How to Organize Your Kitchen Utensils

Chefs are accustomed to spacious workspaces that house all kinds of equipment, but working at home can sometimes be limiting. If your kitchen space is in a tiny apartment or it doesn't have the best work flow pattern, here's how to organize your kitchen utensils.

Take Stock

The first step in kitchen organization is knowing what you have. Take inventory of your tools and make a note of what you use frequently. Ask yourself if that mushroom slicer should be kept around when a chef's knife is all you need.

Place your utensils in piles based on their function, such as flipping, beating, stirring, whisking, rolling, cutting and measuring. Then you can begin to plan where to put the tools. For example, the kitchen utensils you need the most for stovetop cooking should be placed within arm's reach of the stove, so you can move smoothly from step to step.

Maximize Drawer Space

Drawer dividers automatically come to mind when organizing utensils, but what do you do with those extra long spoons or barbecue tongs? Think diagonally. Like The Kitchn suggests, organizing items diagonally helps fit your longer pieces. You'll also make new, smaller spaces for the tiny objects you need to store. Smaller plastic containers, such as those made for food storage, are great for holding odd-sized items (like pie weights) or pieces with multiple parts.

If counter space is limited and you have an extra drawer, consider putting your knives and cutting utensils here — but be sure each item has its place. Knife trays, like this Sur La Table option, are specially made to hold knives safely in drawers. Some have slots to hold particular sizes, while others have cork and rubber dividers that will hold a wide variety of knives up to 12 inches in length.

Find More Counter Space

If you prefer to keep your tools in sight, double your counter space by adding a shelf, like this one from Seville. Shorter items may be stowed in baskets on the bottom, with a taller utensil crock stored on top. When deciding how to organize kitchen utensils, be sure to consider what works best for the way you need to use the kitchen. For example, most measuring spoons are grouped together on a single ring to keep them from getting lost — though that ring is not always convenient when it comes time to use them. If you bake a lot, consider removing the ring and storing them loosely in a small crock on the counter, like The Art of Doing Stuff demonstrates. They're always there when you need them and you never have to fight the other sizes when all you really need is that one teaspoon.

Think Vertically

Cramped kitchen areas with little counter space can be opened up by making use of walls and backsplashes. Magnetic strips can be mounted to hold metal utensils and knives safely. Shelves and wall hooks can hold utensils, gadgets and smaller equipment, freeing up the actual work surfaces and counter tops. Even your pots and pans can shine in the spotlight. If you have little cupboard space to begin with, hanging them from the wall or ceiling (along with their lids) frees up lots of space, especially if you have a full set of pans you use regularly.

No matter the recipe, you'll be much more efficient when the items you use the most are next to you when cooking. Knowing how to organize your kitchen utensils can be as simple as grouping like items together and using whatever space you're in to its advantage. Every space has its positives — the fun part of organizing your space is finding new spots for your favorite kitchen gadgets!

Photo credit: Flickr