Desktop Drawers. Multicolored Small Drawer Organizer. Perfect for Office Desktop, School Desktop and Toy Storage.
Noble Designs Storage Drawers

Now, I know that spare space is hard to come by in a kitchen cabinet, so here are some ideas:

  • Instead of a single layer of mugs, attach some hooks to the bottom of the shelf above and hang a second layer of mugs over the first.
  • Pick up a small layered rack and stack your plates in two to three vertical sections.


But back to your utensils. The smaller compartments of desktop drawers allow you to organize your kitchen utensils according to size, popularity, use, and if you want, color!

The desktop drawers can be divided into even smaller sections with a helpful drawer divider like the one below.

ZOENHOU 60 PCS DIY Drawer Divider Organizers, Pink Drawer Dividers, Adjustable Premium Plastic Organizers for Makeup Drawers Desktop Kitchen Drawer Organizers and Storage, 12.6 x 2.76 Inch
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Last update on 2024-05-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Cutlery Caddies

Cutlery caddies are typically used to hold eating knives, forks, and spoons, particularly if they need to be set out or transported somewhere.

But they can also be used for storing your kitchen utensils.

FURNINXS Utensil Silverware Caddy Cutlery Holder Organizer Countertop Mesh Flatware Caddies Stainless Steel with Handle for Party, Kitchen, Camping, Outdoor (Silver)

Tuck the caddy on the counter or in a corner of the cupboard (the portable nature of the item makes it easy to pull out when you need to search for a utensil).

The divisions allow you to separate the whisks from the ladles and the bread knives from the egg lifters.

Cutlery caddies also come in a range of styles to suit all homes. These include cutesy, utilitarian, practical, ornate, and quirky.

Kitchen Utensil Holders

Kitchen utensil holders are a lifesaver even if you do have drawers. Ladles, egg lifters, and whisks have a tendency to jam drawers shut and large knives can get hidden beneath other utensils, making sifting through the drawer dangerous.

Many people already have one untensil holder, so it’s just a matter of purchasing another one or two. You can even look for different sizes so that you can store the longer pieces and shorter pieces separately for easy access.

Steel utensil holders stand up well to oil splashes if you’re keeping them next to the stovetop. But you get a variety of design options to suit your aesthetic.

Farmhouse Kitchen Utensil Holder by Saratoga Home - Large 30% Thicker Galvanized Steel with Non-Slip Base and 2 Rustic Font Decal Options, Rust-Resistant, No-Scratch Padded Base
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Last update on 2024-05-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

You can even find matching sets of utensils with their own holder.

Wooden Spoons for Cooking – Wooden Utensils for Cooking Set with Holder, Spoon Rest & Hooks, Teak Wood Nonstick Kitchen Cookware – Durable Set of 8pcs by Woodenhouse
  • LIFELONG QUALITY: Woodenhouse kitchen utensils will last a lifetime, they are made of one piece 100% Natural Teak Wood. These tools are beautiful, solid, sturdy, smooth, well designed and have a...
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Last update on 2024-05-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The holders don’t have to go by the stove. You can tuck them anywhere, including in a cabinet. However, I don’t recommend storing the utensil holders on top of your refrigerator. It is not recommended to store anything on top of a fridge.

Repurposed Dishwasher Cutlery Baskets

Repurposing dishwasher cutlery baskets is a popular organizational hack that I’ve recently discovered.

You can buy the utilitarian baskets (amazon link) new or give an old one a second career as a portable utensil carrier, but probably only for the shorter utensils.

The baskets tend to lack the height required to prevent longer utensils from tipping the basket or flipping out.

Cenipar Dishwasher Cutlery Basket-Universal Basket (9.6" x 5"x 4.8" )-Universal Basket with a Handle-Universal

If you are reusing an old one, then you can give yourself a congratulatory high five for your thrifty ways. The dishwasher basket that was headed for a plastic landfill is now serving a useful purpose once again!

Although not designed for their aesthetic appeal, these baskets are ideal for homes with small kids and destructive dogs. Cheap, non-precious tools, like the repurposed dishwasher basket, are the best method of protecting your sanity in a home where many items meet an untimely end!

Utensil Organizers Under Hanging Mugs

If you have hanging mugs in cabinets (and to a certain extent below the cabinets) or you are able to hang them, then you have all that space below them for utensils flat utensil organizers or trays.

Hiware Kitchen Silverware Tray Drawer Organizer - Expandable Bamboo Utensil Cutlery Drawer Organizers and Storage Holder
Hiware Expandable Bamboo Utensil Organizer
Joseph Joseph DrawerStore Compact Cutlery Organizer Kitchen Drawer Tray, Small, Gray
Joseph Joseph Compact Cutlery Organizer

Grace Store 16Pcs Kitchen Drawer Organizer

On a side note, utensil holders are also a great way to store your underwear and socks if you don’t have dresser drawers.

The organizer or tray that you choose will depend on how much counter space you have (use narrow ones if you have limited space) and how many utensils you have.

Magnetic Strips

Magnetic strips are commonly known as magnetic knife racks. However, this is a limiting misnomer as magnetic knife racks will hold any kitchen utensil with a metal part.

HMmagnets Premium 17 Inch Stainless Steel Magnetic Knife Holder For Wall - Professional Magnetic Knife Strip - Space-Saving Knife Rack/Knife Bar With Powerful Magnetic Pull Force (Upgraded Version)
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Last update on 2024-05-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Magnetic knife racks not only allow you to display your knife collection elegantly, but they can also be used for metal spice containers, pot lids, oversized metal spoons, and food processing blades.

Magnetic strips (amazon link) provide a neat, efficient solution for kitchen utensils characterized by large, unwieldy shapes, e.g., spatulas, ladles, colanders, and food processing blades.

Utensil Hanging Racks

Utensil hanging racks can be hung inside cabinets, over counters, and under shelves.

Using a hanging rack allows you to organize your kitchen utensils, keep them off the counter, and place them within easy reach of your cooking space.

Of course, you need utensils with holes in the handles.

As alternatives to hanging racks, you can try individual hooks. However, if you are hanging the utensils close to the stovetop, you want to go with a waterproof option that will not pop off the wall as a result of exposure to cooking steam.

Create a Kitchen Tools Peg Board

Pegboard 11’’ x 11’’ Wall-Mount Pegboards-Organizer Kits and Accessories (Includes 2 x Utensil Holders, 2 x Spice Holders, 8 Hooks, 1 x Towel Rack) for Home Kitchen Office, Pack of 4, White

Just like knife racks and utensil racks, peg boards can make all your utensils visible and readily available without taking up counter or cabinet space.

Kitchen peg boards, which can be purchased or a fun DIY project, ensure that each item has a place and (hopefully) is in its place, allowing you to reach for and find any kitchen tool easily.

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Last update on 2024-05-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Floating Shelves Save You Counter Space

Floating shelves are easy to install and adapt to almost any space. These aerial shelves open up counter space while allowing you to keep your utensils in easy reach.

Kosiehouse Pine Solid Wood Floating Shelf, Wall Mounted Rustic Wall Shelves Display Ledge Storage Shelf for Kitchen, Bath, Dorm, Laundry
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Last update on 2024-05-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Many interior decorators use floating shelves, not just for functional applications, but also for their decorative aspects.

Staggered floating shelves break up monotonous walls and provide you with extra storage space for your utensils (in caddies, utensil holders, trays/organizers, etc.).

It’s important when installing the floating shelves to consider the height of the primary kitchen users. Too low, and everyone will keep bumping their heads, too high, and no one can reach the shelf’s contents.

You can even put things like a pot organizer on these shelves.


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