How to Organize Kitchen Utensils Without Drawers

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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.

There are two categories of people in this world: those that know where every pencil shaving, paper clip, and kitchen utensil go, and then there are those that exist in a world of organized (or unorganized) chaos. This article is for those wrestling their messy kitchens into the epitome of orderliness and control!

I am not a naturally tidy person, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy a neat, clean room. In a desperate attempt to bring order to my Kitchen of Chaos, I began researching the best methods of imposing control in an out-of-control situation. This article exposes the secrets of those with neat kitchens!

Desktop Drawers for Your Cabinets

You may be musing over how to create more space in an already overcrowded kitchen; the secret lies in recruiting unutilized vertical space.

Many cupboards, both floor and wall cupboards, have a supremely cluttered bottom shelf with lots of empty air existing above that bottom-dwelling mess.

Order can be imposed on these delinquent cupboards through the installation of desktop drawers into your cupboards. Installing smaller compartments into a larger compartment (i.e., cabinet) is the secret to blitzing messy cabinetry.

The “stackability” of desktop drawers will successfully address the unemployment of unused vertical space in cabinets.

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

The smaller compartments of desktop drawers allow you to organize your cutlery, crockery, and other 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 Drawer Divider Organizers for Makeup Drawers Desktop Kitchen Drawer Organizers and Storage, 12.6 x 2.76 Inch
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  • EASY TO USE AND MULTIFUNCTIONAL - These shelf dividers are easy to assemble, which can be assembled by just one click using the upper and lower slots. It is a perfect separated drawer for clothes,...

Cutlery Caddies

Cutlery caddies are the perfect tool to separate knives from forks and forks from spoons; you no longer have to do a dangerous deep-sea dive for your teaspoon!

For those of you who like multipurpose tools, a cutlery caddie with a handle provides an efficient means of transporting silverware for barbecues and picnics.

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

Nothing says “Domestic Goddess” quite like a hostess or host who casually sets their table while simultaneously entertaining and engaging with their guests! A conveniently packed cutlery caddie lets you efficiently move all of the event’s silverware to the table without looking like the resident comedic juggler.

Cutlery caddies 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.

Have you ever tried to open the drawer when the oversized ladle decided to hold the drawer’s contents hostage as it gets hung up on the border of the drawer? Cue thirty minutes of trying to coax the stubborn ladle to lie flat so you can open the drawer.

It is much easier and simpler to have the kitchen tools within reach and under your watchful eye as you cook. Steel utensil holders stand up well to oil splashes and keep troublemaking kitchen utensils firmly in line. 

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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  • CHOOSE YOUR FAVORITE STYLE: 2 removable decal options ensure this utensil holder for countertops will fit your kitchen perfectly. Choose from 2 high-quality cursive fonts labels or leave decal-free....
  • PERFECT ADDITION TO FARMHOUSE DECOR: This utensil caddy for countertop storage adds a classic touch of the country farmhouse while storing your most-used utensils within reach. Easily fits and...
  • DURABLE FOR DECADES OF USE: Our countertop utensil holder is weighted to prevent falls and withstand kids, pets, and daily use. Its versatility makes our metal utensil holder a great gift—organize...

Those of you who have fallen far down the hole of organizational efficiency will appreciate the below-pictured set of kitchen utensils with a MATCHING utensil holder!

Wooden Cooking Utensils, Kitchen Utensils Set with Holder & Spoon Rest, Teak Wood Spoons and Wooden Spatula for Cooking, Nonstick Natural and Healthy Kitchen Cookware, Durable Set of 13 pieces
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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 craze on Pinterest and an organizational hack I’ve recently discovered.

The utilitarian baskets (amazon link) are given a second career as portable utensil carriers. These repurposed baskets are perfect holders for small utensils, e.g., silverware, scissors, can openers, etc. Tall utensils like butcher’s knives, ladles, and spatulas tend to fall out.

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

You can give yourself a congratulatory high five for your thrifty ways. The beleaguered dishwasher basket that was headed for a plastic landfill is now serving a useful purpose once again!

Although not gifted in 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

The key to conquering mess in a space-restricted area is by making every square inch of space count. By using lateral problem solving, the sides of doors, underneath counters, rooftops, and countertop surfaces become fair game in the race to find more space.

One of the most commonly neglected spaces is ironically the consequence of another organization hack, i.e., hanging mugs. Many people feel that once a rack of hanging mugs has been installed, all space under the mugs is the property of the coffee cups!

However, the cabinet space, and even the counter space (if your mugs hang from the bottom of the cabinetry) under the coffee cups can be usefully employed by placing utensil holders and trays under the hanging overlords. You may be surprised by the pleasantly aesthetic cohabitation of organized utensil trays and hanging mugs!

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
Rubbermaid No-Slip Large, Silverware Tray Organizer, Black with Gray
Rubbermaid Silverware Tray 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.

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.

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)
  • EXTRA STRENGTH MAGNETS – We bring you a *NEW, UPGRADED* 17" stainless steel knife holder for your kitchen wall, now including *HEAVY-DUTY MAGNETS* which will never lose their magnetic force. This...
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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.

Hanging Pot Rack by Mildenhall - 3-in-1 Size Options For Custom Fit - Wall Mount Cookware Organizer Rack - Sturdy Carbon Steel Construction - Farmhouse Style Kitchen Storage For Pots, Pans, Utensils (Board Not Included)
  • NO MORE CLUTTERED COUNTERTOPS - If you’re short on kitchen cabinet storage, reclaim your cabinet space with this stylishly functional pots and pans hanging rack by Mildenhall. This convenient wall...
  • KEEPS EVERYTHING WITHIN EASY REACH - A pan organizer rack keeps your kitchen essentials out of the way, but still beautifully displayed front and center and within easy reach whenever you need them.
  • HEAVY DUTY & BUILT TO LAST - Made with 60% thicker carbon steel than that of other brackets, this pan organizer is made to last. Engineered to support heavy cast iron pots and pans, the rack can...
  • CUSTOMIZABLE INSTALL - Choose from 3 rod length options for a custom kitchen rack that fits seamlessly with your kitchen measurements. Add a wooden board to the top to create a floating shelf and...

For those of you who become absorbed in cooking and chronically bump your head, attaching a utensil hanging rack under a shelf will serve two purposes.

  1. Organize your kitchen utensils, placing them within easy reach of your cooking space
  2. Filling in the space under the shelf and making you aware of the shelf edge thus prevent more head knocks.

Hanging racks can be used to efficiently store any kitchen utensil possessing a handle with a hole in the tip.

These utensil racks can also be used to hold mugs, giving your house a rustic appeal. Placing other utensil holders beneath the hanging racks allows you to more efficiently use space in your quest for ultimate organization!

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

Occasionally (or commonly in my case), cooking emergencies arise, and you need to locate a specific kitchen utensil quickly.

Imagine you’re cooking and catch an alarming whiff of smoke. You rush to the disaster scene only to realize you need a spatula to pry the rapidly burning batter off the bottom of the pan.

However, can you find your wayward spatula amongst the party going on amongst your kitchen utensils? No, because who can successfully navigate this tangle of rebellious kitchen tools!

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. Instead of playing “Where’s Wally” with your kitchen tools, you can now command a kitchen of efficiency!

Wall Control Kitchen Pegboard Organizer Pots and Pans Pegboard Pack Storage and Organization Kit with White Pegboard and White Accessories
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  • Kitchen Pegboard accepts conventional 1/4in pegboard pegs and accessories
  • Kitchen Pegboard accepts Wall Control slotted tool board pegs and accessories
  • Kitchen Pegboard installs in minutes, mounting hardware is included

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.

Floating Shelves for Wall, Kosiehouse Rustic Pine Wood Farmhouse Invisible Shelf Set for Drywall Storage Rack Display Ledge for Bathroom Kitchen Bedroom Living Room Office - Drywall Mounting
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Many interior decorators use floating shelves, not just for functional applications, but also for their decorative aspects. Staggered floating shelves break up monotonous walls, allowing you to showcase your pots, pans, utensil caddies, and holders.

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.

A small protective rim around the base of the shelf will stop cans and jars from falling off.


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